Okvist’s Walk-off Aids GC to Sweep Over Lander, 4-0 and 4-3
by Brian DeCandia, sports information graduate assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College softball squad (25-21, 9-9 PBC) swept the Lander University Bearcats (26-24, 4-14 PBC) Friday afternoon on Senior Day at the Peeler Complex to clinch a Peach Belt Conference (PBC) playoff berth, 4-0 and 4-3.
Game one was dominated by Sabrina Chandler's (Covington, Ga.) solid pitching performance. Chandler (9-9) went the distance, scattering eight hits and striking out four in the shutout.
Aided by key errors for the Bearcats, GC put up two quick ones in the first inning. Whitney Okvist (Kennesaw, Ga.) stole home to give GC the 1-0 lead early. Another costly error in the fifth allowed the Bobcats to push two more across the plate for the eventual 4-0 victory.
Okvist had two of the Bobcats' three hits, finishing 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Senior Shahlisa Shirley (Winter Garden, Fla.) recorded the other hit, finishing 1-for-3.
In game two the Bobcats found themselves down 3-0 after the third inning. Haley Burnett (Columbus, Ga.) came in to relieve freshman Erica Bell (Fayetteville, Ga.) throwing the final 4 2/3 innings, striking out three and surrendering no runs. Burnett evened her record to 7-7 on the season.
Burnett also came up huge at the plate driving in one in the fourth and then hitting a game-tying solo shot in the sixth, her fifth of the season. Okvist completed the comeback with a walk-off single, plating pinch runner Natalie Lampert (Marietta, Ga.).
Okvist's GC single-season stolen base record (51) leads the PBC this year, and her career number sits at 73, which is the all-time GC record. The sophomore's single-season effort is tied for third in PBC history; the seven-year-old record is 56.
Burnett's two RBI puts her at 111 for her career tied with Keidra Baitey (2006-07) for second place all-time at GC. She is currently fourth on the all-time home run list at GC with 23, one behind first place in GC history.
The win moved GC softball to 9-9 in league play positioned seventh in the PBC, behind 6-6 Francis Marion University.
The Bobcats travel to PBC foe Columbus State University for their final season series Tuesday, April 17 a doubleheader set to start at 3 p.m.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/BobcatSports and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.