Head coach Jimmy Pruett and his Lady Tiger softball team looks to improve on their 13-13 record from a year ago with a wealth of young talent this season.
The Lady Tigers will return only two seniors, but the team should be able to compete in Region 8-AA.
“We should be OK, even though we will be very young,” Pruett said. “We could possibly start two freshmen this year.”
Returning for the Lady Tigers will be senior catcher Kayla Grizzle, pitchers Sidney Cox, junior, and sophomore Cheyenne Bennett, sophomore Sidney Crumley at shortstop, sophomore Katie Pulley at second base, and junior centerfielder Tiffany Rowan.
The only senior with extensive playing experience is Grizzle.
“Kayla has been doing a very good job behind the plate for us. We really depend on her to handle our young pitchers,” said Pruett.
“Sidney Crumley has been doing well at shortstop, so far, after being moved from centerfield,” he said.
“We are going to have several young girls that will have to play a lot of innings for us this season. They are going to have to step up and play,” Pruett added.
Freshman Morgan Huber has had some great preseason practices.
Huber has been playing centerfield, but also could fill in at shortstop.
“Morgan is fearless,” said Pruett. “She isn’t afraid of anything and will sacrifice her body to make a play. She could end up playing a lot for us before it’s all over.”
Pitching is a premium in fast pitch softball and Dawson has two very good pitchers in Bennett and Cox.
“Both of these girls are going to be around the plate. They have a year under their belts. How they go will be how we go. When one of them is pitching the other will be at first base,” he said.
Region 8-AA will be tough.
Jefferson is moving up to AA from 8-A. The Lady Dragons played for the state single A championship last year losing to Eagles Landing Christian.
Jefferson, under head coach Brad Puckett, is ranked No. 9 in the early preseason AA polls.
North Oconee, East Jackson and Union County will also be tough opponents for Dawson.
North Oconee, ranked No. 4 in AA, will also be young after graduating a lot of talent last year. The team will still be tough as they return their No. 1 pitcher in Ali Watson.
East Jackson lost their All-State pitcher to graduation, but will still be loaded at almost every position. East Jackson is currently ranked No. 5 in the AA preseason poll.
The Lady Panthers of Union County lost some pretty good players, but they always play hard according to Pruett.
“We have to play fundamental softball and avoid errors,” remarked Pruett.
“We are going to win a lot of 3-2 ball games, but we can’t make any mental mistakes in the field or at the plate,” he added.
Dawson will open the regular season on Monday, Aug. 18 when they host Pickens County. First pitch will be at 5:55 p.m. with a JV game preceding the varsity game.
E-mail Pam Jacobs at email@example.com.