The 2009 softball season is over for the Lady Tigers.
Dawson lost a heartbreaking game 7-0 to first-year school Walnut Grove last Wednesday at Jack Waldrip Field in Dawsonville.
With a win, Dawson could have advanced to the state softball tournament, but now they have to pack everything up and wait for next year.
“I told the girls to keep their heads up,” said head coach Jimmy Pruett. “They have nothing to be ashamed of. Our kids played hard and we just came up a little short.”
For seniors Sydney Cox, Nikki Dean, Haley Estes and Tiffany Rowan it proved to be the last game of their high school careers.
“We surely are going to miss these girls. They have been a huge part of our program for the last four years,” commented Pruett. “I hate that it had to end this way.”
The Lady Tigers, #3-seed, finished the season with a 20-10-1 record.
Pruett’s squad drew Walnut Grove, #6-seed, in a best two of three series.
Dawson lost the first game of a doubleheader against Walnut Grove on Tuesday, 11-5. The Lady Tigers rebounded to take game two by a 5-3 score.
In the first game, Dawson County jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead.
With one out, Katie Pulley singled and Sydney Cox walked. Freshman Jenna Abbott doubled off of Lady Warrior pitcher Kara Patterson driving in Pulley and Cox. Abbott later scored on a sharply hit single by Tiffany Rowan.
Walnut Grove hit back-to-back home runs by Hannah Reppert and Katie Holcombe to cut the Lady Tiger lead to 3-2 in the second inning.
The turning point of the game occurred in the fourth innning.
The Lady Tigers committed four errors in the inning that allowed six runs to cross the plate for Walnut Grove.
The Lady Warriors held a commanding 8-3 lead.
Pruett said: “Those errors really hurt us. It was a close game and then all of a sudden we can’t field the ball.”
The Lady Tigers added another run in the fourth inning after a Cox walk led things off. Cox crossed the plate on a single by Morgan Huber.
Dawson scored once more in the seventh inning after Abbott drove in Pulley.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Lady Tigers dropped the first game of the doubleheader.
Pruett’s team rallied in the second game to take 5-3 win behind the pitching of senior Sydney Cox.
Cox pitched a complete game and gave up seven hits, while striking out three batters for the win.
Once again the Lady Tigers scored first.
Catcher Kimberly Wallace led the inning off with a double. Abbott came through with a big hit that scored Wallace with two outs. Dawson led 1-0.
Morgan Huber scored a run in the second inning to extend Dawson’s lead to 2-0.
Walnut Grove, who starts five freshman, three sophomores and one junior, tied the score with runs in the second and third innings.
Dawson put the game away in the seventh inning with Wallace, Pulley and Cox scoring. The big hit was a triple by Cox.
Cox, Wallace and Abbott had two hits in the win.
Wednesday was all or nothing for both teams.
Whichever team lost new its season was over. The only way to advance to the state tournament was with a victory.
The Lady Warriors offense came alive. No matter where the Dawson coaches positioned their players it seemed Walnut Grove found the open area.
Walnut Grove pounded out 14 hits and scored runs in the second (2), fourth (1), fifth (2), and seventh (2) innings to come away with the victory.
On the other hand, the Lady Tigers couldn’t find a way to push across a run against Lady Warrior pitcher Kara Patterson.
Dawson had runners on base in four of the seven innings, but just couldn’t find a way to score.
“You have got to hand it to them (Walnut Grove). They hit the ball well and are very athletic. That team will be a force to reckon with in the upcoming years,” Pruett said.