Do not refer to this Dawson County softball team as a Cinderella story.
The team knew at the beginning of the season they were good enough to be in Columbus, battling for a 3A state title.
It just took them a while to get to that point...but now that they have arrived.
The Lady Tigers continued their dominant run through the state playoffs with a 13-5 victory over Pike County in the first game of the GHSA 3A state tournament in Columbus, Ga. on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s awesome,” Rickett said. “This is a great environment...it’s unbelievable. It’s the first time anyone in our dugout has been here and experienced this. I can tell you it’s lived up to the hype. The girls are so excited. This group is special and I’ve been telling them that since day one. They’re starting to believe it, too.”
Every member of the Lady Tigers’ starting lineup recorded a hit in the winning effort. Senior Olivia Martinez and sophomore Layne Bailey led the team in hits with three a piece and both sent a ball over the fence for a home run. Bailey drove four runs into the plate and Martinez drove three runs in.
Bailey was also Thursday’s starting pitcher. Other than a three run first inning, Bailey settled down and allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits for the remainder of the game, notching the complete game victory.
Down 3-0 in the top of the second, junior Reese Moore came to the plate and led the inning off with a double, starting the chain of events that led to 13 Lady Tiger runs. Moore finished the game going 2-for-5 with a run batted in and a run scored. Senior Rylie Erickson and freshmen Micah Burruss and Ace Cochran each collected two hits.
Seniors Ainsley Allen and Annslee Kirby each drove in two runs and junior Lauren Kurtz scored two runs in the win.
Less than a month ago, Dawson County was unsure if they would even make the state tournament. However, the Lady Tigers are on a 7-1 run of victories in the last three weeks and are headed into day 2 of the 3A state tournament with a win under their belt.
“I’d be lying to you if I came up with some kind of reason we started clicking...just gave them patience and let them become what they are and it’s special what they’re becoming,” Rickett said.
Friday’s game will be at 9 a.m. against Harlem High School. If the Lady Tigers win, they advance directly to the final four on Saturday morning. A loss would have the team playing at 5 p.m. for a chance to advance to Saturday.