Spring sports season once again sensational for Southern schools
The 2009 spring sports season featured the old and the new.
While many new faces had their moment in the spotlight, perennial champions once again did their thing and after a warm start, Mother Nature delivered a rainy payback in spades.
Ultimately, the lingering moments from the past two months will be the transcendent effort and triumph of local athletes as they once more gave us plenty to cheer.
Scarborough's softball team waited and waited and waited, but finally got a chance to play in the Class A state final, which it won. South Portland made it to the regional final. Cape Elizabeth was ousted in the semis.
Scarborough's baseball team enjoyed its best season since joining Class A. Cape Elizabeth and South Portland made it to their respective semifinals.
There were no shortage of memories for lacrosse fans. Cape Elizabeth's boys got back to the Class B state game, while Scarborough and South Portland also made the playoffs. The Cape Elizabeth girls gave eventual champion Waynflete fits in the regional final before going down to defeat. Scarborough and South Portland also qualified for the postseason.
Local runners, jumpers and throwers continued their brilliance.
Tennis provided some special moments as well.
Here's one final look back at the spring of 2009 before we (hopefully) turn our attention to summer.
Michael's top five stories
5) Cape Elizabeth boys' tennis falls in epic quarterfinal
With the abundance of good boys' tennis teams in Western Class B this spring, perennial powers Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth had to square off in the quarterfinals. If only the state match would have been as compelling. The Capers and Yachtsmen (who split in the regular season) produced a memorable finish, one that came down to a tiebreaker in doubles. Cape Elizabeth had six match points, but ultimately couldn't close it out. Falmouth found a way to survive and win, 3-2, but tennis fans were the biggest victors.
4) South Portland softball makes improbable run to regional final
After graduating some key standouts and welcoming a new coach, Ralph Aceto, few expected the South Portland softball team to be much of a factor in 2009. Guess again. The Red Riots won nine straight in one stretch and wound up 13-3, good for third in Western A. After surviving a mighty scare and rallying to beat Gorham, 3-2, in eight innings, in the quarterfinals, South Portland rolled past Thornton Academy, 9-0, in the semifinals to reach the Western A Final for the third time in five years. The Red Riots weren't able to do much with Scarborough freshman Mo Hannan and lost 2-0, but that put little damper on their season. With a ton of talent coming back, South Portland will seek to finish the job in 2010.
3) Cape Elizabeth boys' lacrosse returns to state game
Most of the attention of the boys' lacrosse world was focused on eventual champions Portland and Yarmouth this spring, but there was little question who the third-best squad was. Cape Elizabeth overcame an early loss at the Clippers and won 10 of its final 11 games (a home setback to the Bulldogs) to finish with 10 wins for the first time in four years and earn the top seed for the Western B playoffs. After rolling past Waynflete in the semifinals, the Capers held off a threat from Falmouth in the regional final to earn a rematch with Yarmouth in the state game. Cape Elizabeth got the game's first goal and hung tough for a half, but ultimately, the Clippers had too much firepower, ending the Capers' season at 12-3 with a 12-9 decision. Expect Cape Elizabeth to make another strong again next spring.
2) Scarborough baseball enjoys finest Class A season to date
The Scarborough baseball team entered the 2009 campaign bound and determined to be a contender. Two months later, the Red Storm almost won their region. After a superb 12-4 regular season, keyed by the stellar pitching of senior Chris Bernard and a balanced offensive attack, Scarborough won its first Class A playoff games, knocking off Bonny Eagle and South Portland to reach the regional final. There, the Red Storm gave perennial champion Deering fits, but ultimately Scarborough lost a 16-10 slugfest. The Red Storm left the field with their heads held high, however, and proved once and for all that they belong in the discussion of the top teams.
1) Scarborough softball outlasts the rain, wins another title
If Scarborough's softball team thought its biggest challenge would be getting to the Class A Final, it was all wet. Literally. The Red Storm, who went 15-1 during the regular season, then eliminated Noble, Bonny Eagle and South Portland to capture the region, had their state final showdown with Skowhegan postponed three separate times by the non-stop rains of late-June. The contest was ultimately moved from Augusta to Brewer and played June 24, where Scarborough showed no rust and took advantage of mistakes to win 3-1, and take home its second Class A championship trophy in three seasons. It won't likely be the last.