Husson softball, the top-seeded team in the North Atlantic Conference, begins its playoff run at 2 p.m. Sunday against the winner of No. 4 Cazenovia and No. 5 University of Maine at Presque Isle at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, New York.
The Eagles, the No. 1 seed in the East and overall top seed, enter the NAC championship tournament with a record of 27-12-1. Midway through the season, Husson stacked 18 wins in a row, largely on the back of star senior pitcher McKenna Smith.
Smith, from Old Town, is sporting a 17-5 record with an earned run average of just 0.98. She has won the NAC pitcher of the week award six times this spring and on April 29 threw a seven-inning no-hitter against UMPI in a 12-0 victory.
Backing Smith in the circle on off days is freshman Danielle Masterson, who has a 4-3 record pitching and has an ERA of 3.23. It’s a great duo that can help Husson go deep into the conference playoffs.
At the plate, Husson has many talented hitters that hit for high averages. Katie Raymond leads all consistent starters (39 starts) with a batting average of .365, followed by Bulla McCabe (.361) and Kenzie Dore (.342). Raymond has 46 hits which leads Husson, while Dore has notched 40 including 14 doubles. Raymond also leads the team with 15 steals.
Of the nine players that have started at least 20 games, six have a batting average above .300.
SUNY Poly, the top-seed in the West, is paced by infielder Kimberly Birmingham who is hitting .456 at the plate. The Wildcats also have two players hitting .414 in Amy DeSena and Aeron Hamm.
The Wildcats’ top pitcher, Trinity Critelli, is 15-2 on the season with 14 complete games and an ERA of just 1.79. SUNY Poly and Husson did not meet in the regular season.
No. 2 in the East is Thomas, followed by No. 3 Presque Isle. The second seed in the West is Cazenovia, followed by No. 3 SUNY Cobleskill.
Husson was 4-0 against Thomas and Presque Isle this year with a NAC record of 10-0.