June 21, 2018
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Not ‘unusual’: Husson, Colby-Sawyer brave cold, split Saturday doubleheader; Eagles sweep Sunday

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — On the field, players wore long-sleeved Under Armor beneath their uniforms and frequently placed their throwing hands inside their back pockets.

Those in the dugouts sported multiple layers, some topped with hooded sweatshirts, and wore winter hats and gloves.

It was 37 degrees with a gusty northwest wind sweeping across Alfond Diamond at the Winkin Complex on Saturday afternoon, but it was just another spring day in Maine for Husson University and Colby-Sawyer College.

The schools braved the cold conditions to play a North Atlantic Conference baseball doubleheader, with the Chargers taking the opener 1-0 and the host Eagles earning an 8-5 victory in the second game.

On Sunday, which was several degrees warmer, Husson swept by scores of 3-0 and 2-1 in 10 innings.

“For us, this is not a typical day, but it’s not an unusual day,” Husson coach Jason Harvey said of Saturday’s conditions. “It’s windy, it’s a cold wind, it’s brisk, but we play many games and practices in 35-degree weather.”

It was a different scenario 12 miles north in Orono. University of Maine coaches, school officials and game umpires postponed a scheduled America East Conference baseball doubleheader between UMaine and Binghamton University because of the cold conditions.

UMaine also postponed its softball doubleheader against Albany until Sunday.

“I can’t believe that,” said Harvey, who explained there was no discussion Saturday about postponing the Eagles’ twinbill.

“No, absolutely not,” he said.

Husson (10-10, 5-1 NAC) gained the split in the nightcap behind four RBIs from senior center fielder Shawn Smith of Winterport. He stroked a run-scoring triple in the first inning and lined a three-run home run in the fifth to provide the eventual margin of victory.

Smith was not significantly hampered by the cold and wind.

“It’s not physically too cold to play,” he explained. “It’s just more mentally, to get into the zone. It takes a little bit longer to warm up, but once you’re there it’s the same as playing any other game.”

Smith availed himself of a hand-warmer — the small, air-activated pouches often used by outdoor enthusiasts — in his pants pocket and wore two Under Armor shirts under his game jersey.

“I usually just wear one, but where I knew it was going to be windy, I decided to put on two,” Smith said. “I thought it was fine.”

Trailing 2-1, the Eagles took the lead for good in the third when Dylan Foster of Oakland walked, moved up on a single by Brandon Gendreau of Brewer and scored on a single through the left side by Caribou’s Pat Thibodeau. One out later, J.T. Whitten of Waterville cranked a three-run homer to left.

Thibodeau added another single and scored three times. Gendreau also had another single.

Tyler Stotz hit two singles to lead Colby-Sawyer (6-10, 1-5 NAC), which got a pinch-hit, two-run single from Matt Muldoon in the seventh.

Starter Tim Nason of Bucksport (2-1) worked five innings and gave up five hits and three runs (two earned) to earn the win.

Husson players said the day began colder than it wound up, mostly because of the gusty northwest wind that subsided slightly later.

Freshman pitcher Brandon Reilly of Pemaquid was the hard-luck loser, allowing only one hit in seven innings with 10 strikeouts and one walk. Other than the soft clay on the mound, he didn’t find the conditions too detrimental.

“I kept a warmer in my back pocket and had a nice, big jacket in the dugout every inning,” Reilly said.

“Throwing my offspeed stuff, the wind kind of got to it a little bit, but nothing that took too much away from me,” he added.

Cameron Knight accounted for the only run of the first game for the Chargers when he cranked a fastball over the fence in left field.

Kevin Keith (3-1) shut out the Eagles with an eight-hitter that included two strikeouts. Andy Lapple doubled and singled for the winners.

“Keith’s a good pitcher, maybe the best that we’ll face in the conference,” Smith said. “He kept us off-balance, worked down, got a lot of ground-ball outs.”

Gendreau singled twice for Husson, which had the potential tying run in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings but could not score.

On Sunday, Kyle Bishop hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Eagles to the win in the nightcap.

Dennis O’Neil (2-2) pitched a four-hitter with six strikeouts for Husson and gave up an unearned run. Whitten hit an RBI single while Foster, Gendreau and Smith (triple) had two hits apiece.

Vinny Monahan singled twice and Kyle Greenwood had a sacrifice fly for Colby-Sawyer behind relief loser Dave Maestri.

In Sunday’s opener, Pat McEwen and Seth Freudenberger combined on a seven-hit shutout for Husson. McEwen (3-2) gave up five hits in six innings and Freudenberger allowed two in one inning.

Smith doubled and singled (RBI) and Whitten singled twice while Cody McInnis and Pat Thibodeau each singled with an RBI.

Knight and Monahan hit two singles each for the Chargers.

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