Posted: Sunday, August 12th 2012 at 8:47am
Softball: Dawson County wins Lanier Point Invitational
By Jeff Hart Staff
GAINESVILLE – Dawson County girls softball coach Jeff Pruett said before the Lanier Point Invitational Tournament he wanted to use the two-day event to see what kind of team he had.
He should like what he sees after his Lady Tigers recovered from a loss in their first game to win five straight games, including a 5-3 win over defending champion Union County in the Gold bracket finals Saturday at the Lanier Point Softball Complex.
Dawson County got a solid pitching performance from Martie Rogers, who allowed just five hits and two earned runs while fanning eight and walking just two. Rogers is taking the place of Auburn-commit Jenna Abbott, who is limited in the circle early in the season while rehabbing a shoulder injury.
“I found out we can endure,” Pruett said. “It was a long day and we won several close games. I thought we played good fundamental softball. We made some big strides, especially at the plate. Martie was getting tired but she just gutted it out at the end. It was a great effort by her.”
Abbott got things going quickly for the Lady Tigers blasting a two-run home run just three batters into the game for a 2-0 lead. They added another run later in the inning on a bases-loaded single by Natalie Burt scoring Sam Moulder.
“Jenna’s hit was huge,” Pruett said. “It set the tone and kind of relaxed everyone to just go out and play. She always finds a way to help the team.”
Dawson County pushed its lead to 4-0 in the second on an RBI single by Moulder and had a chance to blow the game open. But for the second consecutive inning the Lady Tigers left the bases loaded.
Union County cut the lead to 4-1 in the third inning when Crystal Busbee walked to start the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, took third on a wild pitch, and then scored on a one-out grounder from Hannah Hughes. The Lady Panthers had chances to cut into the lead but stranded five runners in the first four innings.
Dawson County increased the lead to 5-1 in the fourth on a RBI hit by Carly Gilreath. But Union County answered right back.
The Lady Panthers got RBI hits from Hughes and Courtney Busbee to cut the lead to 5-3. But Rogers retired the final four hitters, including a 1-2-3 sixth inning to end the game.
"Union has a solid team so for us to come out winning this is big for us," Pruett said. "Hopefully this will propel us the rest of the season."
Habersham Central whipped Flowery Branch 15-0 in three innings for third place in the Gold bracket. Wesleyan shut out White County 8-0 for fifth place, and Jefferson beat Gilmer 8-4 for seventh place in the Gold bracket.
In the semifinal round, Dawson County rode a six-run first inning and then held off a furious late rally by Habersham for an 8-6 win to advance to the finals. In the other semifinal, Union County used a seven-run fifth inning to rally past Flowery Branch 11-5 and advance to its second straight finals.
In the first round of the Gold bracket, Habersham Central had one of the best highlights of the day when Jessica Traylor hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a six-run final inning for an 11-7 win over White County. Union County blew a 6-3 lead and then rallied for a 9-7 win over Jefferson. Dawson County rallied for two runs in the top of the sixth to beat Gilmer 3-2 and Flowery Branch blanked Wesleyan 2-0 to advance to the semifinals.
In the first round of the Silver bracket, Johns Creek beat East Hall 10-3, Commerce beat North Hall 9-1, Rabun County whipped Gainesville 9-2, and Fannin County shut out West Hall 4-0. In the second round, Johns Creek routed Commerce 12-0 and Fannin whipped Rabun 12-2 to advance to the finals of the Silver bracket. East Hall beat North Hall 7-5 and West Hall beat Gainesville 10-2.
In the pool play, only two teams – Wesleyan and Union County -- came through undefeated.
Wesleyan beat Dawson County 8-4, won a forfeit over Gainesville, and knocked off Commerce 5-0 in the Red pool. Dawson County was the No. 2 seed after beating Commerce 5-4 in the third game. Commerce was the third seed and Gainesville fourth.
Union County held off White County 8-5, beat East Hall 6-4 in a rematch of last year’s final, and then whipped West Hall 13-4 in the White pool for a perfect 3-0 record. White County was the No. 2 seed beating East Hall 6-1 and West Hall 8-2. East Hall was the third seed after beating West Hall 9-2 in the second game.
Habersham Central routed Jefferson 12-1 in the third game of the Blue pool to take the No. 1 spot. Jefferson was the No. 2 seed after beating Johns Creek 6-3 and Fannin County 3-1. Fannin County was the third seed in the Blue pool by virtue of a 4-2 win over Johns Creek.
Gilmer won the Gold pool after holding off Flowery Branch 9-7 in a battle of undefeated teams. The Lady Falcons were the No. 2 seed with wins over North Hall (11-2) and Rabun County (10-1). Rabun County was the third seed after holding off North Hall 6-2 in the final game of pool play.
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