Pirates Make History With Peach Belt Championships
The 2011-12 Armstrong Atlantic State University Pirates have established their place as a record-shattering juggernaut with five more Peach Belt Conference championships that have made Armstrong and Peach Belt history for the most conference championships in a single season. Before the 2011-12 year, the athletic department's record for Peach Belt championships in one season was four and the league's record was five. Counting the two fall championships in volleyball and soccer, the latest titles—men's and women's tennis on April 7, women's golf on April 10, softball on April 17 and baseball on April 28—bring the total for this season to an impressive seven.
The Armstrong baseball team split a doubleheader at Georgia College to capture the team's fourth Peach Belt Conference regular season title with a 20-10 league mark, tying the 2003 championship squad for the most Peach Belt wins in a single season. The Pirates have the most Peach Belt regular season titles among active league schools, ahead of Georgia College (3), Columbus State (2), USC-Aiken (2) and Francis Marion (1).
Armstrong's softball squad notched its first outright Peach Belt Conference regular season title with a pair of one-run wins at Francis Marion. The No. 6-ranked Pirates have won 17 straight games. The Pirates' only previous Peach Belt crown came in 2000 when Armstrong tied Kennesaw State for the league title. Led by the nation's leading hitter, senior April Jowers, and the potent pitching duo of junior Megan Barnwell and freshman Caitlin Campbell, Armstrong now has an eye on not only its first Peach Belt Tournament championship but a chance to host its first NCAA regional coming up in May.
The Armstrong tennis regular season titles came as no surprise as both teams' 9-0 wins over Flagler extended a pair of impressive streaks. The women's championship marks the program's ninth straight regular season title. In the history of Peach Belt women's tennis, Armstrong has won 14 of 16 league crowns since the conference went to a standardized schedule in 1997. The men's tennis title is the third straight and the seventh title in the last eight seasons for the top-ranked Pirates.
At the 2012 Peach Belt Conference golf championship at Callaway Gardens, sophomore Kristen Sammarco's league-record 65 round helped the Pirates tie for first place with Flagler heading into the final day of action. With only three holes remaining in the second round, it looked like a neck-and-neck race between Armstrong and No. 10-ranked UNC Pembroke, but the Pirates closed out the Braves with a strong finish to win the program's first Peach Belt title by 11 strokes. Sammarco shot a 79 to capture the individual title, also a program first.
The Pirates carry their regular season record-breaking success into the postseason with NCAA championships through May. It's a great day—and year—to be a Pirate!