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Let the fun begin; Spring playoffs set to begin for local teams

Sports

Let the fun begin; Spring playoffs set to begin for local teams

The spring sports regular season is nearing its conclusion. Track will begin its postseason next weekend (please see story) with tennis soon to follow suit. By this time next week, baseball, softball and lacrosse will also be looking ahead to the playoffs.

Here's a glimpse at where local teams stand as we near the end of May:

Baseball

Scarborough's baseball team has saved its best for last this spring with Tuesday's home win over South Portland just another example (please see story).

In Western B, meanwhile, Cape Elizabeth suffered its first loss last week, 8-6, to visiting Yarmouth, but has bounced back. Friday, the Capers routed host Falmouth, 8-0, behind senior Conor Moloney's one-hitter and home runs from juniors Cam Brown and Kyle Danielson. Monday, Cape Elizabeth improved to 12-1 with a 4-1 home victory over Lake Region. In that one, senior Will Pierce earned the win with a two-hitter. The Capers were first in the Western B Heal Points standings as of Wednesday. They played at York Wednesday, host Wells Friday and close the regular season with a big showdown at defending state champion Greely Wednesday of next week.

Softball

Scarborough's powerhouse, defending Class A state champion softball team is undefeated no more.

After punishing visiting Bonny Eagle (12-0, in five innings), host Portland (27-0, in five innings) and host McAuley (15-0, in five innings) in recent contests. the Red Storm went to Cheverus Tuesday and saw the offense dry up in a 5-1 setback. Scarborough took a 1-0 lead on sophomore Mo Hannan's RBI double in the first inning, but senior pitching standout Melissa Dellatorre was touched for five runs in the fifth and the Red Storm had no answer for Stags' senior ace Theresa Hendrix, managing just five hits as they suffered their first loss in just under a calendar year, falling for the first time in 20 contests.

Offense was overwhelming in the previous victories. Against the Scots, freshman Erin Giles hit a home run and Hannan threw a no-hitter. In the win over the Bulldogs, Giles and Dellatorre both went deep and Giles and sophomore Dominique Burnham combined on a two-hitter. Against the Lions, Hannan hit a three-run bomb in the first inning to set the tone, Giles also homered and Hannan and Burnham combined to hold the Lions at bay.

Scarborough was home with Sanford Wednesday, plays at Kennebunk Friday and finishes the regular season at home against Deering Tuesday of next week. The Red Storm were still first in the Western A Heal Points standings as of Wednesday and should have homefield advantage for the postseason if they finish strong.

South Portland remains hot on the Red Storm's heels and was the second ranked team entering Wednesday's home showdown against Cheverus (please see Web site for game story). The Red Riots won a pair of games last week, 5-0 over visiting Biddeford and 10-5 at home over Portland. Against the Tigers, junior Alexis Bogdanovich threw a one-hitter and junior Amanda Linscott homered. In the win over the Bulldogs, senior Kalie Swiger went deep and junior Stephanie McDonough earned the victory on the mound. South Portland finishes the regular season with games at Bonny Eagle Friday and at home versus McAuley Tuesday of next week.

In Western B, don't look now, but here come the Cape Elizabeth Capers. The Capers, with a virtually new lineup, lost their first four games this spring, but have peaked of late, winning six of nine, including a 12-1 decision at Falmouth last Friday and an 8-4 home victory over Lake Region Monday.

Against the Yachtsmen, junior catcher Lauren Nicholson returned from injury and prevented the opposition from getting their running game going. Junior Ally Boyington didn't allow an earned run and gave up just three hits. Senior Delaney Rockwell had three hits and three runs batted in, classmate Gabe Donahue had a pair of RBI, junior Emily Donovan added three hits, sophomore Emmy Ham had two hits, including a double, and two RBI and sophomore Lexi Cantara had three hits, including a pair of triples, and two RBI.

In the win over the Lakers, Rockwell had two hits and three RBI and Donahue added a pair of hits and a run batted in. Freshman Ellen Best scored three times. Boyington earned the win with six strikeouts.

Cape Elizabeth (which is 11th in the latest Western B Heals, the top nine teams make the playoffs) went to Old Orchard Beach Wednesday, then has two critical contests remaining if it wants to go to the postseason, Friday at home against Wells and next Wednesday at Greely.

Boys' lacrosse

Cape Elizabeth's boys' lacrosse team has bounced back from its loss to Falmouth last week with three straight wins. The Capers cruised to a 15-7 triumph at longtime rival Kennebunk last Thursday (as seniors Tommy Foden and Harper Nelson and sophomore Tim Lavallee all had three goals and junior goalie Jack Roos made 17 saves and even had an assist). Friday, Cape Elizabeth rolled to a 10-2 victory at North Yarmouth Academy. Goals from junior Timmy Takach, Lavallee, junior Teddy Smith, Smith again and Foden gave the Capers a 5-0 advantage less than 10 minutes in and they were never challenged as Smith scored four times, Takach added three and Roos stopped 13 shots. Tuesday, Cape Elizabeth easily handled visiting York, 15-1, behind five goals from Nelson. The Capers (7-3, fifth in the latest coaches' poll and second to Falmouth in the Western B Heals) host Yarmouth Friday and close at resurgent Waynflete next Tuesday.

In Western A, South Portland answered its first loss with an 18-7 romp at Marshwood last Friday. Junior Harrison Keithly had five goals and six assists as the Red Riots improved to 9-1 (seventh in the coaches' poll). South Portland (a close second to Kennebunk in the Heals as of Wednesday) played at Bonny Eagle Wednesday, then closes the regular season with what will likely be a showdown for homefield advantage when it goes to Kennebunk next Wednesday.

Scarborough is third with a 6-4 mark after recent wins over Windham (12-8) and Gorham (11-2). Against the Rams, junior Peter Moore scored three times. The Red Storm (10th in the coaches' poll) were home with Massabesic Wednesday and finish the regular season at defending Class A champion Portland Tuesday.

Girls' lacrosse

On the girls' side, Scarborough is still undefeated, but barely.

After easily disposing of visiting Westbrook last Thursday (15-1) and host Thornton Academy Friday (13-5, behind three goals each from senior Ellie Morin and sophomore Kelsey Howard),  the Red Storm got pushed to the limit by visiting Gorham Saturday. Rams standout Mia Rapolla scored eight goals, but Scarborough had the answer every time as it was never caught. Sophomore Maggie Smith scored four times and Howard added three.

"I got a little nervous (against Gorham)," said Red Storm coach Marcia Wood. "The girls stepped up. Having a close game was good. It's good to see our composure and taking time off the clock. We need these types of games since playoff games will be like this. Not many people have talked about the undefeated thing. The girls' focus is a state championship. I think they'll stop at nothing to get there. I hope so."

Tuesday, Scarborough made it 11 straight with a 17-5 romp at Marshwood. Morin had five goals, while Quirk added three. The Red Storm, who have homefield advantage for the playoffs locked up, finished with a big test at recent nemesis Kennebunk Thursday (please see Web site for game story). Each of the past two seasons, the Rams ended Scarborough's season in the playoffs.

South Portland has quietly entered the playoff picture. The Red Riots have won three straight, including an 18-7 triumph at Lincoln Academy Saturday (junior Nikki LaPlante had seven goals and senior Kate Lagios added four) and a 4-2 home win over Deering Tuesday (LaPointe and senior Hannah Noll both scored twice) to improve to 6-4 (sixth in the Western A Heals)

"We had ball control and we haven't done that," said coach Bill Fenton. "The girls really played well as a team today. That's so exciting to watch. We've come a long way. They've worked hard. I'm not surprised we've done this well. The kids can pass and throw this year. That's been a real problem in the past. The talent's there. The captains have done a great job getting the girls to come together as a group."

South Portland is at Portland Friday in a rematch of last year's playoff ouster and closes at home Tuesday against Bonny Eagle. A victory in either game would give the Red Riots their first winning season since 2004.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth is jockeying with Falmouth for the second spot in Western B and the right to host a semifinal round playoff game June 12. The Capers defeated visiting York, 12-7, last Thursday (freshman Talley Perkins had four goals, junior Anna Darling added three and sophomore goalie Elin Sonesson had 14 saves), fell, 12-6, at NYA Saturday, then improved to 7-4 Tuesday with a 15-1 home romp over Fryeburg (as 10 different players scored at least once). Cape Elizabeth (third in the region) travels to Massabesic for the regular season finale Saturday.

Tennis

The tennis playoffs will begin Thursday of next week and five of six local teams figure to take part.

Cape Elizabeth's boys finished 9-3 after Monday's 5-0 victory at North Yarmouth Academy. The Capers were fourth in the Western B Heals as of Wednesday morning, but could move down a spot when the final standings come out. Scarborough went 11-1 and will be the No. 2 seed in Western A behind defending regional champion Windham. South Portland wound up 3-9 and missed out on the postseason.

On the girls' side, Scarborough finished 9-3 and wound up fourth in Western A. The Red Storm will host No. 5 Cheverus (8-4) in the quarterfinals. On May 5, Scarborough beat the host Stags, 3-2. South Portland appears locked into the eighth and final Western A spot after finishing 5-7. If that's the case, the Red Riots would go to top-ranked, undefeated and defending regional champion Portland in the quarterfinals. Last Friday, South Portland lost, 5-0, at Portland. In Western B, Cape Elizabeth, after a 7-5 campaign, projects to fifth, which would mean yet another playoff showdown with Yarmouth (which was fourth at press time). The teams have met in eight of the past 12 postseasons with each squad winning four times. Last year, the Capers advanced with a 3-2 quarterfinal round victory.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

Photo: Contributed photo

Cape Elizabeth junior pitcher Ally Boyington prepares to fire a pitch during a victory last week by the Capers who have come on strong down the stretch.