Husson softball team eyes return to NCAA tourney

Posted March 21, 2011, at 8:24 p.m.

The Husson University softball team has feasted on North Atlantic Conference opponents the past two seasons, going 28-0 during the regular season and then winning the tournament to earn berths to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

And the news doesn’t get any better for Husson’s NAC opponents this year.

“If we can stay healthy, this is the best team I’ve had in my five years,” said head coach Amanda Davey, whose Eagles have gone 54-31 the past two years overall. “We lost just one starter off last year’s team (second baseman Cassie Berry) and we’ve added a lot of pitching depth. We have six kids who can pitch

“Our goal is to win a game in the NCAA Tournament,” added Davey whose Eagles lost all four NCAA tourney games the past two years.

Davey said Husson will be without pitcher Nicole Sargent of Sullivan, who underwent knee surgery and will be a medical redshirt.

Sargent, an All-NAC first-team pick, was 10-6 with a 3.38 earned run average a year ago.

The Eagles went 3-7 on a recent spring trip to Arizona but four of those losses were by either one or two runs and starting first baseman Megan Richard (arm) and 2010 NAC Rookie of the Year and All-NAC first-teamer Aimee Mortensen (upper body injury), the third baseman, played in just three and five games, respectively.

However, Davey is hopeful both will be ready for their next game, a March 30 contest with the University of Maine.

The Eagles will be led by 2010 NAC Player of the Year and first-team selection Dottie Cameron, who hit .374 a year ago with three homers, 36 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases. She hit .410 two years ago.

Otisfield senior shortstop Diann Ramsey hit .380 with two homers and 21 RBIs and Wilton senior Richard was a .327 hitter a year ago with a homer and 16 RBIs and was a second-team All-NAC pick. Center fielder Lona Sargent, Nicole’s sophomore sister, hit .425 in 27 games with 15 RBIs.

Sophomore right fielder and lead-off hitter Courtney Hill of Calais hit .323 with 15 stolen bases a year ago and had a team-high 14 hits with six stolen bases on the spring trip while hitting .368.

Mortensen hit .288 with two homers and 26 RBIs as a freshman and was hitting .538 on the trip before she got hurt.

Brewer’s Sarah Risser and Detroit’s Kristen Sousa, both juniors, will share the catching for the second straight year. Risser (.282-0-11) and Sousa (.194-0-8) both had impressive springs, hitting .350 and .308, respectively.

Sophomore Kara Poirier (.438 in 11 games) is replacing NAC Tournament MVP Berry at second and freshman pitcher Kelly Naegelin hit .321 on the trip and has the inside track as the designated player.

Junior basketball-soccer standout Amanda Gifford is playing softball and supplies speed and versatility. Belfast junior Brianna Webster hit .330 with 20 RBIs a year ago and was a first-team All-NAC outfielder and Farmington freshman Taryn Kennedy is a reserve outfielder.

In addition to Husson’s potent offense, Davey said the Eagles will be “an awesome defensive team as long as we stay healthy. We don’t have a lot of depth, position-wise.”

But there is no shortage of pitching depth beginning with sophomore Kody Lyon (13-7, 3.97 earned run average) and Naegelin, who had a 2.45 ERA on the trip.

Brewer freshman reliever Amanda Ryan (1-1, 1.97) had an impressive trip and Skowhegan freshman Rebecca McCarty also has good potential, according to Davey. Richard was 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA last season and Poirier was 2-1 with a 5.77 ERA.

McCarty will get some at-bats as well as she hit .400 on the trip with a homer and four RBIs.

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