DAHLONEGA — As the North Georgia College & State University softball team took to the dirt Thursday on in the opening round of the NCAA Division-II National Championships in St. Joseph, Mo., dozens of the Lady Saints’ faithful fans gathered in the Memorial Hall Gym on campus to watch a live feed of the game, courtesy of the NGCSU Athletic Department.
From the moment that lead-off hitter Laura Voyles homered in her first at-bat, the effect of Lady Saints fans being able to watch the game live was apparent.
Every person in the gym cheered, and for just a moment it felt as though the team was right at home in Dahlonega.
According to Margaret Poitevint, the faculty athletic representative for NGCSU, that effect was the goal.
“(We) just (wanted) to be united in pulling for the team even though we can’t be in Missouri,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of fans throughout the season and we just felt that we didn’t want that momentum to die.
“Most of the people who are here are faculty and staff members or people who work in the area and it’s great to see the people take the time out of their day to come over and watch it together.”
Not only were there many members of the NGCSU staff and faculty present, several members of the local community made it out to the gym to watch the game.
Dahlonega resident Dr. Patrick Conarro, 54, was in attendance for the showing.
Conarro had been a casual fan of the Lady Saints for years, but didn’t start closely following the team until last season.
“Coach Davenport came and spoke to our Rotary Club last year and so I’ve been keeping an eye on them since,” he said.
“They’ve been phenomenal this year and I’ve been to several games the last couple of weeks."
The Lady Saints continued to be phenomenal Thursday, extending their unbeaten streak to 51 straight games by defeating Molloy College, 4-0.
Junior Sarah Phillips stayed undefeated in the circle, tossing a complete game three-hitter to earn her 44th victory of the year.
As Conarro said, “it’s fantastic” that NGCSU offered such a chance to fans who couldn’t afford to go all the way to the series.
“If we could, we’d be in Missouri,” he said.
“But for those of us that can’t get out there its just fantastic for them to do this.
Conarro paused a moment and then laughed.
“And best of all, you can yell at the umpire and not get in trouble,” he said.