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Dawson County starts season with strong performance at Lanier Point Invitational
Dawson County’s Martie Rogers delivers a pitch for the Lady Tigers during their game with Gilmer County Saturday afternoon during the Lanier Point Invitational softball tournament.

Lanier Point Invitational
Saturday’s scoreboard
at Lanier Point Softball Complex

North Hall 4, Gilmer 1
Johns Creek 4, Habersham Central 2
Union County 6, East Hall 4
Wesleyan 5, Commerce 0
Gilmer 9, Flowery Branch 7
Fannin County 4, Johns Creek 2
White County 8, West Hall 2
Dawson County 16, Gainesville 0
Fannin County 12, Rabun County 2
Dawson County 3, Gilmer 2
Rabun County 9, Gainesville 2
Union County 13, West Hall 4
Jefferson 3, Fannin County 1
East Hall 9, West Hall 2
Flowery Branch 1, Rabun County 0
Dawson County 7, Commerce 5
Habersham Central 12, Jefferson 1
Dawson County 8, Habersham Central 6
Union County 9, Jefferson 7
Flowery Branch 2, Wesleyan 0
Habersham Central 11, White County 7
Johns Creek 10, East Hall 3
Johns Creek 12, Commerce 0
Fannin County 4, West Hall 0
Fannin County 12, Rabun County 2
Commerce 9, North Hall 1
White County 6, East Hall 1

Tabitha Morrison gave Dawson County just the spark it needed Saturday in the Lanier Point Invitational. Trailing 2-1 and down to its last out at the plate against Gilmer, Morrison, a freshman, ripped a double to the outfield that brought home the go-ahead run and led to the eventual 3-2 final score.

“We hit the ball really well in clutch moments,” said Lady Tigers senior Carly Gilreath, who started a six-run inning with a lead-off single against Habersham Central later in the day.

Along with beating Gilmer, Dawson County also beat Habersham Central 8-6, Gainesville 16-0 and Commerce 7-5.

With a 5-0 record through the semifinals, the Lady Tigers earned a berth in the tournament finals against Union County. The tournament’s championship game was played too late for Saturday’s deadline.

Defending tournament champions Union County advanced to the finals Saturday with a 9-7 win against Jefferson, 6-4 win over East Hall, 13-4 win against West Hall and 11-5 win in the semifinals against Flowery Branch.

The Lady Panthers, competing in their seventh consecutive Lanier Point Invitational, were led by Crystal Busbee at the plate. She reached base in seven of her first eight trips to the plate in Saturday’s series of games.

“This is a great way to start our season by playing well in this tournament,” Union County coach Jessica Stewart said.

Even though Dawson County won a mercy-rule game against Gainesville, it took a 10-run inning to get going, according to Gilreath.

“I’m proud of the way we hit the ball today,” said Lady Tigers coach Jim Pruett. “We’ve been consistent with big hits from top to bottom in the lineup.”

In the semifinals of the gold bracket against Habersham Central, Dawson County senior pitcher Jenna Abbott, an Auburn University commit, pitched three innings and reached in all three plate appearance. Due to a shoulder injury, Abbott is limited to three innings in the circle, according to Pruett.

Even though Abbott struggled with control in the first inning against the Lady Raiders, she managed the pitch around a lead-off single by Georgia Webb.

Then in the second inning, Abbott settled down in the pitching circle and recorded back-to-back strikeouts to start the inning.

However, it was her contribution at the plate in the game against Habersham Central that meant even more. With two runners in scoring position, she was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Samantha Moulder had one of three RBI singles in the first inning for Dawson County, which also took advantage of three errors in the field by Habersham Central.

Abbott’s first hit of the game against Habersham Central was a second-inning double on a fly ball that landed just inside the foul line. Then in the third, she followed it up with a hard hit single up the middle.

Webb made the final score closer with a grand slam in the sixth inning for Habersham Central.

Following a successful run in the Lanier Point Invitational, Dawson County turns right around and travels to the Bulldog Invitational next Saturday at North Gwinnett High in Suwannee.