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North Georgia advances to championship round of bracket
Rallied to defeat Flagler on Saturday
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DAHLONEGA -- The North Georgia College & State University softball team used a four-run fifth inning on Saturday to erase a two-run deficit and rally for a 5-4 victory over Flagler College in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Southeast Dahlonega Regional at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.

Having won 11 straight games, North Georgia (49-9) advances to Sunday's championship round that will take place at 1:30 p.m., with an if necessary game to follow at 4:00 p.m.

The Saints have now won eight straight Southeast Regional games over the last three years.

Flagler College (41-17) falls to the loser's bracket and will take on Augusta State or Erskine College on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. with the winner emerging to take on North Georgia in the championship round.

North Georgia put together a two-out rally in the third inning when Natasha Willemse singled to left field and after Ansley Williams drew a walk, Kasey Knight laced a ball up the middle that was knocked down, allowing Willemse to race home for the first run of the game.

Flagler answered right back in the bottom of the inning however, as Sarah Albino led off with a walk and Robyn Draper followed with a single to put a pair of runners aboard.

After a fielder's choice and lineout put starting pitcher Sarah Phillips one out away from escaping the jam, the Saints connected on three straight singles to give Flagler a 3-1 lead.

Alona Personius tallied the first RBI with a hit through the left side, while Breezy Collings and Tori Jolley recorded back-to-back run-scoring hits to cap the three-run inning and give Flagler a two-run advantage.

North Georgia answered right back in the fifth inning courtesy of some Flagler miscues, as Katie Garrett reached on a throwing error, and Ansley Williams followed two batters later and drilled a double down the left field line to plate Garrett and cut the lead to a single run.

The Lady Saints then used some small ball to knot the score on a ground out by Kasey Knight to plate Williams and make it 3-3.

With two outs and the bases empty, North Georgia continued to stay hot at the plate as Sarah Johnson was hit by a pitch and stole second to setup an RBI double to the gap in left center by Pilar Harden to give the Saints the lead right back at 4-3.

Katherine Martin refused to end the rally as she followed with a single up the middle to plate Harden and cap a four-run inning to give North Georgia their largest lead of the game at 5-3.

North Georgia held that lead until the bottom of the seventh inning when Flagler was one out away from defeat, but a fielding error at short stop kept the inning alive and the Flagler Saints capitalized with a run scoring single to right field off the bat of Lauren Ely to send Albino racing to the plate and making it 5-4.

Personius followed and had a chance to knot the score with the tying run 60 feet away, but a pop up to the catcher ended the threat and gave North Georgia a come-from-behind victory.

Phillips (20-4) picked up the complete game victory, allowing six hits and four runs, while walking two and striking out four.

Donna Munafo (7-8) suffered the loss, giving up six hits and five runs, but only one of them earned in 4 2/3 innings of work. The junior walked one and tallied five strikeouts.

NORTH GEORGIA 8, ERSKINE 0: The Lady Saints used some early offense on Friday evening to pull away and take down Erskine College 8-0 in six innings in game two of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium in Dahlonega.

The Saints (48-9) continue to shine in regional play, improving to 10-2 all-time in the Southeast Regional, including seven straight wins dating back to the 2009 postseason.

North Georgia has now won 22 of their last 23 games, and stretch their current winning streak to 10.

The Saints showed no signs of a 26-day layoff since their last game, as Ansley Williams belted a triple to right field to lead off game and came around to score on a Kasey Knight ground out.

After a two-out walk to Pilar Harden, Katherine Martin singled through the right side and Harden raced around to score under the tag to make the lead 2-0.

The North Georgia offense came to life in the third inning and it was Williams that sparked the rally once again with a double to left field and later scoring on a sacrifice fly.

Callie Fernandez then stepped to the plate with two runners on and cleared the bases with a double off the fence in left center to cap a three-run inning and give North Georgia a 5-0 lead.

Jessica Coan was cruising into the fifth inning with a no-hitter, but Erskine's Whitney Brown drilled a double to left center for the first Flying Fleet hit of the day.

Coan would not back down from there however, striking out the side with three straight swinging strikeouts strand Brown at second and end the Erskine threat.

That would be all the offense Erskine would muster, as Sarah Phillips came on to close out the Flying Fleet with a perfect sixth inning.


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