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

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Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ lacrosse team received another championship trophy last month.

Scarborough’s softball team enjoyed celebration after celebration this spring, from the preseason right through a victory in the Class A state championship game.

South Portland’s Juliana Selser won a pair of individual state titles at last month’s Class A outdoor track and field state meet.

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.

Scarborough’s boys’ outdoor track team continued the program’s recent dynastic effort, winning Class A for the second year in a row and the third time since 2013. The Red Storm got wins from standout Sam Rusak in the pole vault and Ben Batoosingh in the 400. South Portland placed 18th, but got a win from Steven Smith in the racewalk. Scarborough’s girls were fourth in Class A while the Red Riots placed sixth, thanks to wins from Juliana Selser in the 800 and mile. In Class B, Cape Elizabeth came in 11th and got a win from Darcy Cochran in the 100 hurdles. The Capers boys were 13th.

Cape Elizabeth’s boys had the best tennis season, reaching the Class B South Final before losing to Yarmouth. The Capers girls, the defending state champions, lost to eventual champion Greely in the semifinals. Scarborough’s boys and girls were both ousted by Thornton Academy in the Class A South semifinals. South Portland’s girls lost to Deering in the preliminary round. 

All three baseball teams got to the playoffs again. Scarborough was ousted by eventual regional champion Falmouth in the Class A South quarterfinals, while South Portland lost in the same round to Portland. In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth held off rival Greely in a thrilling quarterfinal, then lost to eventual state champion Yarmouth in the semifinals.

Cape Elizabeth’s softball team lost a preliminary round game to Leavitt and South Portland was sent packing by Portland in the quarterfinals. That left Scarborough, which went 16-0 in the regular season, extending its regular season win streak to 73 games in the process. As the top seed in Class A South, the Red Storm blanked Gorham in the quarterfinals and did the same to Windham in the semifinals, before beating Portland in the regional final to advance to the state final. There, ace Lilly Volk held Skowhegan in check and Scarborough produced enough offense to prevail, 5-0, capturing the program’s first championship since 2013.

Lacrosse produced its usual abundance of excellent players and teams and another local champion.

Scarborough and South Portland’s girls’ teams both lost in the quarterfinal round. Cape Elizabeth, which missed the playoffs in 2016, returned to contention and knocked off longtime nemesis Waynflete in the Class B South quarterfinals. The Capers led Kennebunk for awhile in the semifinals too, but the Rams rallied and went on to win a repeat state title.

On the boys’ side, South Portland lost to Thornton Academy in the semifinals, but Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough both got to their respective state finals. The Red Storm fended off Gorham’s upset bid in the Class A South semifinals and outscored Thornton Academy in the regional final, but in the state game, in a contest that no one on hand will ever forget, Scarborough scored 17 goals, only to fall one goal shy in an epic overtime loss to Brunswick. That left Cape Elizabeth, which eliminated Wells with ease in the Class B South semifinals, then held off a furious Falmouth rally to win the regional final in a game viewed by most as the de facto state game. In the state final, the Capers were tested for awhile, but ultimately handled Yarmouth, 16-7, to win their fourth title in five seasons.

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:

Southern edition spring state champions

Team

Cape Elizabeth Capers boys’ lacrosse, Class B
Scarborough Red Storm boys’ outdoor track, Class A
Scarborough Red Storm softball, Class A

Southern edition spring regional champion

Scarborough Red Storm boys’ lacrosse, Class A South

Individual

Outdoor track

Darcy Cochran, Cape Elizabeth, Class B girls’ 100 hurdles
Ben Batoosingh, Scarborough, Class A boys’ 400
Sam Rusak, Scarborough, Class A boys’ pole vault
Juliana Selser, South Portland, Class A girls’ 800
Juliana Selser, South Portland, Class A girls’ mile 
Steven Smith, South Portland, Class A boys’ racewalk

Michael’s top five moments/stories

5) Cape girls’ lax enjoys bounce-back campaign

After missing the playoffs in 2016, Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ lacrosse team returned to contention with a vengeance this spring and along the way, made a little history. The Capers, behind a potent offensive attack, won seven games and earned the No. 4 seed in Class B South. In the quarterfinals, Cape Elizabeth surged late to eliminate Waynflete, not only handling the Flyers their first-ever loss in that round, but they beat their longtime nemesis twice in a season for the first time. The Capers got off to a fast start in their semifinal at defending state champion Kennebunk, but the Rams blanked them in the second half and brought their season to a close. Look for next year’s team to be even more formidable.

4) Scarborough boys’ track does it again

Whether it’s cross country, indoor track or outdoor track, Scarborough’s boys’ program, under the guidance of Coach Derek Veilleux, has established itself as a title favorite season after season. Last month, the Red Storm repeated as outdoor champions, thanks to tremendous talent and balance. When the calendar flips to 2018, you can expect more of the same.

3) Cape boys have no peer

From the get-go this spring, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth’s boys’ lacrosse teams were on a collision course for Class B supremacy. The Yachtsmen, who had upset the Capers in last year’s regional final en route to a championship, repeated that feat in an early season thriller, but in the rematch, at Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth got a measure of revenge and as a result, wrested away homefield advantage for the pivotal third meeting in the Class B South Final. There, the Capers raced to a 6-1 lead, but to no one’s surprise, back roared the Yachtsmen to cut the deficit to one in the fourth quarter. As time wound down, Falmouth had chances to force overtime, but couldn’t convert and Cape Elizabeth survived. The Class B state final was nowhere near as dramatic, as the Capers earned yet another coronation with a 16-7 win over Yarmouth. Cape Elizabeth remains Lacrosse Titletown.

2) Scarborough softball earns its coronation

For three seasons, Scarborough’s softball team ran roughshod over its hapless opposition in the regular season, but would either be stymied in the regional or state final. This spring, nothing would stop the determined Red Storm. Scarborough again went 16-0 in the regular season, was never seriously tested and earned the top seed yet again for the Class A South playoffs. There, the Red Storm didn’t allow a single run in wins over Gorham and Windham in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. After falling in the regional final in 2016, this year’s team wasn’t about to give underdog Portland life, racing to a 5-0 lead before prevailing, 8-3. The state final versus Skowhegan was the final step and senior ace Lilly Volk, in her final game before pitching at the University of Maine next year, threw a shutout as Scarborough prevailed, 5-0, capturing that elusive title.

1) An OT state final for the ages

While the game ended in defeat, Scarborough’s boys’ lacrosse team performed heroically on the evening of June 17 in the Class A state final versus Brunswick. Scoring goals was never a problem, as the Red Storm produced 17. Scarborough rallied from three goals down in the fourth quarter to hold a late lead, but the Dragons tied the score with 10 seconds left to force a “sudden victory” overtime. There, the Red Storm had a possession to win it, but they turned the ball over and it would be the Dragons tickling the twine and dancing on the Fitzpatrick Stadium turf. In years to come, it won’t be the final score that the legion of fans will remember, but the drama. Scarborough fell a goal short, but played like champions nonetheless.

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.