Austin Snow is listed as a utility player on the Husson University baseball roster, and his positional versatility has served the Eagles in multiple ways during his first two seasons at the Winkin Complex on the Bangor campus.
The 5-foot-10, 150-pound sophomore from Blue Hill played primarily at second and third base, spent time as a designated hitter as a freshman last spring and saw much of his duty this year in right field for coach Chris Morris’ club.
But when an injury left the Eagles short-handed at second base near the end of the regular season, Snow returned to infield duty at the North Atlantic Conference tournament and made the most of the opportunity, not only helping his team capture its second consecutive league championship but being named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“I hadn’t played the infield all season really, but I love the infield so it felt natural going back there,” said Snow, a 2020 graduate of George Stevens Academy.
Snow went 2-for-6 with a double, one run scored, an RBI and a stolen base in Tuesday’s championship game when Husson defeated Thomas College of Waterville 11-7 to earn a return trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“Right before tournament play I was a little nervous,” he said. “But when it became tournament time I knew what I had to do so I just went out there and played baseball. I just thought about playing baseball and getting on base.”
Snow finished Husson’s 3-0 tournament run batting .357 (5 for 14) at the plate with a home run, seven RBIs and four runs scored while batting leadoff.
“From our side it seemed like every time he came up it was a big hit,” Morris said. “He led the tournament in RBIs and played great at second base. I think when you look at all three games, he was a highlight for us in every game. He just made some form of a play whether it was defensively or offensively. He just found a way to make an impact.”
One of Snow’s biggest moments came during his second at-bat in Husson’s tournament opener against SUNY Canton when he hit his first collegiate home run, a three-run shot to right field that snapped a 1-1 second-inning tie and propelled the Eagles to a 13-4 victory.
“I saw the right fielder kind of getting under it and thought it was just a pop-up, and then it just kept carrying and I hit a three-run homer,” Snow said. “That definitely boosted the confidence.”
Snow and his Husson teammates await the NCAA Division III baseball selection show, scheduled for noon Monday, to learn their next opponent and destination as they continue their postseason journey next week.
The Eagles, 24-15 overall, will take a 15-game winning streak — all against North Atlantic Conference competition — into the NCAAs.
Husson also has a nucleus of players familiar with the team’s 2021 NCAA tournament experience, when it fell to SUNY Oswego 17-6 and Johnson & Wales of Rhode Island 8-5 at the Hartford, Connecticut, regional.
“Last year you could tell there were some nerves, but this year we’ve been there before and already played good regional teams this year and done pretty good,” said Snow, who is batting .328 with 19 RBIs and five stolen bases over 68 at-bats in 28 games overall this season.
“I just feel like we’re ready for the competition this year.”