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COLUMBUS, GA – The North Georgia softball team was honored well as always at the 2012 PBC Softball Awards Banquet, as five players received recognition, with Melissa Dickie earning PBC Freshman of the Year.
Dickie earned PBC Freshman of the Year honors, after she had one of the best freshman campaigns in North Georgia softball history. She also earned PBC Second-Team All-Conference honors as well.
The native of Buford, Georgia, went a perfect 17-0 this season, providing a perfect one-two punch with reigning Pitcher of the Year Jessica Coan. Dickie was tied for fifth in the conference with those 17 wins, while ranking fifth as well with her 1.32 ERA.
The freshman was well-deserving of the award, as her continuing dominance throughout the season vaulted the Saints to a 13-game winning streak to end the season. Dickie finished with five shutouts, which ranked her fifth in the conference, and went a complete game in 11 of her 19 starts.
The Saints planted four players on PBC First-Team All-Conference, as Cox, Harden, Gillam and Coan all earned the recognition they strongly deserved.
Hilary Cox has now appeared on three consecutive PBC First-Team All-Conference lists, earning the respect as the conference's best catcher this year.
The senior from Douglasville, Georgia, batted .321 this season, with five home runs and 29 RBI's. Cox was the senior-leader for the Saints this season, playing outstanding defensively behind the dish and providing power in the three-hole of the lineup.
Making her third appearance on the First-Team was Pilar Harden, who earned one of the three outfield positions on the All-Conference Team. The senior centerfielder hit .327 while playing and starting in all 50 of her team's games.
Harden led the team in RBI's with 33 and did not commit an error all season long. She moved into the leadoff spot and has been the North Georgia catalyst all season long.
Newcomer Karlie Gillam played an exceptional season for the Saints at third base, as she received First-Team honors as well. Gillam was the best hitter for the Saints this season with her .351 batting average, while also leading the team with 12 doubles.
The native of Acworth, Georgia, came on strong this season for the Saints and was instrumental in the success of the team throughout the entire 2012 campaign. Gillam is now one of the most feared bats in the league.
No stranger to First-Team All-Conference was senior Jessica Coan. The pitcher was her same-old-self once again, leading the Peach Belt in wins with 23 and strikeouts with 294.
Coan was arguably the best pitcher in the conference once again, as her 1.25 earned run average was the third-lowest in the conference this season. The second-year player for the Saints has been one of the greatest players to come through North Georgia and will look to add more hardware as the awards continue to come in.
North Georgia was certainly represented well at the banquet, a result of their second-place finish in conference and national recognition throughout the year.
Armstrong, this year's regular season champion, received the majority of this season's awards. April Jowers received Player of the Year honors; Megan Barnwell was named PBC Pitcher of the Year while Ted Evans was named Coach of the Year.
For the first time in three years, the Saints did not have the PBC Pitcher of the Year or the PBC Coach of the Year. Dickie's recognition was the first PBC Freshman of the Year for North Georgia since Tiffany Blackburn won in 2008.
North Georgia takes their five PBC All-Conference players to the field tomorrow for the first round of the 2012 PBC Tournament when they play Georgia College at 11:00 AM.
The 32-member All-Conference team is listed below as chosen by the league's head coaches. The first 12 players were chosen by position. A second round of at-large voting ranked the subsequent 20 players, with the top four of them placed on the first team. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
2012 PBC Softball
1b - Whitney Galloway, Armstrong
2b - April Jowers, Armstrong
3b - Jessica Thornton, Augusta State
SS - Kacee Camp, Augusta State
C - Hilary Cox, North Georgia
OF - Shelby Duff, Armstrong
OF - Pilar Harden, North Georgia
OF - Whitney Okvist, Georgia College
P - Megan Barnwell, Armstrong
P - Donna Munafo, Flagler
UT - Kelsea Martin, Georgia College
DP - Heather Walker, Armstrong
Jessica Coan, North Georgia
Karlie Gillam, North Georgia
Brittney Sheriff, Lander
Baillie Temples, Armstrong
Lauren Bessent, Flagler
Haley Burnett, Georgia College
Breezy Collings, Flagler
Melissa Dickie, North Georgia
Robyn Draper, Flagler
Katie Enright, Flagler
Casey Googe, Columbus State
Emily Headrick, Augusta State
Ashley Jaramillo, Francis Marion
India Kornegay, USC Aiken
Hayley Leissner, Lander
Taylor Luff, Francis Marion
Mason Moreland, Georgia Southwestern
Alona Personius, Flagler
Mollie Russell, Columbus State
Taylor Turner, Columbus State
Player of the Year
April Jowers, Armstrong
Pitcher of the Year
Megan Barnwell, Armstrong
Freshman of the Year
Melissa Dickie, North Georgia
Coach of the Year
Ted Evans, Armstrong