The Georgia Perimeter College fastpitch softball team has risen to No. 22 nationally, and a crew of Gwinnett players is highly involved in the success.
Five Gwinnett grads start for the 13-5 Jaguars, who have won 12 straight games.
"The Gwinnett players have always been good to me," said GPC head coach Ed Schutte, whose daughters played high school softball at Duluth. "They've always done a good job. I'm sure we'll continue recruiting the Gwinnett girls."
A pair of freshmen, Collins Hill grad Missy Herren and Brookwood grad Kelly White, have made immediate contributions at the college level.
Herren is 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA and picked up two of those wins earlier this month as the Jaguars won the Spring Invitational.
"(Herren's) work ethic is great," Schutte said. "She's willing to listen to everything you say. She's making a lot of changes and learning what it takes to improve her velocity. She's added four or five miles per hour in the last four months. She's really learning how to pitch in college."
White, a third baseman, ranks in the top three in the region in batting (.463) and RBIs (18).
"She's good for three hits a game," Schutte said. "She's making really good contact with the ball."
Fellow Brookwood grad Beth Tullis, a sophomore, starts at shortstop for the Jaguars. Sophomore Ashley Whitaker, a South Gwinnett grad, and freshman Katie Hulsey, a Grayson grad, split time starting in left field. Hulsey is hitting .526.
Cozza earns first college win
West Georgia true freshman R.M. Cozza, a Buford grad, earned his first college win last week with a strong relief effort in a 6-1 win over Georgia Southwestern.
The right-hander threw four innings, struck out four batters and allowed only three base runners. Cozza has a 1-1 record, one save and a 3.06 ERA in six appearances (172⁄3 innings) for the Braves. He has 15 strikeouts and just five walks.
"(Cozza's) been doing good," West Georgia baseball coach Doc Fowlkes told the Times-Georgian after the Georgia Southwestern win. "He's a true freshman and he's going to have a great career here for us. He comes in and throws strikes. He pitched with a lead like you're supposed to do by not walking people and getting a lot of ground balls."
Austin contributes for Purple Aces
Collins Hill grad Ashley Austin recently completed a strong true freshman season with the Evansville (Ind.) women's basketball team.
Austin started 12 of the final 15 games for a 16-13 team, leading the Purple Ace's six-freshman class in assists and steals. She scored a season-high 12 points vs. Creighton and also recently saw her first action with the Evansville fastpitch softball team.
Alexander makes All-SAC tourney team
Monica Alexander helped Newberry College win its first South Atlantic Conference tournament title earlier this month with a 57-50 win over Tusculum College. The Norcross grad scored 11 points and had five assists in the championship game, earning All-SAC Tournament team for her efforts.
Richmann named honorable mention All-SCAC
Central Gwinnett grad Elizabeth Richmann, a freshman on the Oglethorpe women's basketball team, was named to the honorable mention All-SCAC team. Richmann averaged 10.7 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds, as well as finishing among the conference leaders in field-goal percentage, steals and blocked shots.
Oglethorpe won a school-record 21 games and reached the NCAA Division III tourney for the first time.
Trompeter gets academic honor, sets two marks
Parkview grad Wells Trompeter, a runner at the College of Charleston, made the All-Southern Conference Academic Team. She maintains a 3.78 GPA.
Trompeter was seventh in the one-mile run at the Southern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships with a school-record time of 5 minutes, 14 seconds. She also set the school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:50.57, good for a fifth-place finish in the Shamrock Invitational at Coastal Carolina. It was her first Steeplechase race.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 770-339-8081.