South recap: June brings playoff excitement
As this issue hits the streets, the baseball, softball and lacrosse regular seasons have come to a close.
Here's a look at where things stand with the playoffs right around the corner:
Baseball: Scarborough caps best Class A season ever
Scarborough's baseball team has lived up to its billing and then some this spring. The Red Storm handled all comers with the exception of one-sided losses to powers Westbrook and Deering and close setbacks at Kennebunk and Marshwood. Scarborough finished the year on a four-game winning streak, downing host Sanford 10-3 Saturday, visiting Gorham 13-6 Monday and host South Portland 7-4 Tuesday to finish the regular year 12-4, the Red Storm's best record since joining Class A and its most wins in a regular season since 1995.
Scarborough will likely be the No. 3 seed when the final Western Class A Heal Points are released. The Red Storm will take part in the SMAA playoffs, then host a quarterfinal round regional playoff contest Thursday of next week.
South Portland is also playoff-bound. The Red Riots are going in the other direction than Scarborough, however, losing their final three: 4-2 at Marshwood, 2-1 at Portland at 7-4 at home to the Red Storm. Despite their myriad injuries and youth, South Portland wound up 8-8 and will likely be the No. 10 seed for the playoffs. If so, the Red Riots would open on the road Tuesday in the preliminary round, likely at Thornton Academy.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth had a busy week. Monday, the Capers swept a doubleheader, 4-2 at Falmouth and 12-0 (in five innings) at Wells. Tuesday, they lost 3-0 at home to York, but Wednesday, the Capers closed the regular season in style with an 8-3 home win over rival Greely.
Cape Elizabeth (12-4) could wind up with the top seed in the region and will begin its quest for another regional title Thursday at home in the quarterfinals, possibly against a dangerous Yarmouth squad which beat them last month.
Softball: South Portland closes on a high note
On the girls' side of the diamond, all three local teams have reason for optimism.
In Western A, South Portland bounced back from an agonizing 2-0 (nine inning) home loss to Scarborough Saturday (in a game which saw them no-hit and struck out 23 times by Red Storm Mo Hannan) with a 6-3 victory at defending regional champion Biddeford and a 5-0 triumph at Thornton Academy Tuesday to wind up 13-3.
The Red Riots will be the No. 3 seed for the playoffs. After participating in the SMAA tournament this weekend, South Portland will host No. 6 Gorham or No. 11 Deering in the quarterfinals next Thursday.
Scarborough followed up its win at South Portland with an 11-0 home romp over Portland. Wednesday night, the Red Storm trailed visiting Cheverus 4-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, but erupted for four runs and went ahead to stay on freshman Dominique Burnham's RBI hit with two outs. Scarborough held on for a 5-4 victory and ended 15-1 to earn the top seed for the fourth straight year.
"I'm so proud of the kids," said coach Tom Griffin. "We're a very good offensive team. We did it with the top of the order, the middle of the order and the bottom of the order. We got a little luck. Finally some things dropped for us.
"It's been good for us to see tough competition. Hopefully it will prepare us for the playoffs. There are a lot of good offensive players and pitchers this year."
Scarborough will host the SMAA tournament this weekend, then will welcome either No. 8 Marshwood or No. 9 Noble in the quarterfinals Thursday of next week.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth won four times in three days to wind up 15-1. Monday, the Capers blanked host Falmouth 14-0 (in six innings) and host Wells 6-0. Tuesday, they downed visiting York 3-1 and Wednesday, Cape Elizabeth held off visiting Greely, 3-0. In that one, standout senior pitcher Trish Thibodeau recorded her 500th career strikeout while senior catching star Colleen Martin worked her 500th career inning.
"It's been a tough week," said coach Joe Henrikson. "We did what we had to do. Since Trish and Colleen started playing as freshmen, we've lost nine games, which is incredible. They're the best.
"I feel if we play our game in the playoffs, we'll be fine. We have to do the little things. If we don't, anything can happen."
Cape Elizabeth projects to be the No. 2 seed behind Maranacook and will host a quarterfinal Thursday. There's an excellent chance the Capers will host defending state champion Fryeburg in the semifinals, which is a real shame (it would have made for great theater as a regional final).
Boys' lacrosse: Cape Elizabeth looking title-worthy
While most of the boys' lacrosse talk this spring has been centered on undefeated Yarmouth, powerhouse Portland and up-and-coming Falmouth, the proudest program in the state has been biding its time and could be in great position to sneak up and win a title in the weeks to come.
Cape Elizabeth lost earlier in the year at the Clippers and at home to the Bulldogs, but since then, the Capers won five in a row and capped the regular season with a 13-3 home romp over Cheverus last Thursday, an 8-2 home win over Scarborough Saturday and a 9-4 victory at Kennebunk Monday to wind up 10-2.
Cape Elizabeth will be the top seed in Western B and won't play again until hosting a semifinal Saturday, June 13.
In Western A, defending champion Scarborough bounced back from its loss at Cape Elizabeth with a 13-3 home win over Gorham Tuesday to wind up 9-3. The Red Storm will probably be the No. 2 seed behind Portland and will host a quarterfinal Thursday of next week.
After a year away from the postseason, South Portland is also playoff-bound. The Red Riots extended their winning streak to four Saturday with a 16-4 win at Marshwood, but lost 9-6 at Bonny Eagle Tuesday to wind up 7-5.
South Portland will host a quarterfinal next Thursday.
Girls' lacrosse: Scarborough beats Cape Elizabeth to end regular season
On the girls' side, Scarborough traveled to Cape Elizabeth Wednesday night for a game with Heal Points implications. The Capers erased an early 2-0 deficit and raced to a 7-6 halftime lead behind three goals from sophomore Karyn Barrett, but the Red Storm exploded in the second half, twice going on 4-0 runs en route to a 15-12 win behind five goals from junior standout Ellie Morin and four from her talented teammate and classmate, Lindsay Hagerman.
"We've been kind of a second half team," said Scarborough coach Marcia Wood. "This was a very important game for us. The kids really stepped up. Ellie's so much more than scoring. She leads the team in caused turnovers, ground balls, all categories. She's just unbelievable."
The Red Storm finished 9-3 and expect to be the No. 4 or No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Scarborough has a great shot to reach the regional final for a fourth straight year and is eager to avenge last year's loss to Kennebunk (a team the Red Storm beat 13-9 at home last Friday).
"We've had some great games," Wood said. "I hope the momentum keeps going for playoffs. We get some time off, then get into it next week."
Cape Elizabeth (which got five goals from Barrett) wound up 7-5 and figures to go into the Western B tournament as the No. 3 seed, which would mean a semifinal round date at Wells Saturday, June 13.
"It was a possession game," said Capers coach Kurt Chapin. "We had momentum in the first half, then they took it in the second half. We couldn't seem to get possession.
"We were in it with everybody this year. I love this schedule. We want to play all the best teams. It should be an interesting playoff. Waynflete's the team. Everyone's gunning for them. I think Wells has some good players. We didn't play them. You never know. I'll prepare my team like any other game. We won't look past it."
South Portland hoped to join its neighbors in the playoffs after snapping a three-game skid with a 7-6 home win over Noble Wednesday night. That victory allowed the Red Riots to finish the year 4-8. If it qualifies, South Portland will likely play a road prelim Tuesday.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org