BREWER – One of them is from Maine’s largest city, Portland. The other is from the rural setting of Glenburn.
The one from Portland is a freshman lefthander. The Glenburn native is a senior righthander.
Together, pitchers Ryan Arsenault and Keith Nason have led the Husson College Eagles to within one victory of the North Atlantic Conference Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Former Portland High School star Arsenault is 3-3 with a 3.12 earned run average and he is coming off an 11-inning, complete-game 2-1 victory over Thomas College in the winners bracket game at the NAC Tourney last weekend.
The All-NAC second-team selection threw 140 pitches.
It was his seventh complete game in 10 starts. He has struck out 61 and walked just 28 in 72 innings. He has given up just 57 hits.
He allowed just four runs in his three losses. His mates were shut out in all three.
Nason, who played at John Bapst High School in Bangor, is 5-5 with a 4.87 ERA. He has struck out 40 and walked 24 in 62 innings. He has given up 66 hits.
He got the win over top seed Castleton State in the NAC Tourney opener with 7 1/3 innings of five-hit, two-run ball in the 5-3 triumph.
Nason was a NAC honorable mention.
“They have been phenomenal. And they’re team leaders,” said Husson junior catcher Brian McGinley during a Wednesday practice at Heddericg Field in Brewer.
“They’ve been unbelievable for us,” concurred junior co-captain Nick Arthers, a left fielder/catcher. “They throw strikes and hit spots. They have kept us in ballgames all year. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten more runs for them.”
Interim head coach Jason Harvey said they are very similar in their approach to pitching.
“They like to challenge the hitters. They don’t usually get behind hitters [in the count],” said Harvey.
“We both like to go out and compete,” said Nason, with Arsenault in agreement.
Nason throws a fastball, curve and changeup and he considers a well-located fastball his best pitch.
“But my changeup has come a long way in a year,” said Nason. He also said he has pitched with more composure and confidence.
“I used to get down on myself if I gave up a walk or a hit. But now I just concentrate on getting the next guy out,” said Nason, who wanted his senior year to be a memorable one.
“So I’ve put everything I can into it,” said Nason.
Arsenault’s bread-and-butter pitch is his curve but he also throws a tailing fastball, changeup and cut fastball.
“I try to keep the hitters off-balance,” said Arsenault, who has learned the importance of every pitch in college.
“In high school, the first five hitters [in the order] are decent hitters. In college, all nine hitters are good so you have to focus on every pitch,” said Arsenault.
He said he also discovered on the spring trip to Florida that when you get behind 3-0 in the count, you can’t just throw a fastball down the middle to get a strike “because the hitters are aggressive” and will drive the 3-0 delivery.
Both have been happy with their seasons but they will be even more satisfied if they can sew up a conference title Saturday with a win over Castleton State in the conference finals at Glens Falls, N.Y. Castleton State will have to beat the Eagles twice to win it.
“The team has gotten better and better [throughout the season] and we played our best ball in the tournament,” said Arsenault. “This is the perfect time to peak.”
Merrimack’s Richards honored
Jill Richards of Merrimack College has been honored for her performance with the Warriors’ softball team.
The junior shortstop from Bucksport recently was recognized as a Northeast-10 Conference third-team all-star.
Richards played in all 36 games this spring and ranked second on the team with .330 batting average and 12 stolen bases.
The former Bucksport High School star was the Warriors’ only all-conference selection. She was the Penobscot Valley Conference Class B Player of the Year in the 2005.