Jaguar Softball Archives Region 17 Champion 2010, 2007

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April 28, 2008

GPC falls just short of nationals

Almost.

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team, needing three straight wins Sunday in Dublin to capture the Region 17 title and advance to the national tournament, came within one base hit of accomplishing the improbable feat.

The Lady Jaguars dropped the championship game to South Georgia College 3-2 when Brittany Boeshore and Nichole Stanford, both of whom had singled and reached scoring position with one out in the seventh (final) inning, were left stranded as the last two hitters ground out.

GPC finished the season 32-18, having come tantalizingly close to a berth in the nationals after entering a rebuilding season with modest expectations. The Jaguars made the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament last season and finished in fifth place.

“Eleven girls gave all of their heart until the end,” head coach Ed Schutte said. “As a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”

Pitcher Kim Hobbs threw all 23 innings Sunday. Less than a week earlier, she was questionable for the tournament because of leg injuries. After a subpar Saturday, she was outstanding Sunday and earned All-Tournament recognition, along with short stop Stanford and outfielder Chelsea Hawkins.

The Lady Jaguars’ long day began with a 2-1 squeaker over Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in nine innings. Stanford broke the tie in the second extra inning with a single up the middle that scored Christie Rice.

After a short break, GPC confronted unbeaten South Georgia, which had defeated the Lady Jaguars on Saturday and twice during the season. The Lady Tigers led 2-1 entering the sixth inning, but Alisa Malte evened it with a home run. Hawkins then doubled in Ashley Hill, who had doubled, and Ali Converse. Hobbs held off the Lady Tigers in the seventh for a 4-2 win.

The rematch for the crown opened promisingly for GPC, which leapt ahead 2-0 in the first on Converse’s single that plated Boeshore and Malte. A three-run homer by South Georgia in the third closed out the scoring, and, ultimately, the Lady Jaguars’ season.

With a 32-18 record—16-4 in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association—with a solid core of the team returning next season and with a strong recruiting class coming in, the Jaguars have high hopes to continue their winning tradition in 2009.

April 27, 2008

Tigers drop GPC to losers’ bracket

Hitting was hardly in short supply Saturday for the Georgia Perimeter College softball team in its second Region 17 tournament game.

But the Lady Jaguars’ pitchers were knocked around by South Georgia College, a 10-7 winner in Dublin that sent GPC to the tourney losers’ bracket.

Sunday’s task is monumental. To qualify for the national junior college tournament, the Lady Jaguars must win three games within about seven hours—made all the more difficult with their thin, two-woman pitching staff. One loss, and the successful season is over.

GPC (30-17) begins what it hopes becomes a marathon day with a 10 a.m. game against Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Next in line would be South Georgia at 1 p.m., then a championship rematch immediately after against the Lady Tigers, who are unbeaten in the tournament.

South Georgia tagged freshman pitcher Kim Hobbs, whose injured ankle made her questionable this weekend, for seven runs. Krystin Williams replaced her in the middle innings and gave up three runs, including a homer.

The Lady Jaguars erupted for five runs in the third inning to go ahead 6-4. Chelsea Hawkins’ bloop single that drove in two was the big hit.

Williams could not hold the lead and Hobbs returned to the mound, facing a 7-6 deficit. The margin grew to 10-6, making Alisa Malte’s late home run harmless.

Christie Rice paced GPC’s 12-hit attack with three hits. Ashley Hill, Hawkins and Malte punched out two hits apiece.

The Jaguars split a conference doubleheader with Abraham Baldwin on April 4. If GPC gets past the Fillies, South Georgia represents an uphill climb. The Tiger squad, which swept GPC in a doubleheader on April 11, is the only team to beat the Jaguars in the past 18 games.

April 26, 2008

Jaguars advance to second round

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team took awhile to get out of first gear in its Region 17 tournament opener Friday night but eventually was operating on all cylinders in an 8-3 win over Middle Georgia College in Dublin.

The top-seeded Lady Jaguars (30-16) motored on to a second-round game Saturday afternoon over South Georgia College, also victorious on Friday.

GPC spotted Middle Georgia a 2-0 lead before leaping ahead in the fourth inning. Ali Converse tripled home Ashley Hill and Heather Hodge, both of whom had singled, then scored on a fielder’s choice for a 3-2 advantage.

Three more runs in the fifth gave the Lady Jaguars some breathing room. The big hit was Hill’s double that drove in Brittany Boeshore and Nichole Stanford, both of whom had reached base on singles.

After the Warriors nudged to within 6-3, GPC salted the game away with a pair of runs on singles by Stanford and Alisa Malte that followed a walk.

Injured pitcher Kim Hobbs, whose availability for the tournament was iffy, started but had to be removed early in favor of Krystin Williams. She allowed just one run and six hits the rest of the way.

Boeshore paced the Lady Jaguars at the plate with three hits. The victory was GPC’s ninth consecutive triumph and 15th of its last 17 games.

April 25, 2008

Four Jaguars named to All-Region Team

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team, regular-season champion of Region 17, placed four members on the All-Region team as the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association announced the selections this week. Three of the Lady Jaguars were selected to the first team.

Freshman catcher Alisa Malte was the team’s leading vote-getter. The Lassiter High (Marietta) graduate hit .392 and was a standout behind the plate.

Other first-teamers were sophomore third baseman Ali Converse of Beatrice, Neb., who hit .283 and played outstanding in the field, and sophomore rightfielder Ashley Hill of Union Grove High (McDonough), a .375 hitter who was guilty of just one error all season.

Freshman second baseman Heather Hodge of Eastside High (Covington) was elected to the second team. The former outfielder hit .343 while adjusting to a new position.

April 24, 2008

Lots of heart brings GPC top seed

Their roster consists of just 11 players. Only two are pitchers; one has been nagged all season by leg injuries.

They are vagabonds, playing a mere four of 45 games at home. They practice on a soccer field.

So, it must have been oodles of talent that enabled the Georgia Perimeter College softball team to overcome piled-high obstacles and capture the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association regular season title and enter the Region 17 tournament on Friday in Dublin, Ga. as the top seed, right?

Guess again, says coach Ed Schutte.

“This was talent-wise one of the weakest teams in my 10 years here,” he said. “They just played with a lot of heart. They had to work for everything. These girls believed they couldn’t lose.”

They did lose, but only 16 times in 45 games after an 8-8 start. This, despite weary-armed Kimberly Hobbs (Brookstone High, Columbus) and Krystin Williams (Luella High, Locust Grove) pitching all but one inning.

“To do what this team has done is simply amazing,” Schutte said.

The Lady Jaguars expected to field a roster 15 strong, but defections for various reasons thinned it to 11. That made the GPC dugout a lonely place, with only two substitutes. Schutte said he hesitated answering his phone before road trips, fearing a player was calling in sick or hurt. None did.

Hobbs, however, has been “hurt from day one,” Schutte said. The freshman arrived on campus “as a 115-pound weakling. She’d never seen a weight room.”

The coach has held out Hobbs in some games but she remains hobbled. Her availability is uncertain for this weekend, which would force Williams to shoulder all pitching duties.

The Lady Jaguars likely will rely on hitting and defense on their march to the national tournament. Schutte lauded five standouts in the everyday lineup:

– Catcher Alisa Malte (Lassiter High, Marietta), the leading batter with a .392 average. “A super catcher who will definitely go (to a Division I school). Give me 13 of her, I’ll beat anybody,” Schutte said.

– Rightfielder Ashley Hill (Union Grove High, McDonough), who hit .375 and committed only one error. “A great kid for our team,” Schutte said.

– Third baseman Ali Converse (Beatrice, Neb.), a “tremendous defensive player” who hit .283.

– Second baseman Heather Hodge (Eastside High, Covington), who was shifted from the outfield to a position new to her. She handled the switch well and hit .343 to boot. “Boy, she turned out to be something unbelievable,” Schutte said.

– Shortstop Nichole Stanford (Newton County High, Covington), a transfer from Young Harris College who hit .264. “She got better and better all year long,” the coach said.

As gifted as those players are, Schutte believes their determination won the regular season title. “We are better than anybody in the region mentally,” he said.

That cerebral toughness will be put to the test, especially if Hobbs is limited or scratched, beginning with GPC’s opening game against the winner of Coastal Georgia and Middle Georgia early Friday. The tournament runs through Sunday.

“If Hobbs is ready, we can win,” said Schutte, who assesses the region as subpar compared to previous seasons. “Without her, it’s going to be hard with one pitcher. But, Lord knows, this is an amazing group. I’m not going to second-guess them anymore.”

April 20, 2008

Jaguars win regular season league title

The task was clear-cut Sunday for the Georgia Perimeter College softball team: Win two games against Middle Georgia College in Cochran, Ga. and claim the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association regular season title.

Consider it done. The Lady Jaguars, with no room for failure all weekend, copped their third doubleheader sweep in three days. They beat the Lady Warriors 5-3 and 6-3 and will ride an eight-game win streak as No. 1 seed into the Region 17 tournament starting 5 p.m. Friday in Dublin, Ga.

GPC stands 29-16, and its 16-4 conference record matches Darton’s. The Lady Jaguars were awarded the tie-breaker based on a 2-0 record against Darton.

Christie Rice’s home run keyed a rally that broke a 3-3 tie after the first inning of the opener. Heather Hodge also had a big hit as Krystin Williams came on for Kim Hobbs to earn the pitching win. Hobbs needed a break after a spectacular job winning all four victories on the previous two days.

Williams (14-8) also won the nightcap, going the distance after being staked to a 5-0 lead through one inning. Two-hit games were recorded by Brittany Boeshore, Chelsea Hawkins, Ali Converse and Hodge.

April 19, 2008

GPC remains in title race

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team found the brief stay at its new home stadium to its liking.

One day after a doubleheader sweep of Andrews College, the Lady Jaguars repeated the act Saturday against Young Harris College. The Lady Jaguars (27-16, 14-4 GJCAA) closed out their home schedule—shortened by construction—at 4-0. They visit Middle Georgia College at 2 p.m. Sunday in Cochran, Ga. to compete for the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association regular season title and a top seed in next week’s conference tournament.

Only one of the four games was tense. GPC jumped ahead of Young Harris with three runs in the first and one in the fifth, then held off the visitors to win 4-3. Ashley Hill (with two hits) and Heather Hodge plated two runs apiece.

The Lady Jaguars built a sizable early lead in the second game, but this time was never threatened in a 9-1 cakewalk. Hodge had two hits.

Pitcher Kim Hobbs collected two more wins, following her same pattern as Friday’s double shutout. She went the distance in the opener, then worked two innings before being relieved by Krystin Williams.

The four home-field wins improved Hobbs to 15-8 and kept the Jaguars in the tight race for the league title.

April 18, 2008

Jaguars christen new stadium with wins

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team’s long-awaited home debut turned out short and sweet for the Lady Jaguars.

In its 40th and 41st games of the season, GPC (25-16, 12-4) silenced Andrews College on Friday by identical 8-0 scores, ensuring that the opening of the new stadium on the Newton Campus was that much more historic. Both games were called according to the eight-run rule.

Kim Hobbs, red-hot despite a leg injury, earned both pitching victories with a four-hit five-inning shutout in the opener and a two-inning start in the nightcap. Krystin Williams finished off the second shutout.

Hobbs, a freshman from Columbus Brookstone High School, threw the historic first pitch at the new park, a strike down the middle to Andrews’ Brandy Monroe.

Sophmore rightfielder Ashley Hill led the Jaguars at the plate in the opener, batting a perfect four-for-four with three RBIs and three runs scored. She collected the ball park’s first RBI, which drove in leadoff hitter Brittany Boeshore, who drew a walk in the first at-bat.

Chelsea Hawkins contributed to the offensive onslaught with a 2-for-3 outing, including a triple.

Alisa Malte was the batting standout in game two, going 3-for-3, while Ali Converse drove home two runs.

Friday’s victories kept GPC in the race for the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association regular season title and a top seed in next week’s conference tournament.

The Lady Jaguars close out the home schedule with a doubleheader against Young Harris College starting at 4 p.m. Saturday and are then off to face Middle Georgia College 2 p.m. Sunday in Cochran, Ga.

The Jaguars’ home softball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Georgia, near the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

April 15, 2008

Jaguars win, set for home opener

After 39 road games, the Georgia Perimeter College softball team is finally getting a taste of home. As sweet as it surely will be, the Lady Jaguars are thriving in their vagabond season.

GPC swept Truett-McConnell College 4-0 and 13-4 on Tuesday in Cleveland, pumping its record to 23-16. At 10-4 in Region 17, the Lady Jaguars stood in second place—even with the leaders in the loss column.

The long-awaited GPC softball debut on the Newton campus is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m., with Andrew College visiting. Then at 1 p.m. on Saturday, the Jaguars will host Young Harris College. Because of construction on the new stadium, these are the only home dates left this season for the GPC softball team.

Pitcher Kim Hobbs, recovered from a recent ankle injury, was sharp against the Lady Bears with a complete-game victory in the opener followed by a two-inning stint that earned her another win in the nightcap.

The Lady Jaguars got the only run they needed in the shutout right off the bat, then added three runs in the fifth. Nichole Stanford, Alisa Malte and Brittany Boeshore banged out two hits apiece.

Heather Hodge and Chelsea Hawkins, with three hits each, wielded the biggest bats in the blowout win, which was called after the sixth inning because of the eight-run rule. A five-run outburst in the fifth inning sealed the sweep.

The Jaguars’ home softball games will be played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Georgia, near the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

April 11, 2008

GPC drops two in Douglas

A pair of blown leads ended the GPC softball team’s six-game win stretch on Friday in Douglas. The Lady Jaguars lost 3-2 and 5-4 to South Georgia College.

An injury to pitcher Kim Hobbs, riding a five-game success streak of her own, was costly.

She had to be lifted early in the opener after being struck in the ankle by a line drive. Reliever Krystin Williams held off South Georgia into extra innings. But after the Lady Jaguars went ahead 2-1 in the eighth, the Tigers countered with two runs.

Hobbs and Williams got little help from the GPC lineup, which scratched out four hits.

In the nightcap, started by Williams, the Lady Jaguars carried a 4-3 lead into the seventh (final) inning, only to be beaten again by a two-run rally in the bottom half on three singles. Hobbs pitched briefly but was ineffective.

GPC (21-16, 8-4) hopes to have her back at full strength for a doubleheader Tuesday against Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland.

April 10, 2008

Jaguars win two, six in a row

A quick start in Game One. An explosive inning in Game Two. A third straight doubleheader sweep for the GPC softball team.

The Lady Jaguars (21-14, 8-2) defeated Darton College on Thursday in Albany 5-2 and 7-4, extending their win streak to six. Hot pitcher Kim Hobbs (9-8) collected both wins, one of them a complete game, while catcher Alisa Malte pounded out a combined five hits in the twinbill.

The first game was decided in a jiffy as the opening six GPC batters reached base. The Lady Jaguars scored thrice in the inning, then tacked on two more in the fourth for a 5-0 lead. Malte, Ashley Hill and Carley Fant accounted for two hits each.

A rash of singles in the fourth inning of the nightcap produced all of GPC’s runs. The rally overturned a 2-0 deficit.

April 8, 2008

Williams wins pair for GPC

At a showdown for first place Tuesday in the GJCAA standings, the GPC softball team showed up ready to play. The Lady Jaguars doubled up on Georgia Military College 4-3 and 10-2 in Milledgeville to become temporary queens of the hill with a 6-2 record.

The Lady Jaguars are 19-14 overall entering a Thursday twinbill against Darton College in Albany that was postponed last weekend by rain.

Pitcher Krystin Williams (12-7) earned both wins, one of which went an extra inning. Ashley Hill’s RBI single in the eighth made the difference.

Heather Hodge accounted for the first three runs on a double in the second and a single in the sixth.

The second game was called after five innings in accordance with the eight-run rule. The Lady Jaguars jumped out with five runs in the first, followed by one in the second and four in the fourth.

Christie Rice drove in four runs, while Alisa Malte smacked three hits.

April 7, 2008

Friday home game moved to South Georgia

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team’s home game scheduled for Friday, April 11, at the new stadium on GPC’s Newton Campus, will be played at South Georgia College in Douglas, Ga.

GPC officials project that the Lady Jaguars will christen their new stadium on the Newton Campus with their first home game of the season on Friday, April 18, hosting Andrew College at 4 p.m.

The Jaguars’ home softball games will be played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Georgia, near the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

April 6, 2008

Lady Jaguars win pitchers’ duels

Duel wins in pitching duels. That’s the headline for a dandy doubleheader by the Georgia Perimeter College women’s softball team on Sunday in Barnesville.

Pitcher Kim Hobbs (7-8) collected both wins as the Lady Jaguars downed Gordon College 1-0 and 3-2.

Hobbs went the distance in the opener, and all she needed was Chelsea Hawkins’ home run in the second inning. Hobbs struck out six.

In the second game, the Lady Jaguars pecked away for three runs in the first three innings, then got a scare in the seventh when Gordon scored twice. Hobbs threw four innings in relief to improve to 7-8. Nicole Stanford smacked three hits.

With the weekend results, GPC (17-14, 4-2) stands in first place in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association. The Jaguars are back on the road Tuesday in Milledgeville with a doubleheader against Georgia Military College.

Saturday’s rainout at Darton College in Albany will be made up Thursday at 4 p.m. in Albany, Ga.

Because of construction on GPC’s new softball stadium, the Jaguars’ home game scheduled for Friday, April 11, will be played at South Georgia College in Douglas, Ga.

The April 18 home game with Andrew College is scheduled to be played at the Jaguars’ new home stadium, located at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

April 1, 2008

Friday home opener moved to ABAC

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team’s home opener, scheduled for Friday, April 4 at the new stadium on GPC’s Newton Campus, will be played at Abraham Baldwin College in Tifton.

Heavy construction equipment at the stadium prevents games at the present time. It was not determined whether the April 11 home game with South Georgia College would be played on the new field or at SGC.

March 29, 2008

Lady Jaguars drop two in Florida

The bats went silent on Saturday for the GPC softball team, resulting in a doubleheader sweep by Florida Community College in Jacksonville.

The Lady Jaguars produced just nine combined hits in their 3-2 and 4-2 setbacks.

Pitcher Kim Hobbs suffered both losses, allowing walks in the decisive innings in each game.

In the opener, Krystin Williams pitched into the fourth inning, granting no runs, but Hobbs could not preserve GPC’s 2-0 lead. The Lady Jaguars managed only three hits in the nightcap.

Brittany Boeshore led the Jaguars at the plate with two hits.

GPC slipped to 14-13 on the season, with a 1-1 record in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association.

Friday, Georgia Perimeter travels to Tifton to face GJCAA foe Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Due to construction on GPC’s new softball stadium, the Jaguars’ first home game, scheduled for Friday, April 4, will be played at Abraham Baldwin College in Tifton. It has not been determined where the April 11 home game with South Georgia College will be played.

March 28, 2008

Boeshore leads Jaguars with two home runs

The last contribution expected of lead-off hitters is home runs. Brittany Boeshore slugged not one, but two, Friday as the GPC softball team salvaged a doubleheader split with Coastal Georgia College via an 11-3 win in Brunswick.

Chelsea Hawkins pitched in with three hits as the Lady Jaguars erupted for six runs in the fourth inning. Pitcher Kim Hobbs, backed by 15 hits, earned the win.

Coastal Georgia breezed to a 6-1 victory in the opener, which marked the beginning of play in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association for GPC (14-11, 1-1 GJCAA). Starting pitcher Krystin Williams was tagged with the loss.

The Lady Jaguars, who began the week five spots outside the NJCAA top 20, travel to Florida Community College for a game Saturday. They then play their historic home opener on their new field at GPC’s Newton Campus against Abraham Baldwin College Friday at 2 p.m.

The Jaguars’ home softball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Georgia, near the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

March 18, 2008

Rice, Hawkins homers win for GPC

A pair of round-trippers Tuesday made the GPC softball team’s round trip to South Carolina a pleasant one.

The Lady Jaguars spotted Spartanburg Methodist College a 2-0 lead, then shot ahead on a three-run homer by Christie Rice and a two-run blast by Chelsea Hawkins to win 7-5.

Pitcher Krystin Williams started and finished the game, with mid-inning relief help from Kimberly Hobbs. Williams raised her record to 10-6.

The Lady Jaguars (13-10) will find out before their next game whether they have improved on a No. 27 rating in the NJCAA preseason poll. The rankings will be updated for the first time this week. Spartanburg Methodist was No. 23.

GPC continues its southern tour with games March 28 against Coastal Georgia College in Brunswick and the following day against Florida Community College in Jacksonville.

March 16, 2008

GPC runner-up in Hanceville tourney

Few runs allowed was the formula for a runner-up finish by the GPC softball team in the 24-school Wallace-Hanceville Tournament over the weekend in Hanceville, Ala.

The Lady Jaguars doled out only 10 runs in their first five games, four of them wins.

With a shot at the championship, GPC finally gave way in its finale, falling 10-1 to Bevill (Ala.) State Community College.

Pitcher Krystin Williams (9-6) earned three of the GPC wins, with Kimberly Hobbs
(3-5) claiming the other victory.

The pair combined in an outstanding performance against Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College, a 2-1 setback that was decided on the final out when the winners robbed GPC of a potential game-tying single. Hobbs relieved Williams in the third inning and permitted just one hit to a team ranked 16th in the National Junior College Athletic Association preseason poll.

The four victories were 6-2 over Northwest Shoals (Ala.) Community College, 6-3 over No. 28 Jefferson (Mo.) College, 4-2 over Gadsden (Ala.) State Community College and 4-1 over Seminole (Okla.) State College.

Williams was especially effective against Seminole, allowing two hits and one walk while striking out six in her finest performance of the year.

Alisa Malte, Ashley Hill and Heather Hodge had seven hits apiece in the tournament, while Christie Rice accounted for six hits and a team-high .437 batting average. Rice and Chelsea Hawkins belted home runs.

The Lady Jaguars (12-11), ranked 27th in the preseason poll, have a quick turn-around this week, with a Tuesday date at Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College. Their first home game, hosting Abraham Baldwin College, will be on April 4 at 2 p.m. on Georgia Perimeter’s Newton Campus.

The Jaguars’ home softball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Georgia, near the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11, east of Covington.

March 9, 2008

GPC experiences both victory and defeat

For the GPC softball team last weekend, it was a joyous start, a sad ending—and a middle with mixed emotions.

The Lady Jaguars went 2-3 in the Lead-Off Classic in Panama City, Fla., leaving them 8-8 this season as they head to another weekend event in Hanceville, Ala., near Birmingham.

GPC opened on Friday with a 6-2 win over Chattahoochee (Ala.) Valley Community College and a 4-3 win over Louisburg (N.C.) College.&8220;We were riding high,&8221; coach Ed Schutte said.

Next up on Saturday was Indian River (Fla.) Community College, ranked fifth in the preseason NJCAA poll, and star pitcher Lauren Varsalona, who had yet to allow an earned run all season.

The Lady Jaguars kept hope alive into the last inning, trailing 1-0. But the eventual Classic champion exploded for seven runs and an 8-0 victory.

Despite the defeat, Schutte labeled the game as the highlight of the weekend. Yet, &8220;It took the wind out of our sails going into the game with Chattanooga (Tenn.) State.&8221;

Later that day, the deflated Lady Jaguars absorbed a 9-1 setback to the Technical Community College from Chattanooga. Then, in their finale on Sunday, they spotted Brevard (Fla.) Community College a seven-run advantage, only to rally for five runs in one inning but falling short 7-5.

Tireless pitcher Krystin Williams started four of the five games and earned credit for both of GPC’s wins. Standouts at the plate were Alisa Malte, who hit .500, Ali Converse (.364) and Nichole Stanford (.353).

Feb. 17, 2008

GPC wins major invitational

After an 0-2 start to the season, the Georgia Perimeter College softball team traveled to the Ringor Invitational at Aiken Tech (S.C.) last weekend just achin’ for a few wins. The Lady Jaguars returned home achin’ from all the celebratory backslapping and hugging that resulted from an improbable title claimed against a strong field.

Opening with a 3-2 loss to Florida Community College at Jacksonville, GPC ran off five straight wins, capped by a 5-1 payback over FCCJ in the championship game.

&8220;I’m in shock,&8221; coach Ed Schutte admitted of his team that starts seven freshmen. &8220;I never expected this team to take off this fast. These girls are just smacking the ball right now.&8221;

For the tournament, the Jaguars (5-3) hit over .400 as a team. The two most difficult outs for opponents were Carley Fant (12-for-19, .631 average) and Ashley Hill (10-for-16, including four doubles, .625 average). Alisa Malte hit .416 (11 for 24).

Pitcher Krystin Williams went the distance in three games, including the finals with a four-hitter. Kim Hobbs pitched well in the only defeat, and then came back with two istance-going wins.

In the climactic game, Fant and Hill doubled during a two-run first inning. The score was 3-1 in the seventh when Allison Converse doubled in a pair, putting the Lady Jaguars out of reach.

Other victories were 10-1 over Hiwassee (Tenn.) College, 9-2 over Rowan (Tenn.) State, 5-3 over Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College and 9-4 over Aiken Tech. The Lady Jaguars mounted an eight-run sixth inning against Aiken to overcome a 4-0 deficit.

The tournament, considered to be the first major invitational in the country among two-year colleges, featured 36 teams from across the country. GPC defeated three teams that had been ranked nationally in the preseason National Junior College Athletic Association coaches’ poll. FCCJ, a top-ten-ranked team, had a 19-1 record going into the final game. The Jaguars were ranked 27th in the preseason poll. GPC next plays in the Gulf Coast Classic at Panama City, Florida on Friday and Saturday, February 22-23.

Feb. 9, 2008

Jaguars battle Emory but drop twinbill

A clean sweep, it wasn’t. Yes, the GPC softball team was swept in its season-opening doubleheader Saturday at Emory University, but the first defeat was shrouded in controversy.

The teams were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh (last) inning when the infield umpire called an Emory baserunner for interference after a collision at second base, which would have been the third out.

As the Lady Jaguars headed to the dugout, according to GPC coach Ed Schutte, the baserunner continued on and touched home plate while the Emory coach protested the interference call.

The two umpires consulted the rulebook and, after a lengthy meeting, reversed the interference call and allowed the run to count, resulting in a 3-2 Emory win.

Schutte said he would file a complaint with the umpires association but was not asking for part or all of the game to be replayed.

Freshman pitcher Kim Hobbs allowed only six hits to the Lady Jaguars’ NCAA-level opponent. Ashley Hill’s double knocked in both GPC runs.

The Lady Jaguars had only themselves to blame for the 9-3 loss in the nightcap. They were guilty of four errors in the fifth inning that led to six runs, overturning a 3-2 GPC edge. Pitcher Krystin Williams took the loss, through little fault of her own, after having been spotted a 2-0 advantage in the first.

Still the weekend is encouraging to GPC. The Emory softball team was ranked in the nation’s top 10 NCAA Division 3 teams last season.

For the Lady Jaguars, it’s off to South Carolina this weekend for the three-day Aiken Tech Classic. Their first home game, after an extended tour on the road is on April 4 against Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

The Jaguars’ home softball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Georgia, near the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Feb. 8, 2008

Lady Jaguars rebuilding on two fronts

The new stadium taking shape on the Newton Campus east of Covington is not the only construction project involving the Georgia Perimeter College softball team.

The squad itself is being rebuilt after little remains from the roster that caught fire late last season and did not flame out until a fifth-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in Florida.

&8220;It will take a lot of quick maturing to do that again,&8221; acknowledged Coach Ed Schutte. &8220;But last season’s record and momentum makes anything possible.&8221;

Freshmen likely will occupy seven starting positions. Only third baseman Alli Converse of Beatrice, Neb., and right fielder Ashley Hill of McDonough (Union Grove High School) contributed last year to the winningest team (40-17) since the program’s birth in 1990. The Lady Jaguars had not visited the nationals in 11 seasons.

The largest voids to be filled were left by catcher Shelley Jenkins, pitcher Lauren Palmer and shortstop Kelly White, all of whom contributed mightily to the nation’s top-hitting squad. Jenkins has been shelved by a hip injury, Palmer transferred to Auburn and White, the Region 17 player of the year in 2006 and runner-up in ’07, graduated.

The trio combined for 36 of the Lady Jaguars’ 46 home runs.

Additional player losses include region pitcher of the year Missy Herren (scholarship to Brenau University), third-team All-America outfielder Brittany Daniel and ace pitcher Jenna Padgett.

So, while crews put the finishing touches on the ballpark that his players are about to break in, Schutte hammers away at his own fresh enterprise.

&8220;There are a lot of good freshmen,&8221; he said, &8220;but we have to see if they play like freshmen or not. It’s going to be trial and error at the beginning.&8221;

Schutte will fill out the remainder of his lineup card with first baseman Carley Fant of Kennesaw (Marietta High); second baseman Heather Hodge, Covington (Eastside High); shortstop Christie Rice, Social Circle (Eastside High); leftfielder Brittany Boeshore, Lawrenceville (Berkmar High); centerfielder Chelsea Hawkins, Traveler’s Rest, S.C.; designated player Kelley Reents, Covington (Eastside High) and catchers Alisa Malte, Marietta (Lassiter High) and Nichole Stanford, Covington (Newton High, transfer from Young Harris).

Pitching duties will be shared by Kimberly Hobbs of Columbus (Brookstone High) and Krystin Williams of Locust Grove (Luella High).

Given the lack of available seasoning, the team’s goal is to qualify for the regional tournament again this season. On the other hand, Schutte hardly anticipated last year’s team, with only 11 players, catching a wave in the spring that did not crest until the NJCAAs, so another welcome surprise is possible.

Complicating the task is a limited home schedule of only eight games, the first not until two months into the season—April 4, a doubleheader against Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

With a new stadium under construction, Schutte decided to hit the road for an extended period at the beginning of the season. The Lady Jaguars open Feb. 9 at NCAA power Emory University in Atlanta, followed by four consecutive out-of-state tournaments against testy fields and then away dates in three different states.

&8220;This might be the hardest start I’ve ever had,&8221; says Schutte, entering his seventh season, all winning ones.

Brighter skies await. He considers the incoming class of high schoolers for the 2009 season the most potential-packed yet during his GPC reign. And if the bulk of this year’s bunch is back for an encore, a return to the nationals may be on the horizon.

For now: a new stadium, a substantially new team.

The Jaguars’ home softball field is located at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Georgia, near the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Jan. 18, 2008

Lady Jaguars ink nine for ’09 season

Georgia Perimeter College softball coach Ed Schutte announced this week that eight high school seniors, who may comprise his strongest incoming class at the school, have been signed for next season.

&8220;This is probably the best freshman class I’ve had here,&8221; said Schutte, in his seventh season at GPC.

All but one member of the class are from Georgia, while two are from Lassiter High in Marietta.

The signees are:

Audra Brinkley           Infield        Luella High School

Jessica Cannon         Pitcher      Lassiter High School

Courtney Folsom       Infield       Parkview High School

Lauren Mathis           Infield       Grayson High School

Meredith Mitchell     Infield       Seneca (S.C.) High School

Caitlin Peisel              Outfield     Lassiter High School

Tiffany Phillips           Infield       Eagles Landing High School

Megan Smith             Outfield     Ola High School

Kellie Thompson       Catcher      Brookwood High School