04/21/08 — Trojans earn All-Tournament honors

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Trojans earn All-Tournament honors

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on April 21, 2008 1:48 PM

WILSON -- With the Conference Carolinas tournament trophy tucked away, several Mount Olive players earned additional hardware on Sunday afternoon.

Five Trojans earned spots on the all-tournament team -- Alex Vertcnik, Erik Lovett, Josh Harrison, Weston Curles and Casey Hodges.

Vertcnik received Most Valuable Player accolades with an 8-for-17, eight-RBI performance in five tournament outings. He belted two home runs, including the game-tying shot in game two against Belmont Abbey on Sunday.

A Wisconsin native, Vertcnik also shined defensively and made two spectacular plays against the Crusaders -- one each on Saturday and Sunday. He credited the team's tight-knit, family atmosphere as a reason for success.

"We're a very close team and I think that developed over the fall," said Vertcnik. "It's like a brotherhood here. We love each other. We're very close and we never give up."

Lovett, the reigning Daktronics Division II Player of the Year, put Mount Olive head for good with a three-run homer in game two against Abbey. His multiple-run shot pushed the Trojans' advantage to 12-9.

A Southern Wayne graduate, Lovett batted 9-for-21 in the tournament with five RBI and five runs scored. He finished 5-for-5 in the decisive game against Belmont Abbey, which is just one of two conference teams to beat Mount Olive this season.

"This was a great test," Lovett said of facing Abbey three times in two days. "Those guys over there are a great team. They swing the bats well and they're solid all around."

Harrison delivered a key RBI single in the bottom of the eighth that tied game two at 9-9. The senior from Wake Forest went 7-for-20 over the weekend with six RBI and five runs scored.

Curles (4-0) took a perfect game into the sixth inning and a no-hitter into the seventh in the Trojans' 11-0, tournament-opening rout of Coker (S.C.) on Thursday. The sixth-year senior fought his way back into the lineup after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Curles, from Hertford, allowed just three hits and fanned four Cobra batters in an eight-inning stint.

Hodges (7-1) threw five scoreless innings in the Trojans' second-round, 19-4 thumping of Anderson (S.C.) on Friday afternoon. A transfer from Patrick Henry Community College in Virginia, Hodges held Belmont Abbey scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings in game two Sunday.

Hodges surrendered just four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks over seven scoreless innings for the tournament.