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April 29, 2014

Jaguars Parden, Buitrago and Howard selected to All-GCAA first team

Jaguar softball standouts Lyndsey Parden, Vanessa Buitrago and Morgan Howard have been selected to the 2014 All-Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association first team by the coaches of the conference.

Vanessa Buitrago

Lyndsey Parden

The coaches voted on the nominations last week before the weekend’s conference tournament, and GCAA commissioner David Elder released the selections yesterday.

It is the second year Parden made the first team of the GCAA, which also is known as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

“Lyndsey picked up where she left off her freshman season,” said GPC head coach Ken Deyton. “As I’ve stated before, I feel that Lyndsey’s day-to-day preparation is her secret to success.”

Parden, a sophomore from McDonough and Union Grove High School, led the GCAA in strikeouts her freshman season and again this year, fanning 179 batters, 116 against conference opponents in 13 appearances.

“Mainly getting only half of the starts, 170-plus K’s in a season has to be earned with the schedule that we play,” Deyton said.

Parden’s season earned run average of 1.40 was second best in the league, but in GCAA games her 0.85 ERA was tops. She posted an 8-2 record against conference opponents, 11-8 overall.

Morgan Howard

So far in her college career, Parden has pitched seven shutouts, including a perfect game a year ago against Calhoun Community College. Last year Parden’s pitching led the Jaguars to the regular-season and tournament championships, and she was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

Batting in the middle of the lineup and playing right field when not pitching, Parden compiled a .289 batting average and hit four home runs. In conference games she led the team in runs batted in with 12. She hit .407 as a freshman in GCAA action.

Buitrago, also a sophomore from McDonough and Union Grove High, played a perfect season in center field and led the team in hitting with a .349 average. She made no errors in the field in 81 total chances, a remarkable accomplishment.

As the Jaguars’ flex fielder in 2013, Buitrago committed only one error in 56 chances.

“As Vanessa graduates it’s going to be hard to replace perfection, but that’s what she was,” Deyton said. “And I think what helped her get the all-region nod from the coaches was her bat in her sophomore season, as she really contributed to our offense.”

A freshman catcher-infielder, Howard (Kennesaw, Kennesaw Mountain H.S.) was known to put the ball in play—she struck out only six times all season and hit .333 in GCAA games. With an overall .253 batting average, she stroked five doubles, tied for team high with Maegan Coddington.

Catching and playing shortstop, Howard maintained a .934 fielding percentage in 182 chances.

“Morgan came in as a catcher, but made an unselfish transition to shortstop in an effort to help shore up the infield.” Deyton said. “Shortstop is a demanding position—she put in a lot of extra work to learn the spot. I was excited that the region coaches recognized her play.”

Emily Church, a freshman catcher for Darton State College, was named the GCAA’s Most Valuable Player, and Darton’s Eric Neel was named Coach of the Year.

The Cavaliers won the regular season GCAA championship, finishing in first place with a 13-3 record, and swept the double-elimination tournament championship with three wins and no losses.

No Jaguars were named to the GCAA second team or the all-tournament team.

All-GCAA Team Softball 2014

MVP: Emily Church (Darton State College).

Coach of the Year: Eric Neel (DSC)


Infield: Hailey Burnham (Gordon State College); Morgan Long (Georgia Military College); Morgan Howard (Georgia Perimeter College); Jordan Allen (Darton State College); Jenna Byrd (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College).

Outfield: Brittany Sinkfield (GSC); Sierra Newman (DSC); Vanessa Buitrago (GPC) Nicole McInerney (DSC).

Catcher: Emily Church (DSC).

Pitchers: Rachel Hill (ABAC); Lyndsey Parden (GPC); Sommar Wright (DSC); Brittany Portwood (West Georgia Technical College).

DP/UTL: Melissa Dearth (DSC).


Infield: Hannah Twilley (Middle Georgia State College); Jostlyn Higgerson (DSC); Sutton Appling (East Georgia State College); Bree Wells (DSC); Miranda Phillips (WGTC).

Outfield: Brittany Davis (ABAC); Carlie Farmer (MGSC); Hillary Rowell (Georgia Highlands College); Hayle Carter (SGSC)

Catchers: Sierra Cagle (GHC); Karleigh Clements (South Georgia State College).

Pitchers: Brittany Rosenberry (GMC); Morgan McKinney (GHC); Courtney Jenkins (EGSC).

DP/UTL: Taylor Boyett (ABAC)

2014 GCCA All-Tournament Team ... scroll down at the GCAA Awards site. Follow all GCAA sports.

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April 25, 2014

Coddington’s clutch 3-run homer erased; improbable 5-run rally ends Jags’ season

Sometimes the softball gods are simply with the other team. So it seemed for the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars Friday at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove.

Maegan Coddington

Georgia Highlands knocked them out of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament via an unbelievable eighth-inning five-run comeback.

After the teams played to a 2-2 draw through seven innings—sending the game into an extra inning—GPC assembled a four-run rally in the top of the eighth featuring a three-run home run by Maegan Coddington.

Leading 6-2 with three outs to get, the Jaguars seemed assured of advancing to the next game in the elimination bracket.

Instead, the Chargers galloped back in the bottom of the eighth to score five runs, winning the game 7-6 on a walk-off RBI single by Kristen Mullis.

“We lost both tournament games by one run,” said GPC head coach Ken Deyton. “They got away from us.”

The Jaguars end the 2014 campaign with a six-game losing streak and a 22-21 record. They were 13-7 in the conference, good for fourth place.

GPC’s Jenna Carr (8-11) struck out 11 Chargers in a pitchers’ duel with Morgan McKinney, but the momentum shifted back and forth through much of the affair.

The Jaguars struck early. Abbey Hulsey led off the second inning with a base hit, advanced to second on Hannah McSwain’s sacrifice bunt and scored the game’s first run on a single up the middle by Lyndsey Parden.

Highland’s Emily Willingham bashed a monster home run to center field in the fourth inning to knot the score at 1-1.

With two outs in the sixth, Hulsey doubled to the right-center warning track, and McSwain followed with an RBI double to the same gap.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Chargers rallied to tie. After Kayleigh Medlin doubled, No. 9 hitter Jerrica Littlejohn stroked an RBI single to send the game into the extra inning.

Chelsea Murphy started the Jaguars’ eighth-inning rally, getting hit by a pitch. After Hulsey also was hit by a pitch, McSwain poked a shallow double down the left field line, plating pinch runner Nina Rodriguez.

Coddington, who had been struggling at the plate, stepped up and bashed a two-out three run blast that slammed against the stone of the second wall, about ten feet beyond the left-field fence.

But the Jaguars couldn’t hang onto the 6-2 lead. In the bottom of the eighth, Lindsey Miles led off with a double, and after Liz Prance walked, Sierra Cagle hit a two-run single. She reached second on a bad-hop error that signaled things suddenly weren’t bouncing the Jaguars’ way.

Willingham tied the game with a two-run single to right and advanced to second base on Parden’s throw to the plate. After a fly-out to left for the first out of the inning, Mullis punched a single into right field, and Willingham raced home for the Chargers’ ecstatic victory celebration.

Losing pitcher Carr issued only one walk to accentuate her 11 K’s. She gave up 12 hits and six earned runs.

The Jaguars got eight hits off McKinney, who struck out one and walked none. Littlejohn relieved her after Coddington’s homer and got the Jaguars’ final out, so she earned the win.

“Our expectations were high coming into the tournament,” Deyton said. “More so than ever before I felt our players were pulling for each other as a team.”

He added, “ I’m proud of our sophomores. They took the program to nationals their freshman year. They’ve set the standards for teams to come.”

Third-seeded Georgia Highlands (25-27) went on to eliminate No. 6 Georgia Military 10-0 in Saturday afternoon’s final game. Georgia Military (20-25) had opened the day’s action with an 8-7 victory over No. 5 East Georgia (22-17).

In the winners’ bracket, top-seeded Darton State (44-10) defeated second-seed Abraham Baldwin (28-15) by a 5- 1 score, dropping the Fillies into the elimination bracket to face Georgia Highlands in the semifinal Saturday at 10 a.m. The winner of that game advances to the 1 p.m. championship round where Darton awaits with no losses in the double-elimination tournament.

The tournament is being video webcast by JockJive Sports with links at or at the GCAA links site or the GPC athletic website.

View the tournament brackets and follow the scores at the GCAA website.

The GCAA tournament is played at Strong Rock Christian School, 4200 Strong Rock Parkway, Locust Grove, Ga., 30248.

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April 24, 2014

Jaguars falter in first tournament game; Hulsey homers but East Ga. gets upset

A long home run by Abbey Hulsey and a come-from-behind lead wasn’t enough to hold off a hungry East Georgia State College squad in the opening game of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

East Georgia, seeded No. 5, surprised No. 4 Georgia Perimeter College 4-3 Thursday at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove, dropping the Jaguars into the double-elimination tournament’s elimination bracket. Georgia Perimeter (22-20) will face third-seeded Georgia Highlands College Friday at noon in an elimination game.

GPC trailed 2-0 in the fourth inning when Hulsey swatted a high no-doubt-about-it home run off East Georgia’s starting pitcher, Courtney Jenkins. The softball spanned the left field fence by about 25 feet, clearing the second fence and landing in the lawn chair area on the hill beyond the fences.

Inspired, the Jaguars came back in the fifth to seize a 3-2 advantage. Barbara Rego, who went three-for-four, led off with a loop single down the left field line. Vanessa Buitrago drew a walk and Jenna Carr drove the ball up the middle for her second hit of the afternoon, loading the bases with no outs.

Lyndsey Parden followed with an RBI single, plating Rego to tie the game.

The bases still packed Jaguars, East’s relief pitcher, Heather Peterson, committed an illegal pitch, and Buitrago trotted home with the go-ahead run. But the 3-2 lead was short-lived. Peterson got three batters out to strand Carr and Parden on second and third, and the Bobcats pounced back in the top of the sixth.

Hannah Kidd clobbered a pitch from Parden—who had relieved Carr in the fifth—the softball sailing over both fences in dead center, landing even deeper up the hill than Hulsey’s blast.

Jada Lawson followed her with a sharp double, moved to third on a bunt by Megan Rouse and came home with the winning run on a single by Sutton Appling.

As starting pitcher, Carr pitched two perfect innings, but East Georgia (22-16) struck in the third when Molly Lillis led off by turning a changeup into a base hit and scored on a single by Anna Jackson.

In the fourth frame, the Bobcats’ Balie Willis hit a two-out single that turned into a two-bagger on an outfield error. Appling supplied the RBI with a single down the right field line, giving East a 2-0 lead.

Coming on in the fifth to relieve Carr, Parden (12-10) was tagged for the winning runs in the sixth, absorbing her first loss in GCAA tournament action. She was 3-0 in the circle last year, earning the tourney MVP award.

Parden gave up four hits and two runs, struck out two and hit a batter in three innings of work.

Carr struck out three, gave up four hits and two runs, one earned, and walked none. Peterson (4-2) was credited with the win.

GPC had beaten East twice early in April by scores of 2-1 and 8-2. In March the Jaguars split with Friday’s opponent, Georgia Highlands (24-27), winning 5-0 and losing 2-1.

Other scores on the first day of the tournament: Georgia Highlands 6, Georgia Military 3; Darton State 10, East Georgia 3; and Abraham Baldwin 2, Georgia Highlands 1.

In other action Friday, East Georgia plays Georgia Military (19-24) at 10 a.m., and Darton (43-10) faces off with Abraham Baldwin (28-14) in the winners’ bracket at 2 p.m. to determine who is first to enter Saturday’s championship round.

If GPC beats Highlands, the Jaguars will play the winner of the East-GMC game in another elimination game at 4 p.m.

Saturday’s first game, at 10 a.m., pits the winner of the elimination bracket against the loser of the Darton-ABAC game. The winner of that plays in the championship game at 1 p.m.

The tournament is being video webcast by JockJive Sports with links at or at the GCAA links site or the GPC athletic website.

View the tournament brackets and follow the scores at the GCAA website.

The GCAA tournament is played at Strong Rock Christian School, 4200 Strong Rock Parkway, Locust Grove, Ga., 30248.

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April 21, 2014

Jags enter tourney without a bye despite gems by Parden and Carr

Several Atlanta Braves pitchers—Julio Tehran and Alex Wood, for example—have suffered hard-luck losses this season while pitching brilliantly. Welcome to the club, Jenna Carr and Lyndsey Parden.

Jenna Carr

Lyndsey Parden

Georgia Perimeter College suffered a double setback Monday in Tifton as Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College edged the Jaguars 1-0 and 2-1.

Parden struck out nine and gave up only four hits in the 1-0 loss, while in the second game Carr pitched a three-hitter with eight strikeouts. Only two Fillies reached base on walks all evening.

First and foremost, the losses dug a hole for the Jaguars in the coming weekend’s Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. Georgia Perimeter (22-19, 13-7 GCAA) dropped into a third-place tie with Georgia Highlands in the conference standings. The tie-breaker—which went deep into the league’s tie-breaker rules—went to Highlands, relegating GPC to the fourth-place seed in the tournament.

As a result, the Jaguars must take on the chore of playing fifth-seeded East Georgia State and top-seeded Darton State on the same day.

Thursday GPC and East open the tourney at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove. If the Jags win, that evening they face a bye-rested Darton (19-1 GCAA), the No. 13 team in the NJCAA national poll.

Abraham Baldwin (27-14, 15-5 GCAA) wins the second-seed bye in Thursday’s afternoon contests between the four and five seeds and the three and six (Georgia Military) seeds.

The first game Monday featured a classic pitcher’s duel between the league’s top two pitchers, ABAC’s Rachel Hill (1.04 ERA) and Parden (1.40). In striking out nine, Parden (12-9) boosted her conference lead to 179 strikeouts, well ahead of Hill’s second-place 115. Parden walked none and allowed one earned run on an RBI double by Brittany Davis that scored pinch runner Katrese Brown in the fifth inning.

Meanwhile, Hill (13-6) tossed a three-hit shutout, fanning five Jaguars and walking two. Carr, Vanessa Buitrago and Hanna McSwain collected GPC’s hits, all singles.

Carr (8-10) pitched a near perfect six innings after allowing two earned runs in the first inning. Davis tagged her for a leadoff double; Jaye Hilliard followed with a single and cleanup batter Jenna Byrd hit a two-run single for all the runs and hits the Fillies would get against Carr. Carr issued only two walks while obtaining her eight strikeouts.

Chelsea Murphy led the Jaguars with three base hits in four at bats, but Carr had to help her own cause to push across the Jags’ lone run of the day. She hit an RBI single in the third inning to score Morgan Howard, who had reached on a base hit.

Taylor Boyett (13-5), another top conference pitcher, earned the win, allowing eight hits, striking out two and issuing no bases on balls.

Georgia Highlands won the third seed over GPC through the tie-breaker that compared: the teams’ head-on record, which was a 1-1 split; the scoring differential (each scored four runs in the split); record against first-place Darton (both teams lost two) and record against second-place ABAC (Highlands won one and lost one, whereas GPC lost two).

Thursday’s tournament opener with East Georgia begins at 1 p.m. If the Jaguars win, they play Darton at 5 p.m. If they lose, they begin the arduous journey through the double-elimination event’s losers’ bracket on Friday at noon.

The third-sixth seed winner (Highlands or Georgia Military) advances to play ABAC Thursday evening, temporarily avoiding Darton.

The tournament will be video webcast by JockJive Sports with links at or at the GCAA links site or the GPC athletic website.

View the tournament brackets and follow the scores at the GCAA website.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

The GCAA tournament is played at Strong Rock Christian School, 4200 Strong Rock Parkway, Locust Grove, Ga., 30248.

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April 12, 2014

Darton pitching, power slows GPC’s march; double setback drops Jaguars into 3rd place

Darton State College, leader of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association, Saturday showed the conference why the Cavaliers are ranked No. 17 in the NJCAA national poll.

They beat back a challenge by Georgia Perimeter College, winning a doubleheader 5-0 and 7-3 at Jaguar Field on the Newton Campus behind exceptional pitching, relentless base stealing and heavy-duty hitting.

“Today, Darton was the better team, and the better team won,” GPC head coach Ken Deyton said. “I think we’ll learn from this, and we’re going to make adjustments.”

Georgia Perimeter (22-17, 13-5 GCAA) dropped from second to third place in the conference. The Jaguars now face the task of beating Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Saturday in Tifton in order to obtain a coveted bye in the first round of the GCAA tournament on April 24.

Leap-frogging the Jaguars into second place, ABAC is well-situated to seize the bye with home-field advantage and an 11-3 conference record. However, the Fillies have two additional hurdles while the Jaguars rest up—they play fourth-place Georgia Military and South Georgia State during the week.

If Darton State (36-10, 13-1) doesn’t stumble against Middle Georgia, Gordon State and Andrew College, the Cavaliers will clinch the top seed and a first-round bye.

Jaguar ace Lyndsey Parden (12-8) came into Saturday’s opening game with a formidable string of victories under her belt. Beginning March 27, she hurled a one-hit shutout, three-hit shutout, eight-inning no-hit shutout, a 2-1 win and a one-hit 3-1 victory. The stretch included games with 12, 13, 18 and 16 strikeouts.

And in the opener Saturday, Parden continued her strikeout binge, fanning 11 Cavaliers—an remarkable feat given the talent of the Darton lineup. It boosted Parden’s league-leading total to 170, 73 more than her closest competitor.

She walked only two Cavaliers, but gave up eight hits, and Darton’s exceptional power came into play immediately. After Bree Wells drew a first-inning walk, cleanup hitter Jordan Allen smacked a double to drive her in.

The Cavs broke open the game in the fourth with three runs, powered by Melissa Dearth’s two-bagger, an RBI single by Kendall Holland and a two-run double by Wells. They tacked on an unearned run in the seventh on an error and Allen’s single and second RBI.

Meanwhile, Darton pitcher Sommar Wright (12-4) handcuffed the Jaguars, throwing a two-hitter, striking out four and walking none. She faced two over the minimum, as the Cavaliers were errorless in the field.

Hannah McSwain led off the third inning with a double for the Jaguars’ first hit of the day. Jenna Carr produced the other hit, a seventh-inning single.

Like Parden, Carr (8-9) also was tagged in the first inning of the second game as the visitors pushed across two runs on RBI singles by Dearth and Emily Church.

This time, however, the Jaguar bats replied against Tiffany Bishop (10-2). Barbara Rego led off with a bunt single, and Vanessa Buitrago followed with an infield hit.

Sophomore catcher Maegan Coddington then drove a hard two-run double to the right-center warning track, and the game was tied.

Bishop subsequently retired 11 Jaguars in a row, giving the Cavaliers time to break open a 5-2 lead. Two unearned runs came in the fourth on a throwing error.

Then Allen launched a fifth-inning shot that landed well over the left-field fence.

In the bottom half of the inning, Abbey Hulsey, who had two hits, answered with a monster home run at the same spot, except it landed farther beyond the fence. That pulled GPC within two, 5-3.

The threat was short-lived—Darton came back in the top of the sixth with three stolen bases and RBI singles by Church and Sierra Newman. The Cavaliers swiped nine bases of 11 attempts in the two ballgames.

Carr finished with seven strikeouts, six walks and eight hits on her ledger. Bishop restricted the Jaguars to five hits and, like Wright, issued no base on balls.

The Jaguars’ twinbill at Abraham Baldwin Saturday in Tifton will begin at 2 p.m.

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April 10, 2014

Jaguars ward off challenge from Ga. Military

First the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars used power to win and then they applied small-ball at its best to sweep a doubleheader. And they tossed a one-hitter into the recipe.

Lyndsey Parden

GPC defeated Georgia Military College 3-1 behind a one-hitter by Lyndsey Parden and extra base hits by five batters, and then won the nightcap 5-3 with singles and bunts by Barbara Rego and Vanessa Buitrago.

The sweep sets the stage for Saturday’s showdown between second-place Georgia Perimeter (20-15, 11-3 GCAA) and league-leading Darton State (34-10, 11-1). It will be the fifth straight year the two teams have met with a championship on the line. Saturday’s winner doesn’t guarantee the regular-season championship, but someone should surface in the driver’s seat going into the final week of competition.

The top two teams in the final standings earn top seeds and byes in the first round of the conference tournament on April 24.

In losing two, Georgia Military (17-19, 8-6 GCAA) dropped out of a third-place tie in the conference standings.

GPC head coach Ken Deyton said he was pleased with all phases of the Jaguars’ game Thursday. “The offense came from up and down the lineup,” he added. “I was proud of the hitters because they hit what was given them.”

The Bulldogs held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning of the second game. Rego led off with a single, stole second base and Buitrago knocked her in with a chip shot down the right field line.

Vanessa Buitrago

Barbara Rego

In the sixth, Rego squeeze-bunted in Hannah McSwain for the winning run after McSwain singled—her third base hit of the game—and Morgan Howard followed with a single. Buitrago knocked in Howard for the insurance run with her third single.

The Jaguars got runs in the second and fourth innings via small ball, also. Abby Hulsey, McSwain and Howard hit consecutive singles in the second frame, Howard getting the RBI.

Maegan Coddington scored in the fourth after getting a hit, advancing on a fielder’s choice and a McSwain infield hit. She scampered home when Morgan Howard reached on a fielder’s choice.

Jenna Carr (8-8) earned the win, striking out nine, walking six, and allowing seven hits and two earned runs.
“I was proud of Jenna—she’s had a couple rough outings,” Deyton said. “Getting her back on track completes the puzzle. I have complete confidence in her. As a sophomore, she’s been there before.”

Parden (12-7) carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the first game, and the Jaguars flexed muscle at the plate to give her all the support she needed.

Coddington belted a double to the right-center warning track in the second inning, and Hulsey followed with an RBI double.

Stephanie Watts led off the third with a base hit, and then Rego and Buitrago ripped consecutive RBI triples to finish the Jags’ scoring.

As Parden later hit a two-bagger, five of the first six hitters in GPC’s lineup stroked extra-base hits.

With one out in the Bulldogs’ final at bat, Chelsey Sutton delivered a single to ruin Parden’s no-hit bit. Georgia Military had managed an unearned run in the sixth on two Jaguar errors.

As Parden had struck out opponents in double digits for four consecutive outings—including games with 18 and 16 whiffs—it’s a tribute to the Georgia Military batters that she issued only seven K’s Thursday. She walked only one.

The GPC-Darton games Saturday will be audio broadcast online with links on the athletic home page under “Game Webcasts.”

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April 5, 2014

Parden tosses 16 strikeouts in 2-1 duel; Jaguar bats rip East Ga. 8-2 in nightcap

First Middle, then South, now East. The heat is spreading across the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association map.

Lyndsey Parden

Hard-throwing Lyndsey Parden struck out 13 a week ago Sunday in a 2-0 shutout of Middle Georgia State College. She fanned 18 Thursday as she no-hit South Georgia State College 1-0, an eight-inning battle featuring a pitchers’ duel between her and Kathryn Dunn. Parden chipped in a strikeout while closing in the nightcap.

Saturday the sophomore ace engaged in another duel, this one with Courtney Jenkins of East Georgia State College, and Parden struck out 16 to carry the Jaguars to a 2-1 triumph over the Bobcats at GPC’s Newton Campus. Then she tacked on six more K’s in one-hit relief as the Jaguars defeated East 8-2 in the second game. That’s 54 strikeouts Sunday through Saturday. It’s 66 when including 12 strikeouts in a shutout at Andrew College the previous Thursday.

“I don’t have words to describe Lyndsey,” head coach Ken Deyton said. “Understand that I still feel that Lyndsey has room for improvement, but as good as her game day performances are, her day-to-day preparation is even better. She loves to succeed. It’s important to her personally.”

Second-place Georgia Perimeter (20-15, 11-3 GCAA) trails Darton State in the conference standings but momentum is building for a showdown between the top two teams next Saturday for top seed in the league tournament April 24-26.

It will be a showdown only if GPC on Thursday at Jaguar Field can sweep dangerous Georgia Military—locked in a third-place tie with Georgia Highlands, both at 8-4. Losing one of those games will mean the Jaguars could catch Darton only with help from Darton’s opponents in the next two weeks.

Parden (10-7) restricted East Georgia to three hits and walked only one. She and Jenkins put goose eggs on the scoreboard for 3 ½ innings in Saturday’s opener and then GPC touched Jenkins for the game-winners in the fourth and fifth and sixth innings.

Vanessa Buitrago, who went two-for-three in both games, led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Chelsea Murphy.

When Jenna Carr reached on a throwing error and moved to second, the speedy Buitrago came around to score.

In the fifth inning, Hannah McSwain singled and motored into second when the outfielder flubbed her grounder. Nina Rodriguez moved her to third with a bunt. With two outs, Barbara Rego hit an RBI single to make the score 2-0.

In their final at-bat, East (11-13, 3-7 GCAA) scored the only run registered against Parden in 32 2/3 innings, going back to March 26 when Gordon State scored two on her before she blanked the Highlanders in the final three frames of a 3-2 extra-inning game.

East’s Danielle Reaheume accomplished it with a high home run that cleared the left-field fence by several feet.

Jenkins held GPC to five hits, striking out five and issuing no walks. One run against her was unearned. Jenkins (5-6) also started the second game and absorbed that loss, too. After East jumped on Carr in the first inning with Jada Lawson’s two-run double, the Jags in turn jumped on Jenkins in their half of the inning.

Buitrago started it off with a triple to the left-center gap. Carr knocked her in, stole second and scored on Abby Hulsey’s base hit. Hulsey came home on a single by McSwain.

“Vanessa had a big day, and Hannah’s bat has come back. That’s big for us,” Deyton said.

Buitrago again started it in the third inning with a single, and Hulsey drove her in with a base hit. Murphy’s pinch hit double in the fourth drove in two more base runners, Parden and Morgan Howard.

In the fifth Maegan Coddington finalized the attack, crushing the softball toward the parking lot beyond left field for a two-run home run, her fifth. Hulsey trotted in ahead of her after getting her third hit of the game.

“The second game was a total team effort,” Deyton said. “Even players who didn’t get on base had good at bats.”

Parden pitched 6 2/3 scoreless relief innings and allowed only one hit. Jenkins gave up four runs, and Heather Peterson allowed four in three innings of relief.

Thursday’s games with Georgia Military begin at 4 p.m. Saturday’s doubleheader with Darton also begins at 4.

Those games will be audio webcast with links at and on the athletic home page under “Game Webcasts.”

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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April 3, 2014

Parden pitches no-hitter with 18 strikeouts, knocks in three runs in 4-2 nightcap victory

Lyndsey Parden pitched an eight-inning no-hitter and fanned 18 batters to win a pitcher’s duel for Georgia Perimeter College 1-0 over South Georgia State College Thursday at GPC’s Newton Campus.

Lyndsey Parden

Parden and South Georgia’s starter, Kathryn Dunn, held both lineups scoreless until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Hannah McSwain’s walk-off squeeze bunt brought Barbara Rego home for the game-winning run.

In the nightcap, Parden put on her hitter’s cap and drove in three runs as the Jaguars won 4-2 to sweep the twinbill.

“This was not only Lyndsey’s best performance of the season, in my opinion it was her best performance of her career at GPC,” said head coach Ken Deyton. “This young lady is as competitive and driven as anybody who has ever put on a GPC softball uniform.”

The victories leave Georgia Perimeter (18-15, 9-3 GCAA) one game behind league leader Darton State in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association standings. The top two teams at the end of the regular season draw a bye in the conference tournament at the end of the month.

Parden (8-7) entered the game coming off a 13-strikeout, three-hit 2-0 shutout Sunday at Middle Georgia. The previous Thursday she hurled a 5-0 win at Andrew College with 12 strikeouts. South Georgia was her third consecutive shutout victim.

Her rising fastball and pinpoint control clipped the Hawks after they presented a bases-loaded threat in the first inning—Karleigh Clements reaching on an error and Parden issuing two walks.

Escaping the jam with her third strikeout of the frame, Parden established the pattern to follow. From the last out of the second inning through the first out of the eighth, she sat down 17 straight batters. The stretch included eight consecutive strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Dunn held the Jaguars to three base hits—singles by Jenna Carr, Anna Rowe and Morgan Howard. Dunn struck out one and issued only one base on balls, to Vanessa Buitrago, who swiped second for the only steal of the game.

Parden’s 18th strikeout ended the top of the eighth, stranding two runners—her fourth walk of the day and the extra-inning automatic runner on second base.

That set the stage for the dramatic ending in the bottom of the eighth. Jaguar speedster Rego took second base as the automatic runner, and Chelsea Murphy promptly bunted her to third.

McSwain, a sophomore third baseman-shortstop, expertly bunted the next pitch to no-woman’s land between home, the circle and first base. Dunn charged and scoop-tossed the ball with her glove to the catcher, Clements, but Rego slid to the plate well before tag.

“It would be easy to say, ‘Well, we’ve got to hit the ball better,’ but sometimes you have to give credit to your opponent’s pitcher,” Deyton said. “Ms. Dunn did a great job mixing her pitches and making adjustments. But championship programs find ways to win the close ones, and we did that, and that’s what I was proud to see.”

Dunn tossed the second game for the Hawks (8-16, 2-8), and for a while she turned in the second pitchers’ duel of the day.

The Jaguars managed a first-inning score off her as Carr reached second on a fielder’s choice and came home on a sharp single that Parden drove between Dunn’s legs into center field.

Hayley Goodwin tied the score with an RBI double in the top of the second, scoring CeeJay Ham, who reached on one of the Jaguars’ two errors.

Dunn got out of jams in the second and fourth innings, and Carr escaped trouble in the third and fifth frames.

Then the Jaguars broke out three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Nina Rodriguez led off with a single, Buitrago singled and Carr helped her own cause, plating Rodriguez with another base hit.

That brought up Parden, who swatted a two-RBI single to left for the eventual winning run.

The Hawks chased Carr in the sixth when MegAnn Smith drew a walk, moved to second on an error and scored on a two-out single to left by Keri Williams.

Coming in from right field in relief, Parden allowed her first hit of the day, a single by none other than Dunn and then issued her 19th strikeout of the evening to prevent further damage. She retired the side in order in the seventh.

Carr (7-8) allowed seven hits—three by Dunn—walked three and fanned two. The Jaguars collected 10 hits off Dunn. Joining Parden with two hits apiece was Maegan Coddington, who had a double.

Saturday, the Jaguars celebrate Sophomore Day as East Georgia State visits for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. Those games will be audio broadcast online with links on the athletic home page under “Game Webcasts.”

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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March 30, 2014

Parden whiffs 13 in 3-hit shutout; but Jags suffer 5-3 loss in Game 2

Now this is the Lyndsey Parden the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association knows.

Maegan Coddington

Lyndsey Parden

Parden, who’s had struggles in the win-loss column this spring, struck out 13 and scattered three base hits against a hard-hitting Middle Georgia State lineup, leading Georgia Perimeter College to a 2-0 victory over the Knights Sunday in Cochran.

But Maegan Coddington’s home run in the nightcap wasn’t enough—and Lana Maddox’ two were too much—as Georgia Perimeter (16-15, 7-3 GCAA) slipped 5-3, leaving the Jaguars still two games behind league leader Darton State and one game ahead of third-place Georgia Highlands.

Middle Georgia (12-11, 3-3 GCAA) slides into a fourth-place gridlock with three other teams, all at 3-3 in the conference.

Allowing just three hits in her last 14 innings, Parden (7-7) registered her second straight shutout, third of the season and seventh of her college career—and it is the Jaguars’ fifth shutout this month. Chelsea Murphy and Jenna Carr each have thrown a shutout.

The Jaguars plated all the runs Parden would need in the fourth inning when Coddington and Stephanie Watts each drove in a run, scoring Carr and Parden. Coddington finished the opener with three hits in three at-bats, and Watts was two-for-two.

Parden increased her strikeout lead in the GCAA to 111, while walking only one. She faced 26 batters, five over the minimum for a seven-inning game. Her earned run average, 1.59, ranks second in the conference.

The Knights entered Sunday’s doubleheader with the top two hitters in the conference—Sara Bennetts and Kayla Balkin came in batting .456 and .438, respectively. Parden held the duo to one hit, a single by Balkin, in five trips.

Losing pitcher Alyssa Amerson (8-4) tossed a good game in her own right, walking only one, striking out two and giving up seven hits (five to Watts and Coddington).

It’s not the first classic between the two pitchers. Currently, the third-winningest pitcher in the GCAA, Amerson took the loss last April in Parden’s 4-0 shutout of the Knights in the GCAA tournament championship game, which earned Parden the tourney MVP award. Amerson lost 2-1 to Parden in the winners’ bracket semifinal the day before, and earlier in the season at Jaguar Field, she ended on the short end of a 2-0 shutout by Parden.

Although Carr (6-8) held Bennetts and Balkin hitless in the nightcap, the deep Knights lineup took its toll with a three-run fifth inning that overcame a 3-2 Jaguar lead. Maddox inflicted the big damage for the hosts, blasting a pair of two-run home runs. Cara Brainard (2-1) earned the win.

Coddington launched a solo round-tripper for the Jaguars—her fourth homer—and Vanessa Buitrago and Abbey Hulsey scored runs. Buitrago stroked two hits, and Parden added two, including a double.

Friday the Jaguars return to their home field after four dates and eight games on the road. They will host South Georgia State College in a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. The games will be audio webcast with links under “Game Webcasts” on the athletic home page.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 27, 2014

Jaguars move into second place, climb above .500 with two wins

Abbey Hulsey had five hits in two games, and Lyndsey Parden threw a one-hit shutout as Georgia Perimeter College blanked Andrew College 5-0 and won the nightcap 10-1 Thursday in Cuthbert.

Abbey Hulsey

Lyndsey Parden

Georgia Perimeter (15-14, 6-2 GCAA) advanced beyond .500 for the first time since Feb. 2, when the Jaguars were 2-1. With the wins, they climbed into second place in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association, two games behind Darton State College, which is 9-1 in conference competition.

Parden (5-7) was the big story in the opener as she gave up a lone hit to the Fighting Tigers’ Tiffany Hand. Facing only 23 batters, she walked but one and struck out 12. She leads the GCAA in strikeouts with 97 and is second in ERA at 1.74.

With the Jaguars banging out 13 hits in each game, Morgan Howard led all batters in the first contest, going four-for-four with a double. Hulsey and Vanessa Buitrago each had two hits in four at-bats.

Playing second base and leading off in place of injured Stephanie Watts, Chelsey Murphy stroked two base hits in three trips. On the basepaths, Buitrago and Barbara Rego stole two bases apiece.

Lindsey Sheets absorbed the loss for Andrew (3-17, 0-6 GCAA).

In the second game, Jenna Carr (5-6) tossed a two-hitter in five innings—the game was called on the run rule. She struck out six and walked two, both in the first inning when she worked out of a bases-loaded jam.

Carr ranks third in the GCAA in strikeouts with 66, and she is sixth with a 2.84 ERA.

Hulsey stayed hot at the plate in game two, getting an RBI and three hits in four trips. Barbara Rego also went three-for-four, hitting a triple, and she had two runs and two RBIs.

Jordan Conwell also posted two runs and knocked two home with a double. Getting two hits apiece were Maegan Coddington and Hannah McSwain. Rego and Buitrago each stole a base.

Andrew College scored in the bottom of the fifth inning when Sabrina Grenade singled, advanced on an error and was driven in by Melissa Kedzie. The losing pitcher was Brittany Simpson.

Sunday the Jaguars travel to Middle Georgia State in Cochran for a 4 p.m. doubleheader that was originally scheduled for Saturday.

After four outings on the road, the Jaguars finally return to their home field on Friday, April 4, at 4 p.m. for a doubleheader with South Georgia State College. The games will be audio broadcast online, and fans can tune in at the athletic home page with the links under “Game Webcasts.”

First game box score.

Second game box score.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 26, 2014

Parden knocks in winning run; Jags let first game slip away

Lyndsey Parden hit a sacrifice fly to score the winning run as Georgia Perimeter College edged Gordon State College 3-2 in the nightcap of a doubleheader Wednesday in Barnesville.

Lyndsey Parden

In the opener, Gordon State came from behind in the final at bat to pull off a 5-4 victory.

Jenna Carr and Maegan Coddington each belted a solo home run in the second inning of the nightcap to give Georgia Perimeter (13-14, 4-2 GCAA) an early lead.

But Gordon State (10-15, 1-5 GCAA) rallied with a run in the fourth and another in the fifth, and the game went into the extra eighth inning.

Vanessa Buitrago was placed on second base as the automatic runner in the top of the eighth. She advanced to third on a wild pitch and crossed the plate with the eventual game-winner on Parden’s sacrifice fly to center field.

“Any region win is a good win, and we’ll take it,” GPC head coach Ken Deyton said. “We won on the scoreboard, but our will to win on the field needs to get better fast.”

Four of the Jaguars’ six hits were extra-base knocks. In addition to Carr’s and Coddington’s home runs (the third for each of them), Carr and Morgan Howard stroked doubles. Buitrago had the other two base hits.

Parden (5-7) earned the win, giving up five hits and one earned run in eight innings, striking out seven and walking two.

Megan Coddington

Jenna Carr

In the first game, the Jaguars opened a 4-1 lead with a three-run fourth inning, but Gordon got back in the game with a run in the sixth and then rallied for three in the seventh to win 5-4.

Carr (4-6) was the hard-luck loser as all three seventh-inning runs were unearned. She worked her way out of some jams earlier and finished with seven strikeouts, four walks and six hits allowed.

“Our hitting was sporadic, and not timely,” Deyton said. “I give credit to the Gordon pitchers (Katie Goodman and Reba Williams). They worked their way out of jams as well.”

Playing right field, Parden hit her fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot. Morgan Howard also had two RBIs, and she and Hannah McSwain had two hits apiece. GPC collected eight hits, while Gordon had seven.

Williams earned the win, tossing three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.

Because of weather forecasts, the Jaguars’ doubleheader scheduled for Saturday at Middle Georgia in Cochran has been changed to Sunday at 4 and 6 p.m. The next home date is with South Georgia State on Friday, April 4.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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March 22, 2014

Carr hurls one-hit shutout at Highlands; she and Parden homer as Jaguars split

Lyndsey Parden

Jenna Carr

For about 90 minutes Saturday the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars had climbed back to a .500 record.

Sophomore pitcher Jenna Carr pitched a one-hit shutout, and Lyndsey Parden socked a three-run home run to boost Georgia Perimeter College over Georgia Highlands College 5-0 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Stars Field in Cartersville.

Carr hit a home run in the second game, and Parden pitched a three-hitter, but the Jaguars didn’t muster further offense against the Chargers’ pitcher, Morgan McKinney, falling below .500 with a 2-1 loss.

Georgia Perimeter, 12-13 overall, drops from first place into a third-place tie in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association standings with a 3-1 record. East Georgia State and also sports a 3-1 conference mark.

Pitching GPC’s sixth consecutive victory, Carr (4-6) struck out six and walked four, facing 27 batters, six over the minimum.

“Jenna has gotten very consistent in her last several outings—she’s throwing as well as I have seen her throw,” said head coach Ken Deyton.

He added: “I was proud of the defense. They played determined and with a lot of toughness.” Georgia Highlands (11-20, 4-4 GCAA) threatened in the third inning and again in the sixth, and both times Carr and the defense put out the fires.

Vanessa Buitrago stroked three hits and scored three runs, and Abby Hulsey had a single and a double and scored the other two runs.

With the Jaguars leading 2-0, Parden, who drove in all five GPC runs, hit her three-run homer over the left field fence in the fifth inning to complete the scoring. She had two hits in three at-bats. It’s her third homer this year.

Brandi Hughes (3-4) struck out four and walked one in taking the loss for Georgia Highlands, which is in its inaugural season in the GCAA.

In the second game, the Chargers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Parden loaded the bases on a base hit by Kristin Mullis, a walk and a hit batsman. Grayson West then drew a base on balls, and Mullis strolled to home plate.

Carr answered in the second frame, leading off with a solo home run over the center field fence—her second round-tripper of the season.

The Chargers came right back in the bottom of the inning with the eventual game-winning run. Karlie Jarrett singled to left, driving in Taylor Alton.

Parden (4-7) and McKinney then settled into a pitchers’ duel, posting goose eggs on the scoreboard the rest of the way. GPC threatened with runners on second and third in the fifth, but McKinney got out of the inning unscathed.

Parden complimented her three-hitter with nine strikeouts. She issued five walks.

“I thought Lyndsey competed great and threw the ball well enough to win,” Deyton said. “We scored early on Jenna’s home run, and then did nothing. We didn't get the timely hit and stranded numerous runners. This is an area we have to get better at to be successful.”

McKinney (1-1) gave up seven hits, struck out two and issued no walks. Maegan Coddington was the lone Jaguar with two hits. “Morgan McKinney did a great job, backed by a solid defense,” Deyton said. “I'm impressed with the job that coach (Melissa) Wood and her staff have done with the first year program.”

The Jaguars hit the road again this week, playing Gordon State in Barnesville on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Andrew College in Cuthbert on Thursday at 3 p.m. The next home date is with South Georgia State on April 4.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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March 20, 2014

Andrew game changed to next Thursday; Sunday games at Highlands now on Saturday

Because of field conditions, the Georgia Perimeter College softball doubleheader at Andrew College has been rescheduled for next Thursday, March 27, at 3 and 5 p.m.

Additionally, with rain forecasted for Sunday, Coach Ken Deyton said the doubleheader at Georgia Highlands College has been moved to Saturday at 5 and 7 p.m.

The Jaguars play four games on the road before returning to their home field on April 4 and 5 for games against South Georgia State and East Georgia State.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 20, 2014

Softball game at Andrew rescheduled for Thursday

Because of field conditions, the Georgia Perimeter College softball doubleheader at Andrew College has been rescheduled for Thursday, March 20, at 3 and 5 p.m.

The Jaguars will play three more games on the road before returning to their home field on April 4 and 5 for games against South Georgia State and East Georgia State.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 13, 2014

Jaguars open GCAA schedule with two wins

Jenna Carr pitched a three-hitter, Lyndsey Parden tossed a shutout and Abby Hulsey had a home run and four RBIs, leading Georgia Perimeter College over West Georgia Technical College 4-1 and 8-0 in the Jaguars’ conference opener Thursday at Newton Campus.

Jenna Carr

Lyndsey Parden

Georgia Perimeter moves into a tie for first place in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association with a 2-0 conference record, 11-12 overall. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College also is 2-0 in league play.

“We’re off to a good start,” said GPC head coach Ken Deyton. “I think the players raised their level of intensity because it was a conference game. We’ll see how that rough preseason schedule comes into play now. But the conference road only gets tougher from here on out.”

Parden’s shutout in the second game is her first of the season and the Jaguars’ second. She and Carr were backed by stellar defense—including a diving catch by centerfielder Vanessa Buitrago—as the Jags committed only one error in the doubleheader.

Carr (4-6) engaged in a pitcher’s duel with West Georgia Tech’s Brittany Portwood for the first three innings of the opener, each allowing just one hit.

But the GPC broke out four runs in the fourth inning. Hulsey led off the frame with a base hit and scored from first when Morgan Howard, the only Jaguar with two hits, sent a double to the left field warning track.

Stephanie Watts, Barbara Rego, Buitrago and Maegan Coddington followed with consecutive base hits to put the Jaguars up 4-0.

Abby Hulsey

Carr lost her shutout when West Georgia Tech (2-17, 1-5 GCAA) scored in the seventh on a double by Bre Richey, a wild pitch and a groundout.`Carr finished with five strikeouts and three walks.

The GPC bats got to Portwood, who started both games and absorbed the losses, much earlier in the second game.

Hulsey set the Jaguars on fire in the second inning with a lazy two-run homer to left field, her fifth round-tripper of the season. That plated Hannah McSwain, who reached on a fielder’s choice after Parden started the rally with a hit.

The next batter, Carr, who went three-for-three, doubled and came home on a single by Watts. An error by the Golden Knights allowed Watts to score.

Howard stroked an RBI double to put the Jags up 5-0 in the fourth, and next inning they added two more off reliever Keisha Stone on Hulsey’s two-run single.

Buitrago ended the game in the sixth on the eight-run rule. After pinch hitter Chelsea Murphy singled, she ripped an RBI double—GPC’s 13th hit of the contest.

Parden (4-6) struck out six in six innings, walking none and giving up six hits. The Jaguars’ only other shutout was a 2-0 gem tossed by Murphy on March 2 against Gordon State College.

This was West Georgia Tech’s first trip to Jaguar Field, as it is the Golden Knight’s inaugural season in the league and in NJCAA Division 1 play.

“I thought they had a lot of fight,” Deyton said. “Coach (Stephanie) Herrara will do good things with that program.”

The Jaguars take a spring break until Tuesday’s road trip to Andrew College, the first of four road trips before the next home game with South Georgia State on April 4.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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March 12, 2014

West Georgia Tech now slated for Thursday

The Jaguars’ games with West Georgia Tech have been rescheduled for Thursday, March 13, at (NOTE LATE TIME CHANGE) 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

The doubleheader was originally scheduled for Wednesday but rain caused a postponement and reschedule for Sunday. However, because of an inclement weather forecast for Sunday, head softball coach Ken Deyton and West Georgia Tech coach Stephanie Herrara decided to reschedule again.

The Jaguars (9-12) will open their Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association schedule Thursday, while the Golden Knights (2-15, 1-3 GCAA), in their inaugural year in the conference and NJCAA Division 1, will make their first appearance at Jaguar Field.

The games will be audio broadcast online, beginning at 3:55 and 5:55 p.m., with links under “Game Webcasts” on the athletics home page.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 11, 2014

Jaguars win two with 7th-inning comebacks

Stephanie Watts and Vanessa Buitrago drove in walk-off winning runs, Hannah McSwain hit two home runs and the pitchers tossed gems as the Jaguars rallied twice in the seventh inning to sweep Pitt Community College 2-1 and 4-3 Tuesday at Newton Campus.

Vanessa Buitrago

Stephanie Watts

In the first game, Georgia Perimeter College (9-12) trailed 1-0 when Hannah McSwain started the game-winning rally in the bottom of the seventh inning with a leadoff homer.

With one out, Jenna Carr, slated to pitch the second game, stepped up as a pinch hitter and belted a double, her second hit of the day. She advanced to third on an error.

Watts put the ball in play and the infield committed another error, sending Carr to the plate with the winning run.

The game featured a pitchers’ duel between the Bulldogs’ Jaimee Radel—a 2013 NJCAA Pitcher of the Week—and two GPC pitchers, who limited Pitt to three hits.

Winning pitcher Chelsea Murphy tossed the last three innings, giving up Pitt’s run in the sixth on the only hit against her, an RBI double by Becky Phillips.

Lyndsey Parden started and threw four scoreless innings, allowing two hits, striking out five but walking five.

Loser Radel (2-2) held the Jaguars to three singles until the homer and double in the fateful seventh.

Hannah McSwain

Carr (3-6) dominated from the circle in the second game, striking out 12, walking none and limiting the Bulldogs to five hits and three earned runs.

McSwain, who had two hits in the nightcap, launched her second homer of the day, scoring Barbara Rego, who had reached on an error, and the Jaguars had a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Pitt answered with a run in the third frame on an RBI by pitcher Brooke Bell, scoring Misty Edwards, who reached on a fielder’s choice.

The Bulldogs seized the lead 3-2 in the top of the seventh. Taylor Johnson doubled, advanced to third on an error and came home on a groundout. Edwards reached on the error, moved to third on the groundout and scored on a second error.

That set the stage for the Jags’ second comeback of the day. Morgan Howard drew a walk to lead off their half of the seventh. She was sacrificed over by Nina Rodriguez.

Jordan Conwell ripped a double, her second hit, to plate Howard.

With two outs, Buitrago hit a double, bringing in Anna Rowe—who pinch ran for Conwell—and the Jaguars celebrated their second walk-off of the afternoon.

Brooke Bell (3-1), another NJCAA Pitcher of the Week last year, took the loss for Pitt. At the plate she had two hits, as did Johnson.

GPC opens its Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association schedule Wednesday, hosting West Georgia Tech at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Those games will be audio webcast with links on the athletic home page under “Game Webcasts.”

First game box score.

Second game box score.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 5, 2014

Jaguars rally to gain split with Chattanooga State C.C.

Maegan Coddington and Abby Hulsey drove in runs in a big rally, Lyndsey Parden pitched out of jams and Georgia Perimeter College edged powerful Chattanooga State Community College 3-2 in the second game of a twinbill Wednesday at Newton Campus.

Georgia Perimeter (7-12) rallied from six runs down in the first game—led by Abby Hulsey’s four-for-four game and two-run homer—but it all fell short in a 10-8 loss featuring robust hitting on both sides. Chattanooga State (21-3) won the NJCAA national championship in 2012.

Baylee Williams opened the second game with a home run on the third pitch from Parden.

The Jaguars answered with three runs in the third inning. Coddington whacked a bases-loaded two-run double, scoring Barbara Rego and Vanessa Buitrago. Hulsey lofted a sacrice fly to center, plating Parden.

Parden (3-6) bent but didn’t break in the third-through-seventh innings, allowing two or more base runners each inning. The Tigers got their second run in the fourth after Parden loaded the bases and walked Kelsey Thomas, scoring Lindsey Strickland, who had reached on an error.

GPC’s scorekeeper, Chuck Hobbs, lent a hand to Parden during the fifth-inning jam. When Sharlene Godoy walked to load the bases, Hobbs alerted the umpires that Godoy had not been reported back into the game after a pinch runner replaced her in the previous inning. Godoy was ruled out, ending the Tigers’ threat.

GPC collected seven hits, including the double by Coddington and one by Hannah McSwain. Losing pitcher Hanna Manley (4-1) struck out one and walked none.

Parden allowed eight hits, struck out four and walked five.

“That was by far the best win this team has had this season,” said head coach Ken Deyton. “What I think I know about this team showed up today.”

Jenna Carr (2-6) got off to a rough start in the opener, as the Tigers tagged her for six runs—three unearned—in the first inning.

But GPC chipped away with two runs in the bottom of the first, one in the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth to draw within 7-6.

The runs in the fifth came when Parden led off with a double and Hulsey followed with a blast over the left field fence for her fourth home run.

After a three-run surge by the Tigers in the sixth, powered by Emily Dognan’s two-run homer, Hulsey and Chelsey Murphy singled to start off the bottom of the seventh inning and both scored. However, the rally ended when reliever Shelby Willard seduced a fly out and groundout to end the game.

Starter Godoy (8-2) earned the win and Willard got her second save.

“We got behind in both games, and they never quit,” Deyton said. “The season overall is a work in progress, but we took a big step today.”

Next Tuesday the Jaguars will host Pitt Community College (N.C.) in a doubleheader at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. To listen to the audio webcast, beginning at 12:55, find the links on the athletic home page under “Game Webcasts.”

Wednesday, GPC opens its Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association schedule, hosting West Georgia Tech at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Those games also will be audio broadcast online.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 4, 2014

Backup Rodriguez is key in 2 wins; Carr, Parden help their own causes

Nina Rodriguez came off the bench with a fiery bat and pitchers Jenna Carr and Lyndsey Parden helped their causes with key hits, leading Georgia Perimeter College in a doubleheader over Indian Hills Community College (Iowa) 4-3 and 4-2 Tuesday at GPC’s Newton Campus.

Nina Rodriguez

Rodriguez, a sophomore who saw limited action last season, totaled four-for-five in the two games, including a double that ignited the Jaguars’ winning rally in the opener.

Carr brought her home with a walk-off infield hit that gave the Jaguars a 4-3 win, while Parden produced the eventual winning run in the fourth inning of the nightcap with a solo home run.

“This is the first time in a while that we put all phases of the game together,” said GPC head coach Ken Deyton. “I attribute today’s sweep to the energy and determination of the players.”

Georgia Perimeter will take a 6-11 record into Wednesday’s home twinbill with Chattanooga State Community College, which begins at 3 p.m.

The Jaguars jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the first inning of the first game. Barbara Rego led off the bottom of the frame with a triple to straightaway center. Carr hit an infield grounder and Rego slid at the plate for the first run. Hannah McSwain singled, and Chelsey Murphy rapped a two-run base hit.

The Warriors (5-5) answered with two unearned runs off Carr in the second—on a two-RBI-single by Lindsay Moore—and one in the third (double by Maddie McGuire, RBI single by Emma Rickles).

With the score tied 3-3, Rodriguez led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to the right field warning track.

Lyndsey Parden

Jenna Carr

After two intentional walks loaded the bases, Carr knocked in Rodriguez with a drive that shortstop Hayley Novacek stopped with a dive but Rodriguez beat the throw to home plate for the walk-off run.

“Nina shows up every day 100 percent in everything she does,” Deyton said.

Rego, McSwain and Murphy had two hits apiece.

Carr (2-5) earned the win, going seven innings and retiring nine of the last 11 batters. She gave up nine hits and two walks while striking out four.

Mandi Moore (2-1) took the loss, giving up eight hits and three walks and striking out two.

The Warriors, who beat GPC 2-1 Sunday in Columbus, scored two runs in the top of the first with a double by Laci Moore and a two-run mammoth homer to left by Kindle Schieber.

GPC tied it in the second when Parden singled and scored on a double to center by Abby Hulsey, followed by an RBI single by Rodriguez.

In the fourth frame, Parden, who went three-for-three, swatted a wicked line drive over the left field fence, a solo homer that put the Jaguars up 4-3.

An insurance run came in the fifth on a double in the right-center gap by Maegan Coddington, plating the speedy Buitrago, who circled the bases from first.

Rodriguez went three-for-three in the game and Buitrago was two-for-three.

Parden (2-6) was the winning pitcher, giving up four hits and throwing five strikeouts and one base on balls. Schieber (0-3) absorbed the loss, allowing 10 hits, striking out two and walking none.

Wednesday’s games with Chattanooga State will be audio webcast, beginning at 2:55 with links on the athletic home page under “Game Webcasts.”

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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March 2, 2014

Hulsey, Murphy lift GPC past Gordon

Chelsea Murphy pitched a two-hit shutout, and Abby Hulsey hit a two-run walk-off homerun as Georgia Perimeter College beat Gordon State College 2-0 Sunday at the NJCAA Leadoff Classic in Columbus.

Chelsea Murphy

Abby Hulsey

The Jaguars (4-11) were nipped in their final appearance at the tournament, losing 2-1 to Indian Hills Community College (Iowa).

Murphy (2-0) faced only 23 batters in the seven-inning first game, fanning five walking two and allowing hits to Brittany Sinkfield and Hailey Burnham.

“Chelsea has been a big addition to our pitching staff, she pitching in a limited role behind Jenna and Lyndsey but seems to shine every time she takes the circle,” said GPC head coach Ken Deyton..

Gordon (8-9) made it a pitcher’s duel as Emily Sorrows (0-1) limited the Jaguars to five hits—two by Barbara Rego.

In the bottom of the seventh, Hulsey stepped up with Morgan Howard on base and hit her game-winning blast.

The second game featured another pitchers’ duel as Indian Hills’ Kendle Schieber allowed only 3 hits, and Lyndsey Parden (1-6) and Jenna Carr, sharing pitching duties for GPC, allowed two each.

Buitrago, Rego and Hannah McSwain collected the hits for GPC. The Jaguars went up 1-0 in the fourth inning—Hulsey getting an RBI and Buitrago scoring.

But Schieber helped her cause and won the game for the Warriors (5-3) with a two-run home run in the top of the fifth.

Tuesday, Indian Hills finishes its 8-game Southern tour at GPC, playing a doubleheader with the Jaguars at 1 and 3 p.m.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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March 1, 2014

Tallahassee blanks Jags in first of 2 losses

Ashley Dobson pitched a two-hit shutout as Tallahassee Community College blanked Georgia Perimeter College 6-0 Saturday at the NJCAA Leadoff Classic in Columbus.

The Jaguars (3-10) lost a close one 8-6 in the second game of the day to Central Alabama Community College.

“Although we’d like to have more wins, obviously, I do see improvement in many areas,” said head coach Ken Deyton. “We’re improving every week.”

Tallahassee (13-6) pushed across three runs in the first inning off Lyndsey Parden and it was all Dobson needed. She struck out six, walked none and allowed hits by Maegan Coddington and Morgan Howard.

Parden struck out six, walked four and gave up six hits in five innings. Two of the runs were unearned on two GPC errors. Chelsea Murphy pitched a scoreless sixth inning in relief.

The Jaguars fared better in the second game but couldn’t pull out a victory. They tied it 3-3 in the third but Central Alabama (13-3) knocked in three runs in their next at bat for a 6-3 lead.

The Trojans added two in the seventh that proved to be the eventual game-winner because GPC got its fifth and sixth runs in the bottom of the inning.

Vanessa Buitrago had three hits in four at-bats, including a triple, as the Jaguars piled up 11 hits. She scored a run and drove in one. Barbara Rego and Jenna Carr each went two-for-four at the plate.

Carr absorbed the loss in the circle, tossing four innings, fanning six, walking only one, and allowing seven hits and six runs. Four were unearned runs as the Jaguars coughed up seven errors. That didn't take away from a spectacular diving catch by leftfielder Anna Rowe.

“Jenna threw a very solid game; however our defense didn’t have their best night in the field,” Deyton said. “I do want to note that Anna Rowe made a diving catch in left-center field that would compete for the best catch ever made by a GPC outfielder.”

The Jaguars play in the tourney elimination round Sunday.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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February 28, 2014

Parden fans 11 in Jaguars’ 8-1 romp

Sophomore ace Lyndsey Parden got the Jaguars back on the winning track Friday, pitching an 8-1 victory over Southern Union State Community College (Ala.) at the NJCAA Leadoff Classic in Columbus.

Lyndsey Parden

In the Jaguars’ second game of the prestigious invitational tournament, they bowed to Kirkwood Community College (Iowa) 5-2.

Parden struck out 11 in seven innings, giving up only three hits and walking two. The win ended the Jaguars’ six-game losing skid.

“Lyndsey had a great game today, mixing her pitches well with great control,” said head coach Ken Deyton. Southern Union is an outstanding softball team with a loaded lineup, so she had to be at her best.”

Not only did she pitch well against the Bison, but Parden also belted a homerun for the Jaguars (3-8) and collected two RBIs. Barbara Rego, Jenna Carr, Morgan Howard and Stephanie Watts had two hits apiece.

Losing pitcher for Southern Union (16-5) was Brianna Cleckler.

Kirkwood (4-1) put hard-throwing Sam Belz in the circle for the second game, and she slowed the Jaguars, allowing four hits in seven innings.

“She’s one of the best we’ve faced this year,” Deyton said. “I was also very impressed with the Kirkwood program. They are very well coached and play the game like it is supposed to be played.”

Carr was the hitting star who got to Belz, launching a homerun and scoring GPC’s two runs.

In the circle Carr (1-4) absorbed the loss. She struck out seven in seven innings, walked four and gave up five hits, including a two-run homerun by the Eagles’ Keirstyn Davis.

The Jaguars continue in the tournament pool play Saturday and will play elimination games Sunday.

Tuesday, the Jaguars open their home schedule with a doubleheader with Indian Hills Community College. The games will be audio broadcast online with links on the athletic home page under “Game Webcasts.”

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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February 15, 2014

Triple whammy for GPC at Chipola Classic

After losing two games Friday at the Chipola FPU Classic in Marianna, Fla., the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars let three more slip away on Saturday.

Following their final game of the invitational, the Jaguars (2-7) packed up for home with a six-game losing streak after they outhit but were edged 4-3 by Gulf Coast State College—ranked No. 14 nationally.

Earlier in the day, GPC lost to Chattanooga State Community College 4-2 and to Northwest Florida State College 5-1.

“Over all, the weekend allowed us to play some great softball, and face some great competition,” said GPC head coach Ken Deyton. “However, as expected, it also revealed many areas that we have to be better in.”

The Gulf Coast setback was the Jaguars’ second one-run loss in the tourney with teams ranked in the NJCAA poll. Friday they dropped an extra-inning game to No. 8 Chipola College 5-4.

Georgia Perimeter (2-7), took a 3-2 lead over the Commodores in the third inning but gave up two runs in the top of the seventh to let victory slip away.

Jenna Carr (1-3) absorbed the loss, allowing only five hits and four runs, one unearned.

Meanwhile the Jaguars banged out nine hits, led by Maegan Coddington (two-for-four). Anna Rowe swatted her third double of the weekend, and runs were driven in by Coddington, Lyndsey Parden and Morgan Howard.

“Jenna stepped up with her best outing of the weekend,” Deyton said. “She competed; she adjusted, and had a winning performance. We won this game everywhere but on the score board.”

In their Saturday opener, the Jaguars again let in two runs in the seventh to lose a close one. Chattanooga State’s Shelby Willard held GPC to four hits, while the Tigers gathered six on Carr, who took the loss.

Only two of the four runs leveled against Carr were earned, as the Jaguars made three errors in the field.

Coddington smacked a home run and other Jaguar hits were by Carr, Howard and Barbara Rego.

In the Jaguars’ second game of the day, Northwest Florida pounded out four fourth-inning runs, and pitcher Haley Goodson held GPC to two hits, a single by Chelsea Murphy and a two-bagger by Rowe.

Losing pitcher Lyndsey Parden (held to a strict pitch count because of Friday’s workload) slipped to 0-4 on the season but struck out four in three innings. Murphy tossed three innings, allowing four runs, one unearned, and two home runs.

The Jaguars take two weeks off and then travel to Columbus for the NJCAA Leadoff Classic on Friday, Feb. 28, and March 1. Friday games will be with Southern Union and Kirkwood Community College (Iowa), and Saturday the Jaguars face Tallahassee Community College.

The first home outing is a 1 p.m. doubleheader on March 4 with Indian Hills Community College (Iowa). The games will be audio broadcast online with links on the athletic home page under “Game Webcasts.”

First game box score.

Second game box score.

Third game box score.

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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February 14, 2014

Jaguars drop two at Chipola Classic

It was a hot and cold Valentine’s Day for the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars at the Chipola FPU Classic Friday in Marianna, Fla.

First the hot, though a Valentine heartbreaker: Georgia Perimeter battled host Chipola College, ranked No. 8 in the NJCAA preseason poll, into an extra inning. The Jaguars scored a run in their half of the eighth, but allowed two runs in the bottom half and fell to the Indians 5-4.

Now the cold: Southern Union State Community College (Ala.) whipped GPC 10-2 earlier in the day.

Georgia Perimeter (2-4), ranked 19th in the national poll, matched Chipola at the plate, collecting nine hits to the Indians’ 10.

Abbey Hulsey and Hannah McSwain belted homeruns, and Anna Rowe hit a double. McSwain batted two-for-four with two runs and two RBIs.

Hard-luck losing pitcher Lyndsey Parden (0-3) gave up only two earned runs in going the distance, while striking out 12 in eight innings. She was victimized by three Jaguar errors.

“Our defense is playing perfect 90 percent of the time, but our errors in this game were costly,” said GPC head coach Ken Deyton.

Southern Union jumped off to three runs in the top of the first inning and exploded for four in the fourth to salt away the opener.

The Jaguars were cold at the plate, managing but four hits, two by McSwain. Vanessa Buitrago and Jordan Conwell drove in GPC’s only runs, scored by McSwain and Maegan Coddington.

“Simply put, they were there to win, and we were just there,” Deyton said.

Jenna Carr (1-1) absorbed the loss, allowing eight runs, six of them earned. The Jags committed three errors in this game, also.

Chelsea Murphy pitched two relief innings, giving up two earned runs. Both pitchers coughed up home runs.

Saturday, GPC plays Chattanooga State Community College, Northwest Florida State College and No. 14 Gulf Coast Community College at the invitational.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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February 2, 2014

Jags leave Clearwater with 2-2 record

Jenna Carr and Stephanie Watts led Georgia Perimeter College to its second victory Sunday, defeating Palm Beach State College (Fla.) 6-2 at the NJCAA Kickoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla.

Stephanie Watts

Jenna Carr

Later in the day, Georgia Perimeter (2-2), ranked No. 19 in the NJCAA preseason poll, lost its final game of the 29-team showcase invitational, getting shut out by Illinois Central College 3-0.

Carr, a sophomore pitcher-first baseman who spent Friday night in a Clearwater emergency room with food poisoning, bounced back with two hits Saturday and a stellar Sunday performance in the circle against a strong Palm Beach line-up. She fanned six, walked four and gave up only four hits.

“I told her that when her stuff is working she’s as good as anybody on the planet, but she was certainly as good as anybody in Clearwater on Sunday,” said head coach Ken Deyton.

Watts collected two hits in four at-bats with two runs batted in. Vanessa Buitrago and Barbara Rego each went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Samantha Chung took the loss for the Panthers. At the plate, Sarah Collier was two-for-two.

In their fourth game of the tournament, the Jaguars couldn’t solve Rachel Patterson, who pitched a four-hitter for Illinois Central College.

Hannah McSwain belted a triple for the Jaguars and Carr, Parden and Morgan Howard each had a base hit, but the team couldn’t push a run across the plate.

Losing pitcher Lyndsey Parden (0-2) gave up three runs, two earned, in five innings, striking out two and walking three. Leading hitter for the Cougars was Brittany Miller, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

“The highlight of the day would be the left side of our infield having 14 attempts and 13 putouts,” Deyton said. “But it wasn’t our day, and it’s games like this that we have to learn from, and we will.”

Deyton added that he is proud of the team’s performance in the opening weekend. “We have the pitching, hitting, and defense,” he said. “When we develop a chemistry, it will be fun to watch.”

After taking next weekend off, the Jaguars return to Florida Friday, Feb. 14, for the Chipola FPU Classic Tournament in Marianna, another power-laden tournament. Friday, they’ll take on Chipola State College (Fla.), ranked eighth in the NJCAA poll, and perennial power Walters State Community College (Tenn.)—the Senators knocked GPC out of the national tournament last spring.

Saturday, Feb. 15, it’s a tripleheader—Chattanooga State Community College, Northwest Florida State College and No. 14 Gulf Coast Community College.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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February 1, 2014

Jaguars open with split in Florida

Freshman pitcher Chelsea Murphy turned in a strong performance in her first college game as Georgia Perimeter College opened the 2014 season with a win and a loss Saturday in Clearwater, Florida.

Playing two Florida teams after Friday’s rainout in the prestigious NJCAA Kickoff Classic, the Jaguars fell to St. Petersburg College 5-4 in the opener, despite Stephanie Watt’s 4-for-4 game at the plate. In the second game GPC defeated Hillsborough Community College 4-3 behind Murphy’s arm.

The Jaguars entered the invitational tournament ranked 19th in the nation by the NJCAA preseason coaches poll.

In the opener sophomore ace Lyndsey Parden took the loss in the circle for Georgia Perimeter.

“Lyndsey threw well enough to win,” said head coach Ken Deyton, “but our defense, although solid overall, made a couple of crucial mistakes that allowed St. Pete to gain the lead.”

Parden went two-for-three at the plate, but the big hitter for the game was Watts, a sophomore who stroked four hits in four trips and drove in two runs.

“Stephanie has really stepped up—her confidence is high, and she’s leading this line-up,” Deyton said.

Jenna Carr and Vanessa Buitrago each had an RBI for the Jaguars.

St. Pete’s winning pitcher was Ericka Bellinger, and the tough out was Kelsie Sanchez, who was 3-for-3 with two RBIs.

In the second game, Murphy turned in a complete game performance with six strikeouts, allowing eight hits and only one walk.

The Jaguars’ hitting highlight came from another freshman, Rachel Williamson, who belted a two-RBI double. Buitrago and Morgan Howard each had an RBI and a run scored.

The losing pitcher was Ashley Dozier, and the offensive leader for Hillsborough was Sunday Whiteside, who had two hits in four trips, a run scored and three stolen bases.

GPC continues in the 29-team showcase tournament on Sunday, playing Palm Beach State College and Illinois Central College.

First game box score.

Second game box score.

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January 30, 2014

Consistency and hitting are keys for experienced No. 19 Jaguars

One would think that a coach whose team won two championships and went to nationals would declare that the next season’s goal is a return trip to nationals with better results. Head coach Ken Deyton likes to take it one step at a time.

Jenna Carr

Lyndsey Parden

“Our team goal is to qualify for the GCAA regional championship tournament in Locust Grove, Ga., in late April,” he said.

Last year, in his first season as head coach, Deyton won the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year award. His Jaguars won the regular-season GCAA championship, stormed through the conference tournament and punched a ticket to the National Junior College Athletic Association championship tournament in St. George, Utah.

The juggernaut ended there when the Jaguars fell to perennial powerhouses St. Lake City Community College and Walters State Community College.

Now entering his second year at the helm, Deyton fields a team fully recruited by himself. With four strong freshmen and 10 of the 14 players on the roster being seasoned sophomores, don’t think GPC’s season outlook hasn’t been noticed in softball circles.

The Jaguars are ranked No. 19 in the NJCAA preseason coaches poll that came out Wednesday.

Maegan Coddington

Barbara Rego

“I am excited about the potential of this team,” Deyton said. “Although we have a lot of areas that we still need to improve on, I know that we have the talent that it will take. Once we get the consistency where it needs to be, I think we can compete with anybody.”

Jaguar softball is known for excellent pitching, and the 2014 campaign may be no exception with two all-conference pitchers returning and a solid freshman added. But going into the season-opening weekend, it appears the season may hinge on how well the hitters perform and how well the defense smooths out some preseason blemishes.

“We’re as solid as ever in pitching and all defensive positions. It’s going to come down to hitting this year. Our success will depend on our offense,” Deyton said.

The first challenge comes Friday and Saturday as the Jaguars begin a grueling February schedule with their opening weekend at the NJCAA Kickoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla. They face Northwest Florida State College and Kaskaskia College (Ill.) on Friday and Central Florida State College and Polk State College on Saturday. Sunday they play St. Petersburg College before boarding the bus to leave the Sunshine State.

Hannah McSwain

Abby Hulsey

First a word about pitching and the CEO of that department.

Kimberly Hobbs, entering her second year as pitching coach, was a Jaguar ace with a 1.71 ERA in two seasons and she was a record-breaking pitcher at Charleston Southern. Deyton gives much credit for the 2013 successes to Hobbs, who worked diligently with the pitching staff and compensated for the lineup’s inconsistent hitting.

Hobbs’ ace again this year will be sophomore Lyndsey Parden (McDonough, Union Grove H.S.). As a freshman, the hard-throwing right-hander overwhelmed the field in last year’s GCAA tournament, where she was selected the Most Valuable Player.

She made the All-GCAA first team with impressive credentials—two no-hitters, four shutouts, 1.37 ERA against GCAA opponents and 83 strikeouts in GCAA games, tops in the league.

Sophomore right-hander Jenna Carr was the second-team All-GCAA pitcher, thanks to a strong second half of the season. She posted a 1.84 ERA, ninth in the GCAA, striking out 49 in 49 2/3 innings.

“Jenna and Lyndsey are primed for another great season,” Deyton said. “Coach Hobbs says they have grown as collegiate pitchers both mentally and physically. As everyone knows, this game starts in the circle, and we are blessed to have this duo this year.”

Freshman righty Chelsea Murphy (Covington, Alcovy H.S.) brings an impressive high school resume’ to the circle, including awards such as first team all-region and Georgia Dugout Club All-State.

“Chelsea is a very polished pitcher,” Deyton said. “She has very good command of her pitches and of herself. She improved this fall in a number of ways under coach Hobbs.”

Deyton, Hobbs and statistician Chuck Hobbs may find this team to be stronger at the plate than any GPC team in years. To illustrate, in a preseason doubleheader with West Georgia University, the Jags hit six homeruns.

Leading off the projected lineup will be sophomore second baseman Stephanie Watts (Kennesaw, Allatoona H.S.), who has good speed and spent last year as a reserve and pinch runner.

“Stephanie has really matured as a hitter. She knows how to get on base,” Deyton said.

Batting second will be left-fielder Anna Rowe (Canton, Cherokee H.S.), a three-time all-region selection in high school who is good at putting the ball in play and can hit for power.

“For a small frame, she can really put a charge on the ball,” the coach said.

Veteran right-fielder Abby Hulsey (Cornelia, Habersham Central H.S.) will bat third. In GCAA competition last year, Hulsey hit .333 and demonstrated her arm in the tournament with a phenomenal throw from deep right to third to nail a tagging-up runner by 10 feet, sealing a double play. She was named to the all-tournament team.

Deyton: “Abby's swinging the bat as good as I ever saw her swing it. She's gotten stronger.”

Clean-up hitter Hannah McSwain (Loganville, George Walton Academy) will play third base and possibly some shortstop. A transfer from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, McSwain has a quick, Chipper-Jones-smooth swing.

“A gap hitter with power to all fields,” Deyton said, noting that she hit two homeruns in the West Georgia scrimmage. Hannah is the sister of Brittany McSwain, the Jaguars’ leadoff batter in 2010 and 2011.

Batting fifth will be Maegan Coddington (McDonough, Ola H.S.), the starting catcher last year who was named to the All-GCAA second team. A .325 hitter, she led the Jaguars with five home runs and 23 RBIs. Deyton said she’s a little stronger this year.

“She’s more disciplined at the plate. She cleaned up her tendency to go after bad pitches. And she always hits to all fields.”

Parden or Carr will bat somewhere around seventh because, as Deyton says, “There’s a lot of pop in both of them.” Parden had a .407 batting average last year in GCAA competition with a key home run against rival Darton State College. Carr belted a mammoth home run at nationals against top-ranked Salt Lake City.

Deyton recruited freshman Morgan Howard (Kennesaw, Kennesaw Mountain H.S.) as a catcher, but she she shocked everybody when she filled in at shortstop during a fall scrimmage against Emory University.

“She has classy hands and a quick delivery, like she played shortstop her whole life,” Deyton said.

First base is unsettled with sophomores Barbara Rego (Allenhurst, Bradwell Institute) and Jordan Conwell (Winter Park, Fla., Lake Howell H.S.) and freshman Rachel Williamson (Fayetteville, Whitewater H.S.) contending for the starting role.

With her lightning speed, Rego led the GCAA last season in stolen bases with 15 in league games, 29 overall. She also led the team with a .368 average in GCAA play, .357 overall.

Deyton: “She’s stronger and faster than ever.”

Regardless of the outcome of the competition at first base, Rego will be the No. 9 “second leadoff” hitter. With Watts following at the top of the order, that means two table-setting, slapper-speedsters ahead of the two, three and four hitters.

Conwell began Jaguar life in 2013 as a pitcher but will concentrate on first base, utility infield and possibily right field this season. “She continues to grow as a hitter.”

Williamson earned All-State, all-region and all-county honors at Whitewater. “She’ll help us out in the lineup. She has lots of power.”

Vanessa Buitrago (McDonough, Union Grove H.S.), last year’s flex fielder—a great defender— will return at center field but also will see action at the plate. “She’s worked hard on her hitting.”

When not pitching, Murphy can add depth at second base. According to Deyton she had good at bats in fall scrimmages.

Adding depth everywhere—except pitcher and catcher—is sophomore returnee Nina Rodriguez (Cumming, North Forsyth H.S.). “She’s an all-around Jaguar. She could be anywhere on the field at any time.”

Deyton believes in baptism by fire, lining up a tough preconference schedule, and this one is brutal as the Jaguars will face numerous perennial national contenders, including Northwest Florida Friday.

On Valentine’s Day they’ll play Walters State, which eliminated them from nationals last May, and Chipola College, ranked eighth in the NJCAA preseason poll. The next day it’s Northwest Florida again, Chattanooga State Community College and No. 14 Gulf Coast.

The first home game is March 4 versus Indian Hills Community College (Iowa). Chatt State visits Jaguar Field the following day. Home games will be audio broadcast online.

The GCAA schedule, beginning in March, promises to be tougher than ever.

“The conference continues to get more competitive every year,” Deyton said. “All of the teams are strong, and very well coached, and the road back to Locust Grove is going to be a tough one. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Check the Jaguars’ web schedule for the Jaguars’ games that will be audio broadcast online, indicated by a red-cross asterisk. To tune in to the webcasts, visit and click on the links under “Game Webcasts.”

The Jaguars play home games at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11.

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