April 21, 2013

Tornado fall to Mount Olive in extras

BURLINGTON, N.C. – The top two seeds of the Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament squared off in an elimination game that turned into a pitcher's duel on Sunday morning. Neither no. 2 Mount Olive College, nor top seed King University wanted to give in as the game went to the 10th inning with no score. The Trojans finally broke through in the 10th to take the pitcher's duel 2-0.

Both teams threatened with two base runners in the first inning, but both pitchers, Carly White of Mount Olive and Hannah Light of King escaped the jams to keep the game scoreless.

Mount Olive (31-13) also had two runners on in each of the fourth and eighth innings, but each time Light worked out of the inning unscathed. On the day, Light scattered nine hits in 10 innings of work, and stranded 11 Trojan base runners.

The Tornado (31-26) had their best opportunity to score in the ninth inning when Stephanie Rodriguez and Allie Spell worked back-to-back two-out walks to load the bases. That brought leadoff hitter Christina Melcher to the plate. However, Mount Olive made a pitching change and Madison Johnston got Melcher to hit a slow roller to shortstop. In what was a bang-bang play at first, Melcher was called out and we went to the 10th inning.

Mount Olive used that momentum in the 10th inning as Beth Overman drew a leadoff walk. After an out, Chistie Wright laced a pinch-hit ground rule double to put runners on second and third with one out. Katie Smith followed with a double to left field to break the scoreless tie. Kelsey Akers then tacked on an insurance run with a sacrifice fly and the Trojans led 2-0.

Johnston retired King in order in the bottom of the inning to stay alive and give Mount Olive the win.

Mount Olive pitching only allowed three Tornado hits, as King was led by Melcher, Tori McComas and Amber Walker. Walker also walked twice in the game.

The Tornado end the season as the regular season Conference Carolinas champions, with an overall record of 31-26. Seniors Aubree Hutt and Mackenzie Draine end their careers with the first two Conference Carolinas championships in school history, one tournament title and one regular season.