The Husson University Eagles won three straight games to capture their sixth straight North Atlantic Conference softball crown Sunday in a tourney that began at the school’s O’Keefe Field in Bangor and ended at the University of Maine’s Mahaney Dome in Orono.
Husson, which dropped into the losers bracket after being beat by Castleton State 5-1 on Saturday, responded on Sunday by ousting Lyndon State 7-1, and then beating Castleton in back-to-back games, 3-1 and 7-5, to prevail in the double-elimination tourney.
After rain hit into an inning of the first game, officials moved the tourney indoors to the Mahaney Dome and Husson responded behind a strong pitching performance from Amanda Ryan (12-7), who fired a five-hitter while walking only one and striking out four.
She was supported by Lyndsay Merrill’s 4-for-4 effort that included a double as well as Breanna Martin’s home run, two singles and three RBIs.
In the day’s second game, Castleton took a 1-0 lead into the sixth on Tori Fearon’s first-inning solo shot, but Husson tied it with an unearned run and then won in the seventh when Nicole Andrade cranked a pinch-hit two-run home run.
Kayla Merrill earned the victory as she scattered five hits, walked three and struck out seven.
In the championship game, the Eagles rallied from a 4-2 deficit with a five-run outburst in the top of the seventh to capture the title.
Lyndsay Merrill slammed an RBI double and Casey Lopes laced a two-run single to give the Eagles the lead. They tacked on two more pivotal runs on Haley Spiers two-run double.
Castleton’s Brooke Naylor hit a solo homer off Kayla Merrill (14-3) in the bottom of the seventh, but Ryan came on to get the final two outs and recorded a save.
Chelsea Brennan added to the Husson offense with three singles and an RBI.
In the first of a four-game tourney day on Saturday, Lyndsay Merrill registered two triples, a double and a single with an RBI and three runs scored as Husson eliminated UMaine-Farmington 7-2.
Jess Poulin singled twice to back winning pitcher Ryan, who scattered eight hits and struck out six.
Meryl Bond doubled and singled and Hannah Lust had two singles for UMF (14-14).
In the second game, Castleton’s Chelsea Grady delivered a two-run single and an RBI double as the Spartans built an early 5-0 lead that stood up for a 9-2 win over Thomas College of Waterville.
Kelsey Crowe and Nicole Ryder each hit a run-scoring single to pace Thomas.
In the third game, Lyndon’s Katie Davis pitched a five-inning, four-hit shutout to spark the Hornets’ 8-0 win over Thomas.
Courtney Veilleux had two singles for Thomas (15-16-1), which was eliminated.
In the day’s final game, Castleton’s Kayla Wood held the Eagles to five hits and struck out five as the Spartans prevailed 5-1.
Allison Hill’s run-producing triple led Husson
Castleton beats Husson for NAC title
At Castleton, Vermont, the Castleton State Spartans emerged from the losers bracket on Sunday and beat Husson University twice, 6-1 and 7-5, to capture the North Atlantic Conference title.
Husson beat Castleton 7-6 on Saturday in the double-elimination tourney, but Castleton stayed alive by eliminating UMaine-Farmington 8-2 after UMF had ousted Lyndon State 3-1.
Steve Jurkiewicz got the Spartans to the championship game as he pitched a complete-game four-hitter, with five strikeouts as the Eagles managed just four singles.
In championship game, Castleton (26-15) jumped out to a four-run lead in the first, highlighted by Tyler Lord’s RBI double and Allen White’s run-producing triple.
Husson answered with a run in the third, but the Spartans added two more runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Eagles added a run in the fourth on Jordan Carter’s sacrifice fly and another run in the fifth when Dennis Meehan hit an RBI single.
Husson rallied for its final two runs in the eighth, both runs coming on RBI groundouts by Brandon Gendreau and J.T. Whitten.
Dylan Foster sparked Husson (29-10) in the two games with five hits and Cody McInnis added four.
In Saturday’s first game, Kyle Peterson pitched a seven-hitter, striking out three and walking two, to keep the Beavers alive with the 3-1 win over Lyndon.
Sean Cabaniss, singled three times and drove in a run for the University of Maine-Farmington, while Jordan Croteau and Grayson Beressi each posted two singles.
In the day’s second game, Husson scored four times in the eighth inning to erase a three-run deficit and beat Castleton 7-6.
Jordan Carter drilled a two-run double and Foster hit an RBI single in the uprising. Foster added another RBI single and Carter also singled for Husson. McInnis (RBI) and Gendreau each provided two singles.
Casey Estes picked up the win with 3 1/3 innings of six-hit, two run relief and Dan Whitney earned a save with a perfect ninth.
Dan Errico paced Castleton State with a two-run single and another hit.
In Saturday’s final game, Castleton State received a nine-hit complete game from Conner Johnson while eliminating the Beavers 8-2.
Swahn cranked a two-run homer to propel Castleton State. Dan Errico hit a solo shot, while Tyler Lord and Matt McNamee each singled and drove in a run.
Dustin McCrossin collected two doubles and a single with an RBI to lead UMF (14-22).