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SOFTBALL: Lady Tigers look for fresh start in region play
Sophomore Ace Cochran looks at a pitch during the home game against Vidalia on Friday, August 12. - photo by Rio White

While this year’s Dawson County softball roster is markedly younger than last season’s senior-filled squad, both teams faced similar early-season growing pains. 

Three road losses to begin this season were followed up by a pair of home defeats — all against non-region competition. The Lady Tigers will now look to make a fresh start to the season as the first two region games beckon this week. 

Last weekend, Dawson fell to Vidalia and North Hall at home after a loss at Lambert earlier in the week. The next two games include the region opener at home against West Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 16 and and on the road at Wesleyan on Wednesday. 

Though an 0-5 start to the 2022 season is not flattering on paper, the 2021 team began 0-9 before going 16-12 the rest of the way en route to a deep run in the state playoffs.

Crucial to that playoff run was an 11-10 record within Region 7-3A — good for fourth place in the region and a spot in the postseason.

Knowing that the roster still needs time to develop, head coach Justin Rickett is staying steady and focusing on the fundamentals.

“We’ve got to continue to mature and make the routine plays,” Rickett said. “The kids are in good spirits and try to focus every day on getting better.”

Defensively, the team is looking to cut down on errors to stay competitive in games and decrease opportunities for the opposition to open up a lead.

The defense is also working on communication, particularly when the opposition is finding success. One player who has shown an example of that is freshman catcher Bryce Greenwood, who has shown an early sense of vocal leadership.

On the offense, the challenging early-season foes have been tough on the Dawson bats, but Greenwood and recent Blitz Sports Player of the Week Micah Burruss have given glimpses of what the Lady Tigers offense can potentially show. 

In the small sample size of the current season, both players have four hits in 10 at-bats but have also given strong plate appearances when not getting a hit. 

Just like on the defense, Rickett believes that the learning curve the offense faces now will eventually result in better performances down the road.

“We’ve seen really good arms,” Rickett said. “We just need more experience and continue to get those at-bats.”

The Lady Tigers will wrap up this week’s slate of games with non-region matchups against Union County and Bremen on Saturday, Aug. 20.