Jaguar Softball Archives Region 17 Champion 2010, 2007

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June 30, 2011

Five softball players moving up to the next level

Five members of the 2011 Georgia Perimeter College softball team have signed scholarship agreements to play at four-year schools.

Nicole Montesanti, shown on Sophomore Day, will play at Georgia College and State University.

All five played two seasons at GPC, during which the Jaguars were 61-28 and went to the national tournament in 2010.

Pitcher Christina Ezell struck out a school record 662 batters at GPC and won numerous honors, including second team All-America as sophomore. The righthander, whose JUCO career record was 44-14, was an early signee at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference in NCAA Division I. The program has gone to the NCAA tournament four consecutive years.

Jamie Saunders, a first baseman, hit .387 in her sophomore season after hitting .404 as a freshman. She was named all-tournament in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association. Saunders has signed to play at Kennesaw State University.

Erin Wilson, also shown on Sophomore Day, is off to the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

Brittany McSwain, a slap-hitting outfielder (.336 in her sophomore season), quickly caught the attention of Jaguar opponents with her speed and defensive ability. She has signed with Armstrong Atlantic State University of Savannah, a consistent powerhouse in the Peach Belt Conference and NCAA Division II.

Second baseman Nicole Montesanti won first team all-region honors as a freshman when she hit .364 and drove in 29 runs, second on the team, and didn’t commit an error in the field. A nagging wrist injury held her numbers down in 2011. She was an early signee with Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, also a member of the Peach Belt Conference.

Erin Wilson, who split the catching duties in both her seasons and also filled in at third base as a freshman. She has signed to play at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, which is adding softball for the 2012 season. The Sand Sharks play in the NAIA’s Sun Conference.

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June 1, 2011

Strikeout ace Ezell named to All-America team

Christina Ezell, who struck out an incredible 662 batters in two seasons at Georgia Perimeter College, has become the second Jaguar fastpitch softball player to win Division 1 All-America honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Christina Ezell ranked second in the nation this season with an average of 1.59 strikeouts per inning.

Ezell was named to the second team by a national panel of coaches. The NJCAA published the list Wednesday.

“It’s a phenomenal honor, considering we did not get to nationals,” said GPC coach Ed Schutte. “She won the respect of a lot of coaches.”

Ezell, who swept the highest conference honors awarded in 2010 and 2011, joins Brittany Daniel as a GPC fastpitch All-American. Daniel, an outfielder, was named to the third team in 2007 after hitting .517.

A native of Senoia, Ga., Ezell won statewide acclaim at East Coweta High School and immediately established herself in the college ranks. As a freshman, the righthander was 23-6 with a 0.95 ERA and 334 strikeouts in 177 innings—the best rate in the country at 1.89 per-inning —as the Jaguars won the region tournament and advanced to nationals.

As a sophomore this season, she was 21-8 with a 0.79 ERA and 328 strikeouts in 212 innings. Her strikeouts per inning, 1.59, ranked second in the nation.

“When we saw her at her best, there was nobody better,” said Schutte. “She had a rise ball that we may never see at GPC again.”

Ezell’s sophomore season included victories over several ranked opponents and brilliant stretches that will be talked about for years.

Early in the season, at Wallace State-Hanceville’s tournament, she plowed through three tough opponents (Northern Oklahoma, Chattanooga State and Seminole State of Oklahoma), pitching one-hit shutouts each time. Counting relief appearances, she worked 30 innings in the event and struck out 50.

Thirteen of those strikeouts came against heavy-hitting Chattanooga State, a top 10 team all season.

“Their coach told me she had never seen anybody better,” said Schutte.

In the Jaguars’ season-opening event, Ezell set down Miami Dade and Tallahassee in a span of four hours. Both teams made it to nationals.

As the season wore on, she pitched perfect games against Walters State and East Georgia.

Ezell has signed to continue her career at Jacksonville State of Alabama.

Two other Georgia players were named All-Americans, both from Darton College, which beat GPC in the NJCAA Region 17 tournament final and advanced to the national tournament. Center fielder Jane Egiazarova was named to the second team, while pitcher Katy Lewis made the third team.

View the complete All-America list.

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May 2, 2011

Ezell named league MVP; Patterson first team all-region

For the second straight year, Christina Ezell of Georgia Perimeter College has won the highest softball honor bestowed by the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association.

Ezell.

The sophomore pitcher from Senoia and East Coweta High School was selected 2011 Most Valuable Player by the coaches of the GCAA, also known as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Another GPC player, shortstop Kacie Patterson, joined Ezell on the all-region first team. Jaguars right fielder Kaitlyn Smith made the second team.

Patterson, Ezell and first baseman Jamie Saunders made the all-tournament team.

“I don’t think we’ll ever see a strikeout artist like that in our time,” said GPC coach Ed Schutte of Ezell. “Christina just has that ability to put people away.”

Ezell, a righthander, whiffed 662 in two seasons. In 2010, the coaches picked a Player of the Year and a Pitcher of the Year, and Ezell swept the awards.

Patterson.

As a freshman, she was 23-6 with a 0.95 ERA and 334 strikeouts in 177 innings—the best rate in the country—as the Jaguars won the region tournament and advanced to the national tournament.

This year was basically a repeat. Ezell was 21-8 with a 0.79 ERA and 328 strikeouts in 212 innings. Her strikeouts per inning ranked third in the country.

Patterson, a native of Rex, recruited from Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy for her airtight defense, lived up to expectations, displaying range, soft hands and a strong and accurate arm.

Her hitting was a pleasant surprise—she was the regular season batting champion in Region 17 with a .469 average and a team-leading 26 RBIs.

Smith.

“She’s a phenomenal shortstop. We’ve never had one like her,” said Schutte. “She’s the complete package. There are no weaknesses in there. She will have an unbelievable amount of offers after her sophomore season. She’s a potential MVP next year.”

Off the field, Patterson “is just a great person, the kind player we want at Georgia Perimeter,” said Schutte.

Smith, a freshman from Buford and North Gwinnett High School, hit .346 during the regular season with 15 RBIs. In the field, she covered a lot of ground and committed just one error.

“She can build off that for next season,” said Schutte. “We’re expecting great things from her in the leadoff role.”

Saunders.

Joining Ezell and Patterson on the first team were outfielders Eugenia Egiazarova (Darton College), Kayla Cooper (Georgia Military College) and Lauren Yeargen (Middle Georgia College); infielders Karson King (Gordon College), Samantha Howard (Waycross College) and Jordan Miller (Middle Georgia); catchers Josie Cox (Darton) and Aimee Johnson (Waycross); and pitcher Katy Lewis (Darton).

Lewis had an outstanding year but lost her head-to-head showdown with Ezell, 2-0, on the last day of the regular season.

Joining Smith on the second team were outfielder Ashley Schwab (Abraham Baldwin College) and Chantelle Curinton (Darton); infielders Jordan Cole (Darton), Brooke Tomlin (Darton); Mallory Long (Georgia Military) and Jana Anderson (Middle Georgia); catchers Shawnee Patterson (Gordon) and Rachel White (Waycross); and pitchers Cara Law (Darton) and Michelle Edgtton (Middle Georgia).

Saunders, a sophomore from Whitewater High School in Fayetteville, made the all-tournament team after hitting her first homer of the season, giving GPC a 2-1 win over Middle Georgia in Sunday’s elimination game. Darton beat the Jaguars 2-1 in the final.

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May 1, 2011

Another solo homer sinks GPC; Darton wins region crown

For the second consecutive day, a Darton College long ball undid the Jaguars.

Brittany McSwain hustles to second on an error.

A fourth-inning home run by Brittny Dennison gave Darton a 2-1 win over Georgia Perimeter College Sunday afternoon in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association championship softball game.

Darton (47-9) advances to the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in St. George, Utah, later this month, while Georgia Perimeter finishes its season with a 30-13 record.

Saturday, Eugenia Egiazarova's ninth-inning home run sent GPC to the losers’ bracket. But the Jaguars fought back to the title game with a Sunday morning 2-1 win over Middle Georgia College in the final three game.

It was the second consecutive year that GPC and the Cavaliers battled for the championship of the GCAA, also known as Region 17 of the NJCAA. Last year Georgia Perimeter won 4-3 and went to St.George for the nationals.

Jamie Saunders, who homered in Sunday’s first game, consoles teammate Nicole Montesanti.

“We had another 30-win season. That’s one of our goals every year and we accomplished it,” head coach Ed Schutte said. “But I told the team, ‘I appreciate what you did, but we can’t be satisfied. We accomplished one goal, but we fell two runs short of accomplishing the other.’”

GPC struck first when Brittany McSwain led off the third inning by reaching first base on a throwing error and hustling to second on a dare. Kaitlyn Smith bunted her to third, and Kacie Patterson plated her with a slap single to shallow left field.

The Cavaliers answered in the bottom of the inning, capitalizing on a base on balls, fielder’s choice and singles by Chantelle Curinton and Brooke Tomlin, who drove in Jordan Cole to tie it 1-1.

Dennison’s homer to left field began a fourth-inning rally that GPC ace Christina Ezell ended with a bases-loaded strikeout. Darton coach David Dews brought in his own ace, Katy Lewis, to relieve starter Cara Law in the fifth.

The Jaguars threatened in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings but couldn’t bring across the tying run. They collected eight hits for the game—three against Lewis—but also stranded eight. Felicia Shelton was the only batter on either squad with two base hits.

“When you outhit a team, you expect to beat a team,” Schutte said. “When you play region ball, you have to get the job done, and it’s disappointing that we couldn’t get it done.”

It was the fourth game in the circle in three days for Ezell because freshman pitcher Lauren Bell was sidelined by an ankle injury. Showing signs of fatigue, she held the powerful Cavaliers to six hits, striking out five and walking three.

“She pitched through it with a lot of heart, but her game wasn’t on,” Schutte said.

Also, it was Ezell’s fourth one-run matchup with Darton in two weeks—GPC won 2-0 in the first game of a doubleheader on April 21, and Darton won the last three by the same 2-1 score.

Stuck on 2-1, GPC reached the championship game with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Middle Georgia Sunday morning in the loser’s bracket final.

Ezell struck out the side in the first inning. But sandwiched between the second and third strikeouts was Middle Georgia’s third batter, Jordan Miller, who came into the tournament tied for fourth place in the conference with nine home runs. She lofted a monster blast that cleared the center field fence and the high stone wall beyond that.

Sophomores Nicole Montesanti and Jamie Saunders, both from Whitewater High School, turned it around in the fourth inning. Montesanti poked a hard liner to right field to set the stage for Saunders’ long two-run homer to left-center.

It would have been a three-run homer, but Warrior left-fielder Anna Lester had made a diving catch of Bell’s sizzling line drive down the line.

Center fielder McSwain made the defensive play of the tournament in the next inning, robbing Miller of a second home run with a leaping catch at the fence that was reminiscent of catches Andrew Jones used to make for the Atlanta Braves.

Ezell struck out 11, walked none and allowed two hits and runner who reached on a strikeout and passed ball.

Michelle Edgtton took the loss for the Warriors. She allowed only three hits—Montesanti tagged her for another base hit to right field.

Patterson, Ezell and Saunders were selected to the all-tournament team, Other players named to the team: Darton’s Lewis, Dennison, Josie Cox and Eugenia Egiazarova; Middle Georgia’s Edgtton and Avery Purser; and Kayla Cooper and Mallory Long of Georgia Military College. Lewis, a freshman from Loganville, was named tournament MVP.

Video broadcasts of the tournament can be viewed in the archives at psb.live.com or nhsbn.com.

To view the tournament brackets and scores, visit www.gcaa-sports.org and click on “Tournament Brackets and Results.”

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April 30, 2011

Walk-off home run dooms Jaguars in classic pitchers’ duel

The old axiom is good pitching beats good hitting. But what happens when both pitchers are as good as it gets?

Two extra innings lit up the scoreboard before Saturday’s classic pitchers’ duel between Georgia Perimeter College’s Christina Ezell and Darton College’s Katy Lewis was decided by a good hitter.

Eugenia Egiazorova led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off home run to give Darton a 2-1 victory over Georgia Perimeter in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove.

The Jaguars (29-12) drop into the losers’ bracket, while top seed Darton (46-9) advances to Sunday’s 1 p.m. final.

GPC and Middle Georgia College (35-18)—the last teams standing in the losers’ bracket—square off at 10 a.m. Sunday to decide which team meets the Cavaliers in the championship round at 1 p.m.

Ezell (20-7) threw a perfect game for four innings, and Lewis (23-4) allowed only one baserunner for six, a single by Erin Wilson in the third.

In nine innings, Ezell struck out 10, walked one and allowed two runs, one unearned. Lewis allowed one unearned run, struck out four and walked none.

“Katy Lewis had our number. You’ve got to give her credit,” said head coach Ed Schutte. “But when the middle of your batting order doesn’t hit, you just can’t win. Darton came up to the plate to hit Christina.”

After Wilson’s single in the third, Marlee Morales sacrifice-bunted her to second base. But she was doubled off on a sharp liner by Brittany McSwain to shortstop Dionne Bishop, ending the threat.

In the bottom of the fifth, Darton’s Josie Cox tripled to left and scored on a screaming grounder off the bat of Brittny Dennison that was ruled an error.

Trailing 1-0 in their last at bat, the Jaguars rallied when Kacie Patterson chipped a double over third that landed on the chalk and spun into foul territory. With two outs, Montesanti plated her with a short fly to left that was dropped.

After both pitchers retired the sides in order in the eighth and top of the ninth, Egiazarova led off the bottom half of the ninth with a lofty blast to left-center fence that centerfielder McSwain chased. Giving a major-league effort, she missed a leaping grab by inches as the ball narrowly cleared the top of the chain-link fence.

On April 21, Egiazarova also hit a key home run in the twinbill split between the two rivals that gave Darton the regular-season championship in the GCAA, also known as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

The game was littered with athleticism—a sliding catch at the foul screen by Morales; an over-the shoulder running catch at the warning track by McSwain; a diving catch down the right-field foul line by Darton’s Lauren Velez.

Sunday’s games will be video webcast by Panhandle Sports Broadcasting. To watch the Jaguars, visit depts.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the link under “Game Webcasts,” or go to www.nhsbn.com and find the “GCAA Game 9” listing under “National Schedule.”

To view the tournament brackets, visit www.gcaa-sports.org and click on tournament brackets and results.

In other games Saturday—Georgia Military College 2, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College 1 (ABAC out of the tourney); Middle Georgia College 6, Waycross College 1 (Waycross out); Middle Georgia 10, Georgia Military 7 (GMC out).

The Region 17 tournament is being held at Strong Rock Christian School, 4200 Strong Rock Pkwy., Locust Grove, Ga., 30248.

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April 29, 2011

Jaguars hit on all cylinders in first tournament game

Pitching, hitting and fielding all worked together smoothly as the Georgia Perimeter College softball team opened its postseason with a 3-0 victory over Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Friday night at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove.

Kacie Patterson slides into third for a triple.

Credit the usual suspects. Sophomore right-hander Christina Ezell threw a one-hit masterpiece; Kacie Patterson led the hitters in stringing together the necessary run support and the Jaguars played their patented flawless defense.

Georgia Perimeter (29-11) advances to the winners’ bracket final of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association’s double-elimination tournament. Their opponent in Saturday’s 2 p.m. game will be another usual suspect—top seed Darton College .

Abraham Baldwin (22-26) drops into to the losers’ bracket, playing Saturday at 10 a.m. against Georgia Military College , which lost to Waycross College 6-2 in Friday’s tourney opener.

Christina Ezell struck out 11.

Ezell (20-6) struck out 11, retiring the Fillies in order in every inning but the top of the third. Maggie Davidson led off with a walk, and Ashley Schwab stroked a two-out single. But Ezell stranded them by fanning Kelly Kendrick, one of ABAC’s top hitters.

With one out in the bottom half of the inning, Brittany McSwain and Kaitlyn Smith singled. Patterson, who tripled in the first inning, brought McSwain home with a base hit. Nicole Montersanti stroked a two-out single to score Smith.

In the fifth, Patterson started another rally with a two-out single and advanced to third on Lauren Bell’s base hit to right field. She raced home on a throwing error between pitches. Patterson went three-for-three on the evening.

“Kacie has been our spark plug at the plate,” said head coach Ed Schutte. “She just comes to play.” He also praised the other hitters, especially Bell , who has been recovering from an ankle injury.

“And it was another key performance by Christina,” he said.

Losing pitcher Alex Payne (9-12) tossed a good game, allowing seven hits, fanning three and issuing one base on balls.

The Jaguars had drawn a bye in Friday’s first round because they finished second with a 17-3 record in the regular-season standings of the GCAA—Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association. ABAC beat Middle Georgia College 5-3 in the 3 p.m. game and then had to face GPC at 7 p.m.

Darton (45-9, 18-2) won first place in the standings—and the top seed—on April 21 with a 2-1 nightcap victory over the Jaguars at GPC’s home field after losing the opener to Ezell 2-0. In last year’s tournament championship game, GPC edged Darton 4-3 in eight innings.

All tournament games will be video webcast by Panhandle Sports Broadcasting. To watch Saturday’s GPC-Darton game—or any other—visit depts.gpc.edu/athletic for a link under “Game Webcasts,” or go to www.nhsbn.com and find the “GCAA Game 7” listing under “National Schedule.”

To view the tournament brackets, visit www.gcaa-sports.org and click on tournament brackets and results.

The Region 17 tournament is being held at Strong Rock Christian School, 4200 Strong Rock Pkwy., Locust Grove, Ga., 30248.

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April 28, 2011

Jaguars armed for a run at the national tournament

The Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars are exactly where they were going into last year’s postseason. They figure to travel as far as Christina Ezell’s right arm takes them.

In 2010, that was to the JUCO national tournament in St. George, Utah.

The Jaguars’ shot at a repeat starts Friday in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove. Their opponent at 7 p.m. will be the winner of the Middle Georgia-Abraham Baldwin game earlier in the day.

Ezell, the GCAA Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year in 2010, has burnished her legend with another stellar season—a 19-6 record with a 0.78 ERA and 291 strikeouts in 183 innings. She is third in the nation in strikeouts per inning after finishing No. 1 last year.

But runs to work with would be nice, and the Jaguars have been offensively challenged at times. An example was the last day of the regular season against Darton, when Ezell beat the Cavaliers 2-0 in the first game with a three-hitter. She fired five more shutout innings in the second game but lost 2-1, relegating the 20th-ranked Jaguars (28-11) to second seed in the tournament.

The Jaguars plan to get their speedy runners on and move them around with timely hitting.

“The [slap hitters] have got to come through if we are going to win,” said GPC coach Ed Schutte, referring to his trio at the top of the lineup—Kacie Patterson (.469, 26 RBIs), Kaitlyn Smith (.346) and Brittany McSwain (.336). Patterson, who has been near flawless at shortstop, has the best average in the league.

Further down in the order, the Jaguars are counting on power hitters Sierra Petree (.373, 25 RBIs) and Jamie Saunders (.387, 20 RBIs) to drive home runs.

But a powerful presence in the middle of the lineup is likely to be missing. Lauren Bell (.431, 23 RBIs) is questionable for the tournament because of a sprained ankle sustained running the bases. On top of that, she is 9-5 as a pitcher with a 2.10 ERA.

Which brings us back to Ezell, who likely will pitch every inning. In last year’s tournament, that’s what she did, winning three times in three days. The first one was a classic–1-0 over Coastal Georgia in nine innings, the walk-off homer provided by Ezell herself.

The next day, the Jaguars came back to edge Young Harris 5-4, then claimed the region championship with a 4-3 victory over Darton in eight innings, Ezell knocking home the winning run with a single.

“She gets up for the big games,” said Schutte.

If the Jaguars win their opener, they’ll play at 2 p.m. Saturday, probably against Darton. The championship game is set for 1 p.m. Sunday, with a second game to follow if necessary.

GPC is trying to become the first repeat champion of the GCAA, also known as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association, since 2003-04, when Young Harris did it.

JAGUAR JOLTS: The draw for the six-team tournament is online at www.gcaa-sports.org. … All games will be video webcast by Panhandle Sports Broadcasting, www.psblive.com. Links to GPC’s games can be found at www.gpc.edu/athletic under the “Game Webcasts” section. … Second baseman Nicole Montesanti, who has been bothered by a wrist injury, closed the regular season with a 3-for-6 day against Darton. She was all-region a season ago. … With 291 strikeouts, Ezell leads the nation at the moment and has a chance to surpass last season’s total of 334. But it’s an outside chance, and the Jaguars would like to keep it that way by avoiding the losers bracket. … Bell was 6-0 against region opponents, not allowing an earned run in 42 innings. … The national tournament starts May 19. … Sophomores who have signed at four-year schools so far: Ezell (Jacksonville State in Alabama), Montesanti (Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville) and catcher Erin Wilson (USC-Beaufort).

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April 21, 2011

Ezell gets a shutout, but Darton gets a title

Sophomore ace Christina Ezell celebrated Sophomore Day with a 2-0 three-hitter against heavy-hitting Darton College in the first game of a doubleheader Thursday afternoon. But with the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association regular-season title on the line, she couldn’t hold back the Cavaliers’ bats late in the second game, and GPC saw the championship slip through its fingers.

Eugenia Egiazarova of Moscow, Russia, belted a solo home run off Ezell in the sixth inning of game two, tying the score and setting the stage for a 2-1 Darton victory. Jordan Cole followed with a base hit and raced from first to third with the eventual winning run on a double by Brooke Tomlin.

“After a certain amount of time a team will get to a pitcher,” said GPC head coach Ed Schutte. “Christina hung one pitch, but what can you say about a pitcher who throws that many innings and does such an outstanding job?” Because freshman hurler Lauren Bell sat out with an ankle sprain, Ezell pitched all 14 innings of the doubleheader.

Darton (44-9 overall and 18-2 in the GCAA) wins the conference regular-season championship and top seed in next weekend’s tournament at Strong Rock Christian Academy in Locust Grove.

The Jaguars (28-11, 17-3) finish in second place in the standings of the GCAA, which also is Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

With two nationally ranked pitchers—Ezell and freshman Katy Lewis—mowing batters down for three innings in the first game, freshman shortstop Kacie Patterson broke the ice in the fourth. The league’s top hitter reached on an outfield error and raced to second, catching everyone off guard and getting a hand under the tag. She scored on a single by Nicole Montesanti.

Jamie Saunders provided an insurance run, leading off the fifth with a double, moving to third on a bunt by Devin Dossman and scoring on an opposite-field chip shot by lefty Brittany McSwain.

Ezell (19-6) struck out 11 Cavaliers, an eerie reflection of last year’s first game between the two teams in which she struck out 13 in a three-hit 2-0 shutout. Lewis (21-4) also went the distance and took the loss.

In the second game, Ezell seemed to have all the runs she needed in the fourth inning, when Patterson again started it off with a single and another heads-up steal of second base as Darton starter Cara Law returned to the circle. Saunders brought her in, reaching on a Cavalier error.

But Law (20-5) got stronger as the game went along, retiring the last eight Jaguars with an expert array of change-ups and fastballs. Also a nationally ranked pitcher, Law struck out seven, walked one and allowed six hits. The telling statistic for the Jaguars was six runners left on base, three in the fourth inning.

The games were replete with athletic defensive highlights—diving outfield catches by Egiazarova and Marlee Morales and a warning-track, falling-down catch by McSwain while colliding with Morales.

The teams each earn a bye in Friday’s first round of the six-team region tournament at Strong Rock. All games of the tournament will be video streamed live by Panhandle Sports Broadcasting. To watch the tournament, visit www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the link under “Game Webcasts.”

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April 15, 2011

Saturday softball games with Spartanburg Methodist cancelled

Saturday’s softball doubleheader at Spartanburg Methodist College has been cancelled. The games will not be rescheduled.

Next for the Jaguars is a doubleheader Thursday at home against Region 17 rival Darton College, beginning at 4 p.m. The battle for first place in the region will be audio broadcast online, starting with the Jaguar Journal at 3 p.m. To listen, visit www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the link under “Game Webcasts.”

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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April 14, 2011

Georgia Military ambushes Jaguars with split

Georgia Military College, a .500 ball club fighting for a spot in the six-team region tournament at the end of the month, upset top-seed contender Georgia Perimeter College 4-3 in eight innings in the first game of a Region 17 softball doubleheader Thursday at GPC’s home field.

Georgia Perimeter bounced back to win the second game 7-4. With the loss, GPC dropped into second place in the region with a 16-2 record, 27-10 overall. Georgia Military improved to 22-21, 8-8.

The Jaguars take on their first-place rival, Darton College, Thursday at 4 p.m. The showdown is the latest in a string of classic clashes between the two, including last year’s championship game, in which GPC defeated Darton 4-3 in eight innings on a clutch hit by Christina Ezell.

With heroics by Korie Wilson and Kayla Cooper, an under-estimated Georgia Military presented the Jags with a lesson about taking it one game at a time.

“It was a war out there. Military is for real, no doubt about it,” GPC head coach Ed Schutte said. “They have a great team. They came up to the plate to hit.”

A two-out, two-run single by Wilson was GMCs big hit in the third inning when the Jaguars fell into a 3-0 hole. Georgia Perimeter’s freshman shortstop Kacie Patterson answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-out RBI single.

The Jags knotted it in the fifth when Patterson led off with a triple. Lauren Bell doubled her home and then scored the tying run on an error.

Patterson cut down a go-ahead run in the seventh, taking a relay throw from center fielder Kaitlin Smith and firing a strike to catcher Devin Dossman.

In the extra inning, with Savannah Waldrop as the automatic runner placed on second base, Korie Wilson again delivered for the Bulldogs with an RBI single.

Pinch hitter Erin Wilson almost saved the day for the Jaguars, singling to center with two outs and Dossman on second as the automatic runner. But center fielder Cooper made a perfect throw to nail Dossman at the plate.

Christina Ezell (17-5) absorbed the loss for GPC, but a bright spot came when she struck out thee 600th batter of her college career. She fanned 14 Bulldogs and allowed seven hits. Winning pitcher was reliever Erin Gibson.

Ezell returned to the circle in the fifth inning of the second game in relief of starter Lauren Bell, who injured an ankle running to first base.

GPC scored in the first inning when Jamie Saunders reached on a bases-loaded error and fielder’s choice to score Patterson.

Heather Kilar led off the second inning with a double to the right field track. Erin Wilson bunted her over and Marlee Morales singled her in.

GMC rebounded in the third and fourth innings with RBIs by Cooper and Gibson and Jaguar errors that let in two runs.

Trailing 4-3, the Jaguars regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth on singles by Wilson and Smith and RBI hits by Patterson and Sierra Petree. Kilar padded the lead in the fifth with a sacrifice fly that drove in Kyla Tanner, whose line single led off the inning. Tanner doubled in GPC’s final run in the sixth.

Ezell struck out six in getting the save and boosting her career total to 610. Bell (10-5) earned the win allowing four runs on four hits in her four innings of work.

Thursday’s doubleheader with Darton College will be audio webcast, beginning with the Jaguar Journal at 3:50 p.m. Visit www.gpc.edu/athletic for a link under “Game Webcasts.”

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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April 12, 2011

After a shaky start, Jaguars recover to sweep Gordon

It took the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars the better part of a blustery Tuesday afternoon to shake off the rust from a nine-day layoff, but they did, sweeping Gordon College 4-2 and 6-0 on the Newton Campus.

“The layoff hurt us offensively, no doubt about it,” said coach Ed Schutte of the Jaguars, who raised their record to 26-9, 15-1 in the Georgia College Athletic Association. They remain tied for No. 20 nationally.

More danger lurks Thursday when Georgia Military College visits Jaguar Field for a 4 p.m. doubleheader. The Bulldogs have beaten Darton, which is battling GPC for the regular season title of the GCAA, also known as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association. GPC and Darton conclude the regular season at Jaguar Field on April 21, with top seed in the region tournament on the line.

“We’d better come ready to hit on Thursday,” said Schutte.

The Jaguars’ bats might have been sleepy against Gordon, but the arms were solid. After a shaky first inning, Christina Ezell (17-4) pitched a two-hitter in the opener, striking out 13. Lauren Bell (9-5) scattered eight singles in a shutout in the second game.

“I thought Christina came back toward the end of the game,” said Schutte. “Lauren threw the ball well today. Her changeup was solid.”

Ezell gave up a two-run homer to Karson King in the first inning and walked two hitters later in the inning. Starting with the first out of the second inning, Ezell mowed down the last 18 hitters she faced. She now has 258 strikeouts in 152 innings.

The Jaguars came back in stages, scoring in the first inning on a single by Devin Dossman. In the second, singles by Felicia Shelton, Marlee Morales and Kacie Patterson, plus a two-out passed ball, provided two more runs.

Kaitlyn Smith singled home the Jaguars’ final run in the fourth.

In the nightcap, Sierra Petree drove home a run in the first with a sacrifice fly and Jamie Saunders made it 2-0 with a run-scoring double in the fourth. But the Jaguars couldn’t breathe easy until they scored four times in the sixth.

After singles by Bell, Saunders and Shelton, Heather Kilar delivered a bases-clearing triple and later scored when the Highlanders took the sure out at first on a grounder to the pitcher by Erin Wilson.

Megan Stover (6-8) pitched both ends of the doubleheader for Gordon (16-23, 6-12) until she was relieved after Kilar’s triple.

King and Samantha Young each had three hits for the Highlanders in the twinbill.

Thursday’s games against Georgia Military will be webcast on NHSBN.com starting at 3:50 p.m. Go to www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on “Game Webcasts” for a link.

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April 2, 2011

Jaguars shut down Middle Georgia, 6-0 and 7-0

A day after producing a perfect game and a no-hitter, the Georgia Perimeter Jaguars knew they dare not hope for a repeat, especially against Middle Georgia College, the heaviest hitting outfit in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association.

The GPC pitchers’ numbers weren’t as gaudy, but the bottom line was the same: two more shutouts and a key doubleheader sweep Saturday afternoon at Jaguar Field on the Newton Campus.

The scores were wide, 6-0 and 7-0. The smiles were even wider.

“All these games now are critical,” said GPC coach Ed Schutte, whose team is 24-9 overall, 13-1 in the GCAA. Middle Georgia fell to 24-12, 4-2 in the GCAA, also known as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Christina Ezell (16-4) pitched a three-hitter in the opener, striking out 13. Ezell got a save in the second game, going 2 1/3 innings in relief of Lauren Bell (8-5).

“Christina had a fantastic weekend,” said Schutte. “Lauren threw good innings, but walks will kill you.”

Ezell, author of the 17-strikeout perfect game Friday, carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Middle Georgia never got a runner past second base.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, pounded out 11 hits against Middle Georgia’s ace, Australian Michelle Edgtton, including three by Kacie Patterson. Devin Dossman, Jamie Saunders and Nicole Montesanti had two apiece.

GPC took a 3-0 lead with two runs in the fourth. Dossman doubled with two out and scored on a single by Montesanti. After Montesanti went to second on the throw to the plate, Bell pinch hit and ripped a double to the fence in right center.

The Jaguars made it 4-0 in the fifth on doubles by Patterson and Saunders and scored twice more in the sixth.

In the second game, the Jaguars took the air out of a potential comeback by Middle Georgia on a flukish play with two out in the fifth inning. After Middle Georgia, trailing 2-0 at the time, loaded the bases on two walks and a single, Schutte called on Ezell to replace Bell, who pitched the no-hitter Friday.

Ezell’s second pitch sailed to the brick backstop but bounced like a pop-foul to catcher Erin Wilson, who nailed the runner trying to scramble back to third.

Saunders had three hits, including a bases-clearing double in a five-run sixth inning helped by a Middle Georgia error. Montesanti had two hits.

In the doubleheader, the Jaguars produced eight doubles.

“This team has defined its offensive philosophy,” said assistant coach Ken Deyton, referring to doubles power rather than fence-busting. “We still realize we can do better, but we are proud of our progress.”

Because a scheduled April 9 doubleheader against Emory University has been canceled, the Jaguars are off until April 12, when they host Gordon College at 4 p.m. The doubleheader will be webcast. Go to www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the “Game Webcasts” section.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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April 1, 2011

Perfect day for Ezell, Bell, Schutte and Jaguars

Head coach Ed Schutte reached the 300-win milestone Friday. Lauren Bell pitched a no-hitter. Christina Ezell pitched a perfect game, striking out all but one of the batters she faced. This is no April Fools’ joke.

It all happened as the Georgia Perimeter College softball team defeated East Georgia College 8-0 and 13-0 in a Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association doubleheader at Jaguar Field on GPC’s Newton Campus.

In the opener Ezell, the sophomore ace from Senoia and East Coweta High, fanned the first 12 Bobcats she faced on the way to her second perfect game of the season. The only East Georgia batter to put the ball in play was cleanup hitter Ariel Lanier, who managed a fly out to left fielder Marlee Morales to open the fifth inning.

Bell, a freshman from Woodstock and Sequoyah High, walked the second game’s leadoff batter, KaLeigh McNair, and had another reach on a third-inning error. Otherwise, her no-hitter was perfect as she struck out five. Credit right fielder Kaitlyn Smith with a “save” for throwing a runner out at first base

“We came into the game heavily favored, and we did what we were supposed to do,” Schutte said. “Our two pitchers were just too dominant.”

Both games were called by the mercy rule—Ezell’s in the bottom half of the sixth inning when Jamie Saunders belted a three-run double to make it 8-0. So, Ezell settled for a six-inning perfect game and 17 strikeouts of the 18 batters who came to the plate.

Bell’s gem ended in the top of the fifth after she retired the side with a 13-run lead.

The victories improve the Jaguars to 22-9, 11-1 in the GCAA, also known as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association. East Georgia, in its first season of intercollegiate play, drops to 4-27, 1-9.

Ezell (15-4), ranked fourth in the nation in strikeouts per inning, pitched a 1-0 seven-inning perfect game on March 12 in Morristown, Tenn., against Walters State Community College.

Brittany McSwain’s patented speed on the basepaths gave Ezell the only run she needed. McSwain led off the third inning by beating out an infield hit; outran force-play throws to both second and third; and scampered home on a wild pitch.

Three more runs followed in the third, and then in the sixth inning McSwain doubled and scored on another wild pitch before Saunders’ game-ending two-bagger.

Kaitlyn Smith and Saunders each were 3-for-4. McSwain and Felicia Shelton each had two hits.

McNair absorbed the loss for East Georgia. Her counterpart in the nightcap, Tarah Alexander, had an even tougher time as the Jaguars batted around in the second and third innings.

GPC took a 4-0 lead in the second when Nicole Montesanti smacked a line drive over the fence inside the left field foul pole for a three-run home run.

Bell (7-5) helped her cause with two singles; Shelton hit two doubles; Patterson had a triple and a single; and Montesanti, Saunders and Sierra Petree contributed two hits apiece, including Saunders’ second double of the evening.

After the second game was called on the mercy rule, the Jaguars and assistant coaches Ken Deyton and Alli Converse presented Schutte with the game ball to honor his 300th win.

“That [300 wins] means I’ve been here a long time,” Schutte said. “It means that I had a great organization, great players and staff. You can’t do that without good people. These assistant coaches work hard, and I’m blessed to have them.”

The Jaguars get little rest as they return to the home field Saturday for a doubleheader against region rival Middle Georgia College. The Warriors’ Michelle Edgtton will present a challenge for GPC—she’s ranked 20th in the nation with a 1.21 ERA.

Those games will be broadcast online, beginning at 3:50 p.m. and with a link at www.gpc.edu/athletic under “Game Webcasts.”

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March 27, 2011

Jaguars split unusual doubleheader against 11th-ranked team

After letting the first game slip away, the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars came back to defeat Florida State College at Jacksonville 6-5 in eight innings Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville. The score of the first game was also 6-5.

Katlyn Smith had four hits in the second-game victory.

The Jaguars (20-9), tied for 20th in the NJCAA national poll, resume Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association play on Friday at home against East Georgia College at 4 p.m. on the Newton Campus.

Eleventh-ranked FSCJ took a 2-0 lead into the seventh and final inning of the opener, but the Stars surrendered five runs. The key damage was done by a fly ball by Devin Dossman to left field that was dropped for an error, allowing three runs. Singles by Felicia Shelton and Marlee Morales drove home GPC’s final two runs.

The Jaguars appeared home free, but Christina Ezell (14-4) walked the first three batters in the bottom of the seventh before giving up a walk-off grand slam to Kelly Wilson. Ezell walked five in the game and allowed four hits. She struck out eight.

In the nightcap, the Jaguars built a 4-0 lead before being forced to extra innings. GPC scored twice in the eighth, and Lauren Bell (6-5) held off FSCJ in the bottom of the frame to secure the victory. Bell allowed seven hits and three walks in eight innings, with one strikeout.

Starting the eighth with a runner on second (the rule for regular season extra innings), the Jaguars took the lead immediately when Shelton drove home Nicole Montesanti with a single. After an error and a hit by Kacie Patterson, Sierra Petree walked with the bases loaded.

Katlyn Smith led the Jaguars with four hits in the game, while Patterson had three and Shelton two.

Friday’s games with East Georgia will be webcast on NHSBN.com. Go to www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the “Game Webcasts” section for a link.

Saturday the Middle Georgia College Warriors visit Georgia Perimeter for another conference twinbill at 4 p.m. Those games also will be broadcast online.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 25, 2011

Ezell, Bell each pitch shutouts in DH sweep at Coastal

Christina Ezell pitched a one-hitter and Lauren Bell followed with a three-hitter Friday afternoon as the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars beat the College of Coastal Georgia 9-0 and 5-0 in Brunswick.

Kacie Patterson went 3-for-4 in the nightcap.

Heather Kilar hit a 3-run homer, as did Lauren Bell.

The Jaguars, tied for 20th in the national poll, moved to 19-8 overall, 9-1 in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (also known as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association). They play 11th-ranked Florida State College at Jacksonville on Sunday.

Coastal Georgia is 14-11 overall, 2-2 in the region.

Ezell (14-3) struck out nine and walked one. The shutout lowered her ERA to 0.80, one of the best in the country. She has struck out 201 in 123 innings.

GPC led 1-0 after five innings before getting five runs in the sixth and three in the seventh. Both innings featured three-run homers, by Bell in the sixth and by Heather Kilar in the seventh. The blasts came off Amber May of Coastal Georgia, one of the best pitchers in the GCAA.

In the second game, Bell (5-5) struck out eight and walked one. Led by Kacie Patterson’s 3-for-4 performance, the Jaguars scored twice in the fifth inning and their other three runs in the sixth.

The Jaguars’ next home games are Friday, April 1, against East Georgia College on the Newton Campus, a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. To listen to the audio webcast of the games, beginning at 3:50 p.m., go to www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the link under the “Game Webcasts” section.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 20, 2011

Waycross hands Jaguars first region loss

On the way to an apparent sweep and a continuation of a perfect Region 17 record, the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars stumbled down the stretch against Waycross College and settled for a doubleheader split Sunday.

The Jaguars (17-8, 7-1) breezed 11-0 in the opener at the Swamp Foxes’ field as Christina Ezell crafted a no-walk, three-hit shutout. The strikeout ace whiffed six.

Lauren Bell threw five hitless innings in the nightcap, only to be victimized by three runs in the sixrh of a 3-1 loss.

Bell was touched for a triple, then threw a wild pitch that tied the score 1-1. GPC proceeded to commit three errors and Bell allowed another hit as Waycross (12-15, 4-2) extended its late rally for the win.

Bell rapped three hits among eight for GPC, but the visitors could only muster one run.

Ezell was amply supported with 14 hits, three by Sierra Petree, who homered. Nicole Montensanti, Katlyn Smith and Kacie Patterson chipped in with two hits apiece.

The Jaguars, ranked 19th in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll, return to South Georgia next weekend for a Friday doubleheader against region opponent College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick. Sunday they visit Florida State College at Jacksonville for a nonregion twinbill.

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March 19, 2011

Jaguars sweep doubleheader at South Georgia

Georgia Perimeter College swept a softball doubleheader Saturday on a gem by a pitcher who emerged from the shadow of her stellar teammate.

Lauren Bell.

Freshman Lauren Bell, the Lady Jaguars’ No. 2 starter, shut out South Georgia College 11-0 in the nightcap while contributing two hits and two RBIs to her cause.

Bell, in control throughout, allowed only one walk and scattered six hits. Kacie Patterson and Erin Wilson made it easy for Bell with three hits apiece.

Acclaimed teammate Christina Ezell earned another pitching victory in the opener despite allowing a two-run, tying homer in the seventh that sent the game into extra innings.

Wilson and Felicia Shelton came up with run-scoring hits in the ninth to hand Ezell a 5-3 win. Designated runner Nicole Montesanti broke the tie with the first run in the ninth.

Ezell, who entered the week ranked second nationally in strikeouts with 160, settled down over the final two innings and exceeded her per-game whiff average with 15 Saturday.

Devin Dossman was a big contributor at the plate in the opener with three hits. Sierra Petree’s two hits drove in GPC’s first three runs.

The Lady Jaguars (16-7) remained unbeaten in Region XVII at 6-0. Their weekend in south Georgia continues Sunday with a doubleheader at Waycross College.

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March 18, 2011

Jaguars start trip with two wins at Andrew

Shortstop Kacie Patterson contributed three hits in each game as Georgia Perimeter College won a doubleheader against Andrew College in Cuthbert on Friday afternoon, 8-2 and 7-2.

Kacie Patterson.

The 19th-ranked Jaguars (14-7, 4-0) continue their Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tour Saturday with a doubleheader against South Georgia in Douglas. On Sunday they visit Waycross.

All-America candidate Christina Ezell (11-3) pitched Friday’s opener and struck out nine, allowing six hits. Patterson was 3-for-4, Jamie Saunders 2-for-4.

Freshman pitcher Lauren Bell (3-4) was the star of the nightcap, striking out 11 and yielding three hits. In addition to Patterson’s three hits, Felicia Shelton and Bell had two each.

Bell returned after missing a weekend with an ankle injury suffered while running the bases.

Andrew fell to 1-13 overall, 0-4 in the GCAA (also known as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association).

The Jaguars’ next home game is April 1 against East Georgia College at Jaguar Field on the Newton Campus. On April 2 they host Middle Georgia College.

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March 13, 2011

Walters State trips Jaguars with 9th-inning walk-off home run

Fresh off of a perfect game, Georgia Perimeter College pitcher Christina Ezell was typically sharp until the late stages of Sunday’s softball rematch with Walters State Community College.

The Jaguars took a one-run lead into the bottom of the final (seventh) inning and a one-run lead into the last of the ninth. Both times, the Senators homered off Ezell and won 3-2 in Morristown, Tenn.

Georgia Perimeter (12-7) collected seven hits at the plate but only had a pair of runs to show for them.

“We couldn’t put them together,” coach Ed Schutte said of the hits. “That’s the story so far this season. We need to hit with mental toughness and move the runners.”

Ezell, the nation’s third-ranked strikeout artist, had pitched a perfect game Saturday for a 1-0 win over Walters State. Sunday she whiffed 13 Senators for the second straight game and gave up only four hits, including the two home runs.

GPC also played long ball, going ahead 1-0 in the fifth inning on freshman third baseman Heather Kilar’s home run.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Lindsay Loudermilk hit a home run to tie it for Walters State (17-5), sending the game into extra innings.

Softball rules stipulate that in extra innings, each team begins its at-bat with a “courtesy” runner on second base. Neither team scored the runner in the eighth inning.

In the top of the ninth, GPC’s courtesy runner, Marlee Morales, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Nicole Montesanti and came home on an error.

But in the bottom half of the inning, with the Senators’ courtesy runner on second base, Haley Miles belted a walk-off two-run home run to end the game.

GPC, on the road for the remainder of March, returns to action on Friday for a Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association doubleheader against Andrew College in Cuthbert. The Jaguars continue a southern swing with conference twinbills Saturday at South Georgia College in Douglas and Sunday at Waycross College in Waycross.

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March 12, 2011

Ezell pitches perfect game, fans 13 in 1-0 win

The Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars expect a lot every time All-America candidate Christina Ezell strides into the pitcher’s circle. Saturday they got perfection.

Christina Ezell.

The sophomore righthander faced 21 Walters State Community College hitters and retired them all for a perfect game as the Jaguars won 1-0 in Morristown, Tenn.

Ezell (10-2) struck out 13. On only three batters did she run a three-ball count.

“She got a lot of strikes on up-zone pitches,” said GPC head coach Ed Schutte.

The Jaguars (12-6) scored their run in the sixth inning when Nicole Montesanti doubled and scampered home on two wild pitches.

GPC managed only five hits, two by freshman shortstop Kacie Patterson.

As a freshman last season, Ezell, from Senoia and East Coweta High School, led the nation in strikeouts per inning with an average of 1.89, fanning 334 in 177 innings. She was 23-6 during the regular season with a 0.95 ERA, also among the best in the National Junior College Athletic Association. This season she again is among the top strikeout artists.

Walters State fell to 16-5. The scheduled doubleheader was shortened to one game by mutual agreement. Sunday’s doubleheader will also be changed to one game.

The Jaguars will continue next week with a two-weekend stretch on the road, not returning home until April 1 against East Georgia College and April 2, hosting Middle Georgia College..

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March 11, 2011

GPC wins conference-opening twinbill

Christina Ezell struck out 26 batters in two games and Felicia Shelton won the second with a clutch hit as the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars won their Region 17-opening doubleheader 7-1 and 3-2 over Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Friday at GPC’s Newton Campus.

Felicia Shelton.

The win improved GPC to 11-6 overall, 2-0 in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association, Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Ezell (9-2) fanned the first six batters she faced in the opener and finished with 15 strikeouts, allowing three hits and walking two.

“Christina pitched her heart out. She just finds a way to win,” said GPC coach Ed Schutte. Ezell had to pitch both games because the second-game starter Lauren Bell suffered an ankle sprain when rounding second base on a bases-clearing double in the first game.

But ABAC (10-10, 0-2) made a nailbiter of the second game until Shelton singled to right field to score Brittany McSwain in the bottom of the sixth inning and secure a one-run win.

“ABAC is a lot better than last year,” GPC coach Ed Schutte said. “If tonight’s a sign of the competition in the region, it’s going to be a dogfight.”

Kelsey Waugh lofted a third-inning home run over the left-field fence to open the scoring. The Jaguars (11-6, 2-0) added two in the fourth with an RBI single by Jamie Saunders and an RBI triple by Nicole Montesanti.

After Bell’s three-run double in the fourth, Saunders brought in the final run with a double. Along with Saunders, Waugh and Kacie Patterson had two hits for the Jaguars.

ABAC’s Olivia Moffett spoiled Ezell’s shutout with an RBI single in the sixth. Alex Payne took the loss for the Fillies.

Saunders began the second-game scoring with a sacrifice fly after Katlyn Smith and Patterson opened the game with singles.

ABAC answered in the second with two walks, a single and a hit batsman, with Ezell walking in a run.

Georgia Perimeter went up 2-1 in the bottom half on Erin Smith’s double and an RBI hit by Smith, who went 4 for 7 on the night. But Ashley Schwab and Moffett doubled to tie it again in the third.

In the sixth, McSwain singled and Patterson reached for the fifth time in the twinbill with a walk, setting the stage for Shelton’s game-winning bloop single to shallow right. The Jaguars travel to Tennessee for games Saturday and Sunday at Walters State Community College. Next weekend is a three-college road trip in South Georgia.

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March 6, 2011

Jaguars lose 4-0 to exit Leadoff Classic

Brittany McSwain.

Georgia Perimeter College coach Ed Schutte gave most of his regulars the day off Sunday as the Jaguars lost 4-0 to Indian Hills Community College of Iowa at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic in Panama City, Fla.

The loss in the consolation draw of the Silver Bracket ended the 13th-ranked Jaguars’ participation in the 24-team event and dropped them to 9-6.

Hannah Washburn pitched a seven-hit shutout for Indian Hills, ranked No. 19 in the NJCAA national poll. Lauren Bell (2-4) pitched the complete game for GPC.

Brittany McSwain, one of the few Jaguar regulars in the lineup, had two hits in the leadoff spot. Kyla Tanner and Erin Wilson each had doubles, but GPC couldn’t advance a runner past second base.

The Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA Region 17) season begins Friday when the Jaguars play Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on the Newton Campus. The doubleheader begins at 4 p.m. and will be audio webcast on NHSBN.com. Visit www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the link in the “Game Webcasts” section.

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March 5, 2011

Jaguars split again, fall into Silver Bracket at Leadoff Classic

Christina Ezell of Georgia Perimeter College scored another victory over a nationally ranked opponent Saturday, beating No. 14-ranked Odessa College of Texas 8-4 at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic in Panama City, Fla.

Ezell struck out 13 and Lauren Bell hit a three-run homer as 13th-ranked GPC beat Odessa to take top seeding in the Silver Bracket of the 24-team tournament.

In their first bracket game, the Jaguars (9-5) lost 3-0 to Iowa Western Community College on Saturday night. The loss put GPC in the consolation draw, with a game at 11 a.m. EST Sunday. The Gold Bracket contains the teams still in the running for the tournament championship.

Odessa and GPC had met last May in the second round of the NJCAA national tournament in St. George, Utah. The Rangers won 5-4, knocking GPC out of the double-elimination tournament.

Saturday, the Jaguars broke on top of Odessa 4-0 in the second inning, with Kaitlyn Smith getting the key hit, a two-run single. After Odessa pulled within 5-4 in the fourth, a single by Brittany McSwain and a walk to Nicole Montesanti set the table for Bell’s three-run homer in the bottom of the inning.

Ezell—who previously this season defeated No. 1 Miami Dade College, No. 9 Chattanooga State Community College and No. 18 Seminole State College of Oklahoma—allowed five hits and walked three Odessa batters.

She came back in the evening for the Silver Bracket game, striking out 13 and allowing the three runs on seven hits. The Jaguars never dented the plate as Greta Smeins pitched the shutout for Iowa Western, allowing five hits.

Smith and Heather Kilar had two hits apiece for GPC. Kilar had a double, as did Montesanti.

Sunday’s consolation game against No. 19-ranked Indian Hills Community College of Iowa will an elimination game. The winner advances to the bracket’s consolation final at 3 p.m. EST Sunday. The game will be audio webcast with a link at www.gpc.edu/athletic under “Game Webcasts.”

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March 4, 2011

Jaguars split on first day of NFCA Leadoff Classic

Christina Ezell stuck out 10 batters in three innings as 13th-ranked Georgia Perimeter College won its pool play opener at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic in Panama City, Fla., 10-2 over Community College of Baltimore County.

In their second game Friday, the Jaguars (8-4) fell 4-2 to Miami Dade College, ranked No. 1 nationally in the preseason and last year’s national champions.

The Jaguars’ pool play concludes Saturday with a match against No. 14 Odessa College of Texas at 1:30 p.m. EST. If they qualify, they will continue to play in the “medal” round.

In the early game, which was halted after five innings by the mercy rule, Ezell (6-1) achieved all nine of her outs via strikeout and got a 10th when a runner reached on a wild pitch on the third strike. She threw 47 pitches, 41 of them strikes, and allowed two hits.

Lauren Bell finished the game. Kaitlyn Smith, Kacie Patterson, Kelsey Waugh and Devin Dossman had two hits apiece for the Jaguars, Waugh and Jamie Saunders drove in two runs apiece.

In the late game, the Jaguars suffered defensive breakdowns and couldn’t get their bats going until the final inning, when they scored twice. Consecutive singles by Smith, Patterson, Saunders and Kyla Tanner produced one run, and a sacrifice fly by Ezell drove home the other. The Jaguars left the bases loaded.

Patterson and Bell had two hits apiece. Bell (2-3) was the starter and losing pitcher for GPC.

Aline Uehara and Rachel Meagley split the pitching for Miami Dade, with Meagley gaining the victory with a six-strikeout performance in 3 2/3 innings. Meagley also held off the Jaguars in the seventh.

GPC’s games in the Classic are audio broadcast online with times and links at www.gpc.edu/athletic under “Game Webcasts.”

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February 26, 2011

GPC’s Ezell dominates Wallace State-Hanceville event with 50 strikeouts

Sophomore righthander Christina Ezell of No. 13-ranked Georgia Perimeter College stole the show at Wallace State-Hanceville’s tournament in Cullman, Ala., on Friday and Saturday.

Ezell pitched three complete-game one-hit shutouts, plowing through Northern Oklahoma College, No. 9 Chattanooga State Community College and No. 18 Seminole State College (Okla.). Counting relief appearances, she struck out 50 hitters in 30 innings.

“I’ve never seen a pitcher dominate good teams like she did this weekend,” said GPC coach Ed Schutte. “I don’t think there’s anybody better in the nation.”

The centerpiece of Ezell’s spectacular weekend was a 13-strikeout performance Saturday against heavy-hitting Chattanooga State. “She was absolutely lights out,” said Schutte of the 3-0 victory.

Then Ezell came back and beat Seminole State 2-0, striking out 10 without walking a batter. In an 8-0 victory over Northern Oklahoma on Friday, Ezell (5-1) had nine strikeouts. She also collected 10 during a four-inning relief stint that day in a 4-2 loss to Columbia State Community College (Tenn.)

The Jaguars (7-3) lost their final two games to Alabama teams, 8-5 to Bevill State Community College and 5-4 to Gadsden State Community College. Ezell started the Gadsden State game and took the loss, while Lauren Bell (2-2) was the losing pitcher against Bevill State. Bell struck out eight but gave up two home runs.

“It’s not that [Bell] pitched that badly,” Schutte said. “But she’s a freshman and she’s still learning things.”

The Jaguars’ leading hitter for the weekend was Jamie Saunders at 10-for-23. Sierra Petree was 7-for-14, Kyla Tanner 7-for-15 and Kacie Patterson 6-for-17.

GPC has victories over the Nos. 1, 4, 9 and 18 teams in the National Junior College Athletic Association preseason poll. The Jaguars play next weekend at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic in Panama City, Fla. One of their opponents in pool play will be No. 14 Odessa (Texas).

The Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association season begins March 11 at home on the Newton Campus against Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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February 19, 2011

Jaguars finish sweep of GPC Spring Invitational

The Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars didn’t score runs by the bunch Saturday, but with a double dose of Christina Ezell they didn’t need to.

In the 13th-ranked Jaguars’ first game, Ezell pitched a four-hit shutout and struck out 12 in a 2-0 victory over No. 1-ranked Miami Dade College. In the second game, she pitched another complete game and beat Tallahassee Community College 2-1.

“Christina beat a great-hitting team,” said GPC coach Ed Schutte of Tallahassee, which won three of its four games at the GPC Spring Invitational on the Newton Campus. “She got better as the game went on.”

Ezell, who was 2010 Player of the Year in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association, struck out five in the second game. Last season she produced the best per-inning strikeout ratio in the country.

The Jaguars swept their four games over the weekend as Schutte assembled the toughest field he could round up.

“I think it toughens you up for region play,” he said. “It’s the only way to get better.”

In the opener, the Jaguars got single runs in the first and second innings, and Ezell made them stand up. Kelsey Waugh tripled in the first and scored on a single by Lauren Bell. In the second, ninth-place hitter Brittany McSwain delivered a run-scoring triple to the wall in right field.

McSwain had two of GPC’s eight hits.

The nightcap was a thriller. The Jaguars tied the score at 1 in the fourth inning on a single by Nicole Montesanti and a triple by McSwain. They plated what proved to be the winning run in the sixth on a triple by Kyla Tanner and a single by Heather Kilar.

That Tanner was at the plate was a bit of an oddity. Three innings before, Bell was declared out in a key situation for entering the batter’s box with a bat not on the approved list that survived pregame umpire inspections. She also was ejected.

Tallahassee (14-6) pushed the tying run at second base in the top of the seventh before Ezell secured the 21st out on a popup to first base.

Sara Scott was the hard-luck losing pitcher for the Eagles, who got three hits from Alexis Anderson.

In other games Saturday:

TALLAHASSEE 9, SPARTANBURG METHODIST 4: Emily Smethurst came on in relief in the first inning and pitched 6 2/3 hitless innings as the Eagles roared back from a four-run deficit.

WALLACE STATE-HANCEVILLE 3, MIAMI DADE 1: Kayla Sneed pitched a complete-game two-hitter as the No. 4-ranked Lady Lions recovered from a pair of losses the first day. Lacy Driggers drove home all three runs, going 2-for-2 with a sacrifice fly.

WALLACE STATE-HANCEVILLE 11, SPARTANBURG METHODIST 0: Katie Pierce’s three-run triple in the second inning sparked the Lady Lions (7-3) in a game shortened to five innings by the mercy rule.

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February 18, 2011

Jaguars win twice on first day of GPC Spring Invitational

Lauren Bell started a new page on her pitching resume Friday in impressive fashion—15 innings, two victories, one happy and calm coach.

“A couple of times when she got in trouble, she looked in the dugout and gave me the thumbs up, like ‘I’ve got control of the ballgame,” said Georgia Perimeter College coach Ed Schutte. “That’s showing a lot of maturity for a freshman.”

Bell pitched a complete-game two-hitter in her Jaguar debut, beating Spartanburg Methodist 3-2 in eight innings. A few hours later, she survived some shaky moments, finishing with another complete game and a 4-2 victory over No. 4-ranked Wallace State-Hanceville.

The Jaguars, ranked No. 13 in the NJCAA preseason poll, wrap up the two-day season-opening event Saturday with games against No. 1-ranked Miami Dade and Tallahassee, which is unranked but scored a pair of victories on the first day. Both games will be webcast on NSHBN.com. Go to depts.gpc.edu/athletic and click on “Game Webcasts.”

The Jaguars squandered numerous scoring chances against Spartanburg Methodist before the game went into extra innings. In regular-season junior college softball, all extra frames start with a designated runner on second. Bell pitched around hers in the top of the eighth.

In the bottom half of the inning, Spartanburg Methodist reliever Bailey Smith struck out two batters before freshman shortstop Kacie Patterson blooped the game-winning hit to left center.

In the second game, a two-out error in the third inning led to four GPC runs. Bell drove home one with a single before freshman third baseman Heather Kilar followed with a three-run homer deep into the night over the left field wall.

After that, the Jaguars looked to Bell, and she didn’t disappoint. Wallace State-Hanceville (5-3) scored twice and put the tying runs on second and third in the fifth inning before Bell ended the uprising with a strikeout and a groundout.

In the seventh, Bell issued a leadoff walk—her second of the game, along with eight hits. After a popup to second base, good defensive plays by Patterson at shortstop secured the final two outs.

Sophomore Brittany McSwain had three hits for the day, while Patterson, Bell, Sierra Petree, Kaitlyn Smith and Jamie Saunders had two each.

In Friday’s other games:

MIAMI DADE 6, SPARTANBURG METHODIST 5: Veronika Fukunishi hit a walkoff three-run double in the seventh inning for the Lady Sharks.

TALLAHASSEE 6, WALLACE STATE-HANCEVILLE 1: Emily Smethurst, a native of Australia, pitched a two-hitter, giving Patti Townsend her 200th coaching victory at the helm of the Eagles.

TALLAHASSEE 6, MIAMI DADE 3: Kirsten Grant drove in five runs with two homers, including a three-run shot that broke a tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. Smethurst picked up the victory in relief.

The GPC Invitational is being played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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February 2, 2011

Aces provide Jaguars a strong hand leading into season

In softball, little trumps an ace. Because doubleheaders are the rule, it’s better to have a pair.

Georgia Perimeter College head coach Ed Schutte feels he has the best one-two punch in the Southeast, dominant pitchers capable of taking the Jaguars to the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in St. George, Utah, for a second consecutive year.

“That’s why we got the No. 13 national ranking heading into the season,” said Schutte, who has assembled a formidable schedule to challenge sophomore ace Christina Ezell and her freshman counterpart, Lauren Bell.

The high-stakes battles start early, with No. 1-ranked Miami Dade and No. 4 Wallace State-Hanceville on the docket for the GPC Spring Invitational at the Newton Campus on Feb. 18 and 19. Miami Dade won the national championship last spring, and Wallace State was runner-up.

Ezell’s calling card is strikeouts—334 in 2010 (excluding the national tournament), with the best per-inning rate in the nation. That, and an unusual level of determination.

“She’s more determined to win than any girl I’ve ever coached,” said Schutte of last year’s Player of the Year in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association.

As part of a pair of aces, Ezell figures to post lower numbers this time around. “We won’t have to use her as much,” said Schutte.

That’s because of the arrival of Bell, who was lights out at Sequoyah H.S., with an earned run average of 0.12 in her senior year. Did we mention she also will hit cleanup at GPC?

“She could be the key to our season,” said Schutte. “What a consistent pitcher. You never have to worry about a walk.”

The pressure on the right-handed aces is increased by the absence of lefty Brandi Brewer, ineligible after a strong showing last fall. A better offense than last year’s would be a big plus, but there’s plenty to fret about as Schutte assembles a lineup.

Joining Bell in the middle will be Jamie Saunders (.404) and designated hitter Sierra Petree, who hit .415 last season on a fine team at Volunteer State in Tennessee.

Saunders has been particularly impressive after battling physical problems that caused her to miss several games in 2010. She’s moving to first base from third as she evaluates scholarship offers from four-year schools.

“This is one of the most solid infields I’ve ever had,” said Schutte. “Jamie has really captured first base. I expect her to have a banner year.”

DH/first baseman Kyla Tanner returns after missing the 2010 season with an injury.

At second, the Jaguars have an all-region returnee, Nicole Montesanti, who didn’t make an error last season and hit .364 with 29 RBIs, second on the team.

“We need for her to produce,” perhaps in the No. 2 spot, Schutte said.

The left side will be new, with slick-fielding Kacie Patterson from Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy at shortstop and either Heather Kilar of Spaulding H.S. or Felicia Shelton of Ola H.S. at third.

Schutte said the speedy Patterson “is probably the best shortstop we’ve ever had.”

The anchor of the outfield is slap-hitting Brittany McSwain, who is moving from right to center. “She can really go get the ball,” said Schutte.

Kaitlyn Smith of North Gwinnett H.S., another slap hitter, takes over in right and might lead off. In left will be Kelsey Waugh of Powhatan H.S. in Virginia or Marlee Morales of Strong Rock Christian School. MacKenzie Mosley will be a backup.

Both catchers are solid returnees—Devin Dossman (.349) and Erin Wilson (.307). Dossman will serve as captain.

How Schutte structures the top and bottom of his batting order—and how playing time is eventually distributed—likely will be determined by production at the plate.

“Some of our players have not proved yet they can hit,” he said. “In spots six through nine in the order, we’re looking for somebody to step up and have a bat.”

Deficiencies will be exploited by the murderous schedule. In one event, the Jaguars face two preseason top 20 teams (Chattanooga State and Seminole State of Oklahoma) on the same day.

In the GCAA (Region 17 of the NJCAA), the Jaguars’ first mission is dethroning last year’s regular-season champion, Darton. GPC came back to beat the Cavaliers 4-3 in eight innings to claim the tournament title and their third trip to the nationals, where they lost twice the first day, with Ezell in the circle each time.

Should they return to Utah, the Jaguars hope their pair of aces turn up a different ending.

JAGUAR JOLTS: Montesanti has signed with Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ezell with Jacksonville State University in Alabama. … The region/GCAA tournament moves to a new venue—Strong Rock Christian Academy in Locust Grove. Gordon College will be the host. … Young Harris has left the league, but there are two new teams, East Georgia and Waycross. That brings the total to 11, but only six make the double-elimination tournament. … Schutte is entering his 10th season as head coach at GPC, with a career record of 278-142. … Assistant Ken Deyton is back for a fouth season, and there’s an addition to the staff—former GPC star Alli Converse, a recent graduate of Auburn University of Montgomery.

The Jaguars’ home games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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January 30, 2011

Jaguars’ signees for 2012 gifted on and off field

Georgia Perimeter College, which has been to two national tournaments in four seasons, has signed 10 players for the 2012 season.

“With our returning freshmen next year, this group will complete the puzzle, giving Georgia Perimeter a chance for conference and national recognition over the next two years,” said head coach Ed Schutte. “This group of freshmen is also tops in their class in high school.”

The signees:

Stephanie Satterfield, White County H.S., Cleveland: Satterfield’s pitching and power hitting led White County to the state AAA championship, and she was Player of the Year. Her 16 homers matched the state record, since broken. She will rotate in as one of GPC’s three pitchers next year, Schutte said.

Brie Floyd, Prince Avenue Christian School, Athens: Floyd, who will play first base next season, won numerous offensive awards, including Offensive Player of the Year in A.

Jessie Romines, Strong Rock Christian School, Locust Grove: Romines was Henry County Athlete of the Year her senior season after leading Strong Rock to the state tournament. She will play first base and right field at GPC.

Kaitlin Ellenburg, J.L. Mann H.S., Greenville, S.C.: Ellenburg will be one of GPC’s two catchers in 2012.

Sam Maycock, Ola H.S., McDonough: The all-state selection will challenge for the second base job next season. She led Ola to the state tournament her junior year.

Kelci Richter, Union Grove H.S., McDonough: The all-region selection will challenge for the third base job next season.

Madison Case, Ola H.S., McDonough: Case was the offensive MVP at Ola and an all-state selection. She is set to play outfield for the Jaguars.

Savannah Cook, Ola H.S., McDonough: The all-region selection and defensive MVP at Ola will challenge for the second base job next year.

Cheyenne Maske, Chapel Hill H.S., Douglasville: The all-region and all-state selection will be one of the Jaguars’ catchers next season.

Rachel Martinez, Woodland H.S., Stockbridge: The coaching staff expects the all-region selection to be a big asset in center field next season.

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October 7, 2010

Jaguar Journal: Look for more of the same this spring

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team finished last season on the national stage. Early next spring, the Jaguars figure to be there again, starting right with the preseason poll.

Christina Ezell

Last year’s champions of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association) were well-armed with righthander Christina Ezell, who struck out 344 during the regular season and region tournament, leading the country in whiffs per inning.

As Ezell returns for her sophomore season, she is joined by two more pitchers who have flashed ace credentials during fall scrimmages, which are mostly against NCAA Division I teams.

Sophomore lefthander Brandi Brewer, who struggled as last season wore on, has been “lights out” in scrimmages, according to coach Ed Schutte. Joining last year’s duo will be righthander Lauren Bell from Sequoyah High School. She had a 0.12 ERA in her senior season, striking out 212 in 144 innings.

Brandi Brewer

“We have three excellent pitchers,” Schutte said.

The offense? It has been upgraded, too, after struggling at times last season.

A key newcomer is transfer Sierra Petree, who hit .415 last season for Volunteer State College in Tennessee. She’s a left-handed hitter with power.

Freshmen third baseman Heather Kilar (Spaulding H.S.) and outfielders Felicia Shelton (Ola H.S.) and Kelsey Waugh (Powhatan, Va.) have also showed promising bats this fall.

The arrival of Kilar likely will shift holdover Jamie Saunders to first base. Second baseman Nicole Montesanti returns after an all-region season.

Jamie Saunders

The new shortstop will be strong-armed Kacie Patterson (Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy), a freshman Schutte says “has the potential to be the best shortstop we’ve ever had at Georgia Perimeter.”

The Jaguars finished 31-15 in 2009 with back-to-back close losses on the first day of the national tournament in St. George, Utah. Next season’s goal, as it always is at GPC, will be another trip to the nationals.

“It’s nice to have some big sticks to go with our pitching. I’m really excited about this team,” Schutte said.

The Jaguars will be tested early. The first order of business will be a mid-February event at their home field on the Newton Campus. Schutte has invited some of the top teams in the Southeast, including the two that played for the national championship in May – Miami Dade and Wallace State-Hanceville. Miami Dade won the title.

After that, the Jaguars will join those same two teams March 4-6 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Junior College Leadoff Classic in Panama City Beach, Fla. That will be a 24-team tournament.

JAGUAR JOLTS: Sophomore Brittany McSwain, last season’s regular right fielder, likely will be shifted to center to take advantage of her stellar defense. … Catching will be a strength with two sophomores returning, Devin Dossman and Erin Wilson. … The Jaguars have 17 players on their fall roster, including 10 sophomores. … Bell, the pitching newcomer, could wind up a designated player when she isn’t on the mound. “There’s nothing she can’t do on the field,” Schutte said. … Ezell was 2-0 in the July Puerto Rican Federation International Cup tournament this summer, striking out 13 in one game. Last year’s center fielder, Caitlin Peisel, impressed as the second-best hitter on the Worth Select National Team. “Down there is about the best pitching you can see,” Schutte said. The tournament features plenty of NCAA D1 players and international talent. Peisel has moved on to Mercer University. … Saunders, who missed some time to illness and injury last season, has “come back better than ever,” Schutte said.

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