04/22/13 — MOC softball team reaches Conference Carolinas tournament final

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MOC softball team reaches Conference Carolinas tournament final

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on April 22, 2013 1:47 PM

MOC Sports Information

BURLINGTON -- Danielle Mitchell delivered the game-winning walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning, and Mount Olive upended North Greenville, 3-2, in championship-round play of the 2013 Conference Carolinas softball tournament at Springwood Park on Sunday evening.

Second-seeded MOC (33-13 overall) and North Greenville (20-19-1) played a winner-take-all game this morning to determine the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional. The Trojans reached the tournament final for the first time since 2008 and second time overall since winning the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference crown in 2000.

The Trojans started the day with a 2-0, 10-inning victory over defending champion King (Tenn.) College in elimination-round play. They advanced to the championship with a 4-2 triumph over Coker (S.C.) College.

Down 2-0 to North Greenville, Mount Olive's Katie Moore drew a lead-off walk and scored on Kelsey Akers' first-pitch double to right-center field. A soft liner to first base resulted in the inning's first out and an illegal substitution led a second out.

Savannah Becker fell behind 1-2 in the pitch count and fouled off four consecutive two-strike pitches. The freshman center fielder took a pitch that just missed outside as several Crusaders began celebrating what they thought was strike three and a tournament championship.

Becker, who had just one hit in 15 official at-bats, fouled off three more pitches before taking another pitch that ran the count to 3-2. She then lined the 13th pitch into center field and Akers scored from second to tie the game 2-2.

MOC sophomore Lauren Smith (7-4) retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth innings, as did North Greenville pitcher Rachel Glazebrook. In the top of the 10th, the Crusaders' Sarah Robertson drew a one-out walk to add to her three-hit day. But Smith got a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Jennifer Jones, who was part of the seventh-inning substitution controversy, led off the Trojans' 10th with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice, but was thrown out at third on a fielder's choice.

Erin Brogan followed with a two-out single to shallow left and Lauren McGrath advanced to third. Mitchell fell behind 0-2 and then after taking the next two pitches for balls, lined a single to center to bring home McGrath and touch off a Trojan celebration.

Freshman Madison Johnston came out the bullpen to end a bases-loaded threat in the bottom of the ninth inning against King. Christie Wright's pinch-hit double ignited a two-run 10th inning for MOC, which stayed alive in tournament play.

Moore's bases-loaded, two-run double capped a three-run, fourth-inning uprising in elimination-round action against Coker. The teams were tied 1-1 through three innings.