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Young softball team starts strong
varsity softball
Sophomore pitcher Maggie Shandera had 17 strikeouts over two games on Aug. 5 in Gainesville. The Lady Tigers defeated Rabun and Towns County to open their season. - photo by For the Dawson County News

With only three seniors in this year’s Dawson County softball program, Coach Jimmy Pruett knew that he would be relying on young talent early in the season.

On Aug. 5, the team had its first tests as they traveled to Gainesville and took on Rabun and Towns County with five new starters—and came away with two wins.

“I knew very little about either opponent going into it. I usually use tournaments like this to see where we stand,” Pruett said. “Who can do what, who needs to work on what.”

Dawson defeated Rabun 6-1 in the opener and followed up with a come-from-behind win over Towns County winning that game 5-4.

Junior pitcher Maggie Shandera had 17 strikeouts over the two games with 12 coming against Rabun hitters.

“She had a great day. She also drove in the winning run in the Towns County game,” Pruett said.

During game one, the Lady Tigers got an early lead in the first off a stolen base by junior Brandi Williams.

Shandera singled in the third to score another and Dawson opened it up in the sixth inning with four runs coming off a Kaselyn Martin single and a Skylar Caine double.

Micaiah Jenkins, Brea Crane, Caine and Shandera all ended the game with multiple hits.

Defensively, the Lady Tigers did not commit a single error in the field.

In the matchup with Towns County, the Tigers went down early due to a run off a stolen base. The Lady Tigers answered in the first when Shandera scored one on a ground out.

That was all the scoring Dawson County would do until the final inning before timed play ran out.

Towns added three runs in the fifth courtesy of a couple of stolen bases and a single.

“The Towns County game was great because we were down 4-1 in the last inning and tied it in the bottom of the sixth,” Pruett said. “The time limit ran out and when that happens you go into the international tie breaker rule where the baserunner starts second base to begin the inning.”

In the sixth, a Jenkins triple, Crane single and Bella Henson double tied things up for the Lady Tigers.

When Towns got their opportunity during the international tie breaker period, Dawson thwarted the efforts with a double play.

“Towns tried to bunt and we threw the hitter out at first and the runner that was on second broke to third a little late and Lauren Tows, my first baseman, threw a bullet to third base and they tagged the girl out. We got a double play,” Pruett said.

After picking up the third out, the Lady Tigers took their turn with Kaselyn Martin on second.

“We bunted her and put her to third and Maggie drove her in. It was pretty cool to come back like that because Towns was pretty good. Towns has a good team,” Pruett said.

The 2-0 team will travel today to face White County. The junior varsity will play at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity at 5:55 p.m. in Cleveland.