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Pitching concerns grow
Lady Tigers looking to rebuild
DCHS Varsity Softball pic11
Katie Brady keeps a watchful eye on a Union County runner at third base. - photo by Pam Jacobs Dawson Community News

Pitching was a major concern for head softball coach Jimmy Pruett coming into this season. However, it isn't the only thing the veteran coach has on his mind this week.

"We have a lot of work to do," Pruett said. "I saw some good things in our inexperienced pitching. They all showed their skills, but I couldn't say who our No. 1 pitcher is yet.

"We played a lot of young girls. Tabitha Morrison hit the ball well for us. Kaila Billingsley had a good weekend," he added.

The Lady Tigers played in the Lanier Pointe softball tournament last weekend and suffered four losses to open the season.

The Dawson County pitching staff, which had only had pitched just three varsity innings before last weekend, for the most part put the ball over the plate. But shoddy defense, mental mistakes and poor communication were the determining factor in several of the games.

"The older girls need to just relax and play. We all know what they can do and I feel we will see their best soon. We did make a lot of mistakes, we had a lot of girls playing different positions and learning to play together for the first time," Pruett said.

In each game on Saturday the opposing team scored three runs in the opening inning, which forced Dawson County to fight back. And fight back they did in their final two games Saturday.

Both East Hall and Commerce were staked to 3-0 leads before Coach Pruett's squad got back into each game.

Dawson County eventually lost to Commerce, 6-5, and East Hall 4-3.

Earlier in the day Dawson County lost to a powerful Union County team, 13-1.

Friday night saw the Lady Tigers lose to North Hall 4-2.

In Friday's game the Lady Tigers could only push across two runs in the second inning.

Heather Brady and Brandy Torres led off the inning with back to back walks. Both runners advanced on a fielder's choice before scoring on a two-out single by Skyler Caine.

Offensively, the Lady Tigers had three total hits, one by Caine and two by Morrison.

One of Morrison's hits was a double.

Saturday's early morning game matched the Lady Tigers with state contender Union County. The Lady Panthers pushed across runs in each of the four innings to come away with a 12-run win.

Dawson County managed one run in the last inning.

With two outs Billingsley singled and was driven home on a sharp ball hit by Caine, which the pitcher couldn't handle.

After Pruett shuffled the lineup for the afternoon games it seemed the Lady Tigers' bats started to warmup.

Region 7-AAA foe East Hall started the 2 p.m. game with three runs to take an early advantage.

After the first inning Dawson County shut down the Lady Vikings until extra innings.

East Hall scored a run in the top of the seventh inning and the Lady Tigers couldn't answer to take the 4-3 victory.

Dawson County put up a run on the scoreboard in the second inning to cut the lead to 3-1.

Billingsley led off the inning with a double and scored on a two out double by teammate Heather Brady. It was Brady's first RBI of the season.

The Lady Tigers tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth inning.

A leadoff walk to Billingsley started the inning.

Simpson then sacrificed Billingsley to second base. With two outs Brady hit a shot to leftfield which the Lady Viking defender couldn't handle that scored Billingsley from second.

Brady then stole third base and scored on a catcher error.

Pruett's team had five hits in the contest.

Caine was 1-3 with a walk, Sydney McGinnis (1-4), Billingsley (1-3) with a double, run and walk, Simpson (1-2), and Brady (1-3) with a double, run and RBI.

The final game of the tournament was a slugfest with Commerce.

The team from Commerce had five hits to nine hits for Dawson County.

Commerce tied the game 5-5 with two runs in the fifth-inning to send the contest to extra innings.

The format of the tournament was to limit time.

The team from Jackson County then scored a run in the sixth-inning to win the game.

The opponent scored three first inning runs, but Dawson County rallied to score four runs of their own to take a 4-3 lead.

With one out, Caine walked and stole second base.

Morrison followed with a free pass of her own to put runners on first and second base.

A clutch hit by Billingsley drove home Caine and a single by Simpson notched two RBIs as Morrison and Billingsley scored.

The fourth run came on a two-out hit by Torres that scored Simpson from second base.

The Lady Tigers added a fourth inning run on a single and stolen base by Morrison.

Simpson had a big game offensively. She went 3-3 with two RBIs and two stolen bases.

Also picking up hits for the Lady Tigers were Caine, Morrison, Billingsley, Heather Brady, Torres and Katie Brady.

The team has no time to rest with Region 7-AAA play starting this week.

Yesterday, Dawson County traveled to East Hall with a re-match from Saturday. However, this time the game will count in the region standings.

"We are just going to go with the best girls that we feel gives us the opportunity to win. I think we will play much better this week," Pruett said.

Tomorrow, Pruett's team will play their first home game against region rival Lumpkin County. First pitch will be at 5:55 p.m.

Also, the junior varsity team will open its season with a game against the Lady Indians at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow.