– The North Georgia softball team put a lid on one of the
most memorable regular seasons in NCAA Division II history as the
top-ranked Saints swept Lander University 8-0 and 9-0 to enter
postseason as the only undefeated team in the country.
After the conclusion of the doubleheader, the Saints honored four seniors playing in their final regular season games for North Georgia as Leslee Smith, Courtney McGuire, Jessica Skeels, and Laura Voyles were recognized by the packed house at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.
The Saints close the regular season as the only undefeated team in the history of the Peach Belt Conference at 41-0 overall and 20-0 in the league. Lander University falls to .500 overall at 22-22 on the season, while moving to 8-12 in PBC action.
With the doubleheader sweep, North Georgia has now set the Peach Belt Conference’s all-time mark for consecutive wins at 41, a record previously held by the 1995 Kennesaw State Owls.
The Saints also broke the PBC’s all-time record for most conference wins in a season, tying the mark after a game-one victory and setting the league mark at 20-0 with the nightcap victory, the first team in conference history to reach the 20-win plateau.
In game one, North Georgia jumped all over the Bearcats with single runs in each of the first two innings before a six spot in the fourth frame proved to be all the offense hurler Sarah Phillips would need in the 8-0 five-inning victory.
Hits were up and down the Saints’ lineup with eight of the nine hitters picking up base knocks, led by Voyles who set the table at the leadoff spot with three hits, two runs, and a pair batted in. Designated hitter Smith also drove in two runs with a hit in three attempts.
Game two was all about the long ball as McGuire went deep in the opening inning to put the Saints on top 2-0. Skeels followed in the second frame with a two-run blast of her own to make it 4-0, before Natasha Willemse made it back-to-back bombs with a solo shot down the left field to give North Georgia a 5-0 second-inning advantage.
The Saints then tallied a four spot in the fourth inning to clinch their second straight five-inning victory. Smith came up with the game-winner with a two-run double to make it a 9-0 game and give North Georgia the doubleheader sweep.
Phillips (34-0) picked up victories in both games, recording her third and fourth consecutive complete games as the junior allowed single hits in both games while striking out four in the opener and three more in the nightcap.
North Georgia and Lander will battle again on Friday morning, as the two teams will tangle in the first round of the 2010 Peach Belt Conference tournament in Florence, South Carolina. First pitch between the Saints and Bearcats is set for 11:00 a.m. as North Georgia looks to repeat as PBC tournament champions.
From Left: North Georgia seniors Laura Voyles, Jessica Skeels, Allison Harris, Leslee Smith and Courtney McGuire