A lot of highlights so far this spring-Portland edition

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Deering pitcher Colby Dame throws a strike during the Rams’ 1-0 win over Sanford in last week’s regular season opener.

Portland’s Grace Stacey makes contact during a recent win. The Bulldogs won their first four games of the season.

Cheverus junior Michael Hatch shoots the ball during last week’s 11-3 win at Deering. The Stags were 2-1 on the season at press time.

Waynflete freshman Emily Wagg carries the ball during the Flyers’ 12-4 loss at Yarmouth Friday. Waynflete has won its other three games to date.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Deering-Sanford and Portland-Scarborough baseball, Portland-Sanford and Portland-Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth softball, Cheverus-Thornton Academy and Cheverus-Deering boys’ lacrosse and Waynflete-NYA and Waynflete-Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse game stories, see theforecaster.net)

The spring sports season has had its share of Mother Nature-induced fits and starts, but everyone is now underway and the news has been largely positive for local teams.

Here’s a glimpse at the early action and a look at what’s on tap:

Baseball

Cheverus is off to the best start to date on the diamond, opening with home wins over Noble (6-0) and Bonny Eagle (9-1), as well as a 3-0 victory at Gorham. Jack Casale threw a two-hitter against the Knights and Logan McCarthy paced the offense with two hits. In the win over the Rams, Jared Brooks fanned 12 and got the victory. Against the Scots, Casale earned the win and led the offense with three hits, three runs scored and three RBI. The Stags went to Thornton Academy Tuesday, host Westbrook Thursday and Windham Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and play at Marshwood Tuesday of next week.

Portland suffered a tough 5-3 loss at Biddeford in its opener, as three errors helped a 3-0 lead slip away, wasting a nice pitching effort from Donnie Tocci, two RBI from Gio Ruotolo and a pair of hits from Jake Knop. Thursday, the Bulldogs played at Hadlock Field for the first time and got back on track, edging Scarborough, 3-2. Portland didn’t commit an error, Ruotolo threw a four-hitter and drove in a run and Knop had a key RBI double. 

“It’s nice to get a victory,” Knop said. “We’ve stressed since the beginning of tryouts that for our team to be successful, we can’t make errors and that’s what we did tonight.”

“I  was fired up all day,” Ruotolo said. “I was sitting in school envisioning the game. I was a little nervous, but it feels good to get a win.”

“I think we have the best defensive team around,” Portland coach Mike Rutherford added. “That’s our strength.”

Saturday, the Bulldogs improved to 2-1 after a 10-2 home romp over Massabesic. Tocci got the win and had three hits. Tom Joyce doubled twice.

Portland played a makeup game at Sanford Monday, hosted Bonny Eagle Tuesday, goes to Marshwood Thursday, battles Deering Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hadlock Field (see theforecaster.net for game story) and plays at South Portland Tuesday of next week.

Deering began with a 1-0 home win over Sanford, as Colby Dame threw a five-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts.

“I felt good,” Dame said. “I can usually tell if I’m going to be sharp. I was just trying to throw strikes.”

“I’ll take it if it’s 1-0, 10-0, it doesn’t matter,” said Rams coach Josh Stowell. “I’ll take a win whenever we can get one.” 

Deering then won, 4-2, at Thornton Academy, thanks to a home run from James Sinclair. The Rams fell to 2-1 Saturday after a 10-1 home loss to Gorham. Deering had a makeup game at Scarborough Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story), went to Massabesic Tuesday, hosts Portland Saturday and visits Biddeford Tuesday of next week.

Waynflete began with home losses to North Yarmouth Academy (12-1) and St. Dom’s (8-2). Max Winson had a pair of hits versus the Saints. The Flyers go to Traip Academy Wednesday, host Gray-New Gloucester Friday and welcome Old Orchard Beach Monday.

Softball

Portland’s softball team was the feel-good story of the 2016 season and the Bulldogs have picked right up where they left off. Portland opened with an 8-1 home win over Sanford, as ace Jess Brown struck out 14 and Morgan Boyle homered and drove in three runs.

“I still think we have an underdog card,” said Brown. “Not every team has seen what we can do. I’m proud of us.” 

“We remembered how we played last year and we were able to get ahead,” Boyle said. “I think we’re better than last year.”

After a 19-4 five-inning win at Cheverus (behind a grand slam from Grace Stacey, three hits apiece from Boyle and Annie Twombly and a strong pitching performance from Sydney Gilbert) and a 5-1 home victory over Westbrook (thanks to Brown’s nine strikeouts, Taylor Crosby’s three hits and a key two-run single from Mabel Pence), the Bulldogs held off visiting Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth, 12-8, Friday to improve to 4-0. Portland almost let an early eight-run slip away, but Gilbert went the distance and Brown, Gilbert and Stacey had multiple hits.

“We hit well today,” Stacey said. “There’s never a dull spot in the batting order. We have good hitters.”

“We’re not there yet, but we’re having fun and we’re working and we’re feeling good about ourselves,” Portland coach Robbie Ferrante said.

Life got much tougher for the Bulldogs earlier this week when they went to Thornton Academy Monday and perennial powerhouse Scarborough Tuesday. Portland hosts South Portland Friday night (see theforecaster.net for game story) and visits Noble Monday.

The Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth co-op team, known as the “Sea Lions,” opened by holding off host Westbrook (10-7) and downing visiting Cheverus (17-5, in five innings). Elizabeth Kennedy had two hits and three RBI against the Blue Blazes. In the win over the Stags, Gabby Begos had two hits and four RBI, Liberty Ladd produced a couple hits, including a home run, and Jill Joyce earned her second win on the mound. Friday, the Sea Lions almost rallied from eight runs down, but lost at Portland, 12-8, despite three runs, three hits, a run scored and a stolen base from Ladd.

“We never gave up,” said Sea Lions coach Tim Eisenhart. “That’s one of the strongest parts of our team right now. They’re fighters.”

MGA/Falmouth was home with Marshwood Monday, goes to Gorham Wednesday, welcomes Massabesic Friday and plays at Bonny Eagle Monday of next week.

Deering opened with home losses to Gorham (17-10) and Noble (6-1). Sydney Giroux and MacKenzie O’Donnell both had three hits against the Rams. In the loss to the Knights, Giroux had both of her team’s hits: a single and an RBI triple. Deering was home with Cheverus/NYA Monday, goes to Marshwood Wednesday, visits Sanford Friday, goes to Scarborough for a makeup game Saturday and hosts Windham Monday of next week.

The Cheverus/North Yarmouth Academy co-op team dropped its first three games, all in five-innings, to Portland (19-4), MGA/Falmouth (17-5) and Scarborough (16-0). Ally Tillotson tripled against the Sea Lions. Cheverus/NYA was at Deering Monday, hosts Massabesic Wednesday, visits Thornton Academy Friday and welcomes Marshwood Monday of next week.

Boys’ lacrosse

All four city boys’ lacrosse teams are already in the win column.

Cheverus had a rocky start, falling, 16-7, to Thornton Academy in a “home” game played at Fitzpatrick Stadium. Colby Anton and Jesse Pierce both scored twice, but the Stags went without a goal for over 27 minutes in one stretch.

“We had a long dry spell and we made some mental mistakes that really hurt us,” said Cheverus coach Bill Bodwell. 

Last Tuesday, the Stags got in the win column, 11-3, at Deering, behind four goals from Max Coffin and three from Pierce.

“After (our last) game, we had a group talk and talked about what we had to learn from that loss,” Coffin said. “It was a whole team effort today.”

“We made some adjustments,” Bodwell said. “We had a few things we tried and they were successful.”

Saturday, Cheverus improved to 2-1 with a 6-4 victory at Kennebunk. After hosting South Portland at Fitzpatrick Stadium Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), the Stags welcome Gorham Friday and go to Bonny Eagle Tuesday of next week.

Deering opened with a decisive 20-9 win at Westbrook. Nate Richards scored eight goals, including the 100th of his career. The Rams then lost at home to Cheverus, 11-3. Zach Harvey scored twice, but Deering lost to the Stags for the seventh consecutive time.

“We didn’t click today,” said Deering coach Jon Dubois. “We had a few opportunities, but give Cheverus credit. They played a great game.”

Saturday, the Rams improved to 2-1 by beating visiting Maranacook/Winthrop, 12-2, behind four goals from Omar Contreras and three from Richards. Deering was at Portland Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Rams host Thornton Academy Friday and welcome defending Class A champion Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Portland opened with a 16-3 home win over Noble and an 11-3 victory at Marshwood, then lost at home to Windham (10-7) and Oak Hill (9-8). After hosting Deering Tuesday, the Bulldogs play at Scarborough Thursday and visit Thornton Academy Tuesday of next week.

In Class B South, Waynflete opened with a narrow 14-12 home win over Freeport, then lost a crossover game at Thornton Academy, 16-4. Hank Duvall erupted for seven goals in the victory. The Flyers went to Freeport Monday, host Greely Wednesday and welcome Lake Region Tuesday of next week.

Girls’ lacrosse

History was made last week when Portland’s girls’ lacrosse team beat Scarborough for the first time in 13 years. The Bulldogs, who opened with an 18-2 loss at Biddeford, trailed the Red Storm, 6-1, at one point and 6-2 at halftime, but they rallied in the second half. Down by a goal in the final minute, Morgan Kierstead finished a feed from Sarah Bryan to tie it and with 15 seconds to go, Chloe Kilbride scored for a 9-8 victory, Portland’s first over Scarborough since a 15-9 win May 28, 2004. Friday, the Bulldogs fell to 1-2 with an 8-3 loss at Lewiston, despite three goals from Sophia Leavitt and 11 saves from goalie Abby Krieckhaus. Portland was at defending Class A South champion Massabesic Monday.

Deering dropped its opener, 19-4, at Biddeford, then evened its record with a 14-7 home win over Camden Hills Saturday. Ali Donovan and Kiaya Gatchell both scored twice in the loss. Gatchell scored five times against the Windjammers and Luci Santerre added four goals. The Rams hosted Noble Tuesday, go to Cheverus Thursday and play at Lawrence Monday and Massabesic Tuesday of next week.

Maine Girls’ Academy opened with a 17-4 home loss to Marshwood, then got in the win column, 13-7, at Noble. Saturday, the Lions fell to 1-2 after a 14-12 setback at Cony. Zoe Mazur had three goals against the Hawks and scored five more against the Rams. Catherine Reid scored six times in the loss to Cony. MGA was home with Biddeford Tuesday and plays at Westbrook Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus was still chasing its first victory at press time after opening with home losses to Windham (11-10) and defending Class A champion Messalonskee (17-6). Bella Booth and Mackenzie Johnston both had three goals in the first loss. Brooke McElman had three goals in the loss to Messalonskee. The Stags went to Bonny Eagle Tuesday, host Deering Thursday, then play at Portland Tuesday of next week.

Waynflete opened way back on April 13 at North Yarmouth Academy and scored the game’s final 15 goals to beat the Panthers, 16-2. Izzy Burdick scored four times and Isabel Canning added two goals and five assists.

“It was exciting,” Canning said. “It’s like any first game of the season, we just had to get our feet underneath us, then we got our rhythm.”

The Flyers won again at Freeport last Tuesday, 11-7, behind five goals from Ya Stockford and seven assists from Canning. Friday, Waynflete suffered its first loss, 12-4, at Yarmouth, despite three goals from Stockford.

“We figured out a lot of things today,” longtime Flyers coach Cathie Connors said. “I’m not discouraged at all. We have things to work on and I can’t wait to get back on the field and work on them.”

The Flyers did just that Saturday with a 13-5 win at Scarborough, behind three goals apiece from Burdick and Stockford, two goals each from LZ Olney and Emily Wagg and six assists from Canning. Waynflete is home with Greely Wednesday and hosts Lake Region in a playoff rematch Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Track

Cheverus and Maine Girls’ Academy joined Noble for a season-opening outdoor track meet at Windham last week.

The Stags girls came in second to the Knights, while the Lions placed fourth.

Cheverus got wins from Emma Gallant in the 200 (26.30 seconds), Emily Turner in the 400 (1 minute, 00.30 seconds), Rosie Train in the 800 (2:41.20), Hannah Galeucia in the mile (6:02.26), Hannah Abbott in the shot put (34 feet, 11 inches), Mary Jerome in the discus (90-1), Meg Kelly in the javelin (80-9),  and its 4×400 (4:15.02) and 4×800 (10:48.05) relay teams. 

MGA’s top finishers were Elena Woods, runner-up in the mile (6:47.82) and Sam Witkowski, second in the pole vault (7-3). 

Cheverus’ boys came in third and got first-place showings from Owen Burke in the 100 (11.72), Sean Tompkins in the 200 (23.64), Nolan Doherty in the 800 (2:12.85), Christian Gilliam in the javelin (121-4.5) and its 4×400 relay team (3:47.16).

Deering’s girls joined Massabesic and Westbrook at Bonny Eagle. The Rams were second to the Mustangs and got wins from Annah Rossvall in the 100 (13.53) and the 300 hurdles (50.44), Gaia Zampieri in the 400 (1:05.72), Nicole Whipkey in the 800 (2:30.71) and their 4×100 (55.16) and 4×800 (11:03.08) relay teams.

Deering’s boys hosted Bonny Eagle, Massabesic and Westbrook and finished first. The Rams got first-place showings from Samacha Sam in the 200 (24.10), Emmanuel Lam in the high jump (5-4), Ezra Chapola in the triple jump (43-2.5), Kabala Muka in the shot put (44-0) and their 4×100 (46.25) and 4×400 (3:39.50) relay teams.

Portland’s season-opening meet against Gorham, Sanford and Thornton Academy was rained out.

Tennis

The nine-time defending Class C boys’ tennis champion Waynflete Flyers opened their quest for a 10th successive crown with home victories over Yarmouth (4-1) and North Yarmouth Academy (5-0). Waynflete will be tested Friday when it visits perennial Class A power Falmouth.

The Flyers girls beat their first two foes, Freeport and NYA, by 5-0 scores.

In Class A South, the Portland boys defeated Scarborough (5-0) and South Portland (4-1) to start the year. 

Cheverus welcomed new coach Ben Putnam with wins over Sanford (5-0) and Scarborough (3-2).

Deering sandwiched 5-0 wins over South Portland and Marshwood around a 5-0 loss to defending champion Thornton Academy. 

On the girls’ side, Portland opened with a 5-0 loss at Scarborough, then beat South Portland (4-1). 

The Stags beat Sanford (5-0) and lost to Scarborough (5-0) in their first two outings. 

Deering beat South Portland (4-1) and Marshwood (5-0) and lost to Thornton Academy (4-1) in early action. 

Maine Girls’ Academy beat Bonny Eagle, 3-2, in its opener. 

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.