The Thomas softball team will have a late night Saturday as the Terriers open their season with UMaine-Presque Isle. The doubleheader will be played in “the bubble” at the University of Maine in Orono, and the games are slated to start at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Thomas coach Terry Parlin said things can get a bit dicey in the bubble, because of the relatively low ceiling.

“I think it’s somewhat difficult for the umpires,” Parlin said. “There’s always that gray area — was it a home run, or was it a long fly ball? We definitely hit the ceiling quite a few times when we’re at the bubble. But everybody’s just happy to have a place to play, and we’re all willing to go with what the ground rules are.”

The Terriers have 17 players on their roster, and eight of them are freshmen.

“At least three of them are going to start, and a couple others are going to see significant playing time,” Parlin said.

After Saturday’s games, the Terriers spend Wednesday through Monday in Clermont, Fla. They’ll play 11 games in six days, then resume their schedule March 31 with a doubleheader at Husson against the three-time defending North Atlantic Conference champions.

Parlin said the competition in Florida will be tough, but he’s not concerned with what kind of record Thomas posts on the trip. The goal, he said, is to get ready for conference play. While Thomas was picked second in the preseason coaches poll, Parlin said UMaine-Farmington, Castleton and Maine Maritime are also tough, and even the traditionally weaker teams are getting stronger.

The NAC adds New England College and Colby-Sawyer this season. Both schools have traditionally strong athletic programs.

“One good thing is, Colby-Sawyer is good in everything, but they don’t have softball,” Parlin joked.

* * *

It seems like basketball season has been over for a while now, but Waterville native Morgan Frame and the University of New Hampshire earned another game despite losing in the America East quarterfinals. UNH was selected to play in the Women’s Basketball Invitational, and faced Holy Cross on Thursday night.

The Women’s Basketball Invitational is a 16-team tournament, and was started in 2010. UNH is the first America East team to make the tournament.

Frame has played in 21 games this season and is averaging 16.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Over UNH’s last five games heading into Thursday, she is averaging 17.0 ppg and shooting 48 percent from the field. Frame joined the Wildcats for the second semester after transferring from St. Anselm College.

* * *

Hall-Dale graduate Ryan Leach had a solid freshman season at Franklin Pierce University, going 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 26 innings. This year, Leach is a starter, and is already 3-0 and hasn’t allowed a run in 20 innings. Opposing batters are hitting .218 off Leach and he’s walked only five men while striking out 16.

Leach went seven innings in a 2-0 victory over West Virginia Wesleyan, then pitched eight innings of a 6-0 win over Dowling. Six days later, Leach started but left after five innings of a 20-1 victory over Philadelphia University.

* * *

Skowhegan grad Whitney Jones is finally back on the softball field after breaking a bone in her foot playing basketball in November 2010. That injury caused Jones to miss her entire senior year in both basketball and softball.

Jones, who played shortstop at Skowhegan, is now at Seton Hall, and is listed on the softball roster as a freshman outfielder. She started five of the Pirates’ first 20 games this season, and is hitting .143 in 14 at bats, with three runs scored and a stolen base.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

 

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