FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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AUGUSTA, GA – The Peach Belt Conference announced the 2012 softball preseason All-Conference team from the league office on Tuesday afternoon and North Georgia placed three players on the 12-member team.
As selected by the league's head coaches, Armstrong Atlantic led the way with four honorees while North Georgia followed with Hilary Cox at third base, Pilar Harden as an outfielder and Jessica Coan as the starting pitcher. Augusta State, Flagler, Francis Marion, Georgia College and USC Aiken had one selection apiece.
The Peach Belt released the preseason all-conference squad exclusively through Facebook and Twitter with a new member being named to the team every 10 minutes. The league office will announce the softball preseason poll Wednesday afternoon. The Saints have been tabbed as the preseason favorite for three straight years and have lived up to the hype each time with three consecutive Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships.
Hilary Cox was named first-team All-Conference at third base last season, her second straight first-team selection. A returning senior from Douglasville, Ga., she was also named first-team All-Region. She hit .338 and was tied for the league lead with 14 home runs during her injury shortened junior campaign. She was also tied for second in the PBC with 48 RBIs and was third with a .662 slugging percentage.
Pilar Harden was named second-team All-Conference and second team All-Region last year in the outfield. A senior from Watkinsville, Ga., she hit .303 with 11 homers and 45 RBIs as the Saints returned to the World Series. She was tied for fifth in the PBC in homers and RBIs as well as triples with three and in the PBC top 10 in hits, runs, total bases, walks and sacrifice flies.
Jessica Coan was named the Daktronics National Pitcher of the Year as well as the Peach Belt Pitcher of the Year for the Saints last season. A senior from Duluth, Ga., she was 27-5 with a league-leading 1.09 ERA and 334 strikeouts, the fourth-highest single-season total in PBC history. She held opposing batters to a league-best .151 average and led the PBC in innings, appearances and starts. She made NCAA history when she recorded 19 strikeouts in a seven-inning game, the second most in Division II history. Coan will look to hand North Georgia their fourth consecutive PBC Pitcher of the Year honor as the senior takes the circle for the Saints.
A senior class that has done nothing but win over the last three years, Cox and Harden have an all-time record of 154-19 and have sent North Georgia to three straight NCAA Division II National Championships.
With three consecutive PBC regular season and tournament championships, the Saints will look to keep their dynasty alive in 2012 and become just the second program in league history (Kennesaw State 1995-1998) to capture regular season and tournament titles in four straight years.
2012 Peach Belt Conference
Softball Preseason All-Conference Team
1b – Breezy Collings, Flagler
2b – April Jowers, Armstrong
3b – Hilary Cox, North Georgia
SS – Kacee Camp, Augusta St.
C – Ashley Buckett, Armstrong
OF – Pilar Harden, North Georgia
OF – Destinea Schneider, Francis Marion
OF – Shelby Duff, Armstrong
P – Jessica Coan, North Georgia
P – India Kornegay, USC Aiken
DP – Haley Burnett, Georgia College
UT – Baillie Temples, Armstrong