CASTLETON, Vt. --- Thomas College advanced to the championship round of the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Softball Championship Tournament with a 6-1 win over Husson University Saturday afternoon at Spartan Field.
Junior Courtney Veilleux (Oakland, Maine / Messalonskee) hit a two-run home run and drove in four total to lead the Terriers (18-18).
Thomas advances to face host Castleton (19-11) later Saturday afternoon, needing to defeat the Spartans twice to capture the NAC title and the automatic berth to the 2016 NCAA Division III Softball Championship.
The Terriers stranded one runner each in the first two innings but cashed in on an opportunity in the third inning. Madison Bentz (jr., Ottawa, Ill. / Ottawa Township) opened the frame with a double to left field then came around to score when Veilleux hit a two-run blast to left field.
Thomas added to its lead in the fifth inning with four runs on four hits and a Husson error. Bentz reached on a single through the left side to lead off the inning, then moved to second when Lexi Colpack (fr., Franklin, N.H. / Franklin) reached on a fielding error by Eagle pitcher Alannah Healy. Sonja Morse (jr., South China, Maine / Cony) followed with an RBI double to score Bentz, then Veilleux drove in Morse and Colpack with a single thorugh the left side. Korrie Laren (jr., Blackstone, Mass. / Blackstone-Millville) capped the run with an RBI double down the right-field line to score Veilleux.
Husson got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Casey Lopes drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs.
Each team stranded a pair of runners in the sixth inning and one in the seventh inning.
The Terriers out-hit the Eagles, 11-5, with Colpack, Veilleux, Laren and Bentz recording a pair of hits each.
Morse improved to 16-7 in the circle after allowing one run on four hits and five walks while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings. She also made an acrobatic play defensively to end the third inning, doing the splits to knock down an almost certain single up the middle.
Haley Littlefield (fr., Mount Desert Island, Maine / Mount Desert Island) threw the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit.
Lyndsay Merrill, Allison Hill, Sami Cyr, Nicole Andrade and Olivia Smith each had a single for Husson.
Healy (11-16) took the loss for the Eagles, allowing six runs (five earned) on 11 hits in a complete-game effort.