Three The Hard Way - Trojans Advance To Conference Championship Game!

Click HERE for game-winning hit vs. North Greenville.

Savannah Becker's rbi-single on a 13-pitch at-bat with two outs in the bottom of the seventh tied the game and Danielle Mitchell's walk-off two-out single in the bottom of the 10th lifted second-seeded Mount Olive to a 3-2 win over No. 6 seed and previous tournament unbeaten North Greenville as the Trojans won their third elimination game of the day Sunday - second 10-inning win - and advanced to the winner-takes-all championship game the 2013 Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament at Burlington, N.C. Lauren Smith went all 10 innings for her second straight complete game win in the tournament.

Mount Olive and North Greenville vie for the conference championship Monday at 11 a.m.

"The word 'pride' doesn't cover the feelings I have for this group right now," said Trojan head softball coach Jaime Kylis-Higginbotham. "Words cannot express what I watched today. We went to war. I've never seen anything like that, winning three straight games to stay alive, nor been a part of anything like that and it was simply amazing."

In the Trojans' first game of the day, Madison Johnston came out of the bullpen to end a bases-loaded threat in the bottom of the ninth and Christie Wright's pinch-hit double keyed a two-run 10th inning as Mount Olive stayed alive with a 2-0 win over top-seeded and defending champion King in an elimination game. The Trojans advanced to the final two with a 4-2 win over No. 5 seed Coker as Katie Moore's bases-loaded two-run double capped a tie-breaking three-run fourth inning.

Mount Olive (33-13) trailed North Greenville 2-0 going into the bottom of the seventh when Moore drew a walk to lead off the inning and scored on Kelsey Akers' first-pitch double to right-center. A soft liner to first on a sacrifice attempt resulted in the first out, then the Trojans were charged with a second out when Jennifer Jones was ruled to have not been officially re-entered after Jesse Crist pinch-hit for her in the fifth inning.

Becker, a freshman centerfielder who entered the at bat 1-for-15 for the tournament, took the first pitch for a ball before falling behind 1-2. Becker fouled off four straight two-strike pitches, then took a pitch that just missed outside as several North Greenville players began celebrating what they thought was strike three and a tournament championship.

Becker fouled off three more pitches before taking a pitch inside to run the count full. She then lined the 13th pitch into centerfield as Akers scored from second to tie the game 2-2.

Lauren Smith (7-4) retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth innings, as did North Greenville pitcher Rachel Glazebrook. In the top of the 10th, Sarah Robertson drew a one-out walk to add to her three-hit day. But Smith got a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Jones, who was formally re-entered, led off the bottom of the 10th with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice, but was thrown out at third on a fielder's choice. Erin Brogan followed with a two-out single to shallow left and Lauren McGrath advanced to third. Mitchell fell behind 0-2 and then after taking the next two pitches for balls, lined a single to center to bring home McGrath with the game winner, touching off a Trojan celebration.

After the post-game team handshakes, North Greenville's players invited the Trojans to the middle of the infield to join in a prayer circle.

Smith extended her streak of consecutive batters retired to 22 with a fly out to North Greenville's batter before Robertson ended the streak with a one-out single. Smith had retired the final 21 batters Saturday in the Trojans' win over Queens.

North Greenville (20-19-1) strung together three consecutive singles in the top of the third, but Mitchell's throw to the plate from right field on Glazebrook's single prevented a run as the Trojans caught Sarah Armstrong in a rundown. Brogan threw to third baseman Kalie Smith, who chased Armstrong towards the plate and made a diving tag for the second out.

But the Trojan celebration would be short-lived as Amy Nagel doubled to deep right field to drive in two runs and put the Crusaders on top. North Greenville had five of its nine hits in the inning, but Lauren Smith would go on to hold the Crusaders to just three more hits over the final seven innings.

In Sunday's opener against King, Carly White took a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning, allowing only singles in the first and sixth innings. The Tornado loaded the bases on Amber Walker's one-out single and a pair of two-out walks. Johnston took over for White and got leadoff batter Christine Melcher to hit a ground ball to Jones at shortstop. Jones' throw to first beat Melcher by a half step to send the game into the 10th inning.

Beth Overman drew a leadoff walk in the top of the 10th and went to third on Wright's pinch-hit double to left. Overman would have scored, but the ball went under the fence for a ground rule double. Kalie Smith broke the deadlock with a double to shallow left to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead. Wright came home on Akers' sacrifice fly.

Johnston (7-3) retired the side in order in the bottom of the 10th, starting with a pair of groundouts. Smith squeezed a foul popup by third base for the final out of the game.

Mount Olive's streak of 18 consecutive shutout innings came to an end when Coker scored a run in the top of the first. Johnston triggered an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play to prevent further damage. The Trojans also turned a double play in the third when second baseman Moore made an over-the-shoulder catch and easily doubled up the Coker runner who was already on third.

The Trojans evened the score in the bottom of the first on Akers' bases loaded walk and took the lead for good with a three-run fourth inning. Jones led off with a double and scored on Brogan's bloop single up the right field line. Mount Olive loaded the bases when Mitchell beat out a bunt single and Overman singled to center. Moore followed with a double to left-center to drive in two runs and give the Trojans a 4-1 lead.

Coker got a run back on Sydney Weatherford's rbi-double in the fifth. But White took over for the final two innings, retiring the side in order in the sixth and allowing only a two-out single in the seventh. White recorded three strikeouts in the seventh – all swinging – for her third save of the season.

Just as it did Saturday against Queens, Mount Olive eliminated Coker in its final game as a Conference Carolinas member. Both teams are leaving the conference at the end of the year to join the South Atlantic Conference.

Mount Olive, which has now won four straight elimination games, has played in three of the five extra-inning games in this year's tournament. The Trojans played 27 innings in Sunday's three contests.

Mount Olive is in the final two for the first time since 2008 and in a winner-takes-all championship game since winning the title in 2000. Monday's winner earns a spot in the Southeast Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Softball Championship.