As the season winds down, North Georgia’s softball team finds itself in familiar territory. Only eight games remain in the regular season and the Lady Saints are looking to build momentum for another run at the national title.
Currently ranked 13th in Division II in the April 11 nfca.org poll, the squad has put together another impressive season with an overall record of 35-7 and a conference record of 9-3.
Standing in the way of a fourth-straight Peach Belt Conference crown is nemesis Armstrong Atlantic. The Pirates are ranked sixth with a 13-1 record in conference games.
Head Coach Mike Davenport detailed the setup for the college softball playoff system: “Three conferences make up the Southeast Regionals in which eight teams participate. The winners of the two-to-four-team regionals then meet in a two-team Super Regional in a best two-of-three series. The winner moves on to the World Series, where eight teams compete in a double elimination tournament.”
In a Senior Night sweep of Georgia College on Tuesday, Davenport picked up his 500th career victory and the Saints honored star players Pilar Harden, Jessica Coan and Hilary Cox.
The trio has been instrumental in leading the team to three straight appearances in the College World Series, and Davenport hopes their experience will be the x-factor that propels the Saints to a national title.
“We have three great seniors who have won just about every championship they have competed [in] over the past three seasons, but are still looking for a National Championship. Hopefully their experiences will be a source of motivation and leadership over the next month or so,” said Davenport.
The Saints’ pitching has been spectacular all season long with Coan posting a brilliant 1.32 ERA and 21-6 record. When Coan can’t take the mound, freshman Melissa Dickie has been sharp as well, putting up a 1.56 ERA in 16 starts.
Davenport is well aware, however, that the Saints must put together a persistent offensive attack to bring home the title.
“Our challenge this season has been getting the key hit with runners in scoring position. Our pitching has been solid and so has our defense, but we are looking for more consistency in scoring runs at key times of the game,” said Davenport.
As her team heads down the final stretch of the regular season, Cox explained her thoughts on the postseason.
“At that point in the season, what we have done prior to the playoffs does not matter. We must focus on advancing through each round, because we can only play one game at a time,” she said.
North Georgia knows it will be in for some fierce battles this postseason, but with the talent and experience on its team, the squad will take its chances against any Division II team in the country.