Before taking the field prior to their regular-season finale against the University of Maine, the UMaine-Farmington players found out they have some plans for later this week.

When Colby-Sawyer beat Lyndon State, 5-3, in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon, UMF clinched a spot in the North Atlantic Conference baseball tournament. The Beavers finished 10-14 in the NAC, and held the tie-breaker over Lyndon by winning two of three meetings between the two teams.

So the four-teams are set for the double-elimination tournament, which will be held at No. 1 Castleton. On Friday, the defending champion Spartans (20-4) face UMF, and Husson (19-5) takes on Thomas (14-10). Two teams will be eliminated on Saturday, and the remaining two play on Sunday for the title and a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.

Castleton swept UMF in four games this weekend, but three of those games were decided by a total of four runs. That’s kind of been the story for the Beavers this season, as six of their conference losses were by one run. Despite the losing record, UMF outscored its opponents 123-99 in NAC games.

Skowhegan grad Trevor Hisler (.352) and Erskine grad Sean Cabaniss (.338) have been UMF’s top hitters in NAC games. On the mound, Kyle Peterson and Joe Sullivan have combined for nine complete games, and Mt. Blue grad Jimmy Neal is 2-1 with a 0.47 ERA.

Castleton’s Taylor Vile, Nick Swim and Tyler Lord are all batting over .400 in the conference. What’s most imposing about the Spartans is that they have six pitchers with a combined 18-0 conference record. Of those six, the highest conference ERA belongs to Devan Hayes, who has 34 strikeouts in 24 innings to go with a 2.63 ERA.

Thomas played Castleton better than anyone in the NAC this season, winning twice and losing two by scores of 1-0 and 4-3. The big hitters for the Terriers are Nik Beeson (.466 in the NAC), Derek Kane (.377) and Anree Benitez (.359). Beeson also has four saves, while Kane, Matt Rutherford, Lawrence grad Isiah Fleming and Monmouth grad Kyle Fletcher have all pitched well in starting roles.

Husson’s top bats in conference play are Waterville grad J.T. Whitten (.378) and former Maine Mr. Baseball Ryan Rebar of Foxcroft Academy (.364). The Eagles have a tough four-man rotation led by freshman Robert Graff (5-0, 1.69 in the NAC).

• • •

IN NAC softball, Thomas avoided any crazy tie-breaker scenarios when Castleton defeated Johnson State on Tuesday. Had Johnson State swept Castleton, there was a chance that Thomas, Johnson State and New England College would have been in a three-way tie for the final two playoff spots.

As it is, Thomas is 6-4 heading into Wednesday’s doubleheader with Johnson State. The worst the Terriers could finish is 6-6, which would tie them with New England College — but Thomas would own the tie-breaker because it swept the Pilgrims on Saturday.

The host team wasn’t decided until Castleton finished off the doubleheader sweep of Johnson State early Tuesday evening. Castleton and Husson both finished 10-2 in the conference, and split their two games. By NAC rules, the next tie-breaker is to go down the seeds until there is a difference. Castleton swept No. 3 Thomas, while Husson split with the Terriers, so Castleton hosts the tournament.

The format is the same as baseball: Two games Friday, two teams eliminated Saturday, and the remaining two playing for the title on Sunday. Friday’s matchups have Castleton battling New England College, and Thomas facing Husson.

Cony grad Sonja Morse has started seven of the Terriers’ 10 conference games, going 5-2 with a 2.10 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 47 innings. Messalonskee grad Alyssa Eugley is hitting .448 in conference play, followed by Madison grad Emily McKenney (.375) and Richmond grad Lindsy Hoopingarner (.360).

New England College will need some more hitting throughout the lineup to make a tournament run. In conference play, Kiley Williams is hitting .372 and Shawnie Clark is at .324, but only one other regular is over .233. Debra Mazzeo (6-4, 3.28) does most of the pitching.

Husson is the opposite: Seven of the nine regular starters are hitting .344 or better in the NAC. Among all those gaudy averages is Deb Colpitts at .500 and Kayla Merrill at .476. They’re also the 1-2 pitchers: Merrill is 6-1, 0.75, while Colpitts is 2-0, 1.33.

Castleton doesn’t have Husson’s kind of hitting — aside from .400 hitters Katie Gagne and Jessica Babcock — but the Spartans do have Kayla Wood. In conference games, Wood is 7-0 with a 0.70 ERA and 59 strikeouts and 25 hits allowed in 50 innings.

• • •

It’s been an unusually frustrating season for Colby-Sawyer baseball. For the most part, two local players were just watching it unfold.

Brady Dion, a Sabattus native and Oak Hill grad, and Andrew Pratt (New Sharon/Mt. Blue) are both freshmen with the Chargers. Neither had seen much playing time as Colby-Sawyer’s record fell to 1-29 after a doubleheader loss on Friday.

On Sunday, the Chargers played Norwich. Dion hadn’t started in over a month, but got the start in both games and went 4 for 6 with three RBIs. Pratt has started only two games all season. He, too, was in the lineup for both games and had a hit and an RBI in both games.

Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe not, but Colby-Sawyer won both games — and split a doubleheader with UMF the next day, with Dion against getting two starts.

• • •

Oakland native and Kents Hill grad Sara Grenier completed her freshman season last week on the women’s lacrosse team at Florida Tech. Grenier scored 60 goals and dished out eight assists in 16 games. Her average of 3.75 goals per game is tied for ninth in the country in NCAA Division II.

On Tuesday, Grenier was one of two freshmen named first-team all-Sunshine State Conference. This was Florida Tech’s first season with women’s lacrosse. The Panthers finished 7-9 overall.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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