05/07/13 — MOC draws Peach Belt champ Columbus State in softball regional

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MOC draws Peach Belt champ Columbus State in softball regional

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 7, 2013 1:47 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The third -- and most important -- season begins later this week for the Mount Olive College softball team.

The Trojans face No. 16-ranked Columbus State (Ga.) University in opening-round play of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional #1 tournament on Friday. First pitch is noon.

Regional host and top-seeded Armstrong Atlantic State faces Wingate later that afternoon. The survivor of the four-team, double-elimination regional advances to play the Southeast Regional #2 champion.

"We're very excited," MOC head coach Jaime Kylis said. "I think that we've proven to be one of the top teams in the region. We're representing Conference Carolinas and want to show them that we're for real.

"We're a good team."

MOC is the eighth Conference Carolinas team to advance to postseason play since the league's inception in 1995-96.

The Trojans (34-13 overall) emerged the conference's automatic qualifier in dramatic fashion. After losing in the tournament quarterfinals, Mount Olive reeled off five consecutive wins and defeated North Greenville twice to advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

Columbus State won the Peach Belt tournament.

"We are one of the best 64 teams left and that's awesome to be able to say that," Kylis said. "The energy is high and we've had some great practices this week. We tend to play better the higher the level of competition. I don't think anyone is going to take us lightly because the word is out about us now."