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September 18, 2013

Prep roundup: Injured player brings good vibes to Dalton High softball

Destinee Woods’ feel-good moment may have been a good luck charm for Dalton High School’s softball team on Tuesday night.

Woods, one of two seniors on the Lady Catamounts’ roster, started for the first time this season as Dalton hosted Southeast Whitfield in a Sub-region 7B-4A matchup. In a symbolic gesture, she played for only the opening pitch before being replaced at shortstop by Gaby Wright, but Woods’ teammates took it from there in a 7-3 win on senior night.

Woods tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during a summer basketball camp and is out for the season. However, she dressed out and was able to take the field one last time and join fellow senior Eternity Goodman in the night’s festivities.

“It was really great,” Woods said.

Dalton improved to 8-16 overall and 2-5 in the sub-region, while Southeast fell to 7-13 and 1-5.

Each of the past two seasons, the Lady Cats have struggled during much of the regular season but found a groove at the region tournament and into the state playoffs. Woods believes another late surge is possible this year.

“I definitely believe we can do it again,” Woods said. “We have so much potential on our team.”

Against Southeast, the Lady Cats took the lead for good in the third inning when Kylee Harris scored on a wild pitch from Sydney Covington to put Dalton ahead 4-3. The Lady Cats, who finished with 14 hits, scored at least one run in five of their six turns at the plate in the game.

“Tonight was just a good battle,” Lady Cats coach Stacy Parker said. “It’s a big win for us and we had some good individual performances.”

Kylee Harris, Christen Pender, Carson Roberts, Blayne Thomason, Alli Swinford and Wright each finished 2-for-4 for Dalton. Harris scored twice, while Pender had two RBIs. Swinford and Thomason each had RBIs.

Southeast’s hitters only tallied five hits against Swinford, who threw all seven innings and allowed two earned runs while striking out six with no walks.

“I think tonight we just beat ourselves,” Lady Raiders coach Kelley Barton said. “In crucial situations, we didn’t step up and make the plays we needed to.”

Southeast went up 2-0 in the first inning as Emily Beck beat out an infield single and both Kara Headrick and Covington scored on the play. Dalton responded with a run in its half of the inning — Pender’s infield single brought home Thomason — and two more in the second. However, the Lady Raiders tied the game in the third as Covington’s sacrifice fly brought home Madison Pearson.

The Lady Cats extended their lead in the fourth when Hailey Jones’ double scored Bowen Land, then added two runs in the fifth to cap the scoring.

Covington pitched six innings for Southeast, allowing five earned runs and walking four. Beck finished 2-for-3 with a double.

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