BY MATT DIFILIPPO

Staff Writer

The Thomas College baseball team is enjoying one of its best seasons in school history. The Terriers are 24-15 overall, including 19-5 in conference play. The Terriers will look to extend the good times this weekend at the North Eastern Athletic Conference East Division Tournament.

The tournament is played in double-elimination format, and goes today through Sunday at top-seeded Castleton (21-3 in the conference). Castleton faces fourth-seeded Colby-Sawyer at 11 a.m., today, followed by No. 2 Thomas vs. No. 3 Husson (14-8).

“You’re going to get a lot of games in a short amount of time,” Thomas coach Greg King said. “But I think that’s where our strength is, because we don’t really have the top pitcher in the conference, but we have four or five of the best pitchers in the conference.”

In conference play, Thomas is hitting .335 as a team and has a 2.59 ERA. Jeff Richardson (.374, with a .450 on-base percentage) is the top hitter, followed by Josh Gray (.344), Wes Perrault (.340) and Rob Nutter (.333).

Add in Ethan Hurley (.324), Skowhegan graduate Cody Vigue (.324, 10 stolen bases), and Ben Goodall (.316, 5 home runs) and it’s a lineup that will score some runs.

Thomas will need to win three or four games to win the tournament, and the Terriers have six starting pitchers — Danny Burke, Waterville graduate Tim Locke, Messalonskee graduates Chris Farrar and Eric Sucy, Jake Chamblee and James McLamb. None of those pitchers have an ERA higher than 3.27 in conference play, and Locke has the lowest at 1.12.

“The thing I’ve been asking of my pitchers all season long is to make quality pitches, be smart and give us an opportunity to win the game,” King said. “If the pitchers give us an opportunity, our hitters have been responding, and that’s going to be the key in the tournament.”

Thomas played Husson four times this season, winning the first three and losing the fourth 5-4 in 10 innings. The Terriers split four games with Castleton, and took three out of four from Colby-Sawyer.

Top-ranked Castleton has one player especially worth noting. That’s Tyler Erickson, who has proven beyond all doubt he can handle a big workload.

On April 19, Erickson started the first game of a doubleheader against Colby-Sawyer, going all seven innings and picking up a 3-2 win. Amazingly, Erickson then went all seven innings in the second game as well, winning that game 2-1.

This season, Erickson is 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA. Castleton has two other solid starters in Patrick Riley (5-3, 2.21) and Dakota Aker (4-2, 2.49). Adam Greenlese has started only three games, but all three were complete-game shutouts. Greenlese has also relieved four times and is 4-0 with a 0.94 ERA.

* * *

Thomas softball will also be playing Husson today in the first game of a double-elimination tournament. The fourth-ranked Terriers (10-6-1 in conference play) will take on host and No. 1 seed Husson (16-1) in the opener of the North Atlantic Conference softball tournament. That game will start at 10 a.m., and will be followed by No. 2 Castleton (16-1) vs. No. 3 New England College (12-5).

The Terriers are a definite underdog. They are 1-5 against the other teams in the tournament, with the only win coming against New England College. Husson, which has won the last three North Atlantic Conference titles, defeated Thomas by scores of 4-2 and 8-0 on March 31.

McKayla Gastia (.388) is the top hitter for the Terriers, and Kelsey Crowe (.319) and Nokomis graduate Samantha Moore (.304) are also over .300. Winslow graduate Ali Kriegel, who struggled for the first half of the season, is hitting .400 over the last 13 games. Crowe (4-2, 3.19 ERA in conference play) and Sara Pavento (5-4, 3.56) will do the pitching.

Husson’s top pitcher is Skowhegan graduate Becca McCarty. In conference play, McCarty is 8-1 with a 0.40 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 52 innings.

* * *

The Colby women’s lacrosse team plays a familiar opponent in its quest for a sixth consecutive appearance in the New England Small College Athletic Conference tournament. The Mules host No. 7 Hamilton at noon, Saturday.

Colby not only defeated Hamilton 10-9 earlier this season, the teams met in the NCAA tournament in 2008, 2010 and 2011, when Hamilton was not part of the conference. The Continentals won the first two of those meetings, but Colby won 6-5 in last year’s NCAA second-round matchup.

The Mules are 13-1 overall and 9-1 in the conference. Colby’s only loss was to Trinity, the No. 1 seed and defending conference champions.

* * *

The Colby men’s lacrosse team also made the NESCAC tournament, and barely missed out on making Saturday a men’s/women’s lacrosse doubleheader on Mayflower Hill.

Bowdoin, Connecticut College and Colby all finished 6-4 in the NESCAC. Bowdoin defeated the other two teams, so the Polar Bears got the third seed. That left Colby and Connecticut College, and the Camels won out by virtue of an 8-7, quadruple-overtime victory over Colby on March 31. So the Camels will host Colby at 1 p.m., Saturday.

Colby has made it to the semifinals only once in tournament history, but they have won seven of their eight games since the four-overtime loss, including a 9-7 win over second-seeded Trinity.

* * *

Bates will host the NESCAC track and field championships at 9 a.m., Saturday. Some Colby athletes and a number of local alumni will certainly be worth watching.

Colby’s Dominique Kone of Bucksport is the defending champion in the 100-meter dash and will be a factor in the 200 as well. Kone won the national title in the 60-meter this winter. Colby junior Trent Wiseman is also back to defend his NESCAC title in the pole vault.

Waterville graduate Isaiah Spofford, now at Bates, would possibly have a shot to win both the 100 and 200 were it not for Kone. Bowdoin’s Sam Seekins, an Erskine graduate, is turning in times in the 5,000 that are right in line with last year’s NESCAC championship-winning times in that event.

Bowdoin’s Laura Peterson, a Hall-Dale graduate, had top 10 finishes in the long jump, triple jump and 3,000 steeplechase last spring. Bowdoin’s Anna Ackerman, a Cony graduate, has been very impressive in the 3,000 steeplechase this season. She clocked in at 11 minutes, 18 seconds to win a meet last weekend, and a repeat of that time Saturday will more than likely earn her a high finish. Another Bowdoin athlete, freshman Hayleigh Kein of Mt. View, has a chance to place in the high jump.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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