>>> FULL POLL
by Mark Jagord, sports information assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College softball team has been ranked No. 4 in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Coaches' Poll released Wednesday. The Bobcats finished runner-up in the PBC Tournament Championship as the No. 2 seed last season.
This year's poll has Armstrong Atlantic State University as the early favorite with 109 votes. The University of North Georgia holds the second spot at 98 votes followed by last year's PBC Tournament Champion Columbus State University with 91 votes. Flagler College, Francis Marion University, USC Aiken, Lander University, Georgia Southwestern State University, GRU Augusta, Young Harris College, and UNC Pembroke round out the slate, respectively.
Last season, the Bobcats finished tied for second with North Georgia with a 16-6 conference record, while posting a 37-17 overall record. Georgia College defeated Francis Marion and USC Aiken to advance to the 2013 PBC Tournament Championship game. Georgia College compiled a 1-2 record in the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament. The team was ranked nationally as high as No. 16, making the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top-25 Poll four times last season. The Bobcats also ranked No. 7 in the final NCAA Southeast Region Poll.
The team returns several prominent players from last season. In 2013, All-PBC First-Team senior Whitney Okvist (Kennesaw, Ga.) led the squad in runs scored at 39, and her PBC-leading 43 stolen bases (119 career) helped Georgia College set a PBC stolen-bases record in a season at 63. Sophomores Abi LeRoy (Dublin, Ga.) and Marisa Boyette (Marietta, Ga.) both were recognized as PBC Freshmen of the Week twice apiece, and head coach Jamie Grodecki was named PBC Coach of the Year last season.
The Bobcat Blast Tournament opens the season with a pair of home games against the University of West Alabama on Saturday, Feb. 1 starting at 11 a.m.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.