Spring season begins
With a wonderful hint of summer in the air, the spring sports season got underway for local baseball and softball teams last weekend.
Boys' and girls' lacrosse, track and tennis were all commencing when this edition went to press and we'll have more on those sports next week.
On the diamond, while the biggest story was Portland baseball's quest for its 1,000th all-time win, Deering was doing what the Rams do best: winning and doing so decisively.
Saturday night at Hadlock Field, Deering hosted Windham and made sure its guest got home at a reasonable hour, downing the Eagles 10-0 in five innings behind senior ace Taylor Candage's three-hit effort. The Rams pounded out 13 hits. Senior Marc Ouimet had three, while Candage and senior Regan Flaherty each had two. Flaherty's two-run triple in the fifth invoked the mercy rule and gave new coach Mike Coutts the first of what figures to be many victories.
Deering looked to go 2-0 Tuesday when it visited Thornton Academy. Thursday, the Rams travel to Noble. Saturday, they host South Portland.
Cheverus drew defending regional finalist Westbrook on the road Saturday in its first game. The Stags, coached this year by Mac McKew, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and got a strong start from senior Mick DiStasio, but the Blue Blazes scored once in the third and again in the sixth to beat the Stags, 2-1.
Cheverus was home with Kennebunk Tuesday and visits Scarborough Thursday.
In Western C, a Waynflete squad that expects to be dramatically improved this spring, opened Monday against visiting Traip. The Flyers fell 14-3 in a game shortened to five innings by the mercy rule. Waynflete did get a home run from senior Zohar Azoulay. The Flyers played at Windham Christian Tuesday, went to Sacopee Wednesday and visit Old Orchard Beach Monday.
All four Portland-area softball teams have begun their seasons and all four fell in their respective openers.
Cheverus, now coached by Amy McMullin and expecting to contend this spring, had a pair of rough defensive innings in a 5-0 home loss to defending regional champion Biddeford Friday. The Stags had a much better time Monday when they played at Portland. Cheverus scored four times in the first, six times in the sixth and added two more in the seventh to win 12-0. The Stags got a four-hitter from Theresa Hendrix. Junior Caitlin Pleau tripled twice and had three hits. Junior Audrey Grinnell also had a pair of three-baggers as part of a 15-hit attack.
Cheverus is home with South Portland Thursday and visits Bonny Eagle next Monday.
Deering hosted Marshwood in its first game under new coach Maggie Soule. The Rams were down 1-0 going to the fifth, but took a 2-1 lead on a clutch two-out, two-run double from senior Ellie Winslow. In the seventh, however, the Hawks started a rally when an innocent pop-up got lost in the sun and seven runs later, Marshwood left Payson Park with an 8-2 win.
Deering fell to 0-2 Monday after a 7-0 loss at Gorham. The Rams host Massabesic Wednesday, visit Thornton Academy Friday and host powerhouse Scarborough Monday of next week.
McAuley played host to Thornton Academy in its first game. The Lions got a pair of doubles from Allina Verrillo, but lost 6-3. McAuley fell 12-0 (in five innings) at Scarborough Monday and is now 0-2 on the year.
The Lions host Biddeford Wednesday, go to Portland Friday and are home against South Portland next Monday.
Portland and new coach Dee Regan traveled to South Portland for their opener Saturday morning. Despite ample chances to score, the Bulldogs couldn't come up with the key hit. Senior Kaitlyn DeFillip was solid on the mound, but an unearned run in the sixth proved to be her downfall as Portland fell 1-0.
"We had some chances," Regan lamented. "We just didn't get a big hit when we needed it. For a first game, I'm really happy with the kids. We made some awesome defensive plays. South Portland's a good team. We kept ourselves in it. I'm proud of them.
"It's definitely encouraging. We put the bat on the ball. We got on base. We did the things we needed to do. We just needed the big hit. I'm really happy with our pitching and defense today. We have some positive things we're going to run with."
The Bulldogs fell to 0-2 after Monday's 12-0 home loss to Cheverus. They go to Bonny Eagle Wednesday, host McAuley Friday and play at Sanford Monday of next week.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org