FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joey Daniels, firstname.lastname@example.org
DAHLONEGA, GA – After three straight trips to the NCAA Division II College World Series, head softball coach Mike Davenport has set his schedule for this upcoming spring season.
North Georgia will look to continue their past success again this year as they attempt to chase their fourth consecutive PBC regular season title. If the Saints win the conference regular season in 2012, it will tie an all-time record held by Kennesaw State for consecutive conference championships.
The schedule features 50-plus regular season games, five special event classics or tournaments and 10 conference home games as opposed to eight coming on the road.
The North Georgia softball team will host and compete in the first annual Loyal Blue Classic this upcoming season. The event will take place on the 11th and 12th of February, marking the first regular season games of the season for the Saints. Along with North Georgia, four other teams will be competing in this year's classic: Tusculum College, North Greenville, Florida Tech and national powerhouse Alabama-Huntsville.
Like in years past, Davenport challenges his team in the non-conference portion of the schedule. The Saints will play Alabama-Huntsville four times this season, a team that has experienced the same if not more success much like North Georgia over the past few years. UAH has appeared in two of the last three World Series and finished runner-up in both National Championships. The Saints will take on the Chargers twice in the Captain D's Classic at home on March 10th and 11th as well as once more in the UAH Charger Chillout in the middle of February.
Following the Loyal Blue Classic, North Georgia will travel to Mars Hill for a double-header before heading to Decatur, Alabama, to compete in the UAH Charger Chillout. In one of the most popular and talented tournaments in the country, the Saints will play six games at this year's Chillout. North Georgia will face three Sunshine State Conference representatives in Rollins, Barry and Florida Tech. Along with Alabama-Huntsville, the Saints will play Ohio Dominican and Missouri-St. Louis to fill the 2011 UAH Charger Chillout slate.
The Saints will then return home for a doubleheader against Belmont Abbey before heading south to Kissimmee, Florida, to participate in the ESPN Disney Citrus Classic on February 24-26. Following the trip to Florida, North Georgia will travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina, to take part in the Mid South Classic. Opponents for both events will be announced at a later date.
After a pair of non-conference doubleheaders in Dahlonega on March 7th and 8th, North Georgia will prepare to host the NGCSU Captain D's Classic on March 10th and 11th. The Saints will play the University of Charleston and Alabama-Huntsville in the annual classic.
March 13th marks the beginning of the Peach Belt Conference action for North Georgia as they travel to Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. The Saints then visit Georgia Southwestern and Columbus State to start the conference season. All games are set for doubleheader action.
The last day in March marks the home opener of the conference season for coach Davenport. His Saints will play a stretch of PBC home games hosting Francis Marion on March 31st, USC Aiken on the first of April, UNC Pembroke on the third and Augusta State on April 7th. The double-header against Augusta State will also be Cancer Awareness Day in Dahlonega at Haines and Carolyn Hill Stadium. This will be the seventh annual Cancer Awareness Day in the history of the softball program.
North Georgia will play its last regular season home games on April 10th, playing host to Georgia College. This doubleheader will be senior day for the Saints, as the North Georgia softball program will honor their seniors for their success and commitment to the program.
The season ends with a road trip to Lander on April 15th. The Peach Belt Conference Tournament is set for the weekend of April 21st and 22nd. This year the tournament will be played in a single elimination format, unlike the double elimination setup in years past. The Saints will look to defend their three-peat of Peach Belt Conference Tournament titles along with their extensive 12-game winning streak in tournament games that spans three years.
Head coach Mike Davenport has been named PBC Coach of the Year the past three seasons and will look towards his fourth this year. 2011 Ron Lentz National Pitcher of the Year Jessica Coan returns for her senior season to lead the Saints in the circle. She holds numerous single season records for both North Georgia and the Peach Belt Conference. Coan finished with an astonishing record of 19 strikeouts in a seven inning game last year pitching at eighth-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne, good enough for second all-time in NCAA Division II history.
Coach Davenport added new assistant coach Megan Burke to the staff for the 2011 campaign, bringing plenty of knowledge and experience to one of the best staffs in the country. Burke makes her way to North Georgia after spending three years as an assistant coach at conference foe Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Working primarily with the pitchers and infielders, Burke coached the 2011 Flagler pitching staff to a 1.76 earned run average as the program made their first-ever NCAA Southeast Regional appearance.
The Saints should start this season ranked in the nation's top five once again, which is a position they have become very familiar with. Over the past three seasons, North Georgia spent an unprecedented 30 weeks in the NFCA top five.