2008 Region 17 League Champions

May 25, 2010

Players, coaches get summer assignment in Puerto Rico

Four members of the 2010 Georgia Perimeter College softball team—two players and both coaches—have been picked to participate in a summer international tournament in Puerto Rico.

From left, Ken Deyton, Caitlin Peisel, Christina Ezell and Ed Schutte will compete in an international softball tour this summer.

Sophomore center fielder Caitlin Peisel, freshman pitcher Christina Ezell, head coach Ed Schutte and assistant coach Ken Deyton will participate in the Puerto Rican Federation International Cup tournament July 12-22.

Schutte will be one of the coaches for the Wilson Select National Team accompanied by Ezell, Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year in Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Peisel, a two-time all-region first-team selection, will play for the Worth Select National Team, and Deyton will be an assistant to head coach Eric Geldart of Young Harris College.

“This allows them to play with the very best and gives them insight into their careers and where they are,” said Schutte, noting that most of the American players will come from NCAA Division I teams. “It also helps recruiting, for players to know that if you get to the top level of junior college softball and do well, you get to play on a national team.”

The tournament field, as yet uncompleted, will include national teams from the Carribean region. Each team will play 16 to 18 games, according to Schutte, who will be making his second trip to the event.

Peisel, who hit .449 during the regular season, has signed to play next season at Mercer University in Macon. The Marietta native starred at Lassiter High School before joining GPC for the 2009 season.

Ezell, from Senoia and East Coweta H.S., was the NJCAA’s national leader in strikeouts per inning, whiffing 334 in 177 innings. She was 23-6 during the region season with a 0.95 ERA, among the best in the country.

Peisel and Ezell led the Jaguars to the Region 17 championship and a berth in the NJCAA national tournament. Their final record was 31-15.

In nine seasons as head coach at Georgia Perimeter, Schutte has compiled a 278-142 record, including a streak of five consecutive campaigns with more than 34 victories. His teams won Region 17 regular-season championships in 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2009 and won region tournament titles this year and in 2007, making two trips to the nationals.

Finishing his fourth season as assistant at GPC, Deyton has operated a baseball and softball training facility, organized and coached fast-pitch travel programs and won numerous Amateur Softball Association championships.

Top of Page

May 20, 2010

Back-to-back heartbreakers bounce Jaguars from nationals

At Wednesday’s National Junior College Athletic Association softball banquet, Michelle Delloso imparted words of wisdom to approximately 250 players on the eve of nationals.

The Jaguars greet Lauren Mathis (20) after her home run in the Chipola game.

“Cherish the moment and play for the love of the game,” advised the three-time All American from the University of South Carolina and former member of the Colorado Silver Bullets baseball team.

Thursday the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars had to love the game to keep from crying.

Twice the Jaguars fell behind by three runs in the first inning. Twice they rallied. And twice they wound up on the short end of tough losses, quickly ending their stay at the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship Tournament in St. George, Utah.

After losing 7-4 to Florida’s Chipola College in their opener, the Jaguars went down an eerily similar path less than two hours later, giving up a run in the bottom of the seventh inning and falling 5-4 to Odessa College of Texas.

The second loss was particularly tough to take because GPC (31-15) left the bases loaded in the top of the sixth and had them loaded again with none out in the seventh, eking out only a tie on a two-out single by Erin Wilson.

Third baseman Erin Wilson makes the play against Chipola.

The Jaguars also left the bases loaded in the second inning.

“You can’t squander opportunities at the national level,” said Jaguars coach Ed Schutte. “Nothing was easy today. We had a way of making everything hard today.”

Christina Ezell (23-8) was the losing pitcher both times with complete games. In the second game she also made a key contribution on offense, driving home the run in the top of the fifth that tied the score at 3.

But the hitting star for the Jaguars was first baseman Lauren Mathis, who had a homer in each game. Both were integral parts of rallies.

Against Odessa (35-27), the Jaguars fell behind in the first inning to Sarah Martinez’s two-out three-run homer. GPC got a run back in the top of the second when Brittany McSwain bunted home Nicole Montesanti with one out and the bases loaded.

Mathis hit a solo homer in the third inning. Ezell’s tying single in the fifth drove in Devon Dossman, who had led off the inning with a hit.

The Wranglers regained the lead in the sixth on singles by Holly Vanden Bosshe and Martinez and an RBI bunt single by Erin Gilliland.

The Jaguars answered to the score at 4 in the seventh. Caitlin Peisel and Ezell opened with singles and Mathis drew a walk to load the bases. Montesanti stepped up and smacked a blistering line drive caught by relief pitcher Katelyn Stanley, who doubled off Peisel at third. Wilson followed with a base hit that scored Ezell.

In the bottom of the seventh an infield misplay set the stage for an unearned run on the game-winning single by Odessa’s Kristy Smith.

Stanley, who relieved starter Caitlin Crane in the sixth with the bases loaded, got out of the jam and earned the win.

Wilson and Ezell each had two hits, and Dossman collected a double, single and two walks for the Jaguars, who outhit the Wranglers 11-9.

They also outhit Chipola in the opener 9-8. But they fell behind 3-0 before retiring a batter.

The Indians took a 3-0 lead in the first inning when Michelle Hewett led off with a single and Nikki Roddy followed with a homer. Ariell van Hook made it back-to-back homers off Ezell, who hit the next batter with a pitch before settling down to retire the side.

Mathis got the day’s offense going in the second inning for the Jaguars with a single. Montesanti advanced her with a hit and McSwain drove her in with a drive down the left field line.

Then GPC struck again in the third inning on the big bat of Mathis, whose two-run homer tied the score. Tiffany Phillips’ bases-loaded single scored Jamie Saunders, who had reached on a base hit, giving the Jaguars a one-run lead in the fourth.

But then things started going wrong. In the bottom of the fourth, Chipola (48-11) tied it on an RBI double by Hewett and regained the lead when Kellie Todd scored on a passed ball.

The second-seeded Indians got two insurance runs in the sixth. Hewett got her third hit of the day, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Nikki Roddy, who eventually crossed the plate on an error.

Chipola starting pitcher Brittany Black was replaced by Emma Stevenson (22-3) with two out in the fourth inning. Stevenson inherited a 1-2 count on Ezell and struck her out on one pitch, leaving the bases loaded.

Mathis and Phillips each went 3-for-7 in the two games to lead the No. 15-seeded Jaguars in their second appearance at the nationals. They also went in 2007, when the tournament was in Plant City, Fla., and finished in fifth place.

“The good thing is that we made it to the big dance,” said Schutte. “There are only 16 teams here. That’s something to ride off of for the next year.”

As Michelle Delosso would say, it’s also something to love.

Top of Page

May 19, 2010

Jaguar Journal: Travel completed, Jags ready for nationals

Itinerary: Delta Airlines from Atlanta to Las Vegas; Budget rental vans from Nevada to St. George, Utah; vans from the Comfort Suites hotel to The Canyons softball complex.

The Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars’ have won two softball championships already this season—the NJCAA Region 17 title and the International AAU Invitational Tournament. Now they’re well-traveled and ready to play for the big trophy—the NJCAA national crown.

The team made the four-hour trip from home to the glitter and glitz of Vegas on Tuesday, arriving in time for burgers and nachos downtown and a two-hour twilight van ride through barren hills and gorges to St. George, site of the national tourney.

Wednesday, coaches Ed Schutte and Ken Deyton ran the Jaguars through a 90-minute practice at The Canyons, a four-field softball complex set amid striking moonscape scenery. Thursday, they will face the No. 2 seed in the tournament, the Chipola College Indians, at 2:30 Atlanta time.

How can a team stay focused passing through Las Vegas and staying in a beautiful mountain town with all the distractions a strange new world offers?

The Jaguars enter the tournament with the nation’s leader in strikeouts per inning, Christina Ezell, and a team batting average that ranked seventh in the nation. They’re here to compete and you can see the determination on their faces, despite the fact that they are enjoying the hard-earned trip.

If the hitters do their job and Ezell is on her game, they have a shot at advancing further into the brackets.

You can watch all the national tournament action on web TV. Just visit www.njcaa.org/tv or go to the GPC athletic or softball site and click on the link under “Game Webcasts.”

JAGUAR JOLTS: The fences on all four fields at The Canyons Complex are 300 feet from home plate in all directions. … Flying into Las Vegas may be more adventurous than riding the rollercoaster that winds downtown between hotels and casinos. Mountains on either side of the city create an apparently ever-present turbulence that rocks the plane more than gently. When Schutte forewarned fellow passengers of this and asked a stewardess, “How’s landing in Las Vegas?” she smiled knowingly and replied, “Normal.” It was the most abnormal normal landing this writer has experienced … Bob Echols, the field supervisor at The Canyons Complex during the Jaguars’ Wednesday practice, claims that “if you see a western movie with bluffs and mesas, it was shot around here,” meaning southern Utah and northern Arizona. Movie crews often would stay in Kenab, south of St. George near the Arizona line. It’s very rugged country with sparse vegetation, prompting this comment: “This is where the moon landings were faked.” … The softball players lucked out—often the temperature is 100 degrees at this time of year, but it is mild and pleasant this week so far. … Also in St. George for the tournament are numerous parents of the GPC players, trainer Trevor Austin and athletic director Alfred Barney.

Top of Page

May 15, 2010

No. 15-seeded Jaguars to play Chipola in first round

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team has been handed a tough opening-round assignment in the NJCAA national tournament, which begins Thursday in St. George, Utah.

Christina Ezell, left, Erin Wilson and the Jaguars take on the No. 2 seed Thursday.

The Jaguars (31-13), seeded No. 15 in the 16-team field, must face No. 2 Chipola College at 2:30 p.m. EDT (12:30 local time). Chipola (47-11), of Marianna, Fla., was ranked third in the final national poll.

The winner gets little rest, the loser even less.

If the Jaguars win, they face the winner of the Chattanooga State-Odessa (Texas) game at 9 p.m. EDT (7 local time) Thursday. If they lose, they must immediately turn around and face the Chattanooga-Odessa loser at 6:30 p.m. EDT (4:30 local time).

Teams surviving until Friday face another grueling day, with a national champion to be crowned by late Saturday afternoon.

The Jaguars and Chipola didn’t meet during the regular season, but as members of neighboring regions ran in the same circles.

The Lady Indians played teams from Region 17 (the state of Georgia) nine times, winning seven. Of particular interest: a 1-2 record against Middle Georgia College, the regular-season champ of Region 17. The Jaguars won the region tournament without having to face Middle, with whom they split during the regular season.

Chipola lost 3-2 to eighth-ranked Wallace State-Hanceville, a team GPC played three times, losing twice. The Indians also lost 2-1 to Florida State College at Jacksonville, a team the Jaguars beat 1-0 on a no-hitter by freshman righthander Christina Ezell.

Ezell, who has 334 strikeouts in 177 innings, is 23-6 with a 0.95 ERA. She matches up with anyone in the nation, but Chipola has an ace, too—freshman righthander Emma Stevenson (21-3, 1.07 ERA).

On offense, Chipola has two hitters over .400—Kellie Todd at .417 and Nikki Roddy at .415. Both are sophomores, as is Trish Bliss, who produced a 10-homer season.

For the Jaguars, Caitlin Peisel is at .449, Jamie Saunders at .404 and Nicole Montesanti at .364. Peisel and Montesanti were named all-region along with Ezell, while Tiffany Phillips was named to the second team.

JAGUAR JOLTS: All games of the national tournament are scheduled for video/audio play-by-play webcasts. To watch the Jaguars, click on the link at www.njcaa.org or simply visit www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the link under “Game Webcasts.” … The Jaguars’ only appearance in the national tournament came in 2007, when they finished fifth. The winner that year: Chipola. … Chipola wrapped up the Region 8 title two weeks ago, beating Miami Dade 14-0 in the final. The Jaguars also saw Miami Dade, but far earlier, at the AAU tournament in January. They lost 3-2. … Because both sides of Region 8 get representatives at the national tournament, Miami Dade will be there, too. … Aside from Wallace State-Hanceville and Miami Dade, the Jaguars have seen one more team in the field—No. 16 seed Pitt C.C. of North Carolina. They beat Pitt 3-1 at the Ringor Classic in Aiken, S.C., February on a two-hitter by freshman lefthander Brandi Brewer.

Top of Page

May 12, 2010

Utah-bound Jaguars like the view from the mountaintop

With a second trip to the NJCAA tournament, the Georgia Perimeter College softball team has crossed that mythical mountain from up-and-coming program to power in the Southeast.

Right fielder Brittany McSwain and the outfield will be a key to the Jaguar defense at nationals.

Now the Jaguars get to see some real mountains, in St. George, Utah, a couple of hours northeast of Las Vegas on Interstate 15.

“A lot of our players have never gone out West,” said coach Ed Schutte. “None of them have ever seen the big mountains.”

Over five seasons, the Jaguars have finished atop the Region 17 standings three times (2006, 2008 and 2009) and in second place twice (2007, 2010). Oddly, the two runner-up finishes were more memorable because they produced trips to the nationals. In 2007, when the tournament was a bus ride away in Plant City, Fla., the Jaguars finished fifth.

This year’s event starts with festivities May 19 before the 16 teams get down to business the next day, producing a champion by the afternoon of May 22. The format is too compressed, “especially when you get in the losers bracket,” said Schutte. “An extra day would make it more fair, allowing teams to use their frontline pitching more.”

Of course, he might be expected to say that, given that his frontline pitching is Christina Ezell. The righthander is striking out almost two batters per inning (334 in 177 innings), the best ratio in the nation. After starting the season out of the batting order in favor of the designated player, Ezell started hitting down the stretch and quickly was promoted to cleanup.

At the region tournament in Cochran, she was MVP almost as much for her hitting as her stellar pitching.

In the opening game against Coastal Georgia, Ezell allowed one hit in nine shutout innings, striking out 13, and ended the 1-0 victory with a homer. Two days later, in the final against Darton, she drove home the winning run with a single in the eighth inning.

Of course, she won all three time, raising her record to 23-6 with an earned run average of 0.95. The three complete games left no opening for lefthander Brandi Brewer to pitch.

“We didn’t get an opportunity to get her in because the games were so tight,” said Schutte, who is likely to call on Brewer in Utah.

Offensively, the Jaguars are in better shape than they were at the region tournament. All-region second baseman Nicole Montesanti (.364, 29 RBIs) has recovered from a groin pull, and Schutte expects Jamie Saunders (.404, 19 RBIs) to return from health issues to the batting order as a designated player. Erin Wilson will continue to handle third base.

The biggest force on offense has been all-region center fielder Caitlin Peisel (.449, 33 RBIs). She and others—including Wilson, Devin Dossman, Tiffany Phillips, Brittany McSwain and Lauren Mathis—helped pick up the slack when the injury bug hit late in the season.

“I’ve got a lineup now,” said Schutte, who is gunning for a high finish but concedes his players have already met all expectations with their 31-13 season.

“The goal of any program is to get to the nationals,” he said. “Once you get there, you feel like you accomplished what you wanted to as a team. This is icing on the cake.”

Or, perhaps, the mountain.

JAGUAR JOLTS: All games at the national tournament will be webcast, audio and video, through links at www.njcaa.org. … Montesanti’s return figures to cut the playing time of Allie Raines, who filled in admirably at second base. “If it wasn’t for Allie, we probably wouldn’t be making this trip,” said Schutte. … An underrated strength for the Jaguars has been the outfield defense of Lyneisha Fletcher in left, Peisel in center and McSwain in right, with Chelsie Reynolds the backup. The unit “makes every play,” Schutte says. … The tournament seedings won’t be announced until Monday, but look for clues in the national rankings. No. 2 Miami Dade, No. 3 Chipola, No. 7 Chattanooga State and No. 8 Wallace State-Hanceville are already in the field, and No. 1 Salt Lake has a chance to make it. … The Jaguars have played three teams in the field, going 1-2 against Wallace State-Hanceville. Brewer beat Pitt (N.C.) 3-1 in the Ringor Classic in Aiken, S.C., and GPC lost to Miami Dade 3-2 in the season-opening AAU international event in Kissimmee, Fla. The Jaguars won that tournament.

Top of Page

May 11, 2010

Follow the Jaguars at nationals on web video broadcast

Members of the Georgia Perimeter College softball team are packing their bags and preparing to play for the grand prize—the national championship.

And students, parents and fans can watch all the action on the Internet May 20 through 22. The National Junior College Athletic Association will video broadcast all games at the national Division 1 fast-pitch softball tournament in St. George, Utah.

The Jaguars got a ticket to nationals with three exciting region tournament victories in Cochran, Ga. Scroll down to read about those games and the players who earned region honors. To listen to archived audio broadcasts of those tournament games, click here.

The first round of the 16-team, double-elimination national tournament begins on Thursday, May 20. The Jaguars will play two games on web TV (NJCAA TV) that day.

The surviving teams—those without two losses—will continue play on Friday and Saturday, and the national championship game will begin on Saturday, May 22, at 2 p.m.

To watch the Jaguars on web TV, visit the tournament website and click on the NJCAA logo above “LIVE TOURNAMENT ACTION.”

Once the brackets are set and the webcasts are scheduled, the link also will be available under “Game Webcasts” at www.gpc.edu/athletic.

To view the tournament brackets, click here. The NJCAA will announce the team pairings on Monday.

The NJCAA began live video streaming on the Internet through Panhandle Sports Broadcasting (PSB Live) last fall. After successful live championship broadcasts in volleyball and football and all 52 games at the Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the national office announced that NJCAA TV has received 160,000 hits.

Georgia Perimeter College is about to increase that total.

Top of Page

May 6, 2010

Jaguars gain all-region, all-tournament honors

Caitlin Peisel

Sophomore Caitlin Peisel, a stalwart in center field who leads Georgia Perimeter College with a .449 average, was named to the All-Region 17 first team for the second consecutive season.

Two freshman teammates—pitcher Christina Ezell and second baseman Nicole Montesanti—also were selected to the first team by the region’s coaches. Sophomore shortstop Tiffany Phillips made the second team for the second consecutive year.

Ezell, 23-6 as a pitcher with a 0.95 earned run average, as well as the Jaguars’ cleanup hitter at the end of the season, also was named Most Valuable Player for the region.

Christina Ezell

“Caitlin is one of the best all-around players you can hope for. It was her leadership that brought the team together,” said Jaguars head coach Ed Schutte. “She showed it by scoring the winning run in the championship game.”

Peisel doubled and scored on a single by Ezell as the Jaguars beat Darton College 4-3 in eight innings to claim the region title and a trip to the NJCAA national tournament May 20-22 in St. George, Utah.

Peisel, from Marietta and Lassiter High School, led the Jaguars with 33 runs batted in. She plans to play international ball this summer and has signed to play at Mercer University in Macon.

Nicole Montesanti

Ezell, from Senoia and East Coweta H.S., has struck out 334 batters in 177 innings and led the nation in per-inning whiffs during the regular season. She also plans to play internationally this summer.

“We’ll probably never see a strikeout artist like her again,” said Schutte.

Montesanti, who has been hampered by a groin pull late in the season, is hitting .364 with 29 RBIs, second on the team. She is from Senoia and Whitewater H.S.

Phillips, from McDonough and Eagles Landing H.S., is hitting .353 with 23 RBIs. She has also signed to play at Mercer.

Tiffany Phillips

Peisel and Ezell were joined on the All-Region 17 Tournament team by catcher and leadoff hitter Devin Dossman and third baseman Erin Wilson.

In addition to the game-winning hit in the final, Ezell produced heroics in the Jaguars’ tournament opener, striking out 13 and beating Coastal Carolina 1-0 with a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. She was selected tournament MVP.

Wilson, a freshman from Pooler and Savannah Christian School, singled home two early runs in the championship game. In the seventh inning, with the Jaguars behind by a run, she led off with a single, moved to third on two passed balls, and scored the tying run on a one-out groundout by Dossman.

Devin Dossman

Dossman, who is hitting .349, is from Dacula and Mill Creek H.S.

The other members of the all-tournament team: Lindsey Croft, Brittany Lundgren and Ashley Skinner of Darton; Jennifer Watford and Emily Wilson of Young Harris College; and Kassie Bailey and Jorie Walker of Middle Georgia College. The other members of the all-region first team: Kassie Bailey, Jorie Walker, Lauren Yeargen and Chelsea Vaughn of Middle Georgia; Natalia Morozova and Brittney Novickis of Darton; Amber May of College of Coastal Georgia; and Sarah Ray of Georgia Military College.

The other members of the all-region second team: Emily Wilson and Victoria Sink of Young Harris; Taylor Wilkes, Corby Holmes and Caitlin Moyer of Gordon College; Alix Cooper and Kari Barnes of Darton; Logan Smith and Hannah Braswell of Middle Georgia; and Chantel Schroeder of South Georgia College.

Erin Wilson

The region’s Coach of the Year was Ken Phillips of Middle Georgia.

Top of Page

May 2, 2010

Ezell’s hit gives Jaguars Region 17 championship

All-region. Pitcher of the Year. Player of the Year. Christina Ezell is all that.

Christina Ezell.

But those resume bullet points are granted each season by a vote of the coaches. The Ezell legend pushed way past all that Sunday as the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars won the NJCAA Region 17 tournament in Cochran.

With a runner on second, Ezell squared around as if to bunt, pulled the bat back and punched a single through the infield, driving home the winning run in the championship game as the Jaguars edged Darton College 4-3 in eight innings. Next stop: the national tournament May 20-22 in St. George, Utah.

Even though Ezell struck out 13, she wasn’t her usual dominating self in the pitching circle, trailing 3-2 before the Jaguars scratched for a run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.

“It was enough to get the job done,” said Jaguars coach Ed Schutte. “Determination beats sharpness any day of the week. What a girl—filled up with heart. What a dream.”

After a two-run single by Erin Wilson gave GPC a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth, Darton immediately bounced back. After an error, Dionne Bishop launched a two-run homer over the fence in left field. Later in the inning, Natalia Morozova drove home the tie-breaking run with a single.

Erin Wilson.

For a time, it appeared the Jaguars and Lady Cavaliers might play a second game for the championship of the double-elimination event. But GPC caught a break in the seventh.

After Wilson singled, Allie Raines twice tried to bunt and missed—and twice the ball wound up at the backstop, putting Wilson at third with none out. Raines struck out, but a ground ball to shortstop by Devin Dossman plated the tying run.

After stranding seven runners in scoring position in seven innings, Ezell pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. A double by all-region outfielder Caitlin Peisel set the stage for Ezell’s second walk-off hit of the tournament. She also beat the College of Coastal Georgia 1-0 Friday night with a home run in the bottom of the ninth.

“What a year,” said Schutte. “It’s amazing where we are now compared with where we came from six weeks ago. We didn’t know where we would be. We thought we might be headed for third or fourth place.”

The Jaguars (31-13) rallied to claim the second seed in the tournament, handy because they had to play only once on the first day. The Lady Cavaliers (32-21) lost their opener and had to come through the losers bracket, always a tough proposition. They beat Young Harris 3-1 on Sunday morning and brought back the winning pitcher from that game, Lindsey Croft (15-10), to duel Ezell.

With her 13 strikeouts Sunday, Ezell (23-6) now has 335 in 180 innings. Her average of 1.94 per inning during the regular season was the best in the nation.

Now she heads to the 16-team national showcase. The Jaguars also went in 2007, when the event was held in Plant City, Fla., finishing fifth.

Top of Page

May 2, 2010

Jaguar Journal: Road to championship game not smooth

From the Jaguars’ exciting and promising championship at the International AAU Invitational Tournament to Lauren Mathis’ insurance RBI Saturday that slipped the Georgia Perimeter College softball team into Sunday’s conference championship game, it has been a bumpy, or rocky ride.

It’s enough to make a coach tear out his white hair.

On paper these Jaguars should be a lot stronger than they have shown over the course of the season. True, they have played phenomenal defense, and they entered the tournament with the nation’s leading strikeout queen and a team batting average, .385, that ranks seventh in the nation, that most clubs would die for. Yet something has been strangely lacking.

Perhaps it is aggression at the plate, especially in the clutch. In Saturday’s Darton College victory over Middle Georgia College, you saw players up and down both lineups smacking the ball with intensity. And even when Russian native Natalia Morozova struggled against Middle’s ace, Hannah Braswell, she lined a double to the wall in her last at bat, driving in the eventual game-winning run.

It’s been there often for the Jaguars, but inconsistency is a terrible thing.

Mathis and Tiffany Phillips have had rough years at the plate, after stellar seasons in 2009. So, it was good to see them both get two hits against Young Harris hurler Rikki Powers.

Two major hitters have been sidelined or hobbled. Nicole Montesanti, entered the tournament with a .372 average and 29 RBIs, fifth in the region. Yet she has been restrained by a groin injury. Jamie Saunders has a .404 average, second on the team, ninth in the region, but she’s in the dugout with a worrisome joint affliction.

In Sunday’s championship game, the bats need to come alive, as they did a week ago in a 4-0, 12-4 doubleheader victory over Young Harris College.

After Saturday’s victory over Young Harris, the Jaguars held a cookout with coaches and parents at the pool of their hotel, the Cochran Inn and Suites. Assistant coach Ken Deyton showed his prowress on the grill and Christina Ezell and Brittany McSwain demonstrated their backflipping prowress. The players seemed to garner endless delight with ganging up on fellow team members and tossing them in the water in their street clothes.

Speaking of the Cochran Inn and Suites, owner Glen Sawyer again was a gracious host. The GPC broadcast crew stayed there for the region men’s basketball tournament in March, as did the Coastal Georgia team. This time the GPC team and parents joined Coastal’s for the fine accommodations.

Before Ezell socked her walk-off homer to give GPC a 1-0 win Friday against hotel mates Coastal Georgia, she fouled an inside pitch to the Jaguars’ third base dugout with her lightning quick bat. Coach Ed Schutte came out of the third base coach’s box to meet Ezell halfway down the line. He told her to not swing the bat so quickly, to let the ball come to her. On the next pitch, Ezell, a right-handed hitter, patiently waited on an outside curve and lofted it over the right-field fence.

Saturday’s webcast was delayed until Dwight Phillips, Tiffany’s grandfather, identified the problem with the mixer setup. Cheers to Dwight.

Athletics director Charles Mullis, head softball coach Ken Phillips and the rest of the Middle Georgia College community conducted a classy tournament. The region men’s basketball tournament also was a class affair, so this outfit seems to be good at this.

Caitlin Peisel and Christina Ezell will play international softball this summer. More later.

Peisel, Ezell and Montesanti were named to the All Region first team in the opening ceremony Friday, and Tiffany Phillips was selected to the second team. More later.

Top of Page

May 1, 2010

Georgia Perimeter advances to region championship game

Lauren Mathis singled in a run in the fifth inning to give Georgia Perimeter College a four-run lead. It turned out to be the winning run.

Lauren Mathis plated the winning insurance run.

The Jaguars came from behind and then held on to edge Young Harris College 5-4 Saturday and advance to the championship game in the NJCAA Region 17 double elimination tournament in Cochran, Ga.

Georgia Perimeter will aim for the conference title Sunday at 1 p.m., playing the winner of the losers bracket final between Young Harris and Darton College. Win and the Jaguars are champions; lose that game and the two finalists will each have one loss, making a 3 p.m. playoff necessary.

Mathis batted in Caitlin Peisel to give the Jaguars a seemingly comfortable 4-1 lead after five innings, given the dominance this season by starter Christina Ezell.

But Ezell appeared without her usual cutting edge in velocity and movement, not striking out her normal quota—she leads the NJCAA in strikeouts per inning at 1.95. Young Harris had three base runners in the first three innings, including doubles by Jamey Chapman and Kayla Jones.

Jones scored on a sacrifice fly by Jennifer Watford in the third inning, giving the Mountain Lions a 1-0 lead.

GPC (30-13) answered with a big bottom half of the third, plating four runs on two singles (Allie Raines and Tiffany Phillips), an error, three fielder’s choices and an RBI sacrifice fly by Nicole Montesanti. Crossing the plate were Devin Dossman, Brittany McSwain, Peisel and Ezell.

Trailing 5-1 in the sixth after Mathis’ RBI, Young Harris (20-20) got to Ezell with four singles and three runs (Tara Mullinax, Chapman and Sam Woolf) to close it to 5-4.

After Brittany Allen led off the seventh with a double, Ezell got the side out.

Ezell (22-6) struck out seven—low for her—walked four and allowed eight hits. Meanwhile, the Lions’ Rikki Powers allowed six hits, fanned three and issued three bases on balls.

“They outhit us; they outpitched us; but luckily we out-defended them,” GPC coach Ed Shutte said.

The Jaguars continued their streak of playing errorless ball. Young Harris committed four errors.

Mathis ended up 2-for-3 at bat, and Phillips went 2-for-2 with a key sacrifice fly. Chapman led all hitters with a 3-for-4 day.

In the losers bracket Saturday, Darton eliminated College of Coastal Georgia 5-4, Middle Georgia sent home Georgia Military College 12-4, and then Darton upset Middle Georgia, the regular season champion, 6-5.

To listen to an audio webcast of the championship game, visit www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the link under “Game Webcasts.” The pregame Jaguar Journal will begin at 12:45 p.m.

Top of Page

April 30, 2010

Jaguars advance on Ezell’s extra-inning heroics

Locked in a classic pitchers’ duel with her former high school teammate, Christina Ezell pitched a one-hitter and hit a ninth inning home run to power Georgia Perimeter College over College of Coastal Georgia 1-0 Friday and advance in the NJCAA Region 17 tournament in Cochran, Ga.

Christina Ezell pitched a one-hitter and hit a walk-off homer.

Ezell and Coastal Georgia’s Amber May—both freshmen who starred at East Coweta High School—pitched scoreless masterpieces for the regulation seven innings. May pitched a three-hitter and Ezell (21-6) had a no-hitter going until Jessica Skinner led off the eighth with a single just inside the left field foul line.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Ezell smacked an outside curve ball for a towering fly to right field that cleared the fence by a couple of feet.

“She came up to me in the ninth inning and said, ‘Coach, I’m not going to let this game get away,’” said head coach Ed Shutte. “And I said, ‘Then you’ll have to do it yourself.’”

Schutte said he was disappointed with his team’s hitting after an explosive doubleheader victory a week earlier against Young Harris College in which the Jaguars outscored the Mountain Lions 16-4.

“The way this team hit against Young Harris, I never thought they would hit like they did tonight,” Schutte said. “When you get into these kinds of games, you have to have good at bats. We were lucky.”

The walk-off homer sent the Jaguars into the winner’s bracket showdown Saturday at 3 p.m. against Young Harris. GPC beat the Lions 4-0 and 12-3 last week, with Ezell tossing a three-hitter in the shutout, with 10 strikeouts.

Ezell struck out 12 and walked two. The Mariners (24-21) stranded three in the first three innings, and then Ezell sat them down in order for six innings except for Skinner’s hit.

May (15-6) came into the game with a 1.78 ERA and 147 strikeouts, second in the region only to Ezell, who now has 315. Keeping the Jaguars (28-13) off balance with a mix of high fastballs and good change-ups and breaking pitches, May struck out five and walked four.

GPC’s Brittany McSwain singled in the first inning, and Devin Dossman doubled with two outs in the fifth.

Both teams played errorless ball, and Mariners second baseman Lyndsay Chambers continued her streak of no errors committed the entire season.

In other action Friday at the Middle Georgia field, Young Harris opened the double-elimination tournament with a 1-0 win over Darton College; Coastal beat Georgia Military 5-2; and Young Harris slipped past No. 1 seed Middle Georgia 4-3 in nine innings.

Saturday’s losers bracket games are Coastal vs. Darton at 11 a.m. and Middle Georgia vs. Georgia Military at 1 p.m.

To listen to an audio webcast of the GPC-Young Harris game, visit www.gpc.edu/athletic and click on the link under “Game Webcasts.” The pregame Jaguar Journal will begin at 2:55 p.m.

Top of Page

April 27, 2010

Jags well-armed for weekend region tournament

After a bumpy trip through the regular season, the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars arrive at the NJCAA Region 17 tournament with the single best weapon and high hopes.

Ed Schutte and the Jaguars begin playoff action Friday at 7 p.m.

That weapon, of course, is freshman Christina Ezell, a 20-game winner and the nation’s most prolific strikeout artist. The Jaguars hope to ride her right arm to the national tournament in St. George, Utah.

“The other coaches don’t talk about having to beat Georgia Perimeter. They talk about having to beat Ezell,” said Jaguars head coach Ed Schutte. “She can come in and shut a team down cold.”

On the way to a 20-6 record, 303 strikeouts and a 0.94 ERA, Ezell beat every opponent in the six-team region tournament. She leads the nation with 1.94 strikeouts per inning.

“It’s in Ezell’s hands, and the key will be getting some runs for her in the first three innings,” said Schutte, who reached 300 victories at GPC with last weekend’s two wins over Young Harris College.

Indeed, the bumpy parts of the season were caused by inconsistency at the plate as the Jaguars finished 13-5 in the region, 28-13 overall. They are seeded second in the tournament behind regular-season champion Middle Georgia College (16-2), but Schutte said he is happy with the bracket.

“The draw is to our advantage. We’re fortunate to stay away from Darton in the first game,” he said. “Plus, we have a chance to give Christina a good rest here.”

The double-elimination tournament starts at 1 p.m. Friday with fourth-seeded Darton College (11-7) facing No. 5 Young Harris (9-9). At 3 p.m., third-seeded College of Coastal Georgia (11-7) plays No. 6 Georgia Military College (9-9).

At 5 p.m., host Middle Georgia plays the Darton-Young Harris winner. The Jaguars meet the Coastal Georgia-Georgia Military winner at 7 p.m.

Should the Jaguars win their opener, they next play at 3 p.m. Saturday, likely a showdown against Middle Georgia or Darton. Should the Jaguars lose—well, that’s what happened in 2007, and they fought through five elimination games to win a ticket to the national tournament.

Should Ezell tire—and she has worked her arm overtime this season—left-handed freshman Brandi Brewer will get the call.

To get to the nationals for a second time, GPC needs better hitting than they received during portions of the regular season. Sophomore center fielder Caitlin Peisel has a .465 average and a team-leading 32 runs batted in. Third baseman Jamie Saunders, after battling injuries, has slowly raised her average to .404.

But second baseman Nichole Montesanti (.373) is questionable for the tournament as she recovers from a groin pull. She missed last Friday’s doubleheader sweep of Young Harris, but Allie Raines did a good job in her stead, making every play in the field and going 3-for-5.

Right fielder Brittany McSwain also had a big day against Young Harris, going 4-for-7 and making a splendid running catch in right field that she turned into a double play with a strong throw to first base.

“This outfield [McSwain, Peisel and Lyneisha Fletcher] pretty much makes every play,” said Schutte.

Other key ingredients are the left-handed bats of sophomores Tiffany Phillips and Lauren Mathis. Phillips, a .500 hitter last year, has struggled some this season, as has power hitter Mathis. Both have shown signs of regaining consistency in recent weeks.

Catcher Devin Dossman recently moved to the leadoff spot and has worked well there. That move dropped McSwain down to the two spot, putting her outstanding bunting skills to good use.

Fletcher and have surprised many teams at the bottom of the order, winning some games with late-inning hits. Their bats will also be important to bring around the top of the lineup.

And the cleanup hitter of late? None other than Christina Ezell.

JAGUAR JOLTS: Tournament games from Cochran will be webcast on NHSBN.com, with a link on www.gpc.edu/athletic. ... The national tournament is May 20-22. The winner of Region 17 automatically receives one of the 16 berths in the double-elimination event at the Canyon Complex in St. George, Utah, about two hours north of Las Vegas on Interstate 15. … In addition to Ezell, the region has two other pitchers among the national leaders in strikeouts per inning—Darton’s Brittany Lundgren (1.59) and Middle Georgia’s Hannah Braswell (1.23). ... The Jaguars won their final six region games after a 3-0 loss to South Georgia on April 7. … They split a doubleheader at home against their likely first-round opponent, Coastal Georgia, winning the opener 8-1 and losing the nightcap 3-2 in eight innings. Ezell pitched a three-hitter in the opener and struck out 12. … Schutte’s comment on reaching his 300th victory at GPC: “I’m going for 500.”

Top of Page

April 23, 2010

Jags roll into tournament

After the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars wrapped up second place in NJCAA Region 17, they didn’t call it a day. Instead, they came back and pounded one of the teams they will see at next weekend’s tournament in Cochran.

Allie Raines started off the Jaguars’ scoring.

The Jaguars claimed the second seed with a 4-0 victory over Young Harris College— important in a six-team double-elimination tournament because they get to skip the early game on the first day. After falling behind twice in the nightcap, GPC (28-13, 13-5) roared back for a 12-3 victory in a game halted in the bottom of the fifth inning by the eight-run rule.

“The bats woke up in the second game and it got contagious. We’ve got to have that at Cochran,” said coach Ed Schutte, who reached the 300-win mark at Georgia Perimeter.

Singles by Devin Dossman and Brittany McSwain started a two-run third inning that gave the Jaguars a 4-3 lead. A two-run triple by Dossman in the fourth made it 6-3.

In the fifth, GPC batted around, starting with a triple by Brandi Brewer and concluding with a bases-clearing triple by Caitlin Peisel.

In between, McSwain slapped another single, giving her four in the doubleheader. “She just did a great job at the plate,” said Schutte.

also contributed a two-run double in the big inning against Young Harris ace Victoria Sink (11-7).

Brewer (7-6), who relived Christina Ezell with the score tied at 2, was the winning pitcher, allowing a run and four hits in four innings. “But Brandi needs to get her change-up going before Cochran,” said Schutte.

As for Ezell, Schutte said he’d like his strikeout artist to recapture the velocity she displayed early in the season. “She needs to be where she was in March,” he said.

Ezell (20-6) pitched six shutout innings in the opener, allowing three hits and whiffing 10. Brewer relieved for the seventh. Rikki Powers (5-10) took the loss for the Lady Lions (18-19, 9-9), who were awaiting other Region 17 scores to see where they would be seeded for the tournament.

Allie Raines started GPC’s three-run third inning with a double. She scored on a single by McSwain. Piesel and Tiffany Phillips had the other RBI in the inning.

Raines was playing second base in place of the injured Nichole Montesanti, who the Jaguars need to get healthy for the tournament. “Allie filled in great at second base. She made every play,” said Schutte.

Peisel, Phillips and Lauren Mathis were honored between games on Sophomore Day.

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.

Top of Page

April 17, 2010

Punchless Jaguars lose two

On the road to the NJCAA Region 17 tournament, the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars took a side trip on Saturday, playing a doubleheader at Emory University. It turned into a frustrating day for their hitters, and the result was losses of 2-1 and 2-0.

“It seemed like every good ball we hit they made a spectacular play on it,” said coach Ed Schutte, whose Jaguars (26-13) produced seven hits in the opener and five in the nightcap.

The news got better later in the day when a path opened for the Jaguars to finish second in Region 17. That would mean an early bye in the double-elimination tournament, which starts April 30 in Cochran. Host Middle Georgia College seems a lock for the first seed, but the Jaguars have slipped ahead of Darton.

The regular season concludes April 24 with a home doubleheader against Young Harris at 4 p.m.

“Let’s hope we can get our players healthy by then,” said Schutte of the bumps, bruises and strains.

In the opener at Emory, a four-year school that plays in NCAA Division III, Christina Ezell was the pitching star as usual but was also the top hitter, with two singles and a solo home run in the fourth inning.

After striking out eight in five innings, Ezell gave way to Brandi Brewer, who surrendered Emory’s tie-breaking run in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out hit by Jessica Boni that drove in Zara Louy from second base. Any chance of a play at the plate ended when the ball skipped to the wall in right field.

The loss dropped Brewer’s record to 6-6.

Ezell (19-6) came back to start the second game but got little offensive support. Devin Dossman had two hits, but the Jaguars failed to dent the plate against Emory, which won the University Athletic Association championship and is hoping for a bid to the Division III playoffs. The five teams in the league played a round robin in Altamonte Springs, Fla., in March, with the Eagles finishing 6-2.

Georgia Perimeter’s April 24 doubleheader against Young Harris will be Sophomore Day as the Jaguars honor center fielder Caitlin Peisel, shortstop Tiffany Phillips and first baseman Lauren Mathis. Peisel and Phillips have signed to attend Mercer University in Macon.

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.

Top of Page

April 13, 2010

Ezell strikes out 19 in twinbill; Mathis leads hit parade

The Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars ask a lot of freshman righthander Christina Ezell, and she delivered even more Tuesday—11 innings of three-hit work, one run allowed, 19 strikeouts.

Oh, and a pair of gift-wrapped victories, a sweep at Gordon College that may have put the Jaguars (26-11, 11-5) in position to claim one of the top two seeds in the NJCAA Region 17 tournament, which starts April 30 in Cochran. The top two seeds in the double-elimination event only have to play once on the first day.

“Just her normal self,” said coach Ed Schutte of Ezell, each time the starter and winner in GPC’s 6-1 and 9-0 victories.

Ezell nearly matched her season pace of 1.99 strikeouts per inning. She is the national leader in that category.

In the opener, Ezell allowed a hit and a run in six innings, whiffing 11. In the second game, she allowed two hits in five innings, fanning eight. Each time freshman lefthander Brandi Brewer finished with a perfect inning. The second game was six innings, limited by the eight-run rule.

Three errors by Gordon (21-20, 4-8) helped GPC take a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the opener. Lauren Mathis had an RBI single and then came back in the third with a two-run homer for a 5-0 lead. After Jamie Saunders’ second double, Mathis doubled in the fifth for her fourth RBI.

“Lauren is showing us how to step it up at the plate,” said Schutte of his sophomore first baseman. “She’s showing sophomore leadership, leading us through this. She’s making other people hit better.”

In the second game, Caitlin Peisel and Saunders had three RBIs apiece and Tiffany Phillips had two. Leadoff hitter Devin Dossman contributed three singles.

The Jaguars’ bats were silent for two innings before they took control with three runs in the third. Highlanders starter Lacee Landrum, who finished the first game, was charged with those runs and two of the Jaguars’ three in the fifth.

The Jaguars next play Saturday at Emory of NCAA Division III, a doubleheader at noon. The first game will be webcast on NSHBN.com, with a link available at www.gpc.edu/athletic.

The final home games are on April 24, a doubleheader against Young Harris College at 4 p.m. It will be the Lady Lions’ last regular-season appearance in Region 17. They move to four-year status next season.

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.

Top of Page

April 10, 2010

Jaguars end doublheader split woes

After five consecutive defeats in the nightcaps of softball doubleheaders, Georgia Perimeter College zeroed in on taking both games Saturday.

Caitlin Peisel hit .500 for the week.

Thanks to altered roles for its two pitchers, the result was nothing but zeroes for Andrew College (8-18, 1-9) and a 5-0, 8-0 sweep by Georgia Perimeter on the Newton Campus.

The Jaguars (24-11, 9-5), who won all five openers of those twinbills, maintained the trend as Christina Ezell struck out nine and allowed two hits and no walks in the first three innings of the opening game.

Coach Ed Schutte, who had been sending Ezell the distance in the openers, elected to save her for a second-game start and brought Brandi Brewer out of the bullpen in the first game. Brewer matched Ezell’s excellence, giving up one hit and no walks in four innings.

Ezell stayed in the game in a non-pitching role and amassed three hits.

Eleven strikeouts during a five-inning stint in the second game brought Ezell’s season total to 268, leading the nation in whiffs per inning (1.99). She was touched for one hit and one walk in improving her record to 17-5. Brewer again relieved and permitted two hits and no walks in two innings.

“Brandi’s working well in relief, and both pitchers have been consistent all year in not walking people,” Schutte said.

With three more hits in the second game, Ezell outhit the entire Andrew team. Teammate Caitlin Peisel, who hit .500 for the 6-game week, had a combined five hits and Nicole Montesanti had four. Lauren Mathis hit a double in each game.

GPC resumes region play Tuesday at Barnesville against Gordon College. That doubleheader will be audio webcast at 3:50 p.m. To hear the broadcast, visit and follow the link under “Game Webcasts.”

After visiting Emory next Saturday at noon for a pair of games, the Jaguars return home April 24 for a 4 p.m. twinbill with region rival Young Harris.

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.

Top of Page

April 9, 2010

South Georgia forces split with Lady Jaguars

Continuing to tread water, the Georgia Perimeter College women’s softball team won and lost—in that order—Friday for the fifth consecutive doubleheader.

The Lady Jaguars, behind a trademark stout pitching performance from Christina Ezell, blanked South Georgia College 3-0 in the opener on the Newton campus.

Ezell (15-5) struck out 11, walked none and allowed three hits.

Then the Lady Tigers flipped the script with a 3-0 decision as starting pitcher Brandi Brewer lasted two innings. She left with GPC trailing 2-0 after a two-run home run by Chantel Schroeder.

Relieving Brewer, Ezell granted South Georgia (17-15, 5-5) another run in the seventh. But she struck out 14 of 15 outs, walked one and allowed two hits.

“She came in and threw strikeouts all the way. That’s incredible,” said coach Ed Schutte.

The Lady Jaguars are going through a power shortage at the plate, limited largely to singles throughout the day. They eked out three runs for Ezell, which was more than enough for the nation’s leader in strikeouts per innings.

The splits have allowed GPC (22-11, 7-5) to remain above .500 in the Region 17 standings. They will try to improve on that status with a home doubleheader against Andrew College at 4 p.m. Saturday.

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.

Top of Page

April 6, 2010

Another no-hitter; another split

Christina Ezell pitched her third no-hitter of the season Tuesday, but the Georgia Perimeter College women’s softball team seems stuck in splitsville.

The Jaguars have split their last four doubleheaders. In each case, they won the opener but dropped the nightcap.

The pattern continued Tuesday in Milledgeville as GPC (21-10, 6-4) took on Georgia Military College. Ezell’s 9-0 no-no was followed by a 4-3 setback.

Ezell, the nation’s junior college leader in strikeouts per inning at 1.94, was typically sharp in the first game. She whiffed 12 batters and walked four.

The Jaguars bunched all of their runs in the second inning, mainly on singles. Ezell, Caitlin Peisel and Allie Raines slapped two hits apiece.

After two innings of the second game, Ezell relieved Brandi Brewer with the game tied 2-2. She blanked GMC through regulation, but her teammates were unable to score.

In the tie-breaker—in which the batting team begins the extra inning with a runner planted on second base—the Jaguars jumped ahead 3-2, but Ezell (14-5) uncharacteristically allowed two runs to absorb the loss. She struck out seven.

GPC scratched out only three hits.

The Jaguars are home this weekend for a pair of doubleheaders, beginning at 4 p.m. Friday against South Georgia College on the Newton Campus. Saturday they play two with Andrew College, beginning at 4 p.m.

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.

Top of Page

March 27, 2010

Jaguars drop heartbreaker in extra inning

Brandi Brewer pitched one of her best games of the season Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to survive a determined conference foe.

A wild pitch by Brewer allowed the winning unearned run in the eighth inning as the Georgia Perimeter College softball team dropped the second game of a Region 17 doubleheader to visiting College of Coastal Georgia 3-2.

In the opening game Christina Ezell (13-4) pitched a three-hitter and struck out 12 to lead the Jaguars over Coastal Georgia 8-1.

The nightcap featured a pitcher’s duel between Brewer and Mariners ace Amber May, who ranks second in the region—behind Ezell—in pitching stats for 80 innings or more. May held Georgia Perimeter hitless until Caitlin Peisel’s leadoff single in the fourth inning.

Meanwhile, Brewer displayed as much power and better control throughout the game, until weakening in the late innings. In the fifth, Coastal broke the tie with an unearned run on Loren Shook’s RBI single and another run-scoring hit by Bethany Gunter.

The Jaguars answered in the fifth inning when Brittany McSwain reached on a hit, moved to third on two walks and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nicole Montesanti. They tied it an inning later with an RBI single by McSwain, scoring Erin Wilson, who had started the rally with a base hit.

When a softball game goes into the extra inning, the eighth, NJCAA rules place an automatic runner on second base. The Mariners (15-16, 3-3) moved the automatic runner, Miranda Martinez, to third with a sacrifice bunt. Martinez scored the winning run on a wild pitch by Brewer.

“You can’t put that one on Brandi. I thought she threw very well,” said GPC coach Ed Schutte. “How many times did we need execution at the plate and we popped it up?”

In the first game, Georgia Perimeter (20-9, 5-3) collected nine hits, with Peisel and Montesanti getting three each, including a triple by each. After Coastal took a one-run lead in the first inning, GPC exploded for one run in the first, four in the second and three in the fifth.

The Jaguars get a long rest until traveling to Milledgeville on April 6 to face Georgia Military College in another region doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. Their next home game will be with South Georgia College on April 9 at 4 p.m.

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.

Top of Page

March 26, 2010

GPC, Middle Georgia split softball doubleheader

Georgia Perimeter split a doubleheader Friday against Middle Georgia College, winning 6-1 before suffering a 13-0 defeat.

Christina Ezell struck out seven and allowed only three hits in the opener. The Lady Jaguars scored three runs on passed balls, including two in a hitless first inning. The final four runs came in the next frame, with Tiffany Phillips’ two-run double the big blow. Caitlin Peisel singled in a run and GPC benefited from another passed ball for the game’s final run.

Ezell (12-4) started the second game, but allowed five hits—including a home run—in two innings. Brandi Brewer relieved Ezell, and also allowed a home run. The Jaguars collected only three hits in their worst loss of the season. Nevertheless, GPC came out of the doubleheader with a 19-8 record, including 4-2 in Region 17 play. Middle Georgia improved to 18-10 with the win, 1-1 in the region.

The Lady Jaguars were scheduled to play Coastal Georgia Community College on Saturday before taking an Easter week break. They will resume their schedule Tuesday, April 6, at 4 p.m., when they visit Georgia Military College.

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.

Top of Page

March 20, 2010

A gem and a bomb at Darton

Nicole Montesanti and hit home runs and Christina Ezell tossed a masterpiece 3-hitter to lead Georgia Perimeter College over Darton College 2-0 Saturday in the first game of a conference doubleheader.

Erin Wilson hit her first home run.

That’s the good news. The bad news is Darton blew out the Jaguars 11-1 in the nightcap.

The split left the two teams tied at three wins and one loss each in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association, Region 17 of the NJCAA.

Ezell (11-3) struck out 14 hitters, a phenomenal accomplishment against the Cavaliers’ powerful lineup. She walked only two batters, both in the first inning, and gave up base hits to Kari Barnes and Natalia Morozova, who also hit a double.

The Jaguars (18-7, 3-1) got the only run Ezell needed in the second frame as Montesanti lofted a high fly off Lindsey Croft (4-4) that caught the wind and cleared the left-center field fence.

Wilson, who went 3-for-3, drove a similar fly in the fourth that landed in nearly the same spot. According to Wilson it was her first home run ever.

“It was probably one of our best first games of the year,” said Jaguars head coach Ed Schutte. “But we’ve got to learn how to play the second game.”

Darton coach David Dews apparently chose not to pitch his ace against Ezell, given Ezell’s knack for throwing shutouts. The strategy salvaged a split as Brittany Lundgren silenced GPC’s bats in the second game with a one-hitter. Lundgren (5-1) had a no-hitter through four innings.

Along with Dena Bohorst of Middle Georgia College, Lundgren and Ezell are at the top of the region in earned run averages.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (14-8, 3-1) jumped on second-game starter Brandi Brewer early, scoring eight runs in the first two innings. The big blows were 3-run home runs by Ashley Goley and Morozova, a pitcher-infielder from Moscow, Russia, who was 5-for-6 on the day. Morozova’s Moscow teammate, Eugenia Egiazarova was 3-for-3 in the nightcap, as was Barnes.

The Jaguars scratched out a run in the fourth inning without a hit. Brittany McSwain drew walk, advanced on a passed ball and scored on a passed ball when Montesanti walked.

Georgia Perimeter’s only base hit against Lundgren came in the fifth, a sharp drive to the opposite field by lefty Lauren Mathis.

Brewer (6-3) settled down by the fourth inning, but the game was called after the top of the fifth on the 10-run rule. The loss ended GPC’s 11-game winning streak.

There’s little rest for the Jaguars as they travel Friday to face region power Middle Georgia in Cochran, a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.

Saturday GPC hosts Coastal Georgia Community College in another region matchup beginning at 4 p.m. The second game of that doubleheader will be audio webcast, with the Jaguar Journal pregame show beginning at 5:50 p.m. To hear the broadcast, visit gpc.edu/athletic and click on the link under “Game Webcasts.”

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.

Top of Page

March 13, 2010

Jaguars extend win streak to 10

Georgia Perimeter College dove into Region 17 softball play Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of Abraham Baldwin Community College in Tifton, extending the Lady Jaguars’ win streak to 10 games.

Jamie Saunders had a good day at the plate and a game-winning hit.

GPC’s Christina Ezell (10-3), one of the nation’s foremost pitchers, tossed a shutout in a 2-0 decision. Then the Lady Jaguars (17-6) unleashed their bats, swatting 21 hits for a 10-3 victory. Region 17, also known as the Georgia Junior College Athletics Association, consists of state schools.

Ezell struck out 13 and allowed the Fillies (5-15, 1-3) just two hits and one walk. She entered the game ranked third in the nation with 150 strikeouts and second with 1.88 whiffs per inning. Her 1.06 earned run average was second-best in the region.

Both GPC runs came in the fourth inning. Jamie Saunders singled in Caitlin Peisel, then tallied on Devin Dossman’s single.

In the nightcap, Brandi Brewer (6-2) scattered seven hits, striking out four and walking three. She started the day with a 1.75 ERA, fifth in the region.

Brewer was supported by four hits apiece from Peisel and Erin Wilson, plus three each from Saunders, Lauren Mathis and Allie Raines. GPC scored six runs in the seventh inning.

ABAC starting pitchers Caitlyn Asbell and Lauren Revels absorbed the losses.

The weekend road trip was cut short when Sunday’s doubleheader against Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla., was called off because of wet grounds.

Next up for the Lady Jaguars is a key showdown with region rival Darton College next Saturday in Albany, Ga. The Cavaliers were ranked eighth nationally in the NJCAA preseason poll.

GPC’s next home game is Saturday, March 27 against Coastal Georgia Community College at 4 p.m.

Lady Jaguar home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium complex is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

March 6, 2010

Lady Jaguars go 5-0 in Alabama

The Georgia Perimeter College softball Jaguars completed a lucrative trip to Alabama on Saturday, winning two more games in the Wallace-Hanceville Classic.

Devin Dossman’s double won the first game.

The Jaguars defeated Bevill (Ala.) State Community College 4-2 and Columbia (Tenn.) State Community College 4-0 to wrap up a perfect weekend.

Pitcher Christina Ezell claimed four of the five wins and fortified her hold as the nation’s junior college leader in strikeouts per innings.

She relieved starter Brandi Brewer in the sixth against Bevill and whiffed five batters in the final four innings of the game that went to a tiebreaker. Ezell (7-2) returned to throw a shutout against Columbia, permitting three hits and whiffing nine.

GPC was tied 1-1 with Bevill, the lone team to score against the Lady Jaguars at the event, after seven innings. In the tiebreaker format, each team begins the eighth with a runner on second base.

Both sides managed one run. In the ninth, GPC’s Devin Dossman doubled in Nicole Montesanti and Erin Wilson, then Ezell blanked Bevill in the bottom of the inning.

Caitlin Peisel stroked three hits against Columbia. She and four teammates singled in a first-inning eruption that produced three runs.

The Lady Jaguars are back on the road next weekend—but not in Alabama. They confront Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on Saturday in Tifton and Santa Fe College on Sunday in Gainesville, Fla.

Their next home appearance is March 27 for a doubleheader against conference foe Coastal Georgia Community College beginning at 4 p.m.

Jaguar home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium complex is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

March 5, 2010

Strikeout queen Ezell shines as GPC shuts out three Alabama teams

Georgia Perimeter College softball pitchers were zeroed in Friday, resulting in nothing but zeroes for their three Alabama foes at the Wallace-Hanceville (Ala.) Classic.

Christina Ezell, who entered the event as the nation’s junior college leader in strikeouts per inning, kept up her torrid pace. She whiffed 12 batters, allowing three hits as the Lady Jaguars opened the marathon day by blanking Jefferson Davis Community College 6-0.

Ezell came back for the nightcap and no-hit Northwest-Shoals Community College 2-0. She struck out 16.

In between, Brandi Brewer doled out two hits to Jefferson State Community College as GPC won 1-0. Brewer had 6 Ks.

The Lady Jaguars scored five of their runs late in the first win. Caitlin Peisel and Nicole Montesanti contributed two hits.

The lone run in the second game was produced by doubles from Allie Raines and Lauren Mathis. Lyneisha Fletcher went 3-for-3 at the plate.

The Lady Jaguars broke a scoreless tie during the fifth inning of their final win. Erin Wilson, who had two hits, singled and Brittany McSwain sent her home with a double.

Two more games await GPC on Saturday at the Classic.

Top of Page

February 27, 2010

Ezell strikes out 13 in no-hitter

A no-hitter and a shutout—not bad work on the mound for one day. Especially since the opponents were teams ranked 5th and 16th in the nation.

Freshman righthander Christina Ezell pitched a no-hitter, striking out 13 in a 1-0 victory Saturday over Florida State College at Jacksonville in the GPC Spring Invitational at the Newton Campus. FSCJ is ranked fifth in the National Junior College Athletic Association coaches poll.

Ezell had to work an extra inning because the Jaguars didn’t plate their run until the eighth. It came on a triple by Lyneisha Fletcher.

Friday, Ezell fanned 15 as Georgia Perimeter won the tourney opener over Walters State.

The Jaguars wrapped up a 3-0 performance in their event later in the day, pounding 16th-ranked Spartanburg Methodist 10-0 in a game halted after six innings by the mercy rule.

Freshman lefthander Brandi Brewer pitched the shutout, striking out 11 and allowing seven hits.

Jamie Saunders was 4-for-4 for GPC (10-6), while Fletcher had three hits and Nicole Montesanti two.

The Jaguars next play March 5-7 in a tournament hosted by Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala. Wallace State is ranked No. 2.

The next home game isn’t until March 27, an NJCAA Region 17 doubleheader against the College of Coastal Georgia at 4 p.m.

Home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium complex is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

February 26, 2010

Ezell whiffs 15 in GPC Spring Invitational opener

Freshman Christina Ezell struck out 15 in Georgia Perimeter College’s 4-0 victory over Walters State Community College of Morristown, Tenn., at the GPC Spring Invitational on the Newton Campus.

Christina Ezell

The Jaguars (8-6) scored four runs in the third inning. After Nicole Montesanti started off the rally with a base hit, Jamie Saunders, Lauren Mathis and Erin Wilson hit consecutive singles. Then Lyneisha Fletcher cleared the bases with a three-run triple.

It was the opening game of the five-team invitational. GPC plays two nationally ranked teams Saturday—Florida State College at Jacksonville at 4 p.m. and Spartanburg Methodist College at 6 p.m. Florida State Jacksonville is No. 5 in the National Junior College Athletic Association preseason coaches poll, and Spartanburg Methodist is No. 15.

The other team in the tournament, Young Harris, is a perennial contender in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association.

To view the tournament schedule, visit the “Schedule/Results” page of this GPC softball Web site.

The GPC Spring Invitational is played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium complex is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

February 21, 2010

Jaguars lose in Ringor finale

The Georgia Perimeter College women wrapped up their participation in the Ringor Classic in Aiken, S.C., with a 6-3 loss to Calhoun Community College of Decatur, Ala., in a consolation game.

Freshman lefthander Brandi Brewer (Crisp Academy) was the losing pitcher.

The Jaguars host the GPC Classic on Friday and Saturday, a round robin event that also includes Walters State C.C. of Morristown, Tenn.; Spartanburg Methodist College; Florida State College at Jacksonville; and Young Harris College.

The Jaguars play Walters State on Friday and Spartanburg and FSCJ on Saturday. They will not play Young Harris, a fellow member of NJCAA Region 17.

Jaguar home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium complex is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

February 20, 2010

Jaguars split at Ringor Classic

Georgia Perimeter College made the Gold Bracket at the Ringor Classic but lost 3-0 to Wallace State Community College of Hanceville, Ala., ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA preseason poll.

Freshman righthander Christina Ezell (East Coweta), who beat Hanceville at home on Thursday, gave up four hits and took the loss. Jamie Saunders had the only two hits for the Jaguars (7-5).

In their final game of pool play, the Jaguars pounded Surry Community College of Dobson, N.C., 12-4 in a game halted after six innings by the mercy rule. GPC pounded out 15 hits in support of winning pitcher Allie Raines.

The Jaguars head home Sunday after a rematch with Calhoun Community College, which beat them 4-0 in pool play.

The Ringor Classic attracted 24 top teams from the Southeast to a first-class setting, Citizens Park in Aiken, S.C.

Top of Page

February 19, 2010

Brewer pitches 2-hit complete game

Freshman lefthander Brandi Brewer of Cordele (Crisp Academy) pitched her first complete game for Georgia Perimeter College, beating Pitt Community College 3-1 with a two-hitter at the Ringor Classic in Aiken, S.C.

Brandi Brewer

In the first game, Calhoun Community College of Decatur, Ala., beat the Jaguars 4-0. Pool play continues today with a match against Surry Community College of Dobson, N.C., before bracket play begins in the 24-team event.

Brewer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up an infield single that ticked off her glove. She allowed another hit in the seventh. The run allowed was unearned.

Brewer struck out eight and walked three, all in the first three innings, while throwing harder than in previous outings.

“I told her in the fifth, ‘I want you to finish this game,’” said GPC head coach Ed Schutte. “She said, ‘I’m going to finish this game.’ I could see the confidence in her eyes.”

The Jaguars (6-4) scored three times in the first inning, two on a single by freshman Jamie Saunders (Whitewater H.S.). Sophomore Caitlin Peisel (Lassiter H.S.) also had an RBI.

Saunders had two of GPC’s five hits.

The Jaguars had four hits, two by freshman Brittany McSwain (Loganville H.S.), against Calhoun pitcher Rachel Keeton.

The Warhawks went ahead in the first on a two-run homer by Brittany Richardson and scored two unearned runs in the third off GPC righthander Christina Ezell, who struck out eight and allowed only three hits in her six-inning complete game.

Jaguar home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium complex is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

February 18, 2010

Ezell whiffs 13, beats No. 2-ranked team

Freshman righthander Christina Ezell gave Georgia Perimeter College fans their first glimpse of what figures to be an outstanding career, striking out 13 in a 2-1 victory over perennial NJCAA power Wallace State Community College of Hanceville, Ala.

Christina Ezell

Wallace-Hanceville, which won the NJCAA title in 2008 and finished second last season, came back to win the second game of the doubleheader 6-3.

“It’s unbelievable to beat Wallace-Hanceville,” said GPC head coach Ed Schutte. “It’s just a great win for our program.”

Wallace-Hanceville, playing its season-opening games because of weather problems, was No. 2 in the preseason NJCAA poll. With their victory, the Jaguars (5-3) make a bid to join the top 20 when the rankings are next updated.

Ezell, of Senoia (East Coweta H.S.), got the backing she needed when the Jaguars scored twice in the first inning. She allowed just two hits, one a solo home run to Jessica Graves in the third inning, and walked three.

The error-free game by the Jaguars was extremely pleasing to Schutte.

“We felt like after we went up 2-0 that Christina could take it the rest of the way,” he said.

Sophomore Caitlin Peisel (Lassiter H.S.) was the catalyst in the first inning, tripling home the first run and scoring the second on a two-out double steal. Peisel also singled in the third as the Jaguars were held to four hits by Wallace-Hanceville’s Kirsten Skinner.

Things didn’t go as well for GPC freshman lefthander Brandi Brewer of Cordele (Crisp Academy) in the second game. Defensive lapses figured in the first five runs scored by Wallace-Hanceville, two in the first and three in the fifth.

Brewer went five innings, looking sharp in stretches and striking out three. Allie Raines (Ola H.S.) finished up.

Leadoff hitter Brittany McSwain (Loganville H.S.) led GPC with three hits, while sophomore Tiffany Phillips (Eagle’s Landing H.S.) had two.

Returning All-American Kelsey Dennis pitched the first five innings for Wallace-Hanceville, striking out nine.

The teams move up I-20 to Aiken, S.C., for the 24-team Ringor Classic, Friday through Sunday. Another strong team in the field is Chipola College of Marianna, Fla., which outscored Region 17 defending champ Darton College 25-6 in a doubleheader.

Jaguar home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium complex is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

February 12, 2010

Jags to play Wallace-Hanceville

The Georgia Perimeter College softball team has made a significant addition to its schedule—a home doubleheader on Thursday, Feb. 18, against Wallace State Community College of Hanceville, Ala., ranked No. 2 nationally.

The games will be at 3 and 5 p.m. at the Jaguars’ stadium east of Covington.

Wallace State won the national championship in 2008 and finished second last season. The Lady Lions’ combined record those two seasons was 131-18.

“This is quite a challenge for our team,” said Jaguars coach Ed Schutte. “But we don’t back down from challenges. Playing them will only make us better. I consider them the top program in the country.”

The Jaguars (4-2), who went to the national tournament in 2007 and won NJCAA Region 17 regular-season titles in 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2009, opened their season by winning the championship of the AAU Women’s International Fastpitch Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla.

Freshman righthander Christina Ezell (East Coweta H.S.) was named top pitcher in the AAU event, while second baseman Nichole Montesanti (Whitewater H.S.) was Most Valuable Player.

The late matchup with Wallace State came about because the Lady Lions have lost several games to the weather. Both teams are headed to the Ringor Classic in Aiken, S.C., on Feb. 19-21.

Jaguar home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium complex is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

February 8, 2010

GPC signs strong 2011 recruitment class

Photo below: GPC softball signees shown with coaches Ed Schutte, right, and Ken Deyton, are, front to back, MacKenzie Moseley, Kaci Patterson, Felicia Shelton, Marlee Morales, Heather Kilar and Lauren Bell. Not shown: Kaitlyn Smith and Chaconna Marks.

Jaguar softball at Georgia Perimeter College has produced regional contenders year after year, and there’s no reason to think this spring will be any different. Or 2011, for that matter, given the quality of the high school seniors GPC recently signed at the college’s Newton campus.

“This group can contribute tremendous pitching, solid defense, big bats and outstanding attitudes to our winning program,” says GPC head Coach Ed Schutte. He and assistant coach Ken Deyton say they are delighted with the signees, who will attend Georgia Perimeter next fall.

The list of honors bestowed on the players by the Georgia High School Association and Georgia Independent School Association is impressive. The signees and some of their achievements—

MacKenzie Moseley, outfielder, Whitewater High School. Honors in 2009: GHSA All Fayette County; GHSA All-Region; GHSA All-State honorable mention; Whitewater Golden Glove Award.

Felicia Shelton, utility player, Ola High School. Honors in 2009: GHSA All-Region.

Lauren Bell, pitcher, Sequoyah High School. Honors in 2009: GHSA All Cherokee County; GHSA All-Region; GHSA All-State; GHSA All-Star Team.

Heather Kilar, infielder,Spalding High School. Honors in 2009: GHSA All-Region; GHSA All-State; GHSA All-Star Team; Spalding High School Offensive Award.

Marlee Morales, outfielder, Strong Rock Christian School. Honors in 2008: GHSA All-Region; 2009: GISA All-State.

Kaci Patterson, shortstop, Eagles Landing Christian School. Honors in 2009: GHSA All-Region; GHSA All-State; 2009 GHSA State Championship.

Kaitlyn Smith, outfielder, North Gwinnett High School. Honors in 2009: GHSA All-State, GHSA Top 10 "All Time" Fielding Percentage, All Gwinnett County.

Chaconna Marks, catcher, Newton County High School. Honors in 2009: GHSA All-Region, All Newton County Team, Newton County Athlete of the Year.

Top of Page

January 31, 2010

Jaguars roll to AAU title

The Jaguars and coaches Ed Schutte, left, and Ken Deyton display their championship medals.

Now the world knows what Georgia Perimeter College head softball coach Ed Schutte means when he says, “If we hit the ball, we’re tough to beat.”

The Jaguars bashed their way to the championship at the AAU International Women’s Fastpitch Softball Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla., beating Broward College 10-6.

Freshman righthander Christina Ezell (East Coweta H.S.) was named the top pitcher of the prestigious event, while freshman second baseman Nichole Montesanti (Whitewater H.S.) was the top overall player. Both are from Senoia.

Christina Ezell

Ezell won two games at the season-opening tournament and saved the other two victories by the Jaguars (4-2).

Montesanti was 5-for-6 on the final day, including the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 7-6 victory over Puerto Rico’s junior national team in the semifinals.

“She was just lights out at the plate,” said Schutte.

The winning pitcher in the championship game was freshman lefthander Brandi Brewer (Crisp Academy), who allowed seven hits and walked two in 5 2/3 innings, striking out five. Ezell’s relief work was spotless.

The Jaguars jumped on Broward with a 15-hit attack that produced three runs in the second inning and five more in the fourth.

Montesanti had a two-run triple in the second and a two-run double in the fourth. Freshmen Jamie Saunders (Whitewater H.S.), Erin Wilson (Savannah Christian) and Lyneisha Fletcher (Luella H.S.) also had RBI in fourth as the Jaguars broke the game open.

Nicole Montesanti

Montesanti had three hits against Broward, while Tiffany Phillips, Caitlin Peisel, Saunders and Fletcher contributed two each. Phillips (Eagle’s Landing H.S.) and Peisel (Lassiter H.S.) are sophomores.

The semifinal against Puerto Rico’s junior national team was seesaw from the start. After defensive lapses put them behind, the Jaguars tied the score at 4 in the fourth, led by an RBI by Montesanti.

Puerto Rico tied the score at 6 in the top of the seventh off Ezell, who struck out 12 while allowing four hits and an uncharacteristic five walks.

“The temperature was in the mid-40s, and I don’t think she ever really got loose,” said Schutte.

Not to worry, the bats were in gear. Sophomore Lauren Mathis (Grayson H.S.) walked, and pinch-runner Allie Raines (Ola H.S.) advanced on a groundout. Montesanti delivered the clutch hit to left field, and Raines was safe on a close play at the plate.

Phillips, freshman leadoff hitter Brittany McSwain (Loganville H.S.) and Montesanti had two hits apiece in the semifinal.

The Jaguars are off until they compete in another prestigious event, the Ringor Classic in Aiken, S.C., on Feb. 19-21. Their first home games are Feb. 26-28 at the GPC Classic.

Jaguar home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium complex is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

January 30, 2010

Jaguars make semifinals

Freshman righthander Christina Ezell and her Georgia Perimeter College teammates turned the tables on Puerto Rico’s national team, moving into the semifinals of the AAU International Women’s Fastpitch Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla., with a 4-1 victory.

Ezell, who lost to the same Guaynabo Conquistadoras in Friday’s tournament opener, allowed eight hits and no walks, striking out three.

The Jaguars play at 9 a.m. Sunday for a spot in the 11 a.m. championship game. They made the final last year, losing 6-1 to the Conquistadoras.

Ezell, a native of Senoia who starred at East Coweta High School, was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and then “showed why she’s one of the best around here,” according to head coach Ed Schutte.

The offensive stars for GPC were Brittany McSwain of Monroe (Loganville H.S.) and Lyneisha Fletcher of Locust Grove (Luella H.S.). Batting leadoff, McSwain was 3-for-4, while Fletcher was 2-for-3.

With Fletcher in left field and McSwain in right, sandwiching returning all-region center fielder Caitlin Peisel, the Jaguars’ outfield defense was exceptional, Schutte said.

The important victory in the single-elimination phase of the tournament came after a 3-2 loss to Miami Dade College in the last game of pool play. Righthander Allie Raines of McDonough (Ola H.S.) took the loss, allowing seven hits and five walks. She struck out two.

Raines settled down after allowing all three Miami Dade runs in the first inning. The Jaguars, held to four hits, threatened in the seventh when sophomore Lauren Mathis hit a two-out, two-run homer.

After the AAU International event, the Jaguars get nearly three weeks of rest before the Ringor Classic in Aiken, S.C., on Feb. 19-21. The first home games are Feb. 26-28 at the GPC Classic.

Jaguar home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

January 29, 2010

Jaguars split season opener in Florida

Freshman righthander Christina Ezell’s highly anticipated debut for Georgia Perimeter College turned into a split decision.

After taking a 3-0 loss to the Guaynabo Conquistadoras of Puerto Rico, Ezell rode to the rescue in the Jaguars’ second game of the day at the AAU International Women’s Fastpitch Softball Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla., saving a 7-3 victory over Brevard Community College of Florida.

Tiffany Phillips collected four hits in two games.

Weather permitting, the Jaguars play Miami Dade College at 11 a.m. Jan. 30 with a chance of finishing first in their pool going into the single-elimination phase. A champion is to be decided by sundown Sunday.

Ezell, a native of Senoia who starred at East Coweta High School, struck out eight Conquistadoras in the first game but allowed seven hits.

The Conquistadoras, one of three teams from Puerto Rico in the event, beat the Jaguars 6-1 in last year’s AAU International final. This time, they limited GPC to two hits—a double and a single by sophomore shortstop Tiffany Phillips, who hit .569 last season, second in the nation.

Phillips also contributed two hits in the second game, including a triple, but the hero was Ezell, who came on in the fifth inning in relief of freshman lefthander Brandi Brewer of Cordele (Crisp Academy).

With the Jaguars clinging to a 4-2 lead after Brewer surrendered a run and three consecutive hits, Ezell struck out the side. She wound up striking out six in three innings, allowing one hit.

Freshmen Devin Dossman of Dacula (Mill Creek H.S.) and Brittany McSwain of Monroe (Loganville H.S.) joined Phillips in producing two hits each.

“I was really concerned after that first game,” said GPC head coach Ed Schutte. “But we came back and hit well off a good pitcher for Brevard. She probably threw harder than the one for the Conquistadoras, but her movement wasn’t as good.”

After the AAU International event, the Jaguars get to rest for nearly three weeks before the Ringor Classic in Aiken, S.C., on Feb. 19-21. The first home games are Feb. 26-28 at the GPC Classic.

Jaguar softball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Georgia, 30014, located near the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

January 26, 2010

Jaguars face early test vs. world

Before the Georgia Perimeter College women test their softball skills against regional and state rivals, they get to see how they stack up against the world.

Kyla Tanner, left, and Lauren Mathis look for a good season opener in Florida.

For the third straight year, they open their season at the AAU International Women’s Fastpitch Softball Tournament, Jan. 29-31 at the Osceola County Softball Complex near Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Think 13 teams, six fields, almost no sitting around, miles removed from easing into a season.

The grind — up to four games some days — is fine with head coach Ed Schutte, a noted instructor whose international connections secured the Jaguars a place in the invitation-only event.

“You really see what you have. Mostly you face Olympic pitchers,” said Schutte. “Some of the teams have a lot of NCAA Division I players. Some of them take a break from college to represent their countries.”

The Jaguars made the final game last year, losing 6-1 to the Guaynabo Conquistadoras, one of three teams from Puerto Rico.

Other national teams in the field include the Bahamas, Venezuela, Jamaica and Canada. GPC is one of four junior colleges, joining conference rival Young Harris, along with Broward and Miami-Dade from Florida.

The Jaguars start play Jan. 29 at 11 a.m. against Spain. The other teams in their pool are Jamaica, Miami-Dade and the mystery “Red team” from Puerto Rico.

A word of explanation: Puerto Rico sends about 40 players for its three teams—Olympic, experimental (potential Olympians) and Junior Olympic. The composition of the “Red team” will be determined by mixing and matching, the kind that tends to produce an appearance in the championship game.

Pool play ends early on Jan. 30, filling out the bracket for a double-elimination tournament scheduled to finish before sundown on Jan. 31. Last year the Jaguars played six times; this time they could play more.

“It really gets us tuned up for the Aiken tournament,” said Schutte, whose team will have almost three weeks to rest before the Ringor Classic in Aiken, S.C., on Feb. 19-21. After that, it’s the GPC Spring Classic on Feb. 26-28.

Jaguar home games are played at the Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga. 30014. The stadium is just south of the intersection of I-20 and Ga. 11 east of Covington.

Top of Page

January 4, 2010

Jaguars aim high in 2010

The Georgia Perimeter College women are privileged to start their 2010 softball season in Orlando, Fla. They intend to finish it in another tourist destination – St. George, Utah, near Las Vegas.

Caitlin Peisel

St. George would be the site of the national junior college tournament, a trip the Jaguars last made in 2007, finishing fifth. Their bid for a return in 2008 fell short for lack of a key hit. Last season, their bats were shut down twice in a row by outstanding pitching after an opening victory in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association tournament.

“I feel this team has the potential to get back to winning the state tournament,” said head coach Ed Schutte, who is entering his ninth season at GPC. “We’re not focusing on the nationals. We’re focusing on the state.” The state conference, GJCAA, is also Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

The adage of “strong up the middle” applies to the 2010 Jaguars, with some experience to boot.

Center fielder Caitlin Peisel of Marietta (Lassiter H.S.) returns for her sophomore season after winning first-team all-region honors a year ago, when she hit .345 and stole 22 bases in 24 attempts. More contact at the plate – say, an average in the .400 range – could make her an All-America candidate. She has signed to play at Mercer University in Macon.

Another key sophomore is shortstop Tiffany Phillips (McDonough, Eagles Landing H.S.), a left-handed hitter who produced a .569 average, second in the nation, while winning second-team all-region honors. “She’s the best shortstop who ever played at Georgia Perimeter,” said Schutte, who expects her to contend for the national batting crown and All-America honors.

Christina Ezell

Like Peisel, Phillips has signed to play at Mercer.

Based on an outstanding performance last fall, freshman righthander Christina Ezell of Senoia (East Coweta H.S.) will be the No. 1 starting pitcher. “It’s possible she’ll be the best we’ve ever had,” said Schutte, who has penciled in 20 wins, many of them likely in close games.

Two more freshmen round out the staff – lefthander Brandi Brewer of Cordele (Crisp Academy) and righthander Allie Raines of McDonough (Ola H.S.). Should Brewer find a way to gain more movement on her pitches, “she’s going to be very effective, especially in the state,” Schutte said. Raines shows great potential but needs to work on control.

The catching end of the battery has plenty of potential, too. Recruits Devin Dossman of Dacula (Mill Creek H.S.) and Erin Wilson of Pooler (Savannah Christian H.S.) will split the duties, doubleheaders being the order of the day in women’s softball. Both throw well and deftly block off-target pitches. Should Dossman turn her hitting up a notch in the leadoff spot, she could be an all-region candidate, Schutte said.

Nicole Montesanti

The infield defense will be tight with Phillips’ range at shortstop and freshman Nichole Montesanti of Senoia (Whitewater H.S.) at second base. “She could be the best athlete on the team,” said Schutte of Montesanti. “She will provide a great glove at second base with great range.”

How much Montesanti produces at the plate will be important. She stepped up her hitting late in the fall, and enough improvement could nudge Peisel out of the cleanup spot, Schutte said.

Montesanti’s high school teammate, Jamie Saunders of Fayetteville, brings reflexes and a solid glove to third base, with the possibility of all-region honors should her bat heat up. “She’s possibly the best all-around third baseman ever to play at GPC and is being scouted by many Division I schools,” Schutte said.

A position to watch is first base, where Schutte plans to use sophomore Lauren Mathis (Lawrenceville, Grayson H.S.) and freshman Kyla Tanner of Forsyth (Mary Persons H.S.) early and look for run production. Mathis is outstanding on defense, and a solid batting average could make her an all-region candidate. Schutte said Tanner also “has great potential to develop into an all-region player.”

Tiffany Phillips

In the outfield, the steady Peisel covers a notable amount of ground. “I’ve never had a player react to the ball like she does,” Schutte said.

Peisel will be flanked by two freshmen, Brittany McSwain of Monroe (Loganville H.S.) in right field and Lyneisha Fletcher of Locust Grove (Luella H.S.) in left. The speedy McSwain could be an all-region candidate should her hitting improve.

Freshman Chelsie Reynolds of Oxford (Loganville H.S.) provides depth in the outfield.

Finding offense will be a focus early as Schutte searches for production beyond his proven commodities.

“We need for our team to find a way to drive in runs in the 4-5-6 places in the lineup,” Schutte said. “If we score some, Ezell can keep us in any game.”

Over the past five seasons, the Jaguars have averaged 34 victories, producing GJCAA regular-season titles in 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2009. But finishing second in 2007 was more satisfying, thanks to the subsequent victory in the state tournament.

“Being first in the regular season is great, but it doesn’t get you back to the nationals. Only winning the tournament does that,” he said. “Promising programs don’t stay at the top unless they are seen at the nationals. Our last trip in 2007 was too long ago.”

Top of Page