Courtesy of Castleton Sports Information
BANGOR, Maine – The Thomas College softball team captured the 2017 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Championship with a 2-0 shutout victory over Castleton on Saturday afternoon at Husson University.
The Terriers went a perfect 3-0 throughout the tournament, defeating Castleton 5-1 and Husson 5-3 on Friday to move on. The last time Thomas won a NAC Softball Championship was in 2004 and it will be the first time they earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
Kayla Wood went the distance for Castleton, allowing just five hits and two runs, one earned, without walking a batter. She struck out three. The Spartans were limited to just four hits on offense, with four different players registering one base hit each.
Sydney LeBourveau (Jericho, Vt.) was strong for Thomas for the third consecutive game in the tournament, allowing just four hits and four walks in the complete-game shutout. The sophomore also delivered a big blow on offense, knocking in the go-ahead run with an RBI double in the sixth inning. She was the only player in the game with two hits.
The game was a battle of two of the tournament's top pitchers, as Wood and LeBourveau traded zeros until the home half of the sixth inning. Castleton had runners in scoring position in both the second and fourth innings, but failed to capitalize as LeBourveau worked out of trouble each time.
With the game still deadlocked at 0-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Thomas put the leadoff batter on base on a close play at first. The call went in favor of the Terriers, giving them a chance to spark a rally in the late innings as Courtney Veilleux's (Sidney, Maine) bunt single stood as called after questioning from the Spartans. Korrie Laren (Blackstone, Mass.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Veilleux to second base, before LeBourveau cranked a double into the left-center field gap to score the run and give Thomas a 1-0 lead. After Wood struck out Madison Bentz (Algonquin, Ill.) for the second out of the inning, a throwing error allowed LeBourveau to score from second base and double the lead to 2-0 heading into the final frame.
The Spartans didn't back down from the challenge, as the first two batters of the inning reached base. Karli Theberge led off the seventh with a walk, before McKinlie Carpenter singled into center field. A one-out base hit into right field by Sami Carlo loaded the bases, but Thomas cut down a run at the plate on a fielder's choice groundout. A second groundout ended the game, giving the Terriers their first-ever NAC softball championship with the 2-0 final.
Castleton's Wood, Timi Carone, and Sara Baker were named to the All-Tournament Team, while Thomas's Lauren Farina (Schenectady, N.Y.), Lexi Colpack (Franklin, N.H.) and Katie Taylor (Lebanon, Maine) were also named to the All-Tournament squad. LeBourveau was named the Tournament MVP after earning the win in all three games and pacing the Terriers' offense.
Husson placed Bri Brochu and Jen Jones on the All-Tournament Team, while New England College's Bri Castellano and Debra Mazzeo also earned the honors.
The Terriers will wait for the selection show on Monday to see who they face in the NCAA Tournament.
2017 NAC All-Tournament Team
MVP – Sydney LeBourveau, Thomas
Katie Taylor, Thomas
Lauren Farina, Thomas
Lexi Colpack, Thomas
Kayla Wood, Castleton
Timi Carone, Castleton
Sara Baker, Castleton
Jen Jones, Husson
Bri Brochu, Husson
Brianna Castellano, New England College
Debra Mazzeo, New England College