Thursday, April 19, 2012
Tournament Coverage Link

Tigerville, SC – The North Greenville softball team won’t sneak up on anyone at the upcoming Conference Carolinas post-season tournament April 20-22 in Hartsville, SC.  Coach Sarah Hall’s Crusaders, picked to finish seventh in the pre-season poll, raced to an 18-4 record in their first season in the league and captured the #1 overall seed to the championship event hosted by Coker College.  NGU had the best overall record among the 12 teams in CC, and has a 23-9 overall record.

NGU will play #8 seed Belmont Abbey at noon Friday, April 19 at Byerly Park in Hartsville, SC.  The bracket for the tournament is available at  “We have a lot to prove in the Conference Carolinas tournament Coach Hall said.  “We were basically the new team in the league this year and a lot of the programs did not know much about us,” she explained.  “They do now.  We now have a target on us, but we have to take it one game at a time and try to play our best softball right now.”

Hall noted that her team had two goals entering its inaugural year in the conference.  “We did not want to be swept by anyone in the league, and we also wanted to win 80 percent of our games; we achieved both of those,” she explained.  “One of the big things that made a huge difference this season is not getting down if we lost close games.  We would always bounce back to win the second game and that really was critical.  Also, we had a lot of different players step up with big performances at key times; everybody on the roster was a key part of our success.”

One of the big moments of the season for the Crusaders was the sweep over Mt. Olive on March 17.  Although Coach Hall was not at the park that day (she had just delivered her first baby), NGU took down the Trojans 7-5 and 4-3 and that added a massive dose of confidence on North Greenville (Mt. Olive won the eastern division with a 17-5 record).  “We got off to a slow start at the beginning of the season, but we won 12 straight games and that really was a major difference for us this season,” Hall added.  “Rachel Glazebrook has had an exceptional year for us, but it’s been players like freshman Cassi Carpenter who has done well on the mound.  She doesn’t strike out a lot, but she finds way to work out of situations with runners on base.  Laura Hopper has come in in relief appearances and given our opponents a different look with her left handed off speed style.”

“We have great depth this year,” Hall said.  “From 1-18, anyone on our roster would contribute to winning a game.  It wasn’t the same names day after day, but people like Tori Freedman, Sarah Armstrong, or Hillary Key who would come in and win games for us.  Shelby Leasure, or Kendra Epting would also contribute when needed.  But our day to day players like Courtney Campbell, Amy Nagel, Kimberly Robertson (22nd hardest to strikeout in NCAA II national statistics this week), Karli Taylor and Kansas Wofford would also have great games.”

Glazebrook has been the rock on the mound for the Crusaders, and her 12-4 record is one win shy of tying the school record for wins in a single season.  Her 147 strikeouts and 1.57 ERA have already set new single season marks.  She also has a .397 batting average with nine doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI’s.  Nationally, Glazebrook is 9th in NCAA II in strikeouts per seven innings (9.6) and 40th in earned run average. 

The 2012 season has been one of many breakthroughs for the North Greenville softball program and Coach Sarah Hall, and with a possible first ever trip to the NCAA Division II national championships a possibility, Hall hopes to find a way to sneak past the Crusaders’ Conference Carolinas foes this coming weekend and move onto the national stage.