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PHOTOS: Lady Tigers pull off upset against region champ Westminster; advance to Sweet 16
Lady Tigers Softball.jpg
The DCHS Lady Tigers softball team celebrates after upsetting Westminster in the first round of the 2021 GHSA 3A softball state tournament. - photo by Jacob Smith

On Thursday, Oct. 7, the Dawson County Lady Tigers softball team had their fourth rain out in a row. The team anxiously awaited their next two games to see if they would advance to the state tournament. 

After winning both games on Friday and Saturday, the team advanced to the first round of the GHSA 3A softball state tournament, where they would have to play Region 5-3A champions, The Westminster School in Atlanta.

In a hard fought effort by everyone on the Lady Tigers’ roster, Dawson County won both of Tuesday’s games against Westminster to advance to the second round of the state tournament. 

“Anytime you can win four games in a row, it’s great,” Lady Tigers head coach Justin Rickett said. “The kids have grinded through. It hasn’t always been easy. These kids have had to show a ton of courage and determination to get through the adversity we had to go through. I’m so proud of them and everything they’ve accomplished.” 

In game one, the Lady Tigers were victorious 8-2. Sophomore Layne Bailey pitched a complete game, throwing five shutout innings to start the game. In the top of the seventh, the team held a 4-2 lead, but freshman Micah Burruss brought in three huge insurance runs on a bases-clearing double that sealed the game one victory for the Lady Tigers. 

Junior Reese Moore started in the circle for the Lady Tigers in game two, keeping Westminster at just one run into the fourth inning. Senior Olivia Martinez took over pitching duties and held their opponents scoreless until the end of the game. The Lady Tigers won game two 6-1. 

“Dang, to come down here and think we were only going to allow three runs, I’d take that eight days a week and twice on Sunday’s,” Rickett said. “It’s awesome.” 

Senior Gracie Vaughn and freshman Ace Cochran both drove in two runs at the plate in game two. Burruss additionally scored two runs again in game two. 

Most importantly, the Lady Tigers only committed one team error in both games this season, something RIckett has stated needed to be a focal points for the team all season long. 

“They played great defense and that’s something we’ve worked hard at all along,” Rickett said. “We’re getting timely hits too. It’s still like everything else; we need the ball to bounce our way, but I still think this is the best we’ve been playing to this point. We said early on, it’s not about what we look like in August, but how we play in October.” 

The Lady Tigers will have to travel to either Tattnall County High school or Liberty County High School on Wednesday, Oct. 20 for the second round.

Both schools are thirty minutes from each other and located between Savannah and Brunswick, along the Georgia coastline. Liberty County is the higher seed, but according to Maxpreps, both teams finished the season under .500. 

With four wins in a row, a long bus ride is not going to be enough to slow down the surging Lady Tigers softball team.