Posted: Thursday, May 27th 2010 at 8:34am
North Ga. softball taking in sights but focused on job at CWS
By Morgan Lee Editor
Members of the North College and State University softball team celebrate with the Super Regional trophy on Saturday in Dahlonega.
SAINT JOSEPH, Mo. -- For the moment, the North Georgia College and State University softball team is taking in the sights, participating in clinics and eating at award banquets at the NCAA Division II College World Series in St. Joseph, Mo.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Lady Saints pitcher Sarah Phillips said. “For one of the girls on our team the flight here was her first-ever flight. And (the NCAA is) keeping us busy, but it’s been fun.”
But come Thursday it’s all business.
Top-ranked North Georgia (50-0) will begin the final leg of the quest for its ultimate title against New York’s Molloy College (43-19) beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Heritage Park Softball Complex.
Phillips says the entire Lady Saints squad is singularly focused.
“We’re on a mission,” noted the North Georgia pitcher, who is 43-0 on the season. “Everybody’s ready to get this thing going and get it done.”
The Lady Saints must win five games to claim the championship at the five-day, double elimination tournament. And coach Mike Davenport adds that, despite its ranking and record, North Georgia cannot afford to rest on the laurels already won this season.
“When you’re No. 1 and made it this far people are going to talk about you as a favorite, but we’ve gotta’ throw that out now,” Davenport said. “We’ve got a five-day season in front of us, and we’ve got to go out there and give it everything we’ve got over those five days.”
It’s a philosophy that has served the Lady Saints well throughout the season, as North Georgia has focused not so much on opponents but on getting the most out of itself.
“I don’t know too much about Molloy,” Phillips said. “I know they’re from New York and that they’ll be good to be here. But we’ve got to focus on ourselves and come out and play North Georgia softball like we’re capable. If we do that, we’ll be all right.”
Regardless of their strengths, each team will go through a feeling out process early in tomorrow’s game and adjust as necessary.
“There are no tricks now,” Davenport said. “It’s about doing the basics and doing them well. We’ve got to make the routine plays behind Sarah. Games like this aren’t usually won by a big walk-off home run. They usually come down to when someone makes a mistake.”
North Georgia has made precious few mistakes over the past two seasons, and also reached the College World Series last year when it was in Salem, Va. (The tournament was just moved prior to this season.)
Last year’s experience, when the Lady Saints – who were also ranked No. 1 at the time – fell to Lock Haven in the tournament semifinals imparted valuable experience and has North Georgia hoping to go even further this time around.
“Last year we hadn’t faced anything like this,” Phillips said. “Now we know what we need to do to get it done.”
For Davenport the answer is simple:
“Everybody’s got a dream of hoisting that trophy on Monday night, and we’ve got to be at our best to get there.”
-- The winner of the North Georgia vs. Molloy game will face the winner of the Valdosta State vs. Bloomsburg game at 5 p.m. Friday. The two losers of those contests will also battle at 1 p.m. Friday.
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