Torrential spring rains returned to wash out the first game of Dawson County’s three-game series with region 7-AAA rivals Lumpkin County on March 25. Instead the Tigers opened the series with a 4-1 loss on the road and played their second double-header of the season to conclude the series on March 29.
In a pair of games that were not decided until the final inning, Dawson County split the double-header with the Indians as they held on to win game one by a score of 5-1, but then saw the Indians complete the come back victory in game two with an 11-9 tally.
Game one started in smashing fashion as senior Hudson Sapp opened the game with a full-count, solo home run to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead. Dawson County took advantage of some loose pitching from the Indians and put together two more runs in the bottom of the third inning to extend their lead to 3-0 at the halfway mark.
Sapp doubled and scored in the bottom of the fourth to pad the lead, and Kristian Kelley did the same in the bottom of the fifth to put Dawson County out front by a 5-0 margin with two innings left to play.
Kelley turned in his finest pitching performance of the season as he held the Indians scoreless on three hits over six innings of play with zero walks. The seventh inning almost spelled disaster for Kelley and the Tigers as an error opened the door for Lumpkin County.
The Indians strung together three seventh inning hits and another error from the Tigers infield to push three runs across the plate before Kelley was able to pop up the final batter and put a cap on the 5-3 victory.
It was Lumpkin County that opened an early lead in game two as they took advantage of three walks issued by Tiger starting pitcher Mauricio Hernandez to push three runs across the plate in two innings.
The third inning was the big one for the Dawson County as Peyton Goodwin took over the pitching duties and retired the Indians in order and the Tigers bats came to life behind aggressive base running from Sapp and a powerful three-run Bo Lewis dinger that gave Dawson County their first lead by a score of 4-3. Goodwin continued to hold the Indians scoreless while the offense extended the gap with two more runs in the fourth inning and another in the fifth to take a 7-3 lead into the late innings.
Some loose pitching and an error gave the Indians the opportunity to tie the game in the sixth inning, but the Tigers fought back to re-take the lead with two runs of their own and hit the seventh inning up by a score of 9-7.
Dawson County’s Andrew Burt came to the mound for the save opportunity and quickly nabbed two outs although the Indians had runners at first and second. A costly error from the infield allowed one run to score and the momentum clearly shifted to Lumpkin County as the very next batter crushed a three-run shout to jump out to an 11-9, which proved to be the final score as the Tigers could not find the come back magic for a third time in the game.
After game one was moved, the Tigers traveled to Lumpkin County on March 27 and found themselves stymied by Indian starting pitcher Grizzle who mowed down the Tigers with a one run, one hit, 10 strikeout complete game performance in the 4-1 win by the Indians.
Sapp and Kelley split the pitching duties for the Tigers with Sapp picking up the loss as he gave up three runs on three hits over three innings. Kelley gave up one run over three innings as well as picking up the Tigers lone hit of the game with his second inning single.
The three-game performance left Dawson County squarely in the middle of the pack in region 7-AAA as their regional record moved to 5-7 while they hovered just below .500 with an overall record of 7-8 as the team prepared for a break from regional action.
“When we come back, the next two series will determine our season and what kind of finish we will have,” Head Coach Dwayne Sapp said. “The younger players are starting to get acclimated to varsity baseball and the older players are playing well. I am really proud of how we have competed and hopefully we will continue to develop and get better each time out.”
The Tigers were the only spring sports team in action during spring break as they took on a pair of non-regional opponents early in the week starting with Prince Avenue Christian on April 1. Results were unavailable of press time.