Castleton softball loses in NAC, looks forward to next season

The Spartan softball team was knocked out of the North Atlantic Conference tournament faster than they had hoped as they lost 8-0 to Husson College and 8-1 to Thomas College on May 1.After defeating Lyndon State College 5-1 in the first round of play, the fourth-seeded Spartans advanced to face top-seeded Husson College.

Husson entered the game with a 23-14 record on the season, but more importantly a 14-0 record in NAC play.

The Spartans, 7-7 in NAC play, sent junior Hilary Bemis to the mound, looking for a strong performance similar to the one she had against Lyndon, where she allowed just four hits in seven innings. Husson’s hitters, though, proved to be too tough for Bemis as the Eagles tagged her for five hits and all eight runs in just four innings

The Eagles did all the damage they would have to do in the bottom of the second inning when Dottie Cameron hit a base-clearing double with two outs, scoring three runs. Husson added the icing on the cake in the bottom of the fourth when the team scored five runs. Three of those runs came from a three-run home run.

With the Spartan offense unable to get anything going, the game was ended shortly after the fifth inning because of the eight-run rule. The Spartans were moved into the loser’s bracket, where third-seeded Thomas College awaited them in the first elimination game of the tournament.

In the game against Thomas things quickly got out of control again as the Spartan defense took the afternoon off. The Spartans made four errors during the game, allowing five unearned runs to score. Castleton’s offense, something the team relied heavily on in the regular season, also seemed absent from the game. The Spartans’ lone run on the day came in the bottom of the fourth when Bemis hit a double. Alicia Zraunig would later drive her in with a sacrifice fly.

Bemis took the loss again for the Spartans despite a solid pitching performance in which she gave up six hits and three earned runs in seven innings.

Sophomore first baseman Sarah Flore said that the Spartans didn’t bring their best game to the tournament.

“I feel like we could have played a lot better,” she said. We could have beaten any of those teams. It just wasn’t our day.”

Alicia Zraunig agreed with Flore.

“Our bats were what were lacking in both of the games we played. It was hard for us to score those runs. We left quite a few players on base,” she said. “But I feel as if we definitely competed with the other three teams in the final four.”

Despite the outcome of this season’s playoffs, the Spartan softball team is excited for next season, according to Flore. She said that the team has around 20 players interested in helping to bring Castleton softball a NAC championship.

“We will have a lot of returning players with a lot of experience, so I feel like we will have a better chance at winning the NAC,” she said

Zraunig is as optimistic about next year as Flore is.

“We are getting a lot of recruits coming in next season, plus everyone returning. Coach [John Werner] will have a great season next year, and there is a definite chance of a NAC championship next year,” she said.

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