As the Dawson County High School Lady Tigers round out their summer with a mixed scrimmage of middle school, JV and Varsity players, all the hallmarks of good softball make their appearance. The crunch of cleats on clay, the seemingly endless chants and chatter of the infield and the distinctive ring of aluminum across the infield are telltale sounds of a team gearing up for play.
Though this game doesn’t count towards stats or standing, the stakes are just as high.
The losing team must “run the poles” for each run scored by the winning team. When “running the poles,” the team musta sprint the distance of the outfield from the first base line to the third base line and back again. It makes for some stiff competition.
“Summer schedules and vacations make it so hard to coordinate practices over the summer. The sessions are voluntary, and we work with the girls that can be here,” said Assistant Coach Logan Allen about summer practice.
Mandatory practice sessions began July 31 for the DCHS Lady Tigers softball team. With six returning seniors, the team is in great shape for the beginning of the season but there are still some final decisions to be made for catcher, second base and left field.
“There’s only a week between the start of practice and the first game of the season,” Allen said. “It’s tough, but we’ll get there.”
Featuring the strong arm of returning starter Maggie Schandera as pitcher, and an experienced infield determined to crack down on the number of defensive errors, the team is determined to improve on last year’s disappointing 10-12 record.
“With so many girls coming back this year, we should have some really good leadership on the field,” said Connie Schandera, this year’s booster club president. “This is the first summer that the middle school girls have participated in the practices and fund-raising events and it has been such a great summer.”
Schandera has been heading up an ongoing raffle for a $200 Visa gift card, which will be given away during senior night Sept. 20. Tickets for the raffle are available directly from any member of the softball team.
As the scrimmage wrapped up with a final score of 3-1 July 26 and the losing team began the half-hearted task of running their three poles, the team’s leadership went on full display. Led by the seniors, the winning group took to the field with their teammates and all the girls ran the outfield together.
The Lady Tigers begin the season with a 3-game home stand that starts with a visit from the White County Warriors on August 6, with the first pitch scheduled for 5:55 p.m.