The Dawson County girls' 8U all-star softball team just accomplished something no 8U team has before-won the district tournament to advance to the state championship tournament this coming weekend in Valdosta.
"I've got 12 girls addicted to softball," said Head Coach Adam Smith.
In the beginning of the all-star season, Smith said he had just hoped that the girls would like it and want to continue playing.
The team went 4-0 in the 2017 Dizzy Dean District Tournament to capture the championship.
The Lady Tigers defeated Gilmer County 11-0 on June 9 in the first round before going on to beat Lumpkin 12-5 on June 10.
The girls would then advance to play Jackson County who they beat 17-6 before winning the championship game against Barrow, 19-18.
"No defenses showed up," Smith said about the championship game. "It was who could hit the ball better."
Six teams participated in the district tournament although there are 13 member teams for District 6, according to Smith.
The 8U team had 28 girls try out for the 12 spots. Smith has coached for the park and rec program for seven years and this was his second effort with the all-star team.
Smith's daughter Aubree has played softball for four years and is only 8 years old.
To attend the state tournament in Valdosta, the team needed to raise funds for travel expenses, including hotel stays.
"Everybody in the community got behind them," Smith said of the fundraising efforts for the tournament. "After three days, I had to tell them to not take any more donations. We had all we could handle."
"And as a result, a true feeling of extreme excitement is shared by everyone involved, knowing there's a real opportunity to represent Dawson County and realizing there is a real possibility to bring back home a state title," said Angela Williamson whose daughter is on the team.
Smith also credits the parents who have supported all of the efforts from the beginning.
"We have had time together outside of the ball field," he said. "It is just a great group of parents."
The team held a pool party at the beginning of the all-star season and another after the district championship win. Smith said the girls are having fun together.
The team will face Trion in the first round on June 23 in Valdosta.
"I really like our chances of winning state," Smith said.