Congratulations to Paul Novicki, Tyler Smith and MOC

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…

FINAL from Walnut Creek: Central Davidson 7, South Lenoir 0

It’s about 30 minutes from the 1:30 p.m. start time for Central Davidson-South Lenoir in the 2A state softball championship. The Blue Devils need to beat CD twice to win their first state championship.

Starting lineups coming shortly.

SOUTH LENOIR (21-5) is the visiting team

Kayla Cole, P

Leigh Smith, LF

Kayla Lane, DP

Kara Tucker, 3B

Lorri Cole, C

Louise Davis, 2B

Taylor Williams, SS

Faith Turner, 1B

Jessica Greer, CF


Kara Lohr, 2B

Chelsea Leonard, P

Gina Antonucci, C

Nicole Perry, SS

Allison Barnak, RF

Allison Lohr, CF

Hannah Buie, LF

Whitney Lohr, DP

Carrie Jernigan, CF

The first pitch, a strike by Leonard, is delivered at 1:36 p.m.

Middle of first inning: SL 0, CD coming to bat — SL goes 1-2-3, two by K — also, Kayla Cole has been taken off the mound in place of freshman Taylor Hussey

End of first inning: CD 1, SL 0 — Kara Lohr leads off inning with single, steals second and reaches third on a groundout by Antonucci. She scores on a two-out single by Perry for a 1-0 lead.

Middle of second inning: CD 1, SL 0 — Leonard strikes out the first two but walks Davis, who is caught trying to steal second

End of second inning: CD 3, SL 0 — Leonard hits a two-RBI single

Middle of third inning: CD 3, SL 0 — Leonard strikes out the side nad now had seven Ks

End of third inning: CD 7, SL 0 — Spartans score four runs on five hits and one SL error

Middle of fourth inning: CD 7, SL 0 — Leonard gets ‘em 1-2-3, two K (up to 9 Ks)

End of fourth inning: CD 7, SL 0 — With CD using pinch-hitters, SL gets out of an inning without giving up a run for the first time in the game. Louise Davis makes all three plays to retire the Spartans.

Middle of fifth inning: CD 7, SL 0 — Leonard gets ‘em 1-2-3, but none by K. The Ol’ Man himself, Jimmy Smith, says she is tiring and the Devils are ready to rally. Kayla Cole is back on the mound for the Devils

End of fifth inning: CD 7, SL 0 — With CD still batting all subs, Cole gives up a one-out single and that’s all

Middle of sixth inning: CD 7, SL 0 — Leonard gets ‘em 1-2-3, one by K (up to 10). She’s faced the minimum 18 batters

End of sixth inning: CD 7, SL 0 — Cole gets ‘em 1-2-3

FINAL: CD 7, SL 0 — Leonard strikes out the first two, but Lane walks and Tucker breaks up the no-hitter with a single to right field. She gets the final out

SL finishes second for the second time in school history; the other time was in 1996 under Jimmy Smith

FINAL from Walnut Creek: South Lenoir 3, Canton Pisgah 1

It’s flatlands vs. mountain girls today as the Blue Devils and Bears take on each other in an elimination NCHSAA 2A softball championship game. The winner of this game faces undefeated Central Davidson at 1:30 p.m.

Here are the starting lineups for both teams:

CANTON PISGAH (22-6) visiting team

Haley Pace, C

Taylor Willis, P

Hali Worley, SS

Ellese Lawrence, CF

Taylor Trull, 2B

Nicole Smith, RF

Jamie George, DP

Holly Kuykenhall, 1B

Robyn Burnette, LF

Casey Clark, Flex


Kayla Cole, P

Leigh Smith, LF

Kayla Lane, DP

Kara Tucker, 3B

Lorri Cole, C

Louise Davis, 2B

Taylor Williams, SS

Faith Turner, 1B

Jessica Greer, CF

Melissa Moore, Flex

The first pitch, a ball by Cole, is delivered at 11:03 a.m.

Middle of first inning: PHS 0, SL coming up to bat — Pace leads off inning with infield single, steals second and reaches third on a bad throw to pick her off — all without an out. But Cole gets the next three batters 1-2-3 to end the threat

End of first inning: PHS 0, SL 0 — Devils go 1-2-3

Middle of second inning: PHS 0, SL 0 — Cole gets ‘em 1-2-3, the last two by K

End of second inning: PHS 0, SL 0 — Tucker singles to left field to begin inning and is sacrificed to first by Davis. She’s stranded at 2B

Middle of third inning: PHS 0, SL 0 — Burnette gets a one-out double and is followed by a walk issued to Pace. Willis advances the runners with a groundout, but Cole ends the inning by snaring a line drive at her noggin

End of third inning: SL 2, PHS 0 — Turner and Greer reach base on errors and Turner scores on an infield bunt single by Kayla Cole. Greer comes around to score on a throw to get Kayla Cole at home. Smith sacrifices Kayla Cole to third and Lane is out at first on a bunt attempt. Kayla Cole is caught between third and home for the final out following Lane’s out

Middle of fourth inning: SL 2, PHS 1 — Lawrence leads off inning with walk and is followed by an infield single by Trull. After getting the next two outs, Kuykendall singles to center to score Lawrence. Cole walks Burnette to load the bases but coaxes a flyball to right field to end the inning

End of fourth inning: SL 2, PHS 1 — Lorri Cole hits a one-out single to right field, but her courtesy-runner, Tyquilla Graham, is caught stealing at second. Davis ends the inning on a groundout

Middle of fifth inning: SL 2, PHS 1 — Cole gets ‘em 1-2-3, two by K

End of fifth inning: SL 3, PHS 1 — Williams leads off inning with infield single and is sacrificed to second by Turner. Kayla Cole singles her home and is subbed by Tyquilla Graham (who will be subbed back by Cole to start the next inning). Leigh Smith reaches on fielder’s choice when the PHS defense goes to second to try to get Graham out. Lane singles but Graham is thrown out at home on a perfect throw from the outfield

Middle of sixth inning: SL 3, PHS 1 — Cole gets ‘em 1-2-3 on 5 pitches. Faith Turner had a spectacular catch at first base, executing a split to make the catch

End of sixth inning: SL 3, PHS 1 — SL goes down 1-2-3

FINAL: SL 3, PHS 1 — Cole gives up a one-out single to Burnette but retires the next two for the win.

South Lenoir will face Central Davidson at 1:30 p.m. The Blue Devils need to beat CD twice to win their first state title. Of course, I’ll be blogging, so y’all come back now, you hear?

Friday’s prep softball results/Saturday schedule

All classifications, from the NCHSAA. Don’t forget that I’ll be blogging live from South Lenoir’s game(s) today at the Creek…






Matthews David Butler 5, North Davidson 2

Durham Riverside 2, Apex Middle Creek 1


David Butler 1, Riverside 0


North Davidson 2, Middle Creek 1


North Davidson vs. Riverside ,Saturday at 11 am


David Butler vs. North Davidson-Riverside winner, 1:30 pm




Southwestern Randolph 1, Enka 0 (9 innings)

Winterville South Central 6, Erwin Triton 3


South Central 9, Southwestern Randolph 8


Triton 1, Enka 0


Southwestern Randolph vs. Triton, Saturday at 11 am


South Central vs. Southwestern Randolph-Triton winner, 1:30 pm




Central Davidson 2, Canton Pisgah 0

South Lenoir 3, West Stokes 2


Central Davidson 1, South Lenoir 0


Pisgah 5, West Stokes 0


Pisgah vs. South Lenoir, Saturday at 11 am


Central Davidson vs. South Lenoir-Pisgah winner, 1:30 pm




East Surry 1, Swain County 0

East Carteret 4, Manteo 2 (8 innings)


East Surry 11, East Carteret 1 (5 innings)


Swain 2, Manteo 1


Swain vs. East Carteret, Saturday at 11 am


East Surry vs. Swain-East Carteret winner 1:30 pm


Note; if team from loser’s bracket wins Saturday 1:30 game in any

classification, a second game will follow at 4 pm for the title

FINAL from Walnut Creek: Central Davidson 1, South Lenoir 0

The game started at 7:30 p.m.; I’m on the way to the game and will have updates when I arrive at approximately 8:15 p.m.

OK — I’m here at 8:33 p.m. and it’s 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth. Kayla Cole has been perfect through four innings, while Central Davidson’s Chelsea Leonard has only given up one hit through five innings. Twelve out of the 15 outs Leonard has achieved had been by strikeout. Let’s pick it up here (and yes, CD is the home team) …

End of fifth inning: SL 0, CD 0 — CD’s Nicole Perry led off inning by being walked, advanced to second on a stolen base and to third on a fielder’s choice. But the Blue Devils’ defense came through to stifle the CD offense.

Middle of sixth inning: SL 0, CD 0 — Leonard gets ‘em 1-2-3, two by K (she’s up to 14)

End of sixth inning: CD 1, SL 0 – Cole gives up her first hit of the game, a single to Whitney Lohr, to lead off the inning. Lohr steals second base and is sacrificed to third by Carrie Jernigan for the first out. Louise Davis throws Whitney Lohr out at home for the second out on Karen Lohr’s fielder’s choice. Karen Lohr steals second and third base and Leonard singles Karen Lohr home for the lead.

FINAL: CD 1, SL 0 — A one-out error puts Leigh Smith on first base for SL and a wild pitch moves her to second. She is left there for the final out. South Lenoir will play Canton Pisgah at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Walnut Creek in an elimination game.

FINAL from Walnut Creek: South Lenoir 3, West Stokes 2

A special treat for you here tonight in the first NCHSAA 2A softball championship from Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Softball Complex: Justin Hill will be feeding the information to the blog via Brisson Wine, Stony’s wife, who is riding back from Millington with me.

West Stokes

Brandi Ingram, SS

Chancey Stone, P

Carly Mudigan, 1B

Michella Calloway, C

Sam Wilson, 3B

Morgan Riesron, 2B

Laurin Carter, DH

Brittany Doyle, CF

Lauren Tuttle, LF

Meredith Ruff, Flex

South Lenoir is the home team

Kayla Cole, P

Leigh Smith, LF

Cayla Lane, DH

Kara Tucker, 3B

Lorri Cole, C

Louise Davis, 2B

Taylor Williams, SS

Faith Turner, 1B

Melissa Moore, RF

Jessica Greer, Flex 

Middle of first inning: WS 0, SL coming to bat — First WR runner advances on error, but doesn’t advance

End of first inning: WS 0 SL 0– SL goes 1,2,3 

Middle of the second inning: WS 2 SL 0— Two out ,two RBI single by Tuttle

End of the second inning:  WS 2 SL 1.  Throwing error scores SL’s first run.

Middle of the third:  WS 2 SL 1. WR goes 1,2,3

End of the third: WS 2 SL 1. SL strands one on base

Middle of the fourth inning:  WR 2 SL 1.  WR loads the bases but a runners interference ends the inning.

End of the fourth inning: WS 2 SL 2. Tucker scores from 2nd on a williams blooper over the first baseman.

Middle of the fifth inning: WS 2 SL 2. One left on.

End of the fifth inning:  WS 2 SL 2. SL strands 2.

Middle of the sixth inning:  WS 2 SL 2. Cole strikes out the side.

End of the sixth inning: SL 3 WS 2.  Go ahead rbi by williams

FINAL:  SL 3 WS 2.  South Lenoir will play Central Davidson (30-0) at approx. 7:30

A note to the LCC players, coaches, fans and parents

Please consider this a most sincere and humble “thank-you” to all of you — the fans and family back home who simply broke records by hitting your “refresh” button hundreds and thousands of times and to the parents and fans who made the trip to Millington. Every one of you made me feel welcome and part of your Lancer family. This is a week that I will never forget and I appreciate every one of you.

Most importantly, though — thank you to the Lancer players who made the trip, along with Stony Wine, Lind Hartsell and C.C. Tilghman. The players were very, very patient with me, especially when we were on deadline so many times this week. To the players I interviewed after the last game on Thursday — there will be a follow-up notebook in Saturday’s paper, so if I didn’t get your quote in the final gamer in Friday’s paper, it will be in Saturday’s article.

As I told the five players or so I interviewed, I will tell the others on this team: it was an honor to cover you this year. Thank you for taking me on this ride with you!

Stony went well above the call in allowing me complete access to himself and his players. And I couldn’t have made this trip without the help of Coach Hartsell, who is a consummate professional who bleeds Lancer Blue. Also — thank you to LCC President Dr. Briley, who helped make it possible for me to make this trip.

Lastly, thank you, parents — you may have only had half the fans of LSU-Eunice, but you were consistently louder than they were. From Si Seymour to John Rouse to Ryan Norton’s parents to all of you — you made Kinston and LCC proud.

Again — this was a week I’ll never forget and I have all of you to thank for it!

FINAL from Millington, Tenn.: LSU-Eunice 17, LCC 5

The No. 1-ranked Lenoir Community College baseball team is set to take the field against No. 2 LSU-Eunice in the NJCAA Division 2 World Series in Millington, Tenn. It’s about 20 minutes to game-time; here are the lineups for both teams:

LENOIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE (54-11) visiting team

Kent Burford, 2B

Ryan Norton, RF

Ben Billingsley, SS

Brian Mills, DH

Brandon Rouse, 1B

Todd Seymour, LF

Bud Lanier, CF

Tyler Ham, C

Hunter Chase, 3B

LCC’s starting pitcher is Billy Dudding

LSU-EUNICE (51-12)

Boomer Blanchard, SS

Delta Cleary, CF

Matt Creel, 2B

Kellen Bozeman, 1B

Tyler Slocum, DH

Perry Smith, RF

Brady Borque, 3B

Nate Peterson, C

Chase Blanchard, LF

LSUE’s starting pitcher is RHP Ryan Boudreux

It’s 7:25 and the starting lineups are being introduced. It’s 81 degrees and sunny. Weather is not going to be a problem tonight.

The first pitch, a strike to Burford, is delivered at 7:33 p.m.

Middle of first inning: LCC 2, LSUE coming to bat — Burford and Norton lead off inning with singles, with Burford advancing to third on Norton’s single. After Billingsley pops out for the first out, Mills scores Burford on an infield error. Rouse flies out for the second out and Seymour sends Norton home with an RBI single. Mills and Seymour advance to third and second on a throwing error by the LSUE LF. Lanier Ks to end the inning

End of first inning: LCC 2, LSUE 1 — Blanchard flies out and Cleary hits a home run to deep right field. Creel flies out for the second out and Dudding strikes out Bozeman to end inning

Middle of second inning: LCC 2, LSUE 1 — Chase gets a one-out single, steals second and advances to third on Burford’s groundout to first base. After Norton walks, Billingsley ends the inning by flying out to CF

End of second inning: LSUE 4, LCC 2 – Smith hits a one-out double over Norton’s head and is moved to third on Brady Borque’s single to left field. Peterson hits a sacrifice fly to deep right centerfield to tie the game at 2-2. Borque stole second and scores on a single by Chase Blanchard, who steals second himself. Chase Blanchard is singled home by Boomer Blanchard, who gets to second on the throw to the plate. Cleary grounds out to first for the final out

Middle of third inning: LSUE 4, LCC 2 — Boudreaux gets LCC 1-2-3

End of third inning: LSUE 6, LCC 2 — Bozeman earns a one-out HBP and goes to third on Slocum’s double. Smith’s single sends Bozeman and Slocum home with a 6-2 lead. Dudding (2 1/3 IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 6 ER, 0 BBs, 1 K, 1 HBP) is taken out of the game for Keith Spinner. Ham catches Smith off first base for the second out and Spinner strikes out Borque for Out 3

Middle of fourth inning: LSUE 6, LCC 2 — Boudreaux gets LCC 1-2-3; he’s retired 7 in a row

End of fourth inning: LSUE 11, LCC 2 — Peterson walks to lead off the inning but is out at second on Chase Blanchard’s fielder’s choice. Chase Blanchard steals second and goes to third on Boomer Blanchard’s flyout to deep centerfield. Spinner walks Cleary and is followed by Creel’s triple to right field that scores Chase Blanchard and Cleary. Bozeman doubles home Creel for a 9-2 lead. Spinner (1 1/3 IP, 2 hits, 4 runs, 4 ER, 2 BBs, 1 K) is replaced by Drew Sowers, who promptly hits Slocum with his first pitch. Smith singles to score Bozeman and Borque is HBP to load the bags. Peterson advances to first on catcher’s interference and that scores Slocum for an 11-2 lead. Finally, Chase Blanchard — the 11th Bengal to hit in the inning — ends the frame by popping up to second base… Whew.

Middle of fifth inning: LSUE 11, LCC 2 — Boudreaux gets LCC 1-2-3 on 6 pitches. He’s retired 10 in a row, including throwing only 22 pitches the past three innings. Wow.

End of fifth inning: LSUE 12, LCC 2 — Boomer Blanchard leads off inning with a HR to left field. Cleary is HBP, Sowers’ third-such victim, but is caught stealing for the first out. Sowers strikes out Creel looking and Bozeman grounds out to third for final out. There is no 10-run rule in this game, since it is a championship game.

Middle of sixth inning: LSUE 12, LCC 3 — Mills gets his first hit of the World Series, a single, to lead off the inning. Taylor Ginn replaces Brandon Rouse and pops up to third base for the first out. Seymour gets his second hit of the game, a single, to advance Mills to third base. A wild pitch to Lanier scores Mills and sends Seymour to second. Lanier grounds out to first to send Seymour to third. Ham grounds out to shortstop to end the inning.

End of sixth inning: LSUE 14, LCC 3 — Slocum leads off inning with a single on the first pitch and scores on a double by Smith — his fourth hit of the game, along with 4 RBIs. Sowers is taken out of the game for Dewitt Pope, who promptly gives up a double to Borque that scores Smith. Peterson mercifully gets the first out by flying out to left field and Pope strikes out Chase Blanchard for Out 2. Boomer Blanchard grounds out to short for the final out of the inning

Middle of seventh inning: LSUE 14, LCC 4 — Burford hits a one-out HR to left field. Norton pops up to the infield for the second out and is followed by Billingsley’s single to left field. Mills ends inning by flying out to left field

End of seventh inning: LSUE 17, LCC 4 — Cleary leads off the inning by reaching first on a Billingsley error and is followed by Creel, who flies out to right field. Bozeman reaches on a dropped pop-up by Ginn at first base. Pope walks Slocum to load the bases. Smith hits a sacrifice fly to right field to score Cleary. Borque singles to score Bozeman and Pope is removed from the mound in place of Barrett Stover. Stover is greeted by a single to right field by Peterson that scores Slocum. The third out is a flyout to centerfield by Chase Blanchard.

Middle of eighth inning: LSUE 17, LCC 5 — Ginn doubles to lead off inning and goes to third on Seymour’s single, his third hit of the game. Ginn scores on a fielder’s choice by Lanier. Pinch-hitters Lance Murray and Shawn Lovette end the inning by popping out to second base

End of eighth inning: LSUE 17, LCC 5 — Stover retires ‘em 1-2-3, two by K. RALLY TIME!

FINAL: LSUE 17, LCC 5 — Boudreaux gets ‘em 1-2-3 to end the game. He went the distance.

Lancers finish second in the nation. Great season, LCC

LCC’s World Series stats

Updated through Wednesday’s win against Monroe (N.Y.) CC:


Ryan Norton — .462 (6-for-13), 7 RBIs, 3 run, 2 BBs

Kent Burford — .438 (7-for-16), 2 RBIs, 5 runs, 1 BB

Bud Lanier — .308 (4-for-13), 2 RBIs, 0 runs, 2 BBs

Ben Billingsley — .357 (5-for-14), 0 RBIs, 3 runs, 2 BBs

Greg Dissenger — .286 (2-for-7), 1 RBI, 1 run, 0 BB

Todd Seymour — .154 (2-for-13), 0 RBIs, 2 runs, 2 BBs

Taylor Honeycutt — .111 (1-for-9), 0 RBIs, 1 run, 1 BB

Hunter Chase — .083 (1-for-12), 1 RBI, 2 runs, 1 BB

Brandon Rouse — .077 (1-for-13), 1 RBI, 0 runs, 3 BBs

Brian Mills — .000 (0-for-7), 1 RBI, 0 run, 0 BB

Tyler Ham — .000 (0-for-3, 0 RBI, 0 runs, 0 BB


T.J. Hinson — 2 GP, 2 GS, 15.1 IP, 16 hits, 6 runs, 6 ER, 0 BB, 9 Ks, 3.52 ERA

David Combs – 4 GP, 0 GS, 5.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 3.18 ERA

Drew Sowers — 1 GP, 1 GS, 4.1 IP, 1 hit, 2 runs, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 4.16 ERA

Keith Spinner — 1 GP, 0 GS, 3.1 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 5.41 ERA

J.B. Brewer — 1 GP, 0 GS, 3 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 ER, 4 BBs, 2 Ks, 9.00 ERA

Brandon Price — 1 GP, 0 GS, 0.2 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 26.99 ERA

Barrett Stover — 1 GP, 0 GS, 0.1 IP, 1 hit, 2 runs, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 54.55 ERA

Darrin Tew — 1 GP, 1 GS, 0 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, infinity ERA