Kyle Vanidestine and Tom Crews have patrolled outfields together for more than seven years.
Husson University junior left fielder Vanidestine and senior center fielder Crews were teammates on various youth all-star teams, at the Doughty Middle School and at Bangor High School before coming to Husson.
And they have been at their best when it counts the most.
Entering their NCAA Division III New England Tournament opener against Western New England College (Mass.) Wednesday at 8 p.m., junior Vanidestine has been a .358 hitter during the playoffs during his three seasons with 13 runs batted in and 18 runs scored in 18 games.
Senior Crews has hit .354 in postseason the past three years with 24 RBIs and 19 runs scored in 18 games. He had three homers and nine RBIs in the 10-3 win over Penn State Berks that sewed up a two-game series sweep in the North Eastern Athletic Conference East-West matchup that earned Husson its NCAA tourney berth.
“They always turn it up at the end of the year. You know they’re going to be clutch. They’re phenomenal hitters and players,” said Husson junior pitcher Nate Adams.
“It’s amazing. I don’t know how they do it. In every tournament game, one of them will come up with a home run or a clutch hit. One will be the Most Valuable Player. I expect big things out of them in big games,” said senior pitcher Kyle Leeman, who has played on the same teams with Crews since Little League and has also been on several teams with Vanidestine as well including high school and college.
“I think Tom and I do a good job staying calm and staying focused (in the postseason),” said Vanidestine. “We try to make sure we get good pitches to hit. We know these are important situations so we keep it simple and we’ve been successful so far.”
“I try to step up my game as much as I can in the playoffs to help the team win,” said Crews. “Coach (Jason Harvey) is always stressing to us that we relax and try to put the ball in play.”
Crews has been a two-time North Atlantic Conference Tournament MVP and Harvey said they call him “Tourney Time Tommy.”
“Tommy is a big-time player in the postseason and Kyle has been very productive of late (in the postseason). Hopefully, they’ll continue that run in this tournament,” said Harvey.
Crews and Vanidestine enjoy playing together along with Leeman.
“It not only helps on the field, it helps off the field,” said Crews. “We feel comfortable with each other because we know each other inside and out.”
“We’re like family and it provides good team chemistry,” said Vanidestine.
Leeman said the three of them “can get in each other’s faces without anyone taking it personally.”
Leeman and the other pitchers also enjoy having the two of them in the outfield along with Winterport’s Shawn Smith, the right fielder.
“When you have that kind of speed in the outfield, it takes the pressure off the pitchers,” said Adams.
“They know the depth and distance each one can cover and they communicate (well),” Harvey added.
Entering the tourney, Husson has been led by Smith (.338-2 homers-34 RBIs, 17 stolen bases), Vanidestine (.326-2-21, 14 stolen bases), Ethan Guerette (.312-2-34) and Chris Maguire (.288-1-23) along with Jake Arthers (.265-2-28), Crews (.256-4-23) and pitchers Adams (8-3, 2.16 earned-run average), Ryan Arsenault (8-3, 2.56), Dan Beatham (5-2, 3.33) and Leeman (4-3, 3.14, 1 save).