Savannah isn't known as much of a sports town. But for those willing to go beyond stereotype and get out from in front of the tube, there are a number of fun sports options which deliver an often–surprisingly good level of competition and excitement.
• The only real professional presence is our single A minor league team, the Savannah Sand Gnats, who just completed the 2011 season with an appearance in the South Atlantic League playoffs.
Next April the Mets affiliate begins the 2012 season at its digs at Historic Grayson Stadium next to Daffin Park. Home games at the newly renovated facility are a bargain at $7 general admission.
There’s not a bad seat in the old park, which in its day has hosted Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Jackie Robinson, among many of the titans who’ve taken the diamond there.
Buzz the Gnats online at sandgnats.com
• The most notable and college–friendly semipro team in town are the awesome Savannah Derby Devils, an all–girl roller derby squad who compete at the Civic Center downtown against other regional teams in matches which are absolute hoots to watch, as well as very well–attended.
If you wanna be a bruiser grrrl, the next and final tryout of the year will be Sept. 21 for experienced skaters only, at 8 p.m. at the team’s practice location, Supergoose Sports at 3700 Wallin St.
They roll online at savannahderby.com
• Savannah State University has never been known for its football prowess. But SSU faithful are happy to turn the page and welcome a new era in Tiger football with the completion of the brand–new T. A. Wright Stadium. The gridiron Tigers also welcome new head football coach Steven Davenport, former standout receiver for Georgia Tech.
Home games this season at Wright Stadium include bouts with Howard University, Hampton University, Florida A & M University, Norfolk State University and South Carolina State University. A season ticket package is a bargain at $75, which includes parking.
The Tigers roar online at ssuathletics.com
• The Pirates of Armstrong Atlantic compete in the Peach Belt Conference and have several kick-ass programs. This always comes as a surprise to people who still think of AASU as that commuter college on the southside.
Women’s soccer is currently 11th in the nation, with Kourtnay Kawley and Meghan May leading the way on that side. The baseball team has won 12 NCAA championships and looks to be as competitive as usual this year.
And of course there is men’s and women’s tennis under head coach Simon Earnshaw, both of which were voted “Best College Sports Team” in the most recent Connect Savannah Readers Poll.
Check out AASU sports at armstrongpirates.com
• The SCAD Bees field a number of programs which are perhaps surprisingly competitive considering it’s, well, an art and design school.
Women’s volleyball in particular always brings the thunder. Check out home matches at the St. Paul’s Activity Center at Whitaker & 31st.
If you’re a lax fan, SCAD is pretty much the only game in town, literally. Both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are quite good and swing their sticks at the SCAD Athletic Complex, a short drive from Savannah off Highway 17 near Hardeeville, S.C.
Befitting the college’s cosmopolitan ethos, men’s and women’s soccer is strong. They also play near Hardeeville at the Athletic Complex.
SCAD golfers are also quite awesome, but come on... it’s golf.
Check out all their info at scadathletics.com