(For the complete Cape Elizabeth-Greely baseball game story, with box score and photos, see theforecaster.net)
The diamond wasn’t the best friend of Cape Elizabeth’s baseball team in the regional final, but at press time, South Portland’s baseball squad and Scarborough’s juggernaut softball team were hoping for better results as they prepared for their respective regional finals.
Cape Elizabeth, ranked first in Western B after a solid 11-5 regular season, held off No. 9 Lake Region in the quarterfinals, 2-1, then downed No. 5 Lincoln Academy, 6-2, in the semifinals. Against the Lakers, the Capers got two RBI from Matt Denison and Marshall Peterson and Bryce Hewitt combined to hold Lake Region at bay. In the win over the Eagles, Tim Brigham homered, Mike Best drove in a couple runs and Peterson and Nate Ingalls combined on the mound.
Cape Elizabeth then traveled to St. Joseph’s College Tuesday afternoon to meet defending Class B Greely in a rainy Western B Final. The teams split during the regular season, with each winning on the road, and had each won five times in the 10 previous playoff meetings. This one would be a battle that needed more than seven innings.
Ingalls got out of a jam in the top of the first, then doubled and scored on a ground ball in the bottom half to give Cape Elizabeth a 1-0 lead. The Capers had their chances to add to their advantage, but had two runners thrown out at home. The Rangers benefited from two Cape Elizabeth errors in the top of the fifth (one which was extremely controversial) to pull even and neither team, largely because of the dominance of Greely ace Will Bryant, who got stronger as the game progressed, could score from there until the game went to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Bryant took things into his own hands and led off with a triple. Junior shortstop Cal Soule drove him in with a sacrifice fly and the Rangers made it 3-1 when another run scored on a wild pitch. Bryant then slammed the door in the bottom half and Greely had its second straight Western B title and the Capers’ fine season ended in agony at 13-6.
“We got our bat on the ball, but they made plays,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Andy Wood. “We had our chances.”
When the sting of this loss dissipates, the Capers can look back on a tremendous year.
“All our senior leaders stepped up big,” Wood said. “They’re a great group. We played some good baseball this year. I’m happy with the way we played. We just ran into a more experienced team today.”
Cape Elizabeth will be among the favorites when the 2016 season commences.
“We’ll be pretty good next year,” Wood said. “I’m excited. We hope to get back here next year.”
South Portland earned the No. 3 seed in Western A and held off No. 11 Biddeford, 4-3, in eight innings, in the quarterfinals, then rallied and held on for a palpitating 9-8 win at No. 2 Marshwood in the semifinals.
Against the Tigers, the Red Riots took a 2-0 lead to the sixth, saw Biddeford score three times, then tied it in the bottom half. South Portland then won it in the ninth when Sam Troiano was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. At the Hawks, the Red Riots were down, 4-1, heading to their last at-bat in the seventh, but erupted for eight runs. They almost let it slip away, however, allowing Marshwood to pull within 9-8 and load the bases with one out, but Griffin Kelley escaped and South Portland reached the regional final for the first time since 2001. In the seventh inning rally, Jacob Brown had a two-run double, Ben Conti singled home the tying run, two runs scored on a wild pitch, Troiano drove in a run and two more scored on errors.
The 14-4 Red Riots met top-ranked Portland (14-4) in the Western A Final Wednesday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. On May 21, South Portland, behind ace Henry Curran’s one-hitter, beat the visiting Bulldogs, 4-0. Portland won six of eight previous playoff meetings, including an 8-0 triumph in the 2013 preliminary round. Curran was due to pitch for the Red Riots.
If South Portland managed to win and reach the Class A Final for the first time since 1991 (a loss to Cony), it would play either Bangor (16-2) or Brewer (14-4) Saturday in Augusta.
Scarborough’s softball team, the top seed in Western A after a 16-0 regular season, defeated visiting No. 8 Windham, 12-8, in the quarterfinals, then held on for dear life to down fourth-ranked Biddeford, 6-5, in the semifinals.
Against the Eagles, Kaleigh Scoville had four hits, three runs scored and drove in two runs, Abbie Murrell homered and Lilly Volk got help from Murrell and Sophia Burnham on the mound to help hold on for the win after the Red Storm rallied from an early 4-0 deficit.
Scarborough erased a 2-0 deficit, scoring six times in the third inning against the Tigers, but then had to hold on as Biddeford pulled within a run. A highlight reel catch by Scoville led to a double play to end the game in the bottom of the seventh. Volk got the win with help from Murrell and Chloe Gorey, Chloe Griffin and Maggie Murphy all had multiple hits.
The Red Storm advanced to their ninth straight Western A Final, where they battled No. 2 Thornton Academy (16-2) Wednesday night in Standish. Scarborough held off the visiting Golden Trojans, 4-3, May 4. The teams had met five previous times in the playoff with the Red Storm capturing four, but last year in the regional final, Thornton Academy sprung a 2-1 upset.
If Scarborough advanced to its fifth state final in nine years, it would face either Messalonskee (15-3) or Bangor (15-3) Saturday in Augusta. The Red Storm have never played the Rams. They beat the Eagles, 5-0, to win the 2011 championship.
Cape Elizabeth’s Nate Ingalls delivers a pitch during Tuesday’s Western Class B Final. Ingalls was solid for six-plus innings, but the Capers lost to Greely, 3-1, in eight innings.
In a pivotal play in Tuesday’s Western B Final, Cape Elizabeth’s Tim Brigham is tagged out at home. That prevented the Capers from building on a 1-0 lead and they eventually lost to Greely, 3-1, in eight innings.