– North Georgia College & State University head softball
coach Mike Davenport has released the much-anticipated schedule for
the 2010 season that features a 42-game slate and matchups with
some of the best teams in the southeast.
Coming off their most successful season in school history that saw the Saints post a record of 50-5 and vault to the #1 team in the country before advancing to the NCAAA Division II National Championships, Davenport and his 19 players will look to repeat as Southeast Regional Champions.
North Georgia opens the season at home the second week of February, hosting a tournament and welcoming Northern Kentucky, Valdosta State, and Delta State to town for the weekend. After a doubleheader on the road at Mars Hill, the Saints will make their third straight appearance at the UAH Charger Chillout, facing six different teams from around the country in the classic.
North Georgia will wrap up the month of February with a home doubleheader against Queens University of Charlotte, a rematch of last year’s Southeast Regional. After the Saints host in-state rival West Georgia the first week in March, North Georgia will open their defense of the Peach Belt Conference regular season championship with a road trip to Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke.
After four grueling conference games in the state of North Carolina, the Saints travel back home to welcome LeMoyne College and 2009 World Series Participant, and National Runner-up, Alabama-Huntsville to town for doubleheaders, before jumping right back to league play with another long road trip, this time heading south for double dips at Flagler College and Armstrong Atlantic.
North Georgia will stay in conference play the next three series, hosting USC Aiken, which handed the Saints their only Peach Belt Conference loss last season, before opposing in-state rivals Augusta State and Georgia Southwestern.
Davenport and the Saints will then return the favor to Alabama-Huntsville, traveling to take on the Chargers for a doubleheader on March 30, before gearing up for a stretch run that includes home series’ against Tusculum, Columbus State, and Lander University.
North Georgia will end the season just like they did a year ago, traveling to GCSU to take on the Bobcats, before making their way to Florence, South Carolina, to defend their title at the 2010 Peach Belt Conference Tournament hosted by Francis Marion University.
The Saints return eight starters from 2009, including PBC Pitcher of the Year and All-American Sarah Phillips in the circle, while All-Americans Leslee Smith and Courtney McGuire will enter their senior seasons after combining to crush 21 home runs last year.
With the Saints coming in at #3 in the final NFCA Division II Top 25 of the 2009 season, North Georgia will likely debut in one of the top two spots in the country when the preseason poll is released by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association in January of 2010. The Saints were ranked 11th in last year’s preseason poll, before rising to the top spot in the nation in final regular season poll.