BANGOR, Maine — Husson University’s youthful softball team took its lumps early, but as Wednesday’s doubleheader sweep attests the Eagles have grown up in a hurry the last few weeks.
The Eagles made it eight straight wins by knocking off the University of Maine-Presque Isle 9-0 and 9-2 at O’Keefe Field on Wednesday afternoon.
After losing 11 of its first 14 games, the young and inexperienced Eagles, who have no seniors in the starting lineup, look anything but that now.
“It’s a fairly young team with only one junior out there on the field, so we’ve been working a lot on making plays in pressure situations,” said head coach Amanda Davey, whose Eagles are now 11-11 overall. “It’s more just dealing with pressure and having that experience.”
In the first game, the Eagles scored three runs in the bottom of the first and that was all starting pitcher Caitlin LeBorgne needed as she kept UMPI’s Owls off balance by mixing pitches and speeds en route to a two-hitter that ended after five innings due to the mercy rule.
“Their first pitcher did a great job mixing pitches,” said UMPI coach Tracy Guerrette. “She’d throw a change on a first pitch, and then start off throwing hard and that threw us off. She kept my kids guessing and they’re not used to that.”
LeBorgne, a sophomore from Scarborough, struck out five hitters and walked none.
“Coach calls our pitches and she likes to change speeds a lot. That definitely helped get the other team thinking,” LeBorgne said. “My drop ball was actually working well for me today, so that really helped. It usually doesn’t work that well.”
Husson got production up and down the batting order. LeBorgne was her own biggest supporter offensively as she doubled, scored a run after reaching on an error, and belted a three-run triple in three at-bats.
Cassie Berry, a junior from Newcastle and the No. 3 hitter, had an RBI single in the first and a leadoff home run to left that reached Husson Avenue on the bounce in the third. Other big bats belonged to leadoff hitter Dottie Cameron (two singles, one RBI), fellow sophomore and cleanup hitter Megan Richard of Wilton (two doubles, one RBI), and No. 5 hitter Sarah Risser (two singles, one RBI), a freshman from Brewer.
In the second game, the hits just kept on coming for the Eagles, although they got off to a slower start and had to come from behind.
The 9-9 Owls jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second as Erica Davis led off with a single, stole second, stole third, and scored on a two-out, two-base fielding error in center field. Nicole Russell, who reached on the error, scored on Cassie Green’s single to right.
Husson got one run back in the second via Kristen Sousa’s leadoff walk and back-to-back sacrifice bunts before breaking it open with a five-run fourth.
The Eagles banged out seven hits in the fourth — five with two outs. Rachel Voicechovski sparked a five-hit run with an RBI single to right center followed by an RBI double by Diann Ramsey of Otisfield, and RBI single by Jamiee Knowles of Brewer, an RBI double by Brianna Webster of Belfast, and Cameron’s RBI triple to center.
Husson added a run in the fifth on Berry’s double and a two-out error and two more in the sixth on three straight one-out hits by Cameron (double), Megan Bradstreet of Warren (single), and Berry (single) plus Megan Richard’s sacrifice fly.
“I think we fared better in the second game, but I think there were still things we should have gotten done, fielding-wise,” Guerrette said. “Our infield defense got better, but our outfield still needs some work. I don’t think we’re getting a good jump on the balls.
“The first time we got outside for a practice was yesterday. We’ll be doing a lot of fielding work tomorrow.”
Davis led UMPI with two singles, a run and an RBI.