This time, there was no Houdini act.
Last Wednesday afternoon at St. Joseph’s College, four days after an epic comeback for the ages against Yarmouth in the semifinals, the Cape Elizabeth softball team again dug a five-run hole, this time against Wells in the Western B Final, but on this occasion, the Capers didn’t have an answer as their perfect season came to a disappointing end.
Cape Elizabeth pounded the opposition throughout a 16-0 regular season and after surviving Poland and Yarmouth in the first two playoff rounds, looked like it had all the momentum, but having to wait four days between games actually worked against the Capers, according to coach Joe Henrikson.
“If we’d played Monday, we would have been better off,” he said. “We had to hurry-up-and-wait. (The Yarmouth game) was the most amazing game I’ve ever seen. The emotions kept swinging back and forth. I’ve done this nearly 40 years and I’ve never been involved in a comeback like that in high school ball.”
Cape Elizabeth was favored against Wells in the regional final, especially after beating the Warriors, 11-4, in Wells, May 30, but it wasn’t to be, due in large part to Wells slugger Jordan Agger.
The Capers erased an early 2-0 lead with two runs, but Agger’s first home run gave the Warriors the lead. Cape Elizabeth drew even again, 3-3, but Agger hit a second homer, then added a third and the Capers couldn’t respond, as their season ended at 18-1 with an 8-3 setback.
“Going undefeated is a difficult thing to do,” Henrikson said. “I feel like everybody always wants to beat us anyway. One kid had seven RBIs. That’s tough to overcome. Those home runs weren’t cheap. They were bombs.”
Cape Elizabeth’s potent offense was held to just five hits (only one of the extra base variety, Mary Perkins’ double).
“We just didn’t hit,” Henrikson lamented.
Katie Rabasca suffered a loss for the first time all year.
“After the game, I really didn’t know what to say,” Henrikson said. “Every team but one loses their last game. The season is so long. It’s such a grind with Prom, graduation, final exams. Still, it was a lot of fun. I got a lot of enjoyment out of it.”
The Capers will lose some accomplished players to graduation, including Perkins, Rabasca, pitcher Anna Goldstein, third baseman Emma O’Rourke and do-everything Elise Flathers, but next year’s team will feature Haller and Tinsman and plenty of other players ready to step into bigger roles.
Cape Elizabeth will be heard from again in 2015 and with a little bit of luck, will be able to finish what this year’s excellent squad started.
“We’re losing two pitchers, our centerfielder, first baseman and third baseman and it’s going to be tough to fill those holes, especially pitching,’ Henrikson said. “We’ll still have five or six kids who can really hit, so we’ll still be a pretty decent team. A lot of coaches would love to have the kids I do.”