Jackson Curtis of Husson University's baseball team enjoys the moment after helping the Eagles beat SUNY Cobleskill on May 21, 2021 to win the North Atlantic Conference baseball championship. Credit: Courtesy of Tyler Hewey

There’s something about championship competition that brings out the best in Jackson Curtis.

The sophomore first baseman from Ellsworth, named most valuable player of the 2021 North Atlantic Conference baseball tournament after leading Husson University to the title, sparked the top-ranked Eagles to their second straight NAC crown Tuesday with an 11-7 victory over No. 3 Thomas College of Waterville at Cobleskill, New York.

Curtis drove in five runs during the championship game with a three-run double in the second inning and a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh. Curtis also walked twice as coach Chris Morris’ club secured its 15th consecutive victory and earned a second straight NCAA Division III Tournament berth.

Teammate Austin Snow, a sophomore second baseman from Blue Hill and George Stevens Academy, was named this year’s tournament MVP while Curtis, senior pitcher Cam Graham and senior catcher Tyler Parke also represented Husson on the all-tournament team.

Snow went 2-for-6 with a double, one run scored, and RBI and a stolen base in the championship game, and finished the tournament at 5 for 14 at the plate with a home run, seven RBIs and four runs scored.

Parke and freshman third baseman Tanner also added two hits apiece to Husson’s 12-hit championship-game attack, and the Eagles scored four runs over their final three at-bats after Thomas had rallied from a four-run deficit to forge a 7-7 tie in the top of the sixth.

Thomas, which rallied from an opening-day loss to host SUNY Cobleskill to reach the championship round of the double-elimination tournament, ends its season at 17-26, including an 0-5 record against Husson.

Keith Gleason, DJ Cagnina and Brad Smith each had two hits for Thomas.

Smith, a shortstop, and third baseman Devin Grindle, both of Ellsworth, and second baseman Lucas Harmon earned all-tournament honors for the Terriers.

Thomas scored in each of its first two at-bats against Husson starter Alex Smith to build a 3-0 lead after 1 ½ innings.

Austin Stebbins reached an infield error to start the fifth meeting of the season between the teams and came around to score on an RBI single by Cagnina.

An RBI fielder’s choice by Stebbins and a run-scoring single by Gleason gave the Terriers a three-run lead in the top of the second before Husson’s offense got untracked against Thomas starter Tony Meza.

The Eagles sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, beginning with Kobe Rogerson’s solo home run to left field and capped off by Curtis’ three-run double. Parke and Nick Swift singled home runs during the six-run uprising, which also featured a Ty Knowlton double and a single from Evans.

Parke hit a one-out double to right field in the Husson fourth, advanced to third on a bunt single by Snow and scored on a sacrifice fly by Joshua Scott to give the Eagles a 7-3 lead.

Husson reliever Matt Wallingford had pitched 3 ½ scoreless innings before Thomas capitalized by back-to-back one-out errors by the Eagles to tie the game with four runs in the top of the sixth.

Those errors, followed by a walk to Stebbins, loaded the bases before Gleason drew an RBI walk, Meza hit a two-run single and an RBI fielder’s choice by Cagnina produced a 7-7 tie.

Back-to-back inning-opening walks to Curtis and Scott in the bottom of the sixth led to an Ethan Stoddard RBI single that delivered what turned out to be the winning run and give Husson an 8-7 edge.

The Eagles added two insurance runs in the seventh, as Snow hit a one-out double, Scott walked and Curtis followed with a two-run double to right to make it 10-7.

Husson scored its final run in the eighth on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice by Snow that plated Evans from third base.

Jake Gregoire, the third of four Husson pitchers, earned the win while Ryan Robb pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the save.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...