BANGOR, Maine — Other than a slight defensive lapse in their second game of the day, things went almost perfectly for the Husson University Eagles as they won both games on the first day of the North Atlantic Conference softball tournament.
The top-seeded Eagles made it look fairly easy by getting 15 hits off Thomas College pitching and winning the opening game 8-1 and finished the day by knocking off No. 2 seed Maine Maritime Academy 7-3 in the winner’s bracket game on a bright and blustery Friday at O’Keefe Field
The wins mean Husson will sit back and wait for the winner of Saturday’s elimination game between MMA and the University of Maine-Farmington, and play for a second straight NAC title at 2 p.m.
“The first game set the tempo for the day with us,” said Husson shortstop Diann Ramsey, who went 3-for-8 on the day. “This game, for sure, was the real key in terms of setting us up for tomorrow.”
Ramsey was a key factor in the late game as part of the lower third in Husson’s batting order, which went 4-for-7 with three RBIs.
“Our bottom third has been leading us a lot lately, so that’s been big for our offense,” said Husson coach Amanda Davey, whose Eagles are now 27-14 on the season and unbeaten (16-0) in conference play.
Sarah Risser, a sophomore catcher from Brewer and Husson’s No. 9 hitter, sparked the Eagles with a one-out triple in the third. A walk, two singles and a fielder’s choice grounder later, Husson held a 3-0 lead.
“There really isn’t a weakness in our lineup,” said Ramsey, who also hit a two-run single in the fifth. “I think we just feed off each other. Hitting is contagious for us.”
Risser also delivered a two-out RBI single in the fourth.
Meanwhile, freshman Kody Lyon pitched six strong innings for the Eagles, giving up two earned runs and six hits while notching six strikeouts and walking no one.
“I was throwing a lot of outside pitches and they weren’t touching them. I guess that was the key, was hitting my spots today,” said Lyon, now 13-6. “I was nervous about the wind, but the side movement of it may actually have helped me.”
The 21-6 Mariners got on the scoreboard in the fourth as Mallery Stanley of Standish and Leah Jackson of Dedham hit back-to-back, one-out singles to left and McKenzie Burke hit a two-out RBI single to left.
The Mariners added single runs in the sixth and seventh on a solo home run to right by Kayla Higgins of Sullivan and a one-out RBI single by Casey McCloskey of Howland, respectively.
Mariners head coach Katrina Dagan brought a young team into the tourney with three freshman starters and was concerned how the novices would handle themselves in a playoff situation, but was impressed.
“I think my freshman played outstanding today,” said Dagan.
The Mariners committed three errors leading to one unearned run, but all were by upperclassmen.
“We know to beat Husson, we have to play well and we can’t have errors. We had three and that cost us,” Dagan said. “It’s a lot of us vs. us. If we make those plays, it’s a whole different ballgame.”
In the other games, MMA knocked off UMF 9-1 and UMF eliminated Thomas 11-2.