03/26/13 — Trojans take two from Lees-McRae on softball diamond

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Trojans take two from Lees-McRae on softball diamond

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 26, 2013 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College got the job done against in-state softball foe Lees-McRae in less-than-ideal playing conditions on Monday afternoon.

And the Trojans are back where they belong -- in sole possession of the Conference Carolinas lead.

Beth Overman's walk-off bases-loaded walk capped a seven-run, fifth-inning outburst and led to an 11-3, mercy-rule triumph over the Bobcats in the opener at Nancy Chapman Cassell Field. Lauren Smith scattered six hits in a complete-game effort and Overman slugged a two-run home run in the nightcap, a 5-2 win.

Mount Olive (21-7 overall) improved to 8-2 against league opposition this season and seized a two-game lead over Limestone (S.C.) and King (Tenn.).

"We weren't at our best today, don't think we were sharp defensively as we could have been, but we found a way and ultimately that's what good teams do," 11th-year Trojans head coach Jaime Kylis said. "With weather like this, there are a lot of obstacles and I think we played well through them, but it definitely exposed some weaknesses that we need to attack this week before we head into the final stretch (of the season)."

A blustery, bone-chilling wind blew all afternoon, and a brief sleet storm worked its way through during the second inning of game one. Intermittent sun provided little warmth for a smattering of fans who shrouded themselves in blankets to protect themselves from the cold.

The Trojans cranked out nine hits in the opener against Bobcat right-handers Kristen Oake and Hollie Crickenberger. Katie Moore (RBI) and Kalie Smith (two RBI) each batted 2-for-3. Designated player Danielle Mitchell and right fielder Savannah Westover drove in two runs apiece.

MOC clung to a 4-3 lead before breaking the game open in the fifth.

Mitchell drew a lead-off walk and moved into scoring position on Overman's base knock that nearly cleared the fence in left field. Each runner advanced on a passed ball and Mitchell crossed on Moore's backside single to right field.

Moore scampered home on a wild pitch. The next seven batters combined for two hits and four walks, which eventually led to the Trojans' fifth mercy-rule win of the season.

Senior Christie Wright earned the victory inside the pitcher's circle. The right-hander permitted three runs (two earned) on seven hits and struck out three.

In game two, Smith threw 20 first-pitch strikes to 29 batters and scattered six hits in a complete-game effort inside the circle. The sophomore righty from Clinton improved to 10-2 this season.

"Christie and Lauren have been working on some things lately," Kylis said. "I thought they did a good job and kept the game under control. Again, we have some to work to do in the circle, too."

Lees-McRae's first four hits against Smith came with two strikes and led to single runs in the second and third innings. Smith held the Bobcats (7-28, 2-6) scoreless over the final four innings and finished with four strikeouts, which raised her season total to 23 in 55 1/3 innings.

Tied at 2-2, the Trojans gave Smith breathing room in the fourth inning.

Westover reached on an error, took second on a passed ball and scored on Overman's RBI single to center field. One out later, sophomore shortstop Jennifer Jones laced a two-RBI single to nearly the same spot as Overman.

Overman batted 2-for-3 with three RBI.

"I think what we did at the plate was really good," Kylis said. "Dealing with the pitching that we saw, we made our adjustments accordingly. We would like to have seen more runs push through. They stayed disciplined in the box, stuck to the gameplan and played station by station.

"They didn't try to do anything too big, which is something we've been working on."