BURLINGTON, N.C. – After King University defeated Limestone College in an elimination game, they came right back to take on the University of Mount Olive for the second time in three games in the Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament Championship game. However, Carly White pitched the Trojans to their second tournament title in as many years while Mount Olive offense erupted for 11 runs in their 11-3 victory over the Tornado.
The game started out as a pitcher's duel as Hannah Light of King and White sat down the opposition in order in each of the first two innings. The Trojans (24-24) broke that stretch in the third inning when Jennifer Jones led off the inning with a double to left center. Carly White followed with a single to left before Savannah Becker ripped a run scoring single back up the middle. The Trojans added a run on a an error before Beth Overman laced a two-run double down the left field line to break the game open. A sacrifice fly added another run for the Trojans to make the score 5-0 after three.
Mount Olive added another run on an Ashleigh Mason two-out single in the fourth before the Tornado (29-26) got on the board. Octavia Lewis-Rand reached on an error to start the bottom of the fourth, and advanced to second. She moved to third on a flyout before Chrissy Melcher drove her in with a sacrifice fly to get King on the board. Fallon Thomas then followed with King's first hit, but was stranded as Mount Olive held a 6-1 lead after four innings.
The Tornado tried to mount a comeback in the sixth when Cassie Ringstaff led off the inning with a single. After a pair of outs, Hannah Smith and Cheyenne Delffs connected on back-to-back doubles to score two runs and cut the King deficit to 6-3. However, Madison Johnston relieved White and got the final out of the inning to keep Mount Olive in the lead.
Nevertheless, the Mount Olive offense responded by scoring five runs in the top of the seventh. Erin Brogan came up with the big hit for the Trojans, a three-run triple to right field before Becker ripped a sacrifice fly to plate Brogan. Mount Olive added another run to extend their lead to 11-3 going to the bottom of the seventh.
Johnston completed the second straight tournament title for Mount Olive with a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh inning that ended on a line drive double play to third.
Overman paced the Trojan offense, going 3-for-5 with three runs batted in while Brogan also drove in three, getting a hit in her only at bat. White earned her fourth win in as many games in the circle for the Trojans. She tossed five and two-thirds innings and allowed three runs, two earned on five hits.
For King, Light took the loss after throwing three-plus innings and allowing six runs, five earned on four hits. Five different Tornado accounted for King's five hits with Melcher, Smith and Delffs each driving in one.
The win gives Mount Olive their second consecutive Conference Carolinas Tournament title and the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship. The selection show is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 5 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Conference Carolinas Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Carly White - University of Mount Olive
Valerie Hickey - Lees-McRae College
Lindsey Russell - Pfeiffer University
Ashlyn Hicks - Erskine College
Ericka McCarson - Erskine College
Taylor Wigmore - Limestone College
Ashley Cox - Limestone College
Ashleigh Mason - University of Mount Olive
Hannah Light - King University
Beth Overman - University of Mount Olive
Octavia Lewis-Rand - King University
Kelsey Akers - University of Mount Olive
Fallon Thomas - King University