BY MATT DIFILIPPO Staff Writer
WATERVILLE -- Whether the games were the regulation seven innings, or not even five complete, they were both huge wins for the Thomas College softball team.
"If we lose this, we're down," said Thomas pitcher Kelsey Crowe, who struck out eight to win Game 2 as Thomas completed a 7-6, 5-3 doubleheader sweep of the University of Maine at Farmington on a chilly Wednesday afternoon. "We already lost to Husson, and beating Farmington is a big step for us."
Even though the first game started about 10 minutes before the scheduled 3:30 p.m. start time, the teams ran out of daylight in Game 2, which was called with Thomas batting in the bottom of the fifth inning. Two UMF fans complained to Thomas athletic director David Roussel after the game.
"I think we've got to do something," UMF coach Cyndi Pratt said. "We've either got to start earlier, or get the games moving faster. There was a lot of time in between games, and that's on the umpires. We're ready, Thomas is ready, and the umpires aren't ready. Two innings in a softball game is huge, especially in a conference game."
"Normally, we start at 3:30, we have enough time," Thomas coach Terry Parlin said. "Obviously, tonight, we didn't for many different reasons -- a lot of runs scored, a lot of walks. I don't like winning this way either, but I've lost this way, and when you win this way, it kind of averages out. I understand her frustration. I think (the start time) is usually set by the (North Atlantic Conference)."
The umpires were Larry Rioux and Jeff Marshall. Rioux, incidentally, has been an assistant coach the past two seasons with the Thomas women's basketball team -- which is coached by his son, Ted.
Thomas (5-15 overall, 2-2 NAC) won the first game with the help of a three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth. Trailing 5-4, the Terriers tied the score when Molly Woodward hit a one-out double, and Kate Thibodeau singled home pinch runner Kim Grant.
With two on and two out, Messalonskee graduate Alyssa Eugley singled to right-center to send home the go-ahead run. Sara Moynihan later scored on a passed ball, and Thomas led 7-5. Eugley went 4-for-7 in the doubleheader, raising her average from .206 to .268.
"I haven't been hitting well, so I knew I needed to step up," Eugley said. "Today seemed like the perfect day."
UMF rallied in the seventh, as Shannon Mitchell doubled with one out, and Mt. Blue graduate Kaitlyn Bartlett reached on an error as Mitchell scored. Thomas pitcher Sara Pavento retired the next two batters on popouts to end the game.
Bartlett was the starting pitcher for UMF (4-6, 2-2), and she was brilliant aside from the first inning, when she walked five and gave up three runs. The Beavers tied the score in the top of the second when Cony graduate Amy Jones drilled a two-run double and scored on a single by Lily Barry.
Crowe was in command after that, retiring 10 of the last 12 batters she faced. The only baserunners in that stretch reached on an infield single and an error.
"The mound was really slippery at the beginning, because it's really soft out there," Crowe said. "But I adjusted. It's cold, but I gotta get over it."
Thomas went up for good in the bottom of the second when Eugley singled and eventually scored on Crowe's sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the seventh, UMF's Jones, playing shortstop, had trouble picking up the ball off the bat of Thibodeau, and a run scored on the play. The umpires called the game moments later.
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243
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