Bangor, Maine – Top-seeded and three-time defending North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Softball Champion Husson University will have the opportunity to defend its title as the Eagles staved off elimination, defeating the second seed Castleton State College 4-0 in an elimination game this afternoon at O'Keefe Field.
The Eagles will meet Thomas College tomorrow morning at 11 am, and will be forced to win a pair against the fourth-seeded Terriers who swept their way past Husson and Castleton to earn their place on the final day.
Becca McCarty (Skowhegan, Maine) picked up the shutout, scattering five hits over seven innings while walking one and striking out nine to improve to 16-7 on the season.
Taylor Lively (Greenfield, Mass.) took the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) on ten hits, while striking out seven and walking none.
Lona Sargent (Sullivan, Maine) went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI from the number-nine spot to lead the Eagle offense, continually turning the lineup over to Courtney Hill (Calais, Maine) who went 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot. Sargent and Hill also wreaked havoc along the base-paths as each stole a pair of bases and Brianna Webster (Belfast, Maine) added two hits, including a double and an RBI.
Castleton could muster only five singles, including a pair from Bridget Dusha (Greenwich, N.Y.).
With one out in the third, Sargent singled through the right side, stole second and moved to third on a bunt-single from Hill. Webster followed with a run-scoring bunt-single. The Eagles kept the pressure on as Hill stole third and Webster followed, putting runners on second and third. But, Lively settled in, inducing a pop out and a strikeout to end the threat.
The Eagles took advantage of a pair of Castleton errors to push the lead to 3-0 in the fourth, as Sargent provided the big blow, a two-run single just out of the reach of Castleton shortstop Kristy Pinkham (Brandon, Vt.). Again Sargent kept the pressure on, advancing to second on the play at the plate and stealing third. Hill then laid a perfect bunt down towards the third base side, and only a spectacular defensive play by Castleton third baseman Margy Kerschner (Vergennes, Vt.) could retire Sargent at home and keep the deficit at 3-0.
Husson tacked on another insurance run in the sixth as Sargent doubled home Heidi Shaw (Manchester, Maine) who had singled earlier in the inning.
That was plenty of support for McCarty who allowed just one Spartan runner past second base in the dominating performance.
Husson improved to 31-11 with the win, while the book closes on Castleton's most successful season since 2005 at 22-16.