April 15, 2010

Saints Front and Center at PBC Awards Banquet

Tournament Website

FLORENCE, SC – On the eve of the 2010 Peach Belt Conference softball tournament, the league office released the All-Conference teams Thursday evening at an awards banquet, as North Georgia was front and center with seven combined individual and team awards.

The Saints were awarded the 2010 PBC regular season trophy in front of over 200 people, while each player was recognized individually with a plaque and t-shirt presented by guest speaker and two-time USA Olympic Champion Michele Smith.

North Georgia’s Laura Voyles was awarded Second-Team All-Conference honors, while Sarah Phillips, Leslee Smith, Hilary Cox, and Lauren Dykes were recognized as First-Team All-Conference members. Phillips was also named PBC Pitcher of the Year, while head coach Mike Davenport was named the PBC Coach of the Year.

Davenport has garnered the league’s Coach of the Year honor for the second consecutive season, earning the award just a week after picking up his 400th career victory at GCSU last Saturday. His overall record now stands at 402-135 as the 10th year head coach has guided the Saints to longest winning streak in PBC history at 41, and second longest streak in NCAA Division II history. Davenport has averaged over 40 wins per season and will look to tally his third 50-win season as the leads North Georgia into postseason play.

Now the back-to-back PBC Pitcher of the Year, Sarah Sarah Phillips is the only undefeated pitcher in the country with more than 15 decisions as the junior sits at 34-0 on the year. She leads the league in earned run average at 0.76, strikeouts with 227, and innings pitched at 221.0. Named the PBC Pitcher of the Week four times this season, Phillips is averaging more than 1.0 strikeout per inning, and has five games of 10 or more strikeouts, all coming in Peach Belt Conference action. The Powell, Ohio, native leads the country with 17 shutouts, and has 29 complete game victories on the year. As the nation’s leader in victories, opponents are hitting .160.

Leslee Smith continues to be one of the premier power hitters in the league as the senior is hitting .350 with 10 home runs, 48 runs batted in, and 23 runs scored. She has three games of four runs batted in, all coming against PBC teams, including a grand slam against UNC Pembroke on March 7, and a pair two home run performance against Francis Marion and Columbus State.  A PBC Player of the Week during the season, she is third in the league in runs batted in with 13 multiple hit games and 14 multiple RBI games. She has just five strikeouts on the season in 120 at-bats, and has a slugging percentage of .725.

Hilary Cox hit .308 on the year with five home runs, 27 runs batted in, and 21 runs scored as the sophomore played and started in 40 games for the Saints. She had a season-high four runs batted in against Augusta State, a walk-off against grand slam against the Jaguars, while the Douglasville, Ga., native had a three-hit, and two home run performance against Armstrong Atlantic on the road as the Saints rallied for a 5-4 victory in one of their closest games of the season.

Lauren Dykes is leading the number one team in the country in batting average as the true freshman is hitting .388 with four home runs, 37 runs scored, and 25 runs batted in. Having played in 40 games for the undefeated Saints, Dykes has 10 stolen bases on the year, and sits third on the club with a .419 on-base percentage. She had a season-high five runs batted in against Northern Kentucky that included her first collegiate home run, a grand slam as part of a two-hit game. The Dallas, Ga., native has 16 multiple hit games this season, and has recorded a pair of three-hit games against PBC teams.

As the leadoff hitter for the Saints, Laura Voyles has played and started all 41 games for the Saints this season, hitting .322 with 41 runs scored, 24 runs batted in, and seven home runs. She exploded in a doubleheader at Armstrong with three of her six home runs, including a pair of solo shots in a 5-4 victory. She has a .972 fielding percentage at second base with 66 assists and 75 putouts.

North Georgia and Lander will battle on Friday morning, as the two teams will tangle in the first round of the 2010 Peach Belt Conference tournament in Florence, South Carolina. First pitch between the Saints and Bearcats is set for 11:00 a.m. as North Georgia looks to repeat as PBC tournament champions.

Win or lose in game one, the Saints will turn around and play again at 4:00 p.m. against either Flagler College or Armstrong Atlantic.