Dawson County will make its first appearance in a state playoff since 2008 after finishing in second place at the Region 8-AA tournament last week.
The Lady Tigers couldn't find a way to beat eventual region champion Union County. The Lady Panthers shut down the Dawson offense and won the games 7-0 and 12-0.
Fatigue seemed to be a factor in Dawson's loss to the Lady Panthers. Head Coach Jimmy Pruett's team played six games in a span of five days during the region tournament.
According to Pruett, the team seemed tired, not only physically, but mentally as well.
"We did look tired, but we can't use that as an excuse," Pruett said. "I am going to be positive. Our players took second place and that is a great accomplishment for them."
The Lady Tigers played host to the first round of region play Oct. 3 at Jack Waldrip Field in Dawsonville.
Dawson opened the tournament with a huge 10-0 win over Elbert County (8-18).
Dawson jumped on Elbert and scored an early four runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Lady Tigers put the game out of reach with five more runs in the third and a single run in the fourth inning.
The game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule after five innings.
Offensively the team was on fire. The Lady Tigers pounded out 12 hits and was led by Kimberly Wallace, Samantha Moulder and Gracie Hovan.
Wallace was 2-for-2 with a double, two runs, an RBI, and a walk.
Moulder was also hot at the plate. She contributed two hits and two runs. Hovan matched Moulder with two hits, a walk and two RBIs.
Jenna Abbott pitched a great game and went the distance with nine strikeouts. She allowed only three hits.
Pruett's team then played Banks County (18-10) on Tuesday. The game was the third meeting between the two teams this season with each team winning a game prior.
Dawson left no doubt who was the better team, coming away with a 7-0 victory over the Lady Leopards from Homer.
Dawson opened the scoring in the third inning.
Abbott singled to right field to start a three run outburst.
Natalie Shirley came on to pinch-run for Abbott. With one out Wallace singled to left field and put runners on first and third base.
The big hit in the inning came off the bat of senior left fielder Kristi Hyams.
Hyams took a 1-0 fastball and hit a shot over the right fielder's head that scored both Shirley and Wallace.
Dawson added another run in the inning with a two out triple by Moulder that scored Hyams from second base.
The Lady Tigers led 3-0.
Banks gave up three more runs in the fourth inning and trailed by a 6-0 margin.
Carly Gilreath led off the inning with a triple down the left field line.
With one out, Abbott walked to put runners on first and third. Senior Morgan Huber singled to score Gilreath from third.
Senior catcher Wallace then provided a clutch hit. She doubled to left centerfield driving in Shirley, who was pinch running for Abbott.
Hyams delivered again. She singled home Huber for her third RBI of the game.
Abbott got her second shutout of the tournament. The junior pitcher finished the game with 10 strikeouts.
The win qualified Dawson County for a place in the region quarterfinals in Fannin County.
Pruett's team needed to win its first game to make an appearance in state play.
Win they did. The Lady Tigers took advantage of four errors by North Oconee to come away with an 8-3 win over the Lady Titans on Thursday.
With the victory the Lady Tigers earned a place in the state sectionals.
Pruett's team continued to play for seeding.
"I have been telling them all week to just let things happen and have fun," Pruett said after the team secured its spot. "Now we will try and win the tournament."
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning against North Oconee.
Anna Torres led off the inning with a ground ball to shortstop. The Lady Titan shortstop bobbled the ground ball and it was all Torres needed to reach first.
Wallace was up next. Pruett asked Wallace to lay down a sacrifice bunt, which she did beautifully. The throw from third was in the dirt and allowed Torres to reach third base.
Wallace then stole second. Abbott was intentionally walked, which loaded the bases for Hyams.
Hyams hit a bullet at the second baseman that tipped off her glove and gave Hyams an RBI.
Martie Rogers then walked which scored a second run for Dawson County.
Moulder delivered a sacrifice fly to centerfield for the final run.
Dawson County added a single run in the fourth inning, two runs in the fifth, and two runs in the seventh to pick up the win.
The Lady Tigers then had a match-up with rivals Union County on Saturday morning.
It was the fourth meeting between the teams this season with the Lady Tigers winning only one of those games.
Union scored often and early to take the 7-0 win.
Fannin County was the next opponent for Pruett's team. The Lady Tigers exploded for a 12-0 victory.
Dawson needed to defeat Union twice to win the region tournament. The Lady Panthers used veteran pitcher Angie Hughes to shut down any hopes for the Lady Tigers.
Hughes and her Union teammates came away with a 12-0 win and the region championship.
Up next for Dawson County will be Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe.
The first round of state sectionals will be held in Dawsonville today and will be a best of three series. Game times will be 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Today will be a double header with a single game on Thursday, if needed.
The Lady Warriors are the No. 3-seed from Region 7-AA. The team lost to River Ridge and Dade County in the region tournament. The team boasts a 20-9 record on the season.