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SOFTBALL: Lady Tigers triumph over West Hall for third win of season
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Ainsley Allen (left) and Gracie Vaughn celebrate the end of a half inning while jogging in from the outfield. - photo by Jacob Smith

The Lady Tigers were ready to hit on Wednesday, Sept. 8, beating West Hall 12-4, in a five-inning mercy rule, for their third win of the season. 

“I thought we did a good job today swinging the bat and putting the ball in play,” softball head coach Justin Rickett said after the game. We made the plays we were supposed to on defense. I’m proud of them...they did exactly what they were supposed to do.”

Senior Olivia Martinez led the offense, going 3-4 with a home run, double and four runs driven in. Junior Lauren Kurtz went 3-4 as well, leading the team in runs scored with three. Seniors Anna Glover and Anslee Kirby each drove in two runs at the plate as well. 

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Rylie Erickson takes a swing at a pitch from West Hall during the 12-4 victory on Wednesday, Sept. 8. - photo by Jacob Smith

“We’re getting closer to having an identity,” Rickett said. “I think covid and staying healthy is still definitely playing a factor. I definitely think they’re getting more used to me and I’m getting more used to them. We’re all learning.”

Layne Bailey and Reese Moore both split time pitching in the shortened game. Bailey started, throwing the first three innings, allowing two hits and no earned runs. Moore finished the game, with none of the four runs scored by West Hall being earned runs. 

The season is officially at its halfway mark, with the Lady Tigers sitting at 3-11, with all three wins being region wins against Lumpkin County, North Hall and West Hall. The Lady Tigers have yet to play Gilmer County this season. 

Halfway through the season, Kurtz, Martinez and Moore are all hitting above a .300 batting average. Freshman Micah Burruss leads the team with 11 runs batted in and Kurtz leads with 10 runs scored. 

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Emily Kurtz slides into home plate to score one of Dawson County's 12 runs in the winning effort over West Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 8. - photo by Jacob Smith
Bailey leads the pitching staff in most categories, including innings pitched (39.1), wins (2), strikeouts (21) and earned run average (6.94). 

After experiencing several weather cancellations over the last few weeks, the Lady Tigers will have to play their final 15 games of the season through the next 28 days, as opposed to playing their first 14 games over 35 days to start the season. 

Rickett said girls are used to playing four games every weekend through travel ball and does not think the volume of games will have much of an impact. 

The Lady Tigers immediately will pick up action on Thursday night at Cherokee Bluff High School (9-2, 6-1 in Region 7-3A). The Bears won the first match 10-2 earlier this season. Thursday night’s game starts at 6:30 p.m.