The softball season came to an end in the city of Portland as two local squads, fifth-ranked Cheverus and No. 11 Deering, both went down in defeat during their playoff games last week.
The Rams, who finished the regular season strong to earn the final playoff spot, lost 3-0 at No. 6 Gorham in the Western A preliminary round.
Deering, which dropped a 7-0 decision at Gorham April 27, wasn’t able to knock those other Rams out of the postseason for a third straight year.
Deering mustered just four hits against Gorham ace Kelsey Crowe and senior Melissa Bell (who tripled to lead the offense) allowed single runs in the third, fourth and fifth.
The Rams graduate 10 seniors and they’ll have their hands full in 2010, but don’t be surprised if they’re back in a similar spot this time next year.
Cheverus’ ouster was much more painful.
The Stags, under first-year coach Amy McMullin, enjoyed their finest regular season in program history, going 12-4 to earn the No. 5 seed.
Cheverus visited No. 4 Bonny Eagle last Thursday in the quarterfinals. On May 4, the Stags dropped a 2-1 decision at the Scots. The playoff contest would again be a one-run affair, only with a lot more offense.
The hosts scored once in the first and added five in the third to lead 6-0 and seemingly put the game away.
“We just weren’t ready to play at first,” said McMullin.
Undaunted, Cheverus rallied with three in the fourth to get close. In the sixth, senior Alexis Garrison ripped a two-run home run to pull the Stags within a run. Then, in the top of the seventh, junior Anna Snook delivered a clutch game-tying triple.
But the dream ended in the bottom half of the inning on a wild pitch and Cheverus season concluded at 12-5 with the 7-6 loss.
“It was a tough one,” said McMullin. “We got better each day. The kids aren’t scared now. Now, we know we can play with anybody.”
The Stags graduate Garrison and Elena Ardito, but return everyone else, including junior ace Theresa Hendrix and junior Audrey Grinnell, who had three hits against Bonny Eagle.
Cheverus should be even more of a factor next spring.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org