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Lady Tigers split games as end of season approaches
Softball
Olivia Martinez and Annsley Kirby meet on the mound to discuss pitching strategy. - photo by Bob Christian

The Dawson County varsity softball team entered the final two weeks of the 2019 season with a heavy dose of momentum after the offense came to life last week when the team put up 13 runs against the White County Warriors. That trend continued when the Lady Tigers hosted the Chestatee War Eagles in a non-regional game on Sep. 16.

Capitalizing on seven Chestatee errors, while committing zero of their own, Dawson County drove 12 runs across the plate on eight hits, while freshman pitchers Reese Moore and Emily Kurtz, in her pitching debut, combined for the team’s first shut-out of the year.

Moore recorded the win for the Lady Tigers allowing four hits and nabbing four strike outs in three innings of work. Kurtz faced six batters in her one inning of relief giving up only one hit during her time on the mound.

“Knowing that (Moore) was about to enter a two week stretch of starting six games, we decided to put (Kurtz) in and allow her to get a little experience,” pitching coach Rick Martinez said. “Plus, it never hurts to have more pitchers.”

Seven Lady Tigers tallied a hit during the game with Kaylee Hamilton leading the way with a pair of singles and two RBIs. Shortstop Olivia Martinez (SO) and center fielder Kaselyn Martin (SR) each accounted for a pair of RBIs as both players doubled in the game. The final run came off the bat of sophomore Ainsley Allen, who was bumped up from the JV roster for the game, as she sent a ball over the center field fence in her only at-bat of the day.

The win marked a career milestone for head coach Jim Pruett who recorded his 450th win in his 23rd year as the head coach of the Lady Tigers.

“It took a little while,” Pruett said. “We just take it day by day.”

The bats remained hot on Tuesday, Sep. 17 in a critical regional match-up with the Cherokee Bluff Bears as the Lady Tigers once again recorded eight hits. Unfortunately, the Bears were twice as hot as they doubled up the hit column and emerged on top 16 – 6 when the dust settled in the six-inning game.

Cherokee Bluff scored three runs in the top of the second to take an early lead and added five more in the top of the third before the Lady Tigers responded with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.

Sophomore Bella Henson provided the offensive firepower for the Lady Tigers as she belted a double and a home run, scoring twice and driving in two runs, but the effort came up short as Cherokee Bluff put the game away with a six-run final inning.

The loss dropped the team to a 4 – 6 record in region 7-AAA and put them in the position of having to win both remaining regional games to reach the team goal of entering the regional tournament as the third seed.

“We still have a shot at the third seed,” said Martinez. “That would put us in the position of playing North Hall or Fannin in the opening round which would be better for us.”

Of the three games remaining in the regular season, two are regional contests with the first being a road-trip on Sep. 19 when Dawson County will travel to North Hall to face the Lady Trojans. First pitch is scheduled for 5:55 p.m.