Spartans Fall to Thomas in Opening Round of NAC Tournament

Spartans Fall to Thomas in Opening Round of NAC Tournament

BANGOR, Maine – The Castleton softball team suffered a setback in the opening round of the North Atlantic Conference Championship Tournament on Friday afternoon, falling to Thomas College by a final of 5-1 at Husson University.

The second-seeded Spartans (18-9-1) will face New England College in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The Terriers (12-22) face Husson in the winners' bracket game to end the day.

Sara Baker and Timi Carone had the only hits of the game for the Spartans, as the team's bats were stymied by the Terriers' Sydney LeBourveau. Taylor Paquette shouldered the loss, tossing four innings and allowing four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts. Kayla Wood tossed three innings of relief, allowing one unearned run on two hits and no walks.

LeBourveau picked up her eighth win of the season, going the distance and allowing just two hits and two walks with one earned run. She struck out four. Four different Terriers had two hits in the contest, with LeBourveau driving in a pair of runs on a double. Lexi Colpack and Courtney Veilleux each scored twice.

Thomas jumped out to an early lead, putting up a pair of runs in the first inning. Colpack led off the game with a base hit up the middle before stealing second to move into scoring position. A base hit by Veilleux off the glove of Paquette moved Colpack to third, before she came in to score on a throwing error when Veilleux stole second base. Veilleux moved to third base on a ground out, before a squeeze bunt by Madison Bentz brought her home. Paquette got out of the inning with minimal damage, giving the Spartans a chance to get runs back in the home half of the inning.

Carone stroked a two-strike single down the left field line, and advanced to second when the left fielder had trouble corralling the ball. Baker walked to put two runners on, before a groundout advanced both runners into scoring position. Tori Swaine sent a one-out sacrifice fly into left field, driving in Carone to cut the gap in half, 2-1. The Spartans couldn't manage any more in the home half of the inning, but Paquette settled in—tossing three consecutive scoreless innings to keep the gap at just one run.

In the top of the fifth inning, the Terriers pushed three more runs across behind the strength of three hits and an error, taking a 5-1 lead. Colpack led off with a base knock to shortstop, before Veilleux singled off Paquette's leg, ending her day and bringing Kayla Wood into the contest. The first batter Wood faced laid down a sacrifice but, but a Spartan miscue allowed her to reach base, and allowed Colpack to score from second to make it a 3-1 game. Another bunt allowed two runners to move into scoring position, before LeBourveau cranked a two-run double into the gap in left center to push the lead to four runs, 5-1.

Castleton couldn't crack LeBourveau in the circle after the first inning, as the sophomore set down 15 batters in a row before Baker collected a one-out base hit in the sixth inning. A fielder's choice and a flyout ended the inning, sending it to the last frame with the Spartans trailing by four runs. Both sides went scoreless in the seventh frame, ending the game with a 5-1 final.

Thomas out-hit the Spartans 9-2 on the day, while Castleton tied its single-game high of three errors to Thomas's one.