Husson softball team hosts NAC Tournament; Eagle baseball team in Vermont for tourney

Posted May 01, 2014, at 4:35 p.m.
Husson University’s Kayla Merrill pitches against Brandeis University on March 29 at the UMaine practice dome in Orono. Merrill, who has a 12-3 record and 2.29 ERA, will lead the Eagles in their North Atlantic Conference playoff opener Friday against Johnson State.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Husson University’s Kayla Merrill pitches against Brandeis University on March 29 at the UMaine practice dome in Orono. Merrill, who has a 12-3 record and 2.29 ERA, will lead the Eagles in their North Atlantic Conference playoff opener Friday against Johnson State.

The Husson University women’s softball team traveled to Vermont on Tuesday and dealt Johnson State a 17-1 five-inning thumping.

The top-seeded Eagles, 25-9 overall and 12-2 in the North Atlantic Conference, will entertain Johnson State in the opening round of the six-team, double-elimination tournament beginning 10 a.m. Friday at O’Keefe Field in Bangor. Sixth seed Johnson State is 6-21 and 5-9, respectively, including earlier 23-0 and 9-0 losses to the Eagles.

No. 2 Castleton State (13-13, 11-3) will take on No. 5 Lyndon State (7-19, 6-8) at noon; No. 3 UM-Farmington (14-12, 10-4) will face No. 4 Thomas College (14-14-1, 7-6-1) at 2 p.m., and the losers of the first two games will play an elimination game at 4 p.m.

Action resumes 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“We aren’t worried about the score [vs. Johnson State] a couple days ago,” said Husson first-year softball coach Kristie Hawkins. “It’s going to be like we never played them. We’re going to be aggressive and focus on what we can control.”

Husson has won five straight since being swept by UMF.

“That was good for us. It showed our vulnerability. It woke us up a little bit. We can’t expect just to just show up and win,” said Hawkins, whose Eagles have won five straight NAC titles.

Bethel junior Kayla Merrill (.422-8 homers-40 RBIs, 12-3 as a pitcher, 2.29 ERA) has paced Husson along with Casey Lopes (.387-1-26), Haley Spiers (.387-0-19), Chelsea Brennan (.376-4-22), Allison Hill (.365-2-22) and Merrill’s sister Lyndsey Merrill (.361-6-33).

In baseball, Husson (24-13, 17-4), the second seed and defending champ, will face No. 3 UMF (13-20, 12-10) in the four-team NAC Tournament at Castleton State at 2:30 p.m. The hosts (25-9, 20-3) will meet No. 4 Lyndon State (10-17, 9-15) in the 11 a.m. opener.

Coach Jason Harvey’s Husson baseball team, which has won six games in a row, has been led by Dylan Foster (.412-1-18), Kyle Bishop (.353-1-22) and J.T. Whitten (.352-1-24).

 

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