Both the University of Maine and Husson College varsity softball teams will be involved in their most crucial weekend series of the season.
The Husson Eagles are hosting the semifinal and final rounds of the North Atlantic Conference tournament and the Black Bears are fighting for the final playoff spot in the America East tournament.
“We’re really excited because this is the first time Husson’s hosted this tournament and it’s a big advantage to be able to play in something like this on your home field,” said Husson coach Amanda Davey. “We found out we had a chance to host when we were coming back from Bates, so this was a big goal for us.”
The 29-10 Eagles are the NAC’s top seed with an 18-3 conference record and take on No. 4 seed University of Maine-Farmington in the first of four games Friday at 10 a.m.
“It makes such a difference being home,” said senior shortstop Carolyn McAvoy of Brewer. “No long trips, we know the surface … It’s just so much better.”
In Orono, the Black Bears shook off a disastrous start to the season and after losing their first 28 games, the defending America East champions started anew once the conference season began and find themselves two wins over University of Maryland Baltimore County this weekend away from clinching the No. 4 spot.
“Our non-conference schedule was built to prepare us to be very successful in conference games,” Sullivan said. “It was rigorous and possibly the most challenging non-conference schedule ever. We certainly didn’t set it up to lose all those games, but I think that experience has paid off for us.”
Maine sports a 10-8 conference record while the UMBC Retrievers are 21-27 overall and 9-9 in AE play. Two wins by either team clinches the fourth spot even though the Bears go in with a one-game lead because if UMBC ties Maine by taking two of three, the Retrievers would win the first tiebreaker on head-to-head results with a 2-1 record.
Bangor’s Speirs honored by SEC
Jesse Speirs of Bangor, a junior golfer at the University of Mississippi, has been named to the All-Southeastern Conference second team.
Speirs, playing his first season with the Rebels after transferring from Texas Christian University, leads 25th-ranked Ole Miss with a 72.32 stroke average. He has turned in three top-five performances and has placed in the top 10 six times.
Speirs recently tied for seventh at the SEC Championship in Georgia.
“It’s quite an honor,” Speirs said in an Ole Miss press release. “I received a lot of help from coach [Ernest] Ross and coach [Jonathan] Dismuke. They’ve always been there for me with whatever I needed help on.”
Speirs has been instrumental in leading the Rebels to four tournament titles this season. He is only the school’s third All-SEC honoree since 2004.
Ole Miss is gearing up for the NCAA Championships, the regional bids for which will be announced Monday. The regionals will be played May 16-18 at three different sites.
UM hosts ‘Bears of Tomorrow’
The UMaine baseball program will give local children an opportunity to meet Black Bears baseball players and coaches Sunday as part of the Bears of Tomorrow promotion.
The event, co-sponsored by Weight Watchers of Maine, gives youngsters a behind-the-scenes look at UMaine athletics. Student-athletes and coaches will give talks on teamwork, education, leadership, exercise and good health.
The program begins at 10 a.m. with an address by baseball coach Steve Trimper and lasts until noon. UMaine baseball plays Hartford at 1 p.m. on Mahaney Diamond.
Participants receive a tour of UMaine’s locker rooms and training room and will have the chance to run the bases.
At Friday’s 5 p.m. game, UMaine will host “’70s Night” and a postgame fireworks display. Fans are invited to don 1970s-era clothing. Saturday is Boy Scout and Girl Scout Day for the Bears’ 1 p.m. doubleheader against Hartford. Scouts in uniform or with an ID receive free admission
For more information, go to GoBlackBears.com.