CASTLETON, VT - The Thomas baseball team has advanced to play for the North Atlantic Conference Championship on Sunday. The Terriers were handed a 12-1 loss this morning by the Castleton Spartans, but fought off elimination by defeating the Husson Eagles 5-2 and move on to get another shot at the Spartans in the final.
The Spartans (30-10) belted three home runs in the a back-breaking eighth inning and homered four times overall to surge into the North Atlantic Conference Title game with a 12-1 victory over Thomas (18-21) on Saturday morning at Spartan Field.
Castleton led just 4-1 before scoring six times in the eighth inning, punctuated by home runs from Tyler Hoare, Nick Swim and Dan Errico. Hoare added another home run in the ninth to cap off his impressive day. The senior finished the day 3-for-5 with five RBI while Swim added three hits and five RBI as well.
Playing as the visitor, the Spartans opened up the scoring in the top of first as Tyler Lord led off with a single, was bunted by Taylor Vile to second and came around to score on a single by Swim.
Castleton extended their lead in the sixth inning as two of the first three runners reached. Hoare came up and drilled a ball over the centerfielder's head for a 2 RBI double and a 3-0 advantage. Soren Pelz-Walsh added an RBI on a fielder's choice to make it 4-0.
In the bottom of the frame, Thomas finally got on the board. Anree Benitez led off with a single and with one out Derek Kane and Nik Beeson both singled to load the bases. Matt Romandetti followed with an RBI single up the middle to cut the deficit to just 4-1. However, Jim Buckley made a nice pick at first on a grounder by Michel De Los Santos and tagged first before going to second for the inning-ending double play.
The Terriers wouldn't get another hit as the Spartans exploded for eight runs in the two innings.
Isiah Fleming took the loss, going six innings and giving up four runs, two earned, while walking three and striking out four. No Thomas player had more than one hit on the day, though Benitez went 1-for-2 with a run and two walks.
Anree Benitez went 5-for-5 and scored twice to lead the Terriers to a 5-2 victory against the Husson University Eagles in Saturday's elimination game of the North Atlantic Conference Tournament at Spartan Field.
Thomas struck for two runs in the bottom of the first inning following RBI singles by Nik Beeson and Michael De La Santos. Thomas grabbed another run in the second when Derek Kane reached on a bases-loaded fielder's choice that scored Christopher Esquivel as the Terriers owned a 3-0 advantage through two innings.
Husson then trimmed the deficit to 3-2 after plating a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Kyle Bishop chipped in a one-out RBI single and then Brandon Gendreau came home after the Terriers' catcher overthrew third base on a pickoff attempt.
Thomas got back a run in the home half of the fifth when De La Santos singled in Beeson to give the Terriers a 4-2 lead.
Both teams went scoreless in the sixth and seventh as Husson was aided by Dan Whitney, who struck out the first batter he faced after entering in the seventh with bases loaded and two outs. Husson then left runners at first and second in the top of the eighth after Dominic Esposito escaped the jam, aided by Andrew Curran's diving catch to end the threat.
The Terriers then scored the game's final run and took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth on Beeson's RBI single up the middle. Husson went down in order in the top of the ninth to end the game.
Kane scattered four hits over five innings and recorded four strikeouts to earn the win. Esposito went the remaining four innings to earn his second save of the year.
Thomas will now take on the Castleton Spartans for the NAC Championship. The Terriers will need to defeat the Spartans twice tomorrow to take home the crown. The first game is scheduled to get underway at 10:00 AM.