Forget the bad weather, the spring sports season was terrific-Portland edition

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Senior ace Jared Brooks helped pitch Cheverus’ baseball team to the Class A South Final.

The booming bat of senior Morgan Boyle helped Portland’s softball team reach the regional final for the first time since 2004.

Deering’s Nate Richards scored his share of goals for a Rams boys’ lacrosse team which returned to the playoffs.

Lexi Epstein helped Waynflete’s girls’ tennis team win the Class C state title last month.

The spring of 2017 will be remembered most for Mother Nature’s uncooperative ways, but in truth, if you were a fan of high school athletics, there was a lot to get excited about regardless of the sport.

Waynflete’s tennis dynasty continued, as the Flyers boys’ team won its 10th straight Class C crown and the girls finished atop the heap as well. In all, eight of nine city teams qualified for the playoffs.

The outdoor track state meets also produced champions, as several individuals came in first and the Cheverus girls won the first team title in program history.

Cheverus and Deering qualified for the boys’ lacrosse playoffs and met in a memorable quarterfinal round game, won by the Stags. Cheverus then lost to eventual Class A champion Brunswick in the Class A North semifinals.

On the girls’ side, Cheverus got to the Class A North semifinals, while Portland was ousted in the quarterfinals. In Class B South, Waynflete was eliminated in the quarterfinals for the first time in program history, but the Flyers did bring home the Sportsmanship award, as did Maine Girls’ Academy, in Class A North.

The diamond produced much drama as well.

Cheverus’ baseball team reached the regional final for the first time since 2012, eliminating Deering in the Class A South quarterfinals along the way. Portland produced another strong season and gave eventual regional champion Falmouth a mighty scare before falling in extra innings in the semifinals.

Portland’s softball team built on its 2016 success by getting all the way to the regional final for the first time in 13 seasons before losing to eventual state champion Scarborough. Maine Girls’ Academy teamed up with Falmouth for a co-op squad which made a late surge to qualify for the playoffs. The Sea Lions then dropped a heartbreaker to Noble in the Class A South preliminary round, but the team was rewarded with the Class A South Sportsmanship award.

We’re all eager to get on to summer, but before we do, here’s one last look back at the champions and best moments of the spring:

Portland edition spring champions

Team

Cheverus Stags girls’ outdoor track, Class A
Waynflete Flyers boys’ tennis, Class C
Waynflete Flyers girls’ tennis, Class C

Individual

Outdoor track

Emma Gallant, Cheverus, Class A, girls’ 100
Emma Gallant, Cheverus, Class A, girls’ 200
Emily Turner, Cheverus, Class A, girls’ 400
Emma White, Cheverus, Class A, girls’ long jump
Sam Witkowski, Maine Girls’ Academy, Class C, girls’ pole vault
Abby Pipkin, Waynflete, Class C, girls’ 800

Michael’s top five moments

5) Sea Lions roar into playoffs

The Maine Girls’ Academy softball team was enhanced by the addition of a few talented players from Falmouth and after some initial growing pains, the “Sea Lions” hit their stride late in the season, learned how to win close games and rode late upset wins over Noble and South Portland into a surprise playoff berth. MGA/Falmouth then had Noble on the ropes in the Class A South preliminary round, leading going into the bottom of the seventh before the Knights rallied to end their memorable run. The co-op team was considered a success and expects to return in 2018.

4) Waynflete tennis teams do it again

Another spring, more hardware for the Waynflete tennis program. The boys’ team hasn’t had a season end without a championship since 2007 and on the second Saturday in June, the Flyers (who lost once all year, to eventual Class A champion Falmouth) made it 10 straight titles by beating George Stevens Academy once more in the state match. Waynflete’s girls navigated a challenging regular season by losing only to eventual Class A champion Falmouth and Class B champion Greely before dropping just one point in four postseason matches. The Flyers’ 5-0 win over GSA in the state match served as a perfect punctuation mark for another triumphant campaign.

3) Strong season on the diamond

Three of four city baseball teams made it to the playoffs and some of the best players in the state resided in our backyard. Deering made the postseason for the third year in a row and after downing Biddeford in the preliminary round of the Class A South playoffs, the Rams met Cheverus for the third year in a row, but lost in the quarterfinals. The Stags went on to down Gorham in the semifinals to reach the Class A South Final. Portland almost joined Cheverus in the regional final, beating South Portland by mercy rule in the quarterfinals, then taking top-ranked Falmouth to extra innings in a semifinal round thriller, but the Bulldogs lost by a run. The Stags couldn’t solve the Yachtsmen either, losing in the regional final, but it was a season to remember regardless.

2) Portland softball raises the bar

In 2016, Portland’s softball team returned to prominence, posted a winning record and made the playoffs. That served as a mere appetizer for this spring, when the Bulldogs emerged as the second-best team in Class A South. After a 14-2 regular season, Portland’s best since 2001, the Bulldogs earned the No. 2 seed for the playoffs and eliminated South Portland and Thornton Academy to reach the regional final for the first time since 2004. Along the way, pitching ace Jess Brown became the first Bulldog to ever earn Gatorade Player of the Year honors. While Portland was ultimately ousted by eventual state champion Scarborough in the Class A South Final, it has established itself as a regular contender the highest level.

1) Cheverus girls’ track makes history

Cheverus’ girls’ outdoor track team cemented its place in the history books the first Saturday in June, winning the Class A state title for the first time. The Stags rode the brilliance of freshman Emma Gallant (100 and 200) and wins from Emily Turner (400) and Emma White (long jump), as well as a strong complementary effort. Don’t be surprised if Cheverus has several more championships in its future.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.