The North Georgia College and State University softball team has been voted No. 2 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll, released on Wednesday.
The Lady Saints, who won 51 straight games a year ago, return 12 players from last season and earned four first-place votes, giving them 373 total points for the No. 2 spot in the land. North Georgia has appeared in the nation’s top 25 each week of the last two seasons, including spending 10 of those 20 weeks as the top-ranked team in the country.
North Georgia will once again play one of the toughest schedules in the country with five games against the top five teams, and eight contests against teams ranked in the Preseason Top-25.
Head coach Mike Davenport’s squad has put together a 101-7 record the last two seasons, including the 51 straight wins, a mark that sits second all-time in the history of NCAA softball. In Peach Belt Conference play, the Lady Saints have been equally impressive, posting a 20-0 record last season, while going 37-1 over the last two years.
The Lady Saints return six starters from last season’s championship squad, including third team All-American Katherine Martin, who returns for her sophomore season after hitting .375 with five home runs, a team-high 12 doubles, and 25 runs batted in.
All-American and National Pitcher of the Year Sarah Phillips will take the circle for her senior season after a 44-2 record in 2010. Phillips posted an earned run average of 1.00 with 294 strikeouts in 300.0 innings of work. The two-time PBC Pitcher of the Year holds the Peach Belt’s all-time record for wins in a career with 103 and consecutive wins with 44.
North Georgia will travel to the Aiken Early Bird Tournament this weekend in Aiken, S.C., where they are set to play four games in two days. The Lady Saints will take on Erskine College and Barton College on Saturday, followed by games against the University of Charleston and Chowan University on Sunday.