Thomas College outfielder and Winthrop High School graduate Jackson Ladd watches a pitch during a game earlier this season. The Terriers currently own a .311 team batting average, the highest in the North Atlantic Conference. Photo provided by Thomas Athletics/PJ Hubel

The Thomas College baseball team is showing no signs of any rust — particularly with its bats.

After missing the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Terriers are competing again. Through 12 games, the Terriers are hitting .311, tops in the North Atlantic Conference.

“That is the one thing that  does stands out, our ability, one through nine (in the lineup) for guys to get on base,” Thomas head coach Greg King said. “There’s been a couple of guys that we knew were going to hit, but it’s been a pleasant surprise of how well they’ve been able to sustain that throughout the season so far.”

Thomas has two of the top hitters in the NAC. Junior outfielder Kyle Gleason leads the Terriers (and is second in the NAC) with a .429 average, while sophomore infielder Devin Grindle is second with a .412 average. Junior infielder Ryan Kappelman is second in the conference with 17 RBIs.

“It’s fun to watch, it reminds me of the hitting teams we had back in the day here at Thomas,” said King, who has led the program since 1997. “Everybody that we’ve put in there, nobody is really an easy out for us, I don’t think. Anybody that goes in there, I’ve been really impressed with the competitive at-bats, the ability to make some in-game adjustments. Sometimes the adjustments are a little bit slower, but they end up making those adjustments and it really shows off on how they’re hitting.”

The Terriers (7-5, 6-3 in the NAC) are second in the conference’s East Division, trailing only Husson University (15-4, 15-0).

The Terriers are also receiving strong performances from two freshmen — catcher Aaron Young (.378 average, with two home runs and 9 RBIs) and Messalonskee High School graduate Jacob Perry, who is hitting .364.

“When you look around the field (during a game), you see about seven freshmen out there,” King said. “That’s really, really promising, because you have to keep in mind, this year’s sophomores, from an academic standpoint, they’re really a true first year player. We have our freshmen who are first years this year, but we also have our two-year players who are still freshmen, they don’t have that college experience. We obviously have some things to work on, but it’s really, really impressive when you look around the diamond and see six or seven freshmen that are making a major contribution right now.”

 

• • •

 

The Thomas softball team is also hitting well this spring. The Terriers feature a .366 team batting average, the third-highest in the NAC behind Husson (.372) and UMaine-Presque Isle (.388).

“They’re doing a great job,” Thomas head coach Ali Kriegel said. “They’re crushing the ball at the plate.”

Junior utility player Kelsey Currier of Cumberland leads Thomas (7-5, 7-3 in the NAC) with a .515 average, which is the fifth-highest in the NAC. She’s followed by sophomore Madison Rock (.475), senior Bailey Dunphy (.429) and junior Kasey Champney (.400). Dunphy, a Carrabec High School graduate, is a team-best 11 for 11 in stolen bases this season. She is second to only UMPI’s Jordan Hansen (13) in the NAC.

Kelsey Currier leads the Thomas College softball team with a .515 batting average, the fifth-highest average in the North Atlantic Conference. Photo provided by Thomas Athletics/PJ Hubel

“I’m definitely impressed, but not shocked,” said Kriegel. “This group works hard year-round to get ready for the season, whether that’s in the weight room, or playing during the summer as much as they can. They’re working for it, they’re athletes. I have quite a few dual-sport athletes, so they know the work it takes and the time it takes to be good. I am impressed, but not shocked at how well they’re hitting and playing right now.”

“We have six games left, which are very important for us to make playoffs,” Kriegel said. “I’m hoping through those six games, we can kind of prove where we should be in the conference, which I think should be in the top two. But we have to go out there and prove that every day.”

 

• • •

 

The Colby softball team finished 5-9, including a 3-6 mark in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

“It was amazing (to have a season),” Colby head coach Terren Allen said. “I think it definitely paid off for the girls. It showed them where we’re at as a team and put a lot of their practice time into play, which was really nice to see. We’re definitely excited, moving forward, for our team and our program.”

After a slow start, Colby won three of its final five games, with victories over Trinity College, Bowdoin and Bates. The Mules will return several key players, too. Among Colby’s top hitters, Brenna Forbes (.415 batting average), Chloe Wilcox (.372), Amanda Cabral (.343) and Logan Luebbe (.333) are all either freshmen or sophomores. Colby’s top pitcher, Payton Crawley (3-3, 2.88 ERA) is a freshman.

“I’m ecstatic to see where they’re at,” Allen said. “To see their hard work really pay off is one of the benefits of having just even a minimum amount of games this year. Fourteen (games) isn’t a ton, but it shows them what they’re capable of and what we’re going to do in the future.”

 

• • •

 

The Colby baseball team is close to wrapping up its season. The Mules (8-10, 2-6 NESCAC) finish the 2021 campaign this weekend with a two-game series against rival Bates College of Lewiston.

The Mules earned two impressive victories against Saint Joseph’s College of Standish. Colby also beat the University of Southern Maine 4-0 on April 6.

“If you look at our 18 games, I would say 16 of them are against perennial NCAA regional teams,” Colby head coach Jesse Woods said. “We’ve done well, we’ve had some real signature wins. From a win-loss perspective, we’ve got some wins on this year’s resume that haven’t been on there for Colby in quite some time. And we’re able to do it with everybody contributing.”

Bowdoin junior Caroline Sablone rounds second base during an April 18 game against Colby in Brunswick. Photo provided by Brunswick athletics/Brian Beard

Colby should have its top player back next season in pitcher/designated hitter Cabot Maher. A junior, Maher led the Mules offensively with a .385 average, with a home run and 13 RBIs. Maher was also Colby’s top pitcher, going 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings. Colby’s other top hitters, Patrick McConnell (.360) and Brady O’Brien (.339) are both freshmen.

“From a coach’s perspective, you’re going into this year with seniors playing their last year, you’ve got freshmen who didn’t get a senior year in high school,” Woods said. “You’ve got sophomores and juniors who missed a whole year last year. You’re trying to mix and match and play the cards right and get everyone involved, put the most competitive team out there. And we’ve been able to do that. We’ve been able to come up with a recipe that’s really checked every box, so it’s been even more special to include everyone (into games) this year as well.”

 

• • •

 

The Colby men’s lacrosse team (3-1) is also finishing its season when it plays its fifth and final game against Tufts on Saturday in Waterville.

“There’s no bitter (feelings) in it,” Colby head coach Guy Van Arsdale said on the short season. “Considering it could have been nothing, considering last year we were on the field practicing on a Wednesday afternoon, and the next day we were packing to leave campus, and things ended after three games. No finality, no finish. We got to have a senior day (last) Saturday, we got to practice and really improve. We were able to develop players, team development. And our guys are playing really well. Would we love to play more games? Of course. But the fact we were able to play what we played, we’re grateful for it.”

Junior midfield Jack Rickards leads the team with 16 goals. Sophomore midfielder Jack Goller (eight goals, eight assists) and junior midfielder Noah Froio (10 goals) have also played well.

“We have a lot of young guys doing a lot of great things,” Van Arsdale said. “I think we’re so excited about where we’re headed down the road. (The young players) have done so well just making themselves and the team better, knowing that at some point that it’s going to pay off, and they’re going to get a chance to show it.”

 

• • •

 

It hasn’t been easy, with the schedule constantly evolving, but the Bowdoin softball team has managed to navigate a short season this spring.

“You often hear people describe this season as a roller coaster, well, we didn’t get to choose our ride,” said Polar Bears’ softball head coach Ryan Sullivan. “This season has sort of been all over the place.”

Members of the Bowdoin College softball team huddle up during an April 18 game against Colby in Brunswick. Photo provided by Brunswick athletics/Brian Beard

The Polar Bears (2-6), one of the few Bowdoin sports teams to have a season this spring, will finish up with a doubleheader against Bates on Saturday.

Sullivan said it’s been a challenge to get hole whole team together for practices, because of uneven academic schedules and COVID-19 safety protocols.

Furthermore, with no first-year students on campus, coupled with a handful of upperclassmen who took a leave for the semester, the Polar Bears have competed with just 11 players this season.

“In a doubleheader, you can definitely see the small roster size play a role with fatigue,” said Sullivan. “The first game we played a few weeks ago was a little shaky, but we have some great older leaders who have settled in to playing pretty quickly, and have made strides since.”

 

• • •

 

Thomas College freshman Macey Coffin wasn’t sure what to expect heading into her first collegiate lacrosse season.

“Leading up to the season, I was anxious to play,” the Morse High School graduate said. “I was excited to get my hands back on my lacrosse stick, but I was worried because I hadn’t played in almost two years. The speed of the game is so different from when I played at Morse, and the skills of each player are on such a higher level than in high school.”

Coffin has played three games for the Terriers (1-4), who competed from March 20 through April 18. Thomas’ lone victory came in its season opener, 13-8 over Husson in Waterville.

“While we wish we the outcomes could’ve gone in a different direction, just to be able to have some games was awesome,” said Coffin. “We gained some chemistry on and off the field, which will help us down the line in the years ahead.”

 

The Times Record staff writer Eli Canfield contributed to this story.

 

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.