April 19, 2013

North Georgia Places Five on PBC All-Conference Softball Teams, Poole Named PBC Freshman of the Year

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The Peach Belt Conference (PBC) revealed the 2013 softball All-Conference team Friday night at a banquet on the eve of the 2013 Softball Championships hosted by Flagler College. The University of North Georgia had five players earn All-Conference plaudits and the Saints had a player claim Freshman of the Year honors for the second straight year as Courtney Poole took home the award off a stellar freshman campaign.

Sophomore Melissa Dickie and senior Kayla Minger were both named to the second team while Poole and sophomores Kim McMillan and Taylor Anne Merritt earned first team honors.

Poole, a freshman from Watkinsville, Ga. who was named to the All-PBC First Team as an At-Large selection, ended the regular-season in the top-10 in multiple pitching categories this year, including tied for a conference-best 22 wins with an earned run average of 1.94 and 182 strikeouts in 176.2 innings of work. The PBC's Freshman of the Week for March 25, Poole served as the ace for the Saints' staff this year making 33 appearances including 24 starts. In those appearances, she struck out 10 or more batters per game 4 times, including a season-high 14 strikeouts against Saint Leo University.

McMillan, a sophomore transfer from Powder Springs, Ga., was named the PBC Player of the Week twice this season and wrapped up her first season in a North Georgia uniform in the top-10 in several offensive categories. The All-Conference First Team's catcher, McMillan has provided a big offensive boost for the Saints as the lefty bats .404 while slugging .774 on the year with 13 home runs, 40 runs batted in, 59 hits, 43 runs scored and 15 doubles. She ranks third in the conference in batting average and is tied for second in home run total and runs batted in.

A sophomore from Monroe, Ga., Merritt finished the regular-season sixth in the conference with a .376 batting average off a team second-best 44 hits and 36 runs scored. A left-handed batter and North Georgia's starting center fielder, Merritt knocked in 17 runs and swiped eight bases in 117 at bats with a .447 on-base percentage.

This is the second consecutive All-PBC second team honor for Dickie while Minger is earning the award for the first time in her two seasons with the team.

Dickie, a sophomore from Buford, Ga., made 18 appearances in the circle for the Saints this season with an 11-5 record that saw her pitch 104.1 innings. Dickie posted a 2.21 ERA for the year that saw her strike out 49 batters.

Minger, North Georgia's starting right fielder from Port St. Joe, Fla., started all 47 games this season for the Saints, hitting .353 off 42 hits that included 10 doubles. Minger is currently tied for tops in the league with 45 RBIs and is third on the team with a .580 slugging percentage.

The 13th-ranked Saints will be the #3 seed in this weekend's conference tournament beginning Saturday. The Saints will play in the day's third game against the #6 seed University of South Carolina Aiken with a 4:00 p.m. first pitch.

The winner between North Georgia and USC Aiken will move on to the semifinal round on Sunday where they will face the winner of the game between Georgia College and Francis Marion at 1:30 p.m. The other semifinal game will be played at 11:00 a.m. with the championship game to be contested at 4:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The winner of the PBC Tournament will receive the conference's automatic bid into the Southeast Regional held from Friday, May 10 through Sunday, May 12.

All the action from the tournament can be found HERE including a bracket and game times.


2013 Peach Belt Conference Softball All-Conference Team

First Team
1b - Hannah Reppert, Armstrong 
2b - Kaitlyn White, USC Aiken
3b - Kacie Patterson, Armstrong
3b - Tristan Faile, Francis Marion
SS - Alexis Mercer, Armstrong
C - Kim McMillan, North Georgia
OF - Whitney Okvist, Georgia College
OF - Whitney Little, Flagler
OF - Taylor Merritt, North Georgia
P - Mollie Russell, Columbus St.
P - Dani Gallucci, Georgia College
UT - Brea Hartley, UNC Pembroke
UT - Shelby Duff, Armstrong
DP - Malloree Escue, Flagler 
DP - Kristen Carr, Columbus St.
At-Large - Courtney Poole, North Georgia

Second Team
Megan Barnwell, Armstrong
Taylor Cloninger, UNC Pembroke
Brittney Sheriff, Lander
India Kornegay, USC Aiken
Hayley Knight, Ga. Southwestern
Kori Waugh, Columbus St.
Abi Leroy, Georgia College
Christen Moon, Flagler
Taylor Luff, Francis Marion
Kayla Minger, North Georgia
Lindsey Jones, USC Aiken
Rachel McElroy, Ga. Southwestern
Lauren Bessent, Flagler
Bethany Beggs, Lander
Melissa Dickie, North Georgia
Taylor Turner, Columbus St.

Player of the Year
Alexis Mercer, Armstrong

Pitcher of the Year
Mollie Russell, Columbus St.

Freshman of the Year
Courtney Poole, North Georgia

Coach of the Year
Jamie Grodecki, Georgia College