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Columbia County natives help North Georgia advance to College World Series

Posted: May 24, 2017 - 1:50am
North Georgia assistant coach/pitching coach Michael Holder (middle) holds the trophy after the Nighthawks defeated Catawba on Monday in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship game. He is flanked by his father, Terry, (left) and his wife, Stephanie.
North Georgia assistant coach/pitching coach Michael Holder (middle) holds the trophy after the Nighthawks defeated Catawba on Monday in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship game. He is flanked by his father, Terry, (left) and his wife, Stephanie.

Connor Hoover and Michael Holder have plenty to celebrate this week.

The Columbia County natives helped North Georgia win the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship on Monday.

The Nighthawks are advancing to the eight-team College World Series for the first time. They will play in the national championship starting Saturday in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Hoover, a junior infielder from Greenbrier, was named to the regional all-tournament team. In 56 games, he is hitting .358 with team highs in hits (81), home runs (18) and RBI (72).

He also has 51 walks against 35 strikeouts, along with 16 doubles and five triples. In the regional semifinal win over No. 1 Mount Olive, Hoover sparked a seven-run first inning with his two-run homer.

Holder is in his fourth year at North Georgia as the team's assistant coach.

He played college baseball at Georgia Southern, graduated from Augusta State, and later served three years at Vanderbilt as a volunteer assistant and eight years as an assistant coach at USC Aiken.

Hoover and Holder still have more baseball left this season, thanks to freshman Andres Perez's go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth inning of the sixth-ranked Nighthawks' 5-4 win over Catawba in Mount Olive, N.C. North Georgia went undefeated (4-0) in the regional to advance to the national championship.

North Georgia will open the College World Series at 4 p.m., Saturday, against No. 21 West Chester.

The winner will advance to play either No. 2 Delta State or Lindenwood on Monday in the double-elimination tournament. The final series will be held June 2 and, if necessary, June 3.

 

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