CASTLETON, Vt. – Winners of seven of their last eight games, the Castleton University softball team will look to carry its recent momentum into the 2018 North Atlantic Conference Championship to be played at Husson University on May 4-6.
The Spartans enter play off a doubleheader sweep at Johnson State in its regular-season finale. Defeating the Badgers 12-2 in the game one, Castleton was forced to put in over time and earn an extra-innings victory in the later game.
Tied 3-3 headed into the eighth, Castleton cashed in with four runs on four hits and a couple of errors. With the wins, softball improved to 7-3 in the league and earned the No. 3 spot in the tournament field.
Joining Castleton in the postseason tournament will be the second seed New England College Pilgrims, the four seed Thomas College Terriers and the host and top seed Husson University Eagles.
Led by Calli Van Gorden, Tori Swaine, Timi Carone and Sara Baker – each of which is batting .400 or higher – Castleton will take on New England College for its first contest of the double-elimination tournament.
During the regular season, Castleton and NEC split the two matchups with the Pilgrims taking the opener 1-0 before the Spartans rebounded with a 5-1 victory. NEC's Taylor Barbour tossed a complete-game gem, quieting the Castleton offense. It did not last long though as the Spartans plated five runs in the first inning of the nightcap to earn the split. Taylor Paquette entered game two in relief and went the final 2.2 innings, securing the Castleton victory. She enters the NAC Championship with a 2.88 ERA and an 8-10 record.
In the first game of the tournament, Husson will play Thomas. The Spartans dropped both games of the doubleheader at the Eagles – 1-0 and 6-5 – when they played just two weeks ago. Meanwhile, last weekend, Castleton downed Thomas 11-2 in five innings and then battled back to win 4-3 in eight innings during game two.
Castleton begins its quest for a conference championship at 12 p.m. against the aforementioned Pilgrims. The winner will move on to play the victor of the day's first game, while the loser returns to the field immediately to take on the loser of game one.
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