Pitching-heavy Thomas looks to stay near top of NAC ranks

Posted March 24, 2010, at 9:40 p.m.

Things looked pretty encouraging for Terry Parlin’s Thomas College softball team heading into the 2009 offseason.

The Terriers, who finished third in the North Atlantic Conference regular season standings and the NAC Tournament, returned six starters, including all of their pitchers, from a squad that went 10-4 in conference play.

That was before Parlin re-learned the old adage about never having too much pitching, as sophomores Jordan Kennedy and Patrice Cianchette both opted take the season off for personal reasons. Kennedy was the 2009 NAC Rookie of the Year with a 6-4 record and 2.95 ERA.

“You just never know, especially in college,” said Parlin. “We were already younger, but now we’re almost a totally different team from last year.”

Parlin had already lost five seniors, two of whom were all-NAC players and three of whom were cap-tains, to graduation.

Still, Thomas’ dugout isn’t totally stripped of talent. Sara Pavento, a sophomore pitcher from Glen-burn, is back in the circle after going 2-6 with a 6.26 ERA and other key returnees include junior co-captains Alexandra Kriegel of Winslow and Kaymala Eells of Otisfield, and versatile sophomore Saman-tha Robison.

Pavento teams with promising freshman pitcher Kelsey Crowe to form the 1-2 rotation while Robison has moved in from the outfield to play shortstop or second base.

Despite the offseason losses and position shuffle, the Terriers are starting off well with a 5-6 overall record following a doubleheader sweep of Massachusetts Maritime Academy last weekend.

“After the last series, where Mass Maritime had beaten Lyndon State in a mercy rule game, it looked like a tough matchup, but we hit the ball harder than we have in a long time and had two great games,” said Parlin. “I thought we were going to be singles hitting team with speed, but we had some really big shots I hadn’t seen before the last series and I was really happy to see that.”

Parlin said junior first baseman-left fielder Sarah Estes of Brewer was one of the hitters showing some newfound pop.

“Estes is really starting to come into her own as a hitter, hitting the ball real hard in Florida and at Mass Maritime,” he said. “She’s a line drive, contact hitter.”

Other key players to pick up their games recently include junior center fielder Mallorie Blakney of Fairfield; catcher Samantha Moore and fellow freshman Kristrina Drew, who will play third and spell Moore at catcher; and freshman outfielder Alexandra Kennedy of Readfield.

Unfortunately for them, the Terriers will have their newfound hitting groove put on hold as the school heads into spring break.

“We had to take a week out of school to go down south and here we are with another week off and nothing to do,” Parlin said. “The way we’re going now, I think we’d prefer to keep on playing, not have the vacation and shorten the season instead.”

Since it’s crucial for the young Terriers to mature quickly in order to be a playoff contender, Parlin can only hope his team can regain its hitting rhythm after vacation.

“That’s definitely a big key with nine freshmen and no seniors,” said the second-year coach. “That’s where our captains and juniors come in.

“I think they’ve both been around long enough that the know the tone that needs to be set and what to demand from their teammates.”

Marchant sets Monks mark

Alyssa Marchant of Saint Joseph’s College in Standish has become the first player in women’s lacrosse program history to score 100 career goals.

The junior from Wakefield, Mass., reached the milestone during a recent victory over Thomas College of Waterville and now has 110 goals.

Marchant, a 2009 Great Northeast Athletic Conference first-team choice, scored 46 goals in each of her first two seasons with the Monks. In 29 career games, she has been held without a goal only twice.

She owns school single-game records for points (12), goals (7), assists (7) and caused turnovers (5). Marchant is Saint Joseph’s career leader in goals, goals per game (3.67), shots (217), shots on goal (180), caused turnovers (28), game-winning goals (6) and free-position goals (12).

The Monks began playing women’s lacrosse in 2008.

Little playing for Wheaton tennis

James Little of Mount Desert is a key member of the Wheaton College men’s tennis team this season.

The senior co-captain went 2-2 in singles play and 0-3 in doubles action during the Lyons’ recent trip to Hilton Head, S.C.

Playing second singles, the former Mount Desert Island High School player won straight-sets singles matches against players from St. Norbert and Scranton. However, Little and No. 2 doubles partner Greg-ory Poulin lost all three of their completed matches.

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