After beating Buford to become the no. 1 seed in the Region 7-AAA region tournament, the Dawson County Lady Tigers knew a target was on their back. After a victory over West Hall Saturday morning, their afternoon opponent, the Banks County Lady Leopards, took them to the limit.
The Lady Tigers trailed by four runs in the fourth, but rallied to top the Lady Leopards 10-8 at East Hall Park and advance to the third round. Dawson County will get another chance to take on Buford (20-2, 8-1) at 6 p.m. Monday. Both teams have clinched state playoff berths.
“You see how hard people play against us,” Lady Tigers head coach Jimmy Pruett said. “It’s not just us. (The Banks County) girls played great today; they really did. They brought it. They played a lot better, and improved a lot since the first time we played them.”
Pruett added that his team might have experienced a bit of a letdown after Wednesday’s win over defending Class AA state champs Buford. They shook it off just in time.
The Lady Tigers (17-6-1, 9-0) began their comeback in the bottom of the fourth with eight consecutive hits and two errors committed by the Lady Leopards (15-10, 5-4) which the Lady Tigers turned into five runs, giving them a 7-6 lead. They added three more runs in the sixth to stretch their lead to 10-6.
The Lady Leopards made a last charge in the seventh, scoring a pair of runs with the bases loaded.
“Banks County was hitting ball hard early in the game,” Pruett said. “We changed our strategy offensively. We started playing a little bit of small (ball); putting some bunts down, utilizing our team speed. That really got our momentum going.”
Pitcher Jenna Abbott had a rough-outing on the mound, giving up eight runs and tossing three wild-pitches which led to runs, but still managed to throw a complete game and record five strikeouts for the Lady Tigers. She also provided help offensively, going 2 for 4 with two doubles. Carly Gilreath assisted Abbott, going 2 for 5 with two singles and three RBIs.
Lady Leopard Haley Warner went 3 for 3 with two doubles, a single and two RBIs. However, the Lady Banks County defense committed four errors during the game.
“We came out strong. I think our girls are believing now,” Lady Leopards coach Anthony Bowen said. “They played their heart out. It’s one of those things where you look back and you go, ‘Did we make some errors here? Did we make some errors there?’ All teams make errors, it’s just how you pick yourself up."
The Lady Leopards play White County at 4 p.m. Monday.
BUFORD 8, EAST HALL 0: Pitcher Emily Crocker dominated the Lady Vikings offense, giving up only three hits and tossing nine strikeouts.
Jazmin Hawkins went 2 for 3 including an inside-the-park home run. Jordan Deep went 3 for 4, hitting for two doubles and three RBIs.
BUFORD 13, FANNIN COUNTY 4: The Lady Wolverines’ offense stayed hot during their second game. Jordan Deep went 3 for 4 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs-scored. Noah Suddeth went 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs. The offense had 15 hits.
Winning pitcher Bria Bush struck out eight and gave up no earned runs throughout the game.
EAST HALL 9, WEST HALL 4: The Lady Vikings pulled away late behind strong hitting of Chelsea Dale, Kali Turner and Logan Turner. Kali Turner finished the game 3 for 4 with two doubles, one single and 3 RBIs. One of her doubles’ came in the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie. Her two runs gave the Lady Vikings a 3-1 lead.
After the Lady Spartans tied the game back up at 3-3, the Lady Vikings went to work. A six-run sixth inning was capped off by Dale’s three-run triple and Logan’s RBI single. Both players went 2 for 4 during the win.
With their second loss of the day, the Lady Spartans were eliminated from the region tournament.
East Hall plays Fannin County on Monday at 4 p.m.
WHITE COUNTY 7, NORTH HALL 6: The White County Lady Warriors outslugged the Lady Trojans in a close game Saturday afternoon. MaryAnn Luna and Brittany Cooper combined for five RBIs for the Lady Warriors. The Lady Warriors, who fell to Fannin County earlier in the day, kept playoff hopes alive with the win.
With their second loss of the day, the Lady Trojans were eliminated from the region tournament.