The Mount Olive College Trojans won their first national championship on Saturday, defeating Ouachita, 6-2. Congratulations to former South Lenoir star Paul Novicki and North Lenoir star Tyler Smith, along with Lenoir CC products Anthony Hernandez and Airlon Vinson for making us all proud.
Also — can someone in Sauget, Ill., please keep an eye on Sue Novicki? She called me as the final out was being registered and was freaking out. She might need a vocal cord replacement after all this! (Congratulations, Sue!)
The NCAA’s story:
Mount Olive Wins National Championship
SAUGET, ILL. – Top-ranked Mount Olive earned its first national championship with a 6-2 victory over No. 4 ranked Ouachita Baptist Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the NCAA Division II Championships at GCS Ballpark.
Mount Olive went 3-0 in the tournament en route to the championship and finish the season at 58-6. Ouachita Baptist ends its season at 51-16.
“I’ve been coaching at the college level for 22 years and it’s really hard to express what I feel right now,” said Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster. “This is a dream come true. We are extremely excited to bring this to Mount Olive.”
A two-out error by Tigers’ third baseman Rudy Jovanovski in the top of the first inning helped Mount Olive to an early 5-0 lead and the Trojans never looked back.
“We just got off to a slow start today,” said Ouachita Baptist head coach Scott Norwood. “They took advantage of our mistakes like we did all week against other teams.”
Mount Olive then plated a single run in the fifth inning for a 6-0 lead before Ouachita Baptist got on the board with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Casey Hodges (10-1) garnered the win for the Trojans, giving up just two runs on seven hits in eight innings of work. He struck out six.
Trent Lingle (1-1) took the loss, scattering six hits on seven runs in four and one-third innings. He also walked four and struck out three.
The Trojans recorded 12 hits in the win with Josh Harrison going 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Jim Streicher led Ouachita Baptist with three hits and one RBI.
NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team
MVP-Steve Smith, Ouachita Baptist University
C-Jim Streicher, Ouachita Baptist University
1B-Destan Makonen, Ouachita Baptist University
2B-David Adler, Ouachita Baptist University
3B-Rich Rocobaldo, Mt. Olive College
OF-Justin Pennell, , Ouachita Baptist University
OF-Alex Vertcnik, Mt. Olive College
OF-Jesse Lancaster, Mt. Olive College
DH-Mike Hallum, University of Central Missouri
P-Chris Matlock, University of Central Missouri
P-Casey Hodges, Mt. Olive College
P-Steve Smith, Ouachita Baptist University
My quick take here: how the heck does OBU get six all-tourney players and the MVP while MOC gets four? MOC beat OBU twice! That doesn’t make any sense…