Susquehanna University’s softball team had its best season, finishing 34-13 and making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament. And in the middle of that success was junior third baseman Brennan Balfour of Cape Elizabeth.

Balfour had one of the greatest offensive seasons in school history, setting records in triples (10), home runs (11), at-bats (157), RBI (39) and total bases (115). She also scored 43 runs and had 57 hits, each second in school history for a single season.

“This year was a good year,” said Balfour, in a major understatement.

It was such a good year that Balfour was a first-team Louisville Slugger Division III all-East Region selection by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, as well as a Landmark Conference first-team selection. Balfour, who hit .363 for the Crusaders, set the school record with 13 career home runs.

“I think a lot of it was that my role on the team changed,” said Balfour, who hit third in the batting order.

“I had a more consistent role than in the past. I was more confident. And once the season started, I kept building confidence.”

She was also a defensive standout, recording a team-high 82 assists and making only six errors in 126 chances for Susquehanna, located in Selinsgrove, Pa.

But it was the offensive numbers that stood out — and surprised even Balfour.

“In high school, I hit a couple of home runs but I was more of a bunter, a slap hitter,” she said. “I batted leadoff. I was about getting on base and waiting for other people to knock me in. This year, I was the one knocking people in.”

Balfour, of course, had stretches where the hits weren’t falling.

“It’s a long season and you have to have the mentality to keep doing what you do,” she said. “You just have to keep going.”

Her biggest home run probably came in the NCAA tournament, a two-run, walk-off shot in the ninth to beat Frostburg State, 3-1. The Crusaders went 2-2 in the NCAAs.

“It was just an awesome season,” said Balfour. “From the beginning we knew we had the potential to go far.”

Balfour, a psychology major with a minor in health care studies, will work at a summer camp at Salisbury University in Maryland this summer, honing her hitting skills in the batting cages.

“I’m already excited for next year,” she said.

LACROSSE

Junior attack Lauren Sawyer of Westbrook scored the winning goal with 15 seconds remaining to lift Keene State to an 18-17 win over top-seeded Mount Holyoke in the championship game of the ECAC Division III tournament. Sawyer had three goals and three assists in the game, breaking her record for most assists in a season with 60. A first-team all-Little East Conference selection, Sawyer finished with 23 goals, 60 assists, 21 ground balls and 21 draw controls. The winning goalie in the championship game was junior Meghan Ledoux of Standish (Bonny Eagle), who came in relief in the second half. She recorded five saves.

• Sophomore goalie Stephanie Fisher of Brunswick helped Trinity College advance to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. Trinity finished with a 15-4 record. Fisher was 7-1 with a 7.02 goals-against average and a .411 save percentage.

• Junior midfielder Ryan Oakes had another strong season for the Susquehanna men’s team. He scored two goals and one assist and led the team with 144 faceoffs won. He also had 69 ground balls.

• Senior attack Bryan MacPhie of Scarborough helped Merrimack College win the Northeast-10 championship. MacPhie had three goals and two assists in the league title game, a 12-11 win over top-ranked LeMoyne. He finished the season with 20 goals and a team-high 17 assists. Senior attack Sean Foley of Kennebunk and freshman attack Ryan Hunt of Scarborough were also on the Warriors’ roster.

SOFTBALL

• The College of St. Rose senior shortstop Ashley Anderson of Portland earned second-team honors as a 2010 ESPN The Magazine District I Academic All-American selection. Studying childhood education and special childhood education, Anderson has a 3.63 grade-point average. She hit .344 with 27 RBI, 18 runs and seven home runs.

• Worcester Polytechnic Institute senior center fielder Kelly Johnson of Buxton (Bonny Eagle) was named to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference all-academic team and to the ESPN The Magazine Academic all-District I first team. She batted a team-high .333 with four home runs, 25 runs and 17 RBI.

• Sophomore pitcher Lesley Warn of Portland (Deering) finished with a 16-12 record and 3.07 ERA for Wheaton, which was 20-18.

BASEBALL

Husson junior pitcher Ryan Arsenault of Portland was named to the North Atlantic Conference first team. He went 7-2 with a 3.15 ERA and 58 strikeouts.

• Junior outfielder/pitcher Nicholas Dunn of Portland (Deering) batted .231 and was 0-1 for Newbury College in Brookline, Mass.

TENNIS

Wheaton sophomore Neall Oliver of Portland (Deering) finished the season with an 11-12 singles record, including 8-9 at No. 1 singles. He was also 9-8 as part of the No.1 doubles team.

• Freshmen Mats Haaland of Brunswick and Michael Hickey of Yarmouth finished 4-11 in singles for Susquehanna University. Sophomore Matthew Quadrini of Escondido, Calif. (Brunswick) was 5-3 in singles play. Hickey and Quadrini teamed to go 6-6 at No. 2 doubles. Haaland was 7-7 at No. 1 doubles.

TRACK AND FIELD

Worcester Poly senior Ben Roy of Buxton (Bonny Eagle) won the decathlon at last weekend’s ECAC Division III championships with 6,165 points. His best events were the 100-meter hurdles, in which he ran a best time of 15.81 seconds and scored 754 points, and the 1,500, in which he ran a 4:39.67 and scored 682.

• Freshman Ben Miklovich of New Gloucester (Gray-New Gloucester) ran a leg on the winning 1,600 men’s relay team for Wheaton in the recent all-New England championships. The winning time was a school-record 3:11.18 and qualified the team for the NCAAs.

• Lehigh sophomore Katherine Pierce of Alfred (Massabesic) finished 16th in the 10,000-meter run at the ECAC/IC4C championships. Her time was 37:59.79. Earlier, Pierce had medaled in the Patriot League Championships, finishing third in the 10,000 (38:07.03) and fifth in the 5,000 (18:18.95). Senior Kate McLaughlin of Old Orchard Beach (Cheverus) was third in the heptathlon at the PLC, finishing with a personal-best 4,328 points.

• Wheaton freshman Sam Fear of Bath (North Yarmouth Academy) finished 10th in the javelin at the ECAC championships.

AWARDS

Senior basketball player Kayla Parker of Sanford was the female winner of the Rev. Armand Desautels A.A. Memorial Award, presented to the outstanding male and female senior athletes at Assumption College.

• Junior outfielder James Languirand of Biddeford received the male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award at Newbury College. He is an accounting major.

• Senior swimmer Elisa Innis of Harpswell (Mt. Ararat) received the Panther Award at Plymouth State University.

• UMaine-Farmington senior basketball player Josh Tanguay of Gorham was awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

• Senior women’s hockey player Sarah Landis of Cape Elizabeth, senior men’s lacrosse player Harry Wirth of Yarmouth (Cheverus), senior women’s lacrosse player Maddie Cave of Thomaston (Gould Academy) and senior Nordic skier Maia Titcomb of Georgetown (Morse) each received the coaches’ award at St. Michael’s in their sports.

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]