Portland spring sports season was special
The weather more or less cooperated and the action was memorable.
That sums up the 2010 spring sports season in the city of Portland.
Three of four local baseball teams made the playoffs, two softball teams (including one big surprise) did the same.
The lacrosse story was once again triumphant as two squads reached the state final and several others made the postseason.
Track had its share of memorable performances, while tennis produced our lone state championship team.
Before we take a little time to enjoy the summer, here's a look back at the highlights from spring that was.
Michael's Top 5 spring stories
5) Waynflete baseball makes playoffs
Waynflete's unheralded baseball team enjoyed a solid 2010 campaign, its best in seven seasons. The Flyers won six times in the regular season, grabbing the ninth and final Western Class C playoff spot with a doubleheader sweep of Traip on the last day of the year. Waynflete would drop a hard-fought 5-2 decision to Old Orchard Beach in the preliminary round, but coach Steve Kautz and his gritty players deserve a ton of credit for returning a program to competitiveness and positioning it for future success.
4) Waynflete girls' lacrosse excels again
Another perennial champion that couldn't quite reach the pinnacle this spring, the Flyers started four freshmen this year, but remained a powerhouse. In the third game of the season, Waynflete gave longtime coach Cathie Connors her 200th career victory. Led by the dominance of senior standout and All-American Morgan Woodhouse and timely contributions from everyone else, the Flyers beat everyone but North Yarmouth Academy and wound up 10-2. After surviving first-half scares in playoff wins over Wells and Falmouth, Waynflete hoped the third time would be the charm against the Panthers in the state game, but this time, NYA (for the first time in six tries dating back to 2001) was able to beat its nemesis, 7-3. Don't expect the Flyers to be down for long. With almost everyone back in 2011, there's a good chance we'll have no words to describe their excellence.
3) Waynflete boys' tennis simply dominant
It's quite possible that the most competition the Flyers got this spring was in practice. Waynflete ran roughshod over everyone in the regular season, winning all 12 matches, almost all with ease. In the singles tournament, the Flyers produced three of the final four and junior standout Brandon Thompson, last year's runner-up, won the title by beating teammate Patrick Ordway. Waynflete then cruised to a third-straight Class C title, beating Madison, Hall-Dale and George Stevens Academy by 5-0 scores, to wrap up a perfect campaign and stretch its three-year match win streak to 45. Don't be surprised if the good times keep rolling in 2011.
2) Portland boys' lacrosse returns to states
After graduating virtually every key contributor from its 2009 state championship team, the Portland boys' lacrosse team produced another special and triumphant season. Led by the offensive wizardry of Caleb Kenney and getting clutch contributions from different players every time out, the Bulldogs navigated their regular season with a 12-0 mark, something the 2009 titlists couldn't manage. Portland earned the top seed in Eastern A and got back to the state game by virtue of wins over Lewiston and Messalonskee. Then, heartbreak struck, as injured sophomore Garrett Cormier was killed in an auto accident, two days before the Bulldogs were scheduled to meet Scarborough in the state game. Portland had a chance to postpone, but with the Cormier's blessing, decided to play. Pat Cormier, Garrett's brother, took the opening faceoff and won it. The Bulldogs scored first, but there would be no Hollywood ending as the Red Storm held on, 8-6. But in defeat, this Portland group proved it was every bit as much of a champion as the team that came before. With many stars back in 2011, the Bulldogs will look to finish the job.
1) McAuley softball rises to prominence
Entering 2010, the McAuley softball program had virtually no pedigree and little was expected of the Lions this spring. That all changed in the opener, an astonishing 13-12, come-from-behind home win over one of the preseason favorites, Cheverus. McAuley scored nine times in its last at-bat to turn the program around and went on to win 10 of its first 11 games. The Lions cooled against the tough part of their schedule and finished 11-5, their best record ever. McAuley earned the No. 7 seed for the playoffs and gave eventual state champion South Portland a scare before falling, 6-4. With almost everyone back next spring, the Lions won't sneak up on anyone, but will be a top team once again.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org