partlycloudy
Friday May 27th, 2016 12:44AM

North Georgia softball a preseason PBC favorite for fifth straight year

By staff
The University of North Georgia softball team has been named the favorite to win the Peach Belt Conference title for the fifth straight year as selected by the conference coaches. The preseason poll was released by the conference office Monday afternoon.

The Saints claimed four first-place votes, six second-place votes and one third-place vote to finish with 113 total points, 11 more than second-place Flagler College which also received four first-place nods.

Rounding out the top-five were Armstrong Atlantic State University and Columbus State University tied for third and the University of South Carolina Aiken in fifth. Augusta State University was chosen sixth while Francis Marion University, Georgia College, Lander University and the University of North Carolina Pembroke were chosen seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th respectively. Georgia Southwestern State University and Young Harris College rounded out the voting.

"Our program is honored to have the respect of the Peach Belt Conference but we also understand that championships are not won in January," said head coach Mike Davenport. "Preseason polls are great for the fans of Division II softball but I think all the teams are excited to get onto the field of play and prove themselves through competition.

"We understand and appreciate the parity in the PBC and this season looks to be no different," Davenport continued. "Last year we saw three different champions between the conference regular season, tournament and NCAA regional and I don't see this year playing out any differently."

The Saints finished the 2012 season ranked No. 10 in the nation with a record of 49-10. It was the fourth straight year North Georgia finished with at 40 or more wins and finished in the top-10 in the nation. The Saints also finished the season by hosting the NCAA Southeast Regionals for the fourth year in a row and advanced to their fifth straight NCAA Division II tournament appearance.

North Georgia returns four starting infielders, three outfielders with extensive experience and two pitchers including 2012 PBC Freshman of the Year Melissa Dickie. Davenport also brought into the fold 10 newcomers.

The 2013 season will begin this weekend with the Saints traveling to Columbus, Ga. for the Peach Belt Conference-Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Challenge, the first cross-conference event featuring four teams from both the PBC and SSC to kick off the season. The tournament will last from Saturday, Feb. 2 through Sunday, Feb. 3.

From there, North Georgia will play in four more early season tournaments, including hosting the North Georgia
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 2 years ago )
Sports
No. 19 Georgia blows past Illinois
Shacobia Barbee had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists to lead No. 19 Georgia over Illinois 82-60 on Saturday.
10:42PM ( 2 years ago )
Dogs will face Nebraska without standout DE Moss
Nebraska defensive end Avery Moss returned to his home in Arizona to attend to a personal issue and won't play in the Gator Bowl against No. 23 Georgia next week.
10:16PM ( 2 years ago )
Georgia Southern coach Monken headed for Army
Desperate to snap its long losing streak against its archrival, Army has hired former Navy assistant Jeff Monken as its 37th football coach.
1:04PM ( 2 years ago )
College Sports
Basketball: Area coaches see a 'positive' change to GHSA finals move
The response amongst northeast Georgia's coaches was overwhelmingly positive following the Georgia High School Association's announcement on Thursday that it will no longer hold its annual basketball championship games in the Macon Coliseum.
7:49PM ( 19 hours from now )
VIDEO: Historic postseason brought countless top plays
This year provided perhaps the most successful overall postseason campaign in the history of the sport in this area. And we have compiled some of the best highlights involved in that campaign here...
5:05PM ( 16 hours from now )
GHSA moves basketball championships away from Macon
The Georgia High School Association announced on Thursday that it will no longer hold its annual basketball championship games in the Macon Coliseum and is moving the contests to the University of Georgia's Stegeman Coliseum and Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion.
9:00AM ( 8 hours from now )
Braves outfielder Hector Olivera suspended through Aug. 1
The Atlanta Braves' dismal season took another turn for the worse Thursday when outfielder Hector Olivera was suspended through Aug. 1 for his arrest on domestic violence charges.
By The Associated Press
11:26PM ( 1 hour ago )
Truex, Jr. nabs pole for Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte
Martin Truex, Jr. crashed a Ford party on Thursday night, winning the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
11:25PM ( 1 hour ago )