04/23/07 — Nordan repeats as CVAC tournament MVP

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Nordan repeats as CVAC tournament MVP

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 23, 2007 1:47 PM

WILSON -- Each time Stephen Nordan steps into the batter's box, opposing pitchers silently think "what do I give him?"

With two power hitters behind Nordan in the lineup, those hurlers find themselves in a catch-22 situation. They don't relish the idea of yielding a quality pitch, but they usually have no choice.

And Nordan benefits -- greatly.

The 5-foot-10 senior from Angier belted a solo home run and finished with four RBI as Mount Olive College successfully defended its Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference tournament title Sunday afternoon. Not surprisingly, Nordan reigned as the CVAC tournament MVP for the second consecutive year.

"He's the best postseason guy I've ever seen ... unbelievable," chuckled MOC head coach Carl Lancaster. "He just locks in (at the plate) and has a lot of determination when it's all on the line."

Nordan grounded out and flew out during his first two at-bats against Anderson right-hander Chris Pitts. He smacked a triple off the left-field wall during his third plate appearance and provided a two-RBI single up the middle on his fourth at-bat.

The fifth trip resulted in Nordan's third home run of the tournament and ninth of the season.

"I've just been getting pitches to hit," said Nordan.

In four tournament games, Nordan posted a phenomenal slugging percentage of 1.350 and batted .600 at the plate. A first-team All-CVAC selection, Nordan collected eight extra-base hits and a team-leading 12 RBI in 20 official at-bats.

"When I've got two guys behind me who both are hitting double-digit home runs, I'm going to see some fastballs," said Nordan of teammates Dustin Richardson and Erik Lovett, who have a combined 32 homers this season.

"The pitchers throw a lot of good pitches to keep them off base. I just feel like I need to capitalize when I see those pitches."

When named tournament MVP a year ago, Nordan said the award felt sweet since he didn't garner first-team all-conference recognition. This one carried the same weight, but he refused to accept it on his behalf.

Nordan credited his 11 teammates who received either first- or second-team all-conference accolades. That list included fellow all-tournament selections Richardson, Lovett, Casey Hodges and Scott Houin.

"I played good against a lot of conference teams, and I always feel like I've got something to prove," said Nordan. "You want to be the best at your position and make sure nobody is second-guessing you.

"Everybody who was all-conference pitched in and helped us win (the CVAC). I believe, really, that everybody had a little something to prove (this weekend)."

And Nordan led the way.