SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2011 (8:20 AM EST)
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Programs spend years trying to just get an opportunity to play at the College World Series. When looking back on the past three seasons, it is amazing to see that we accomplished something that has only been done a handful of times. Though the trip did not end as we hoped, we gave ourselves a shot by just being here.
This season has been one of up downs. We started back in August and here we are, nine months later, already looking ahead to next year. We made it through RBI Week, our fall practices, off-season conditioning and our demanding spring schedule. Time flies when you are having fun. I want to say thank you to our four seniors, Kasey Knight, Natasha Willemse, Sarah Phillips and Kayla Martin, for all of their hard work and sacrifices over the past four years. Without the four of them, we would not be in Salem today.
I am at a loss for words when trying to talk about this season. We accomplished several things that we are very proud of, winning both the regular season and conference tournament, making it back to the World Series and even breaking the record for most wins in the program’s history. While our season did not end how we hoped, we still have a right to keep our heads held high.
I want to take this time to thank all of our fans for their love and support. Without each of you, we would not be here today. Thank you to our family and friends who made the trip to Salem; we really appreciate the sacrifices you made to be with us during our journey. Thank you to all of our community members who have supported us; we really enjoying going out into town and meeting people and listening to their stories about how much they love to watch us play.
I am sorry this post is so short; my mind is blank right now as I was not prepared to make this post tonight and I am still trying to get over a sickness I got some time yesterday. Thank you everyone for your love and support and know that next year, we are going to try it all over again. We will keep the faith and power because we are North Georgia Softball. GO SAINTS!!!!
THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2011 (11:32 PM EST)
WOW! What a game, right? Today was such an eventful day! We started the game a little shaky; I would imagine nerves got the better of every one for the first two innings. After Coach gave us a good talking to, the girls settled down and it was off to the races! After Natasha did a great job of getting on base to start off the third inning, I knew that inning would be a special one. We always seem to pull through after getting the lead off on. Ansley did a great job of settling in and then drilled a pitch into the gap. After Kasey scored the RBI, Pilar RIPPED a ball that easily cleared the fence. After that, we played North Georgia softball.
Sarah came in and shut the door on IUP and the offense really stepped up and made things happen. We knew that we needed to add a few insurance runs and we did a great job of stringing together a ton of hits after a shaky few innings to start the game. It felt great hitting that home run after coming back from my injury. The past few months have been long and arduous, but getting that hit for my team today made it all worth it.
We did it again today. We were down on the scoreboard, but we knew that it was not over. The past few games have really tested our faith in one another, our coaches and our preparation. Our first year attending the College World Series provided late inning fireworks with dramatic comebacks. What was more appropriate than coming back from being down 3-0 to win the game?
This team is truly special and I honestly believe special things are in store for us. We have showed a great amount of resiliency this season, especially the past two weekends. I can guarantee you that we have FAITH and POWER with us! A big thanks to all of our fans who made the trip to Virginia and to all of the fans who watched the game at Johnny B’s. You made not be here with us, but we feel your love and support all the way from Dahlonega!
Sorry tonight is so short, our games have been moved up tomorrow as we are expecting a few storms to move through the area. We will be up early in the morning but look for us to come out ready to go. Continue to pray for us and know that we are playing for each of you! Until tomorrow, GO SAINTS!!!!!
WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 2011 (11:49 PM EST)
Today has been such a long day! We woke up early to head to breakfast and went straight to a local elementary school to hang out with kindergarten and first grade students. The team split up and we made our way around several classrooms talking to the children, teaching them about the state of Georgia and reading some of their favorite books. It was so much fun to see the look on their faces and witness what a simple gesture could do for them. Once we told them we had gifts, their faces lit up they could not wait to get their North Georgia magnets and soon enough they were posted all around their rooms!
After the elementary school, our NCAA host family took us on a tour of downtown Salem. What a beautiful city! The girls were eager to get to the team BBQ so they could show off their karaoke skills. Sarah Johnson and Katherine Martin choreographed a routine to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. Their performance was convincing and heartfelt, but it lacked in the actual vocal aspect. The afternoon was spent playing corn hole, listening to other teams belt our their favorite tunes and chowing down on awesome food.
We headed to the fields around 1 for an hour of practice on the game field. It was surreal to return back to Salem, as it was the sight of our first World Series. The field provoked every emotion it did two years ago, yet a sense of calmness overcame me as I sat on the side, waiting to get on the field. After a solid hour of defense, we moved over to a practice field to work on our offense. After two hours in the 95-degree heat, it was clear that this weekend was going to be a battle.
The night ended at the Banquet of Champions. Each team had the opportunity to introduce their teams to every one in attendance. After our karaoke performance earlier in the afternoon, we decided to write a song to the tune of the movie “A League of Their Own.” We had a lot of fun performing it, almost as much as we did writing and rehearsing it. I wanted to take a moment to say congratulations to our very own Jessica Coan for being named an All-American at tonight’s banquet.
Tomorrow begins our real journey. We have prepared to the best of our ability for this weekend’s competition. I know each of the girls are very excited to finally get on the field and show everyone how we play ball in Georgia! I hope you all enjoy the game as much as I know we will. We can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow and go out there and represent Saints Nation! Until tomorrow, GO SAINTS!!!!!
TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2011 (10:28 PM EST)
This morning, we departed Dahlonega on the way to our third consecutive NCAA Division II Women’s College World Series. There are several teams traveling to Salem for the first time in their program’s history this year, so traveling to the World Series for the third time in a row is something truly special. I know it will take some time to set in and reflect back on the past ten months and the challenges this team has faced; from surviving the pre-season conditioning Coach Davenport is famous for and even struggling to make it through one week during the spring without mother nature dropping buckets of rain on us. It truly has been an eventful year for North Georgia Softball team. These obstacles have shaped us into the team we are today.
Hosting the NCAA Regionals is a great honor for this program. It is so special to see the community members come out and sit at Haines and Carolyn Hill Stadium in the hot summer sun waiting to cheer us on. When we found out we would be hosting Augusta State, Flagler and Erskine, we knew we had our work cut out for us. It was a fight to the finish and we were fortunate enough to come out on top and advance to the Super Regionals.
When we found out we were playing Lenior-Rhyne for a second consecutive Super Regionals, we knew that they would put up a fight and be well prepared. Jessica Coan threw the best game I have ever been apart of in my career earlier in the season against them, so I knew they would be ready to redeem themselves and want to knock us out in two games. The weekend was full of dramatics, power and teamwork as I am sure the fans felt as though they got their moneys worth. I will never forget dog piling Pilar Harden at the end of game three after she hit her walk-off homerun to send us to the World Series. What an amazing, yet exhausting weekend it was!
That leads me to today and day one of our journey to a National Championship. Thank you to all of our fans who came to support us this morning. The love each of you have for this program is felt and appreciated tremendously. I hope that we do something to make each of you proud.
Each year, we take on an identity that we base our season around. This year, it took an eight year old little girl two words to give us the confidence and strength to fight through the Super Regionals. One of our biggest fans wrote a letter the morning before our second game against L-R. She talked about how excited she was to get on the bus on Tuesday and go to the World Series. She said that all we needed was two things, Power and Faith. Her words, so simple, yet so powerful, moved each of us to tears. It was in that moment that we found our identity. On Saturday, the North Georgia Softball team displayed power by blasting seven home runs and had faith after falling behind three times throughout the first game. Thank you Isabel for your words of encouragement and know that have brought our power and faith with us to Virginia!