The Dawson County Lady Tigers softball team took to the diamond of Jack Waldrip Field twice this past week, emerging with a victory in one and a loss in the other.
The first game took place Sept. 11 when the ladies hosted rival Lumpkin County High School Indians.
The “pinked-out” stadium, festooned with pink ribbons and pink balloons to promote breast cancer awareness, was packed to capacity as fans from both counties watched the Indians win a tough fight by the final score of 7–5.
Broadcast live by North Georgia Sports Link. the game had the aura of a professional event and the stadium came to life as the Tigers spread out brightly across the field to open the first inning behind senior Maggie Schandera, who stood in the circle for her thirteenth start of the season.
The first inning ended with both teams pushing one run across the plate. The Lady Tigers scored their run with stolen bases and sacrificed batters while the Indians pushed theirs across with brute force on a blistering triple followed by a left-field single to score their point.
The second inning featured solid pitching from both sides and ended scoreless, leaving the score tied at 1 as the third inning started with Lumpkin County at the plate.
After starting the inning with a line drive out the Indians took advantage of a series of throwing errors to put three runs on the board before the Tigers could move them back to the dugout.
The game stayed quiet until the bottom of the fourth when a startlingly similar series of throwing errors plagued the Indians and allowed the Lady Tigers to bring home two runs and close the gap at the halfway point. As the final innings approached it was suddenly a tight one with Lumpkin County at 4 and Dawson County at 3.
The hot-bats of the Indians and the cold gloves of the Tigers continued to do damage in the fifth as a combination of sharply hit ground balls and fielding errors gave Lumpkin County two more points and what would prove to be an insurmountable lead.
Both teams were able to add one to their totals for a final score of 7 for the Indians and 4 for the Tigers. The loss put the Lady Tigers in a position to lose home-field advantage as the playoffs approached, a situation not lost on Head Coach Jimmy Pruett.
“Bottom line is this put us in what is essentially a must-win situation against GAC (Greater Atlanta Christian),” Pruett said.
That game took place Sept. 13 and the Lady Tigers took the field knowing the seriousness of this game as it came to their place in the region.
Entering the game tied with GAC in the standings, Dawson County pulled together all three aspects of the game: good pitching, solid fielding and explosive hitting to pull out a 4-1 victory and put themselves in excellent position to continue their rise as the regional tournament approaches.
Greater Atlanta struck first, putting one run on the board in top of the second, but the Tigers fired back with a beautiful two-run homer from second baseman and freshman Olivia Martinez to take the lead and never looked back.
Allowing only five hits over the remaining five innings, Schandera shut down the GAC offense while the Lady Tigers added an insurance run in the third inning and another run off a towering solo home run from Bella Henson in the sixth inning to bring the score to a final tally of 4 for Dawson County and 1 for GAC.
The Lady Tigers were back in action Sept. 17 when they traveled to Alpharetta to take on the Denmark High School Danes in non-regional play.
Facing the Danes for the second time this season, winning by a score of 9 to 1, Dawson County picked up right where they left off lighting up the scoreboard with five runs in the first inning.
Pitching with a comfortable lead, Schandera pitched four flawless innings allowing only three hits and zero runs while the Lady Tigers offense continued to pile-up runs scoring one each in the second and fourth innings, two more in the third, and a whopping nine run tally in the top of the fifth.
Olivia Martinez took over the mound in relief of Schandera and closed out the Danes in the bottom of the fifth, but only after the Dane’s showed some fight with a pair of doubles that scored two runs.
The game officially ended after five innings due to the run rule with the final score, the Dawson County Tigers 18 and the Denmark Danes 2.
On the road again, the Tigers traveled to Flowery Branch for a regional game against the Cherokee Bluff Bears. Results were unavailable as of press time.