Husson University’s Aimee Mortensen and Dottie Cameron have played instrumental roles in leading the Eagles to a third straight North Atlantic Conference Tournament title and berth in the NCAA Division III Regional in Providence, R.I. which gets under way Thursday at 10 a.m. when the eighth-seeded Eagles (25-17), face top seed Eastern Connecticut State (30-4).
Biddeford’s Mortensen, a sophomore, was chosen the NAC Player of the Year and is hitting .348 with six doubles and 21 runs batted in. She leads the team in on-base percentage (.414) and has committed just two errors in 37 games at shortstop.
She had to make the transition from third base to shortstop when Diann Ramsey injured her knee.
“Aimee was an average hitter last year (.288) but she’s been more consistent this year,” said Husson coach Amanda Davey.
Mortensen said she was a little shocked when she was named player of the year.
“But I’m pretty happy about the accomplishment and I hope I can keep it up,” said Mortensen, who credits her hitting improvement with a fundamental alteration.
“I’ve been swinging my hips around. I never used to,” said Mortensen.
The switch from third to short was “difficult at times but my teammates have helped me a lot. And Diann has helped. I’ve talked to her a couple of times.”
“She has done a phenomenal job at short,” said Cameron.
Cameron, a senior, was the Most Valuable Player in the NAC tourney after hitting just .210 during the regular season. She had hit .410 and .374 in her previous two seasons.
But Cameron got hits in each of the first two tourney games before going 3-for-3 with a homer and triple in the title game.
“It was about time,” said left fielder Cameron. “(The regular season) was very aggravating.”
Cameron said she took extra batting practice before and after practice and Davey gave her some mental tips to help her snap out of her slump.
“Before the tournament, (Davey) told me when I went up to the plate last year, I had an attitude. Not a bad attitude. I went up there telling myself I was going to hit the ball, it was my job, that was what I was good at and I was going to do it,” said Cameron. “I needed my spunk back.”
That’s exactly what she did and it paid off.
“It was more of a mental thing. She has a great swing,” said Davey.
Cameron, now hitting .231, leads the Eagles in homers (4) and RBIs (24).
“When we needed it, Dottie stepped up and that says a lot about her senior leadership,” said junior first baseman Amanda Gifford.
Along with Mortensen and Cameron, the other key contributors for Husson have been RF Courtney Hill (.358-0-11, 41 stolen bases), C Sarah Risser (.344-0-15), CF Lona Sargent (.326-1-20), DH Kelly Naegelin (.306-2-22) and Gifford (.289-0-18) along with pitchers Kody Lyon (11-10, 3.73 earned run average), Naegelin (6-5, 2.44) and Becca McCarty (4-1, 2.68).