The Dawson County High School Varsity Tiger baseball team is in a three game slump after losing to Riverside Military Academy, 7-4, last Friday and a doubleheader to Union County, 9-3, and 12-6 on Saturday.
With the three losses, Dawson has no chance of finishing in first place in the sub-region.
Dawson is currently 6-8 overall and 5-5 in Region 8-AA.
With the Region play-offs on the horizon, Head Coach Jimmy Pruett and his squad have to win both games this week versus Fannin and Rabun counties to secure the number two seed.
If Riverside (9-8; 6-4) wins both of their games this week, they will take the number two seed and place Dawson in third.
It looks like a number two seed will play Banks County, while the number three seed will face a strong North Oconee team.
Dawson played Riverside after a 17-day layoff due to weather and spring break.
“The layoff killed us,” said Pruett. “We were playing well before the break. It was tough for us to get going again against Riverside.”
Riverside jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Tigers’ senior night.
Dawson was able to push across a run in the third inning by Jacob Barr to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Eagles added a run in the seventh inning to extend its lead to 4-1.
It looked bad for Pruett’s squad, but they rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to score three runs, tying the score at 4-4.
Tiger Mitch Starling led off the seventh inning with a single. Barr followed and drew a walk to put runners on first and second base. Tiger shortstop Chase Gilreath took a fastball and deposited it over the outfield fence for the game-tying homer.
Ren Buttram pitched a masterful game. Buttram began to run out of gas in the ninth inning, he gave up a lead-off walk and a single to Riverside.
Chase Williams came on in relief of Buttram with one out in the ninth.
Buttram finished the game with six strikeouts.
Will Huff put Riverside ahead with a massive homerun off of Williams to give the Eagles a 7-4 lead.
Dawson failed to push anyone across the plate in the bottom half of the inning against Eagle starting pitcher Tommy Stalnaker.
Dawson honored seniors Barr and Buttram before the contest.
The Tigers traveled to Blairsville on Saturday to face the Panthers.
Despite holding the lead in both games, Dawson came out on the short end.
Barr led off the first game with a homer to give Dawson an early 1-0 lead. It was Barr’s first homer of the season.
The lead remained 1-0 until Union exploded in the fourth inning for nine runs on six hits.
The inning started bad for Dawson with an error in left field from the bat of Panther Bradley Biese. It led to all nine runs being unearned against Tiger starter Chase Gilreath.
“We came out flat against Union,” said Pruett. “That inning really killed us. It was an indicator of about how our day went.”
The number two through four hitters in Dawson’s lineup collected six of the seven hits during the game. Cody Marshall, Kaleb Holbrook and Gilreath each had two hits. Barr picked up the other hit with the homer.
The second game saw Pruett’s team get out to a 4-0 lead.
Gilreath hit a homerun in the bottom of the first inning off Panther starter Blake Gowder driving in Barr to give Dawson a quick 2-0 lead.
Dawson added two more runs in the third when Holbrook singled in Marshall and Gilreath, extending the Tiger lead to 4-0.
Union ignited their bats in the bottom of the third inning, as the team pushed across nine runs on eight hits.
Of those eight hits, four were homeruns off of Tiger pitchers Ryan Morawsky, Chase Williams and Wesley Bearden.
The Panthers added three more runs in the top of the sixth inning, to make the final 12-6.
Gilreath had another big game at the plate for the Tigers with three hits.
Gilreath connected on two home runs and three RBI’s in the contest.
Williams also had two hits for Dawson.
Dawson will play in the Region 8-AA playoffs beginning this Friday.
The team’s opponent will depend on results from this week’s games.
E-mail Pam Jacobs at email@example.com.