June arrives, time for postseason fun

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland-Deering baseball and Cheverus-Scarborough, Waynflete-Kennebunk and Waynflete-Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse game stories, with photos and box scores, please visit theforecaster.net)

While tennis has gotten the jump on the other spring sports in starting its postseason (please see story), everyone else is about to join in.

Track held its conference meets last weekend and states are Saturday. Baseball, softball and boys’ and girls’ lacrosse wrap up their regular seasons by the end of the week, then they will also begin vying for hardware.

Here’s a glimpse:

Outdoor track

Scarborough was the site for the Southwestern Maine Activities Association championship meet Saturday.

Cheverus’ boys stole the show, tallying 116.2 points to easily outdistance runner-up Scarborough (80). Deering (52) tied Noble for fifth place. Portland (6) finished 14th.

The Stags got wins from Isaac Yeboah in the 110 hurdles (15.18 seconds) and 300 hurdles (39.44), Jake Dixon in the 200 (22.62), Nick White in the discus (158 feet, 7 inches) and shot put (52-1), Tim Jerome in the javelin (166-7) and their 400 (44.12) and 1,600 (3 minutes, 28.20 seconds) relay teams. Runners-up included Jacob Schott in the high jump (6-0) and Elijah Yeboah in the 300 hurdles (40.15).

“We’re excited, but we’re not done yet, we’re not satisfied,” said Cheverus coach Steve Virgilio.

The Rams featured event winners Yayha Hussein in the mile (4:37.15), Iid Sheikh-Yusef in the two-mile (9:57.59) and Hany Ramadan in the 400 (50.42). Ramadan was also second in the 200 (22.76), setting a new program record in the process (breaking Mike Joyce’s mark by .01).

The Bulldogs were led by Jon Bobe, who placed fourth in the 200 (23.25) and fifth in the 400 (53.54).

In the girls’ meet, won by Thornton Academy with 97 points, Cheverus (35) was eighth, Deering (30) came in ninth and McAuley 28) was 10th.

The Stags got a win from Kiera Murray in the two-mile (11:32.59).

The Lions got victories from thrower extraordinaire Olivia Smith in the discus (121-2) and javelin (116-3). Smith was also second in the shot put (35-1.25).

The Rams featured Rashad Zagon coming in runner-up in the 300 hurdles (49.66) and fourth in the 100 hurdles (17.0), Alexis Elowitch placing second in the javelin (111-2) and fourth in the shot put (34-0.75) and Neilab Habibzai coming in third in the discus (93-5).

Portland’s Madison Bolduc came in third in the triple jump (33-1).

Waynflete competed in the Western Maine Conference championships at Lake Region Saturday. The Flyers girls were eighth in Division II (Traip was first) and the boys came in ninth (Sacopee was first). Emily Tabb led the girls by coming in second in the racewalk (10:55.78). Phoebe Colvin-Oehmig placed third in the 800 (2:34.60). The boys were paced by Cody Tiparos, who had a second-place showing in the 200 (24.25).

State Championship Saturday is next. Cheverus, Deering and Portland will vie for Class A state glory at Windham.

The Stags boys believe they can finish first.

“Saturday will be a fun day, Virgilio said. “There will be great competition and great achievement.  After more than 800 weeks or nearly 6,000 days, Cheverus track and field wants to be the standard.  We want to lead Maine track and field and Maine high school sports into a new era of greatness, precedent and performance.”

McAuley and Waynflete take part in the Class C championships at Foxcroft Academy.

Baseball

The baseball regular season was coming to a close at press time.

While Cheverus and Portland appeared to be playoff locks, Waynflete was likely going to qualify, while Deering needed some help.

In Western A, the Bulldogs began the week sixth in the Heal Points standings with a 9-6 record after winning at Deering (10-1) and at home over Massabesic (1-0, in a 14-inning marathon), then losing at home to defending state champion Westbrook, 5-2.

Against the Rams, in a game played at Deering Oaks after the originally scheduled contest was lost to bad weather, Portland got a two-hitter from Nick DiPalma, a single and a double from Justin Zukowski and a two-run single from Evan Gallant.

“It’s fun,” said Zukowski, a football and basketball standout who returned to the diamond as a senior for the first time since middle school. “I’m playing to hang out with these guys, some of them I haven’t played with in other sports (Pitchers) normally throw just fastballs to guys lower in the lineup. I’m just happy to be up there and contribute.”

“I just threw strikes as much as I could,” DiPalma said. “I felt really good from the first inning on.”

“We don’t have strikeout pitchers, so the guys have to make plays and we did today,” added Portland coach Tony DiBiase.

The Bulldogs then took until the 14th inning to push a run across to beat Massabesic, Ryan Ruhlin, who was the winning pitcher, doubled with one out and scored on Joe Fusco’s walkoff double. The Mustangs left the bases loaded in both the third and 10th innings and Portland pulled off a double play in the 13th in which runners were tagged out at both home plate and second base. Gallant had two hits and Travis Godbout (seven innings) and Ryan Dixon (6.1 innings) both threw shutout ball. Against the Blue Blazes, Godbout singled and doubled. The Bulldogs closed at Sanford Tuesday.

Cheverus lost Thornton Academy (4-3, in nine innings) and Gorham (5-1) and beat Sanford (15-5) last week and goes into its finale at Noble Wednesday at 8-7 and eighth in Western A. Jensen LaPoint had two RBI and Charlie Mull scored twice against the Golden Trojans. Mull had three hits against the Rams in the first of two games for the Stags Saturday. They then handled the Spartans, as Mull and Logan McCarthy both had three hits, and Derek Hammond, Alex Libby and Chris Tinsman all drove in three runs.

Deering was done in by three errors in its 10-1 loss to Portland last Monday.

“The kids were bummed to have play (at the Oaks),” Rams coach Tim Eisenhart said. “It’s Portland’s practice field. They were looking forward to playing at Hadlock against their crosstown rival, but it wasn’t in the stars.”

Deering then beat visiting Massabesic, 4-1, Saturday to improve to 4-11. Ian Westphal had a clutch two-run single and Sam Luebbert earned the win. The Rams were 15th in Western A entering Tuesday’s finale at Westbrook. Only 12 teams make the playoffs, so Deering was in a must-win situation.

In Western C, Waynflete began the week 8-7 and 11th in the standings (12 teams make the cut) after a 13-0 home loss to Western B top seed Poland and a 7-2 home win over North Yarmouth Academy. In the victory, Tom Silk earned the win with a one-hitter. Isaac Scher had two hits. Joey Schnier scored two runs. The Flyers closed at Sacopee Tuesday.

The baseball playoffs begin Tuesday of next week with the preliminary round. The quarterfinals are Thursday, June 12 and the semis Saturday, June 14. All games will be played on the field of the higher seed.

Softball

On the softball side of the diamond, Cheverus improved to 12-3 last week with a 3-2 (10 inning) home win over Noble and a 2-0 victory at Sanford. Against the Knights, Olivia Mull made a big defensive play, catching a fly ball, then doubling up a runner to end the top of the 10th, then she drove in Sophia Giancotti with the winner in the bottom half. Brittany Bell went all 10 innings, only giving up seven hits, while striking out 15 batters. In the win over the Spartans, Bell threw a seven-hitter, fanning 11 and also had two hits, while Giancotti drove in both runs. Cheverus hosts Massabesic Wednesday with a chance to set a new program record for wins in a season. The Stags were second to Scarborough in the Western A Heals at press time and could conceivably host quarterfinal and semifinal round playoff games.

McAuley was on the verge of qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Last week, the Lions won at Massabesic in 13 innings (8-7) and downed visiting Deering (4-2) to finish 8-8. Taylor Whaley went the distance and Sam Libby had three hits against the Mustangs. In the win over the Rams, Libby threw a five-hitter with 10 strikeouts and also homered, while Whaley had three hits. McAuley was ranked ninth in Western A and will likely have a road prelim next week.

Portland took a 5-10 mark entering its finale, at home versus undefeated defending champion Scarborough Monday. Last week, the Bulldogs lost a close one at Bonny Eagle (5-3), then edged visiting Gorham (4-3). Cierra Burnham had multiple hits against the Scots, while Brianna Holdren doubled. In the victory, Burnham homered early in the game, then doubled in the winner in the seventh. Portland was 15th in Western A at press time (only 12 teams qualify) and needed to shock Scarborough to end its five-year playoff drought.

Deering fell to 0-15 with its loss to McAuley. The Rams (18th in Western A) hoped to win their final, at Marshwood Monday. Regardless, Deering has shown great improvement this spring.

The softball playoffs begin Tuesday of next week with the preliminary round. The quarterfinals are Thursday, June 12 and the semis Saturday, June 14. All games will be played on the field of the higher seed.

Boys’ lacrosse

Cheverus’ boys lacrosse team, the two-time defending Eastern A champion, closed its regular season at 8-4 after beating visiting Portland (12-3) and Marshwood (14-5). The Stags got four goals from James Kane and three from Thomas Lawson against the Bulldogs. In the win over the Hawks, Lawson had five goals and Nick Schleh added four. Cheverus will probably be the No. 3 seed for the playoffs.

Portland and Deering were clinging to postseason spots at press time, but had work to do.

The Bulldogs were seventh in Eastern A (eight teams qualify) at 5-6 after a 12-3 loss at Cheverus and a 12-5 home win over Massbesic. Brady Greene had three goals in the victory. Portland closes at home against Marshwood Thursday.

The Rams were eighth at 3-7 following a 12-10 loss at Windham Thursday. Alec Halpin had four goals, but it wasn’t quite enough. Deering has to make up a game at Noble and hosts Westbrook Wednesday.

In Western B, Waynflete looks as if it will be the No. 5 seed for the playoffs. The Flyers were 6-4 at press time following a 24-6 romp at Wells last week. Timmy Bollinger had six goals, while Harry Baker-Connick, Cooper Chap and Joe Connors all added three. Waynflete has to make up a game at York and closes at home against Freeport Thursday.

The lacrosse playoffs begin with the quarterfinals Wednesday, June 10.

Girls’ lacrosse

There’s been plenty of drama on the girls’ side, with 50 minutes not being enough on multiple occasions.

Two-time defending Class B state champion Waynflete, the state’s gold standard, cemented its resurgence last week by taking both Western B Heal Points leader Kennebunk and Eastern B leader Yarmouth to overtime. Against the Rams, the Flyers rallied from a 5-1 deficit and after Ella Millard tied the game in the six-minute overtime, they won it, 7-6, on a “sudden victory” tally from Leigh Fernandez.

“We just ran through one of our plays,” Fernandez said. “I just saw a lane. I’m not sure I was totally open. Cat (Johnson) had an amazing feed and when you’re all alone in front, you just shoot it. It was pretty exciting.”

Fernandez, Johnson and Hannah Thompson-Greaves all had two goals and goalie Charlotte Majercik made 10 clutch saves.

“I’m so excited,” Thompson-Greaves said. “I can’t even form words right now. I’m shaking. It’s just the best feeling. I don’t think I can do my homework after this.”

“It was so nerve-wracking,” Majercik said. “It was really intense. There was a lot riding on this game. I can still feel my heart pounding.”

“It was a game of beautiful transition with two teams playing hard,” added Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. “Classic Kennebunk-Waynflete. It really was. (My girls) could have put their heads down and said forget it, but they didn’t. This is special. I’m so proud of them. It makes me want to cry.”

Saturday morning, Yarmouth, which came in riding an eight-game win streak which began with an 11-4 home drubbing of the Flyers back on April 30, jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in the second half, but Waynflete turned up the defense and behind the passing of Johnson (who had five assists) roared back to tie the game, 6-6, as Fernandez had four goals and Millard two. This time, however, the extra session was kind to the visitors, who got a goal and held on to win, 7-6, snapping the Flyers’ win streak at six.

“It would have been nice to win, but it was an improvement from last time,” Fernandez said.

“I’m happy,” Connors said. “I’m walking off feeling really good. A win would have been wonderful, but they took us to running time a month ago and today, we held on and played with them. I’m really proud. Sometimes, it’s not bad to have a loss right before the playoffs to remind us how it feels.”

Waynflete (7-3 and second to Kennebunk in the Western B Heal Points standings) closes with two huge road tests: at Cheverus Wednesday and Cape Elizabeth Friday (see theforecaster.net for both game stories). Two wins would likely give the Flyers the top seed for the tournament once again.

Defending Class A champion Cheverus, meanwhile, has also played its share of nailbiters. The Stags dropped a 9-8 decision at Gorham last Thursday, pounded visiting McAuley, 21-2, Friday, then had to go to overtime to survive visiting Scarborough Saturday, 14-12. Against the Rams, Meredith Willard had four goals, but Cheverus couldn’t hold on. In the win over the Lions, Alex Logan scored five times and Elyse Caiazzo tickled the twine on five occasions. The Stags trailed the Red Storm, 11-8, with 11 minutes to go, but goals from Abby Biegel, Caiazzo and Caiazzo again forced OT, where Logan won all five draws and Willard, Logan and MaryKate Walsh all scored to produce a memorable victory. Caiazzo and Willard both scored four times, while Sadie Lyons added three goals.

“We’ve been in overtime before,” Lyons said. “We knew what we needed to do.”

“It was a battle today,” said Logan. “They’re a great team. We knew we’d have to be ready.”

“This is incredibly big,” Caiazzo said. “This proves we’re heading to a good place. These are the best games. They’re the most fun.

“I have a raging headache, but I enjoyed it,” added Stags first-year coach Mallory Pelkey. “It’s awesome. These are the games I like coaching and watching. It’s never fun to be winning or losing by a lot. These are the teams we want to play.”

Cheverus (8-3 and first in Eastern A) closes the regular season at home against Waynflete in a battle of champions Wednesday. A win locks up the top seed.

Portland was sixth in Eastern A at 5-6 after home wins over Bonny Eagle (20-12) and Edward Little (21-5). Against the Scots, Erin Mahoney had five goals and Isabel Stehli added four. The Bulldogs hosted Deering in the regular season finale Tuesday.

Deering was 3-8 and ninth in Eastern A (only eight teams make the playoffs) heading into its finale at Portland. The Rams were coming off a 16-11 win at McAuley and a 9-8 home loss to Sanford. In the victory, Mony Prak had five goals and Justice Welch four.

McAuley finished 2-10 and at 10th in Eastern A will fall short of the playoffs. Last week, the Lions fell at home to Deering (16-11) and Windham (21-6) and Cheverus (21-1), then closed with an 18-6 home win over Lincoln. Allison Tardiff scored four goals, while Kaeli Leddy and Amanda Spink both scored three against the Rams. Natalie Juris had three goals against the Eagles. Senior standout Katherine Lake returned from a season-long injury against the Stags, then erupted for nine goals against Lincoln, including the 100th of her transcendent career.

The lacrosse playoffs begin with the quarterfinals Wednesday, June 10.

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

Sidebar Elements


Deering sophomore Pat Viola steals second base as Portland second baseman Evan Gallant takes the throw during the Bulldogs’ 10-1 victory last week.

Waynflete senior Leigh Fernandez (arms raised) exults after scoring in “sudden victory” overtime to beat Kennebunk last week, 7-6. Fernandez is congratulated by classmate Cat Johnson, who set up the goal.

McAuley senior standout Katherine Lake is blanketed by three Lincoln Academy defenders in the Lions’ season finale Saturday, but they had no chance to deny her in her final game. Lake, who missed almost the whole season with a knee injury, scored nine times against the Eagles to finish her transcendent career with 100 goals.

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