The Georgia Highlands Chargers softball team has finalized their fall schedule with four NCAA Division I opponents, including the 2014 NCAA Division I Softball National Champions: the Florida Gators.
The Gators (55-12) are members of the NCAA Southeastern Conference and are coming off their best finish in program history after garnering their first NCAA National Championship.
In addition to the Gators, the Chargers will take on Georgia State University (30-26), members of the NCAA Division I Sunbelt Conference; Kennesaw State University (24-29), members of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference; and the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (34-21), members of the NCAA Division I Southern Conference who recently won their 12th SoCon Title and advanced to the Athens Regional in 2014.
"I cannot tell you how fortunate we are to have such a competitive NCAA Division I exhibition schedule again this year," said Chargers Head Softball Coach Melissa Wood. "Each of these programs, from the staff to the athletes, are top-notch. Our goal in the fall is to recruit players out while playing the most competitive four-year schedule possible. Our players get to see how they match up against some of the best talent in the southeast. This prepares us for our NJCAA DI schedule in the spring. The time will come when we will see one of our athletes suit up and graduate from one of these incredible institutions."
The Chargers will start the season off by sending sophomores to The Pitcher's Mound College Showcase in Duluth. The Pitcher's Mound Showcase is not an exhibition game, but a camp organized to showcase softball skills in front of a variety of college coaches. The Pitcher's Mound Camp will have between 40-50 coaches in attendance (most from four-year institutions) and have assisted over 900 student athletes in earning collegiate scholarships.
The remainder of the Chargers fall schedule is comprised of NCAA Division II Institutions. The Chargers will face Young Harris College (20-33), members of the Peach Belt Conference on Sunday, October 5th at E.D. Rivers Softball Field in Young Harris, Georgia.
The Chargers will then head to University of West Georgia (26-28), members of the Gulf South Conference at the University Softball Field in Carrolton.
The Chargers will complete their final game of the fall exhibition schedule against Georgia College and State University (34-17), also members of the Peach Belt Conference at the Peeler Complex in Milledgeville on Friday, Oct. 24.
The Bobcats finished tied for 4th in conference and advanced to the Southeastern Regional in 2014. In the spring, the Lady Chargers will add one more four-year institution, NCAA Division III Emory University (39-9), to their regular season schedule as well.
The Chargers will add one more exhibition game before the start of the Spring NJCAA schedule on February 1st of 2015 against NCAA Division II Shorter University (42-10), members of the Gulf South Conference. Shorter finished first in the Gulf South, but did not qualify for post season as they are in their last transitional year to Division II.
However, the Hawks competed in the National Christian College World Series and were crowned the 2014 National Champions. The Chargers will face Shorter at the Alto Park Complex in Rome, Georgia as the exhibition start time is slated for 1pm.
Georgia Highlands College will complete fall with the 2nd Annual Orange & Blue Fundraiser at Stars Field in Cartersville on Saturday, Nov. 8 with a start time at 1 p.m.
The fundraiser pays for the fall schedule, scholarships for our student-athletes, and facility upgrades. Fans will have the opportunity to watch the college practice (inter-squad scrimmage), meet and greet with the college players and coaches, prizes, raffles, silent auction, and an open house to our newly renovated softball facilities.
This year the team will also be having a potluck after the inter-squad scrimmage where GHC Softball will be providing the meat (chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers), and everyone who brings a food or drink item to the event will receive a meal voucher.
"Our Orange & Blue Fundraiser is the driving force behind Charger Softball," Coach Wood added. "The donations to the program are the reason we are able play a full fall schedule, increase scholarships, and upgrade Stars Field. This is a great time for our fans to preview our talent with an inter-squad scrimmage and enjoy a beautiful day at the Ballpark."
For more information about this and other Charger sports go to www.highlands.edu/athletics.