Let the postseason begin; Playoff frenzy underway-Southern edition

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Cape Elizabeth-Wells, Scarborough-Thornton Academy and Scarborough-Portland baseball, Cape Elizabeth-Greely softball, Cape Elizabeth-Yarmouth and Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth boys’ lacrosse and South Portland-Massabesic girls’ lacrosse game stories, with box scores and photos, see theforecaster.net)

The arrival of the month of June means that the spring sports season is coming to a close.

Postseason drama is already underway in tennis and outdoor track.

The baseball, softball and lacrosse regular seasons are wrapping up and their playoffs begin next week.

Here’s an overview of the spring sports playoff picture:

Tennis

The state team tennis tournament was underway at press time.

The three-time defending Class B state champion Cape Elizabeth boys finished 10-2 and third in the Class B South Heal Points standings. The Capers hosted No. 6 Yarmouth (5-7) in the quarterfinals. Cape Elizabeth won the regular season meeting, 4-1.

In Class A South, Scarborough earned the No. 5 seed after a 9-3 regular season and opened the playoffs at No. 4 Portland (10-2) in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs won the regular season meeting way back on April 25, 5-0. 

South Portland finished 8-4 and seventh in Class A South and downed No. 10 Cheverus, 5-0, in the preliminary round Tuesday, the Red Riots’ first playoff victory in eight years. South Portland went to No. 2 Falmouth (12-0), the two-time defending Class A champion, for the quarterfinals Thursday. The teams didn’t play this year.

On the girls’ side, Scarborough went 12-0, but wound up second in Class A South behind eight-time defending state champion Falmouth, which enters the playoffs on a 137-match win streak. The Red Storm hosted No. 7 Cheverus (9-4) in the quarterfinals Thursday. Scarborough beat the Stags by a 5-0 margin during the regular season.

South Portland earned the No. 9 seed in Class A South. Tuesday, the Red Riots lost, 4-1, at No. 8 Deering in the preliminary round to finish 6-7.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth went 9-3 and finished second behind Morse in the Heals. The Capers hosted two-time defending state champion Greely (7-5), the No. 7 seed, in the quarterfinals. Cape Elizabeth won both regular season matches against the Rangers, 4-1 and 5-0.

Looking ahead, the semifinals are Saturday, on the home courts of the higher seeds. The regional finals are Thursday, June 9 at Bates College in Lewiston and the state matches are Saturday, June 11, at Lewiston High School.

In the state singles tournament, Cape Elizabeth’s Michael Mills advanced the deepest, reaching the semifinal round. Mills, the No. 4 seed, defeated Timo Teckenberg of Lewiston, 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-3, in the second round, Deering’s Conor Doane, 6-3, 6-3, in the Round of 16 and No. 12 Thomas Brent of Gorham, 6-2, 6-2, in the quarterfinals, then finally met his match against top-ranked, eventual champion Nick Mathieu of Mt. Ararat, 6-7 (3), 1-6, in the semifinals.

Cape Elizabeth’s Ted Hall was a 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4 winner over Old Town’s Chad Bartlett in the first round, then lost, 1-6, 0-6, to Orono’s Takumi Hoshima in the second round.

Scarborough’s John McCloskey was defeated, 0-6, 2-6, by Waynflete’s Brandon Amgelio in the first round.

On the girls’ side, two local girls got to the quarterfinals.

No. 6 seed Megan Nathanson of Scarborough defeated Katie Vannorsdall of Camden Hills, 6-1, 6-1, and Waynflete’s Lexi Epstein, 6-2, 6-2, before being ousted, 2-6, 1-6, by No. 3 seed and eventual champion Julia Brogan of Falmouth.

Eighth-seeded Liv Clifford of Cape Elizabeth beat Aubra Linn of Hampden Academy, 6-2, 6-1, and York’s Mia Briggs, 6-0, 6-3, then was eliminated, 1-6, 1-6, by top seeded Lana Mavor of Yarmouth. 

Outdoor track

Thornton Academy in Saco was the site of the Southwestern Maine Athletic Association outdoor track and field championship meet under scorching skies Saturday.

Scarborough’s boys won the title with 112 points. South Portland (75) tied Deering for second. 

The Red Storm got wins from Sam Rusak in the 200 (23.18 seconds), high jump (6 feet, 4 inches) and pole vault (14-5.5), Andrew Sholl in the 800 (2 minutes, 3.98 seconds) and Colin Tardiff in the mile (4:27.33) and two-mile (10:30.15).

Scarborough also got points from Rusak (runner-up in the 110 hurdles, 15.91), Sholl (runner-up in the mile, 4:27.50), Sebastian Osborne (third in the javelin, 138-10, and fourth in the shot put, 46-5), Alex Dionne (third in the shot put, 12-6), Ben Batoosingh (fifth in the 300 hurdles, 43.11), Shamus Malia (fifth in the 800, 2:05.39) and its third-place 4×400 (3:36.41), third-place 4×800 (8:32.11) and fourth-place 4×100 (45.51) relay squads.

The Red Riots got a pair of first-place performances from both Ruay Bol (in the long jump, 20-11, and triple jump, 45-9.25) and Daniel Guiliani (in the shot put, 66-00.25, and discus, 159-4).

Also scoring for South Portland were Bol (second in the high jump, 6-2), Steven Smith (runner-up in the racewalk, 7:38.03), Jacob Maloney (fourth in the mile, 4:41.58), Noah Blake (fourth in the 100, 11.79), Xander Keiter (sixth in the two-mile, 10:56.53), Gary Maietta (sixth in the triple jump, 39-7.5), Banza Mutombo (sixth in the shot put, 45-7.25) and its runner-up 4×100 relay team (44.81).

The girls’ title was shared by Thornton Academy and Westbrook with 73 points. Scarborough (57 points) was fifth and South Portland (47) came in sixth.

The Red Storm got wins from Ellen Shaw in the 100 hurdles (16.20) and Laura Volan in the mile (she tied Bonny Eagle’s Ami Beaumier for top honors in 5:33.86). Also scoring were Kirsten Dennen (second in the pole vault, 9-0), Edie Christian (third in the pole vault, 8-6), Gaby Panagakos (fourth in the 100, 13.35, and fourth in the 400, 1:00.34), Maggie Franz (fifth in the 200, 27.98), Hannah Griffin (fifth in the mile, 5:50.46) and the third-place 4×400 (4:12.21) and third-place 4×800 (10:22.74) relay teams.

The Red Riots’ top finishers were Abby Donahue, who came in second in the racewalk (8:55.71), Callie O’Brien (second in the 300 hurdles, 49.65), and their runner-up 4×400 relay team (4:20.56). Also scoring were O’Brien (third in the 100 hurdles, 17.23), Juliana Selser (third in the 400, 1:00.32, and sixth in the 200, 28.06), Lingdong Bol (who tied for third in the high jump, 5-0), Madison Smith (sixth in the racewalk, 9:55.59) and the fourth-place 4×100 relay team (52.71).

In the Western Maine Conference championship meet at Lake Region High School in Naples, Cape Elizabeth boys had 14 points and came in ninth in Division I (Falmouth was first with 177). Matthew Concannon finished runner-up in the 100 (11.88). Luc Houle came in fifth in the discus (110-5). The 4×100 (47.92) and the 4×800 (9:21.14) relay teams both placed fifth. The Capers girls also came in ninth with 7 points (Falmouth was first with 157.5). Kristen Penley was third in the high jump (4-8) and the 4×800 relay team placed sixth (10:52.28). 

The state championship meets are Saturday. Scarborough and South Portland compete in the Class A meet at Hampden Academy. Cape Elizabeth travels to Mt. Desert Island to take part in the Class B state meet.

New Englands are Saturday, June 11.

Baseball

Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland’s baseball teams are all poised to do some major damage in the playoffs.

In Class A South, South Portland won its final three games, including a 3-0 home victory over Westbrook and an 11-0 (five-inning) triumph at Windham, to finish 14-2. Sam Troiano and Griffin Kelley combined to limit the Blue Blazes to one hit. Troiano also scored twice and stole two bases. In the win over the Eagles, Kelley threw a five-inning no-hitter, Troiano doubled twice, Drew Abramson tripled and Ben Conti and Zack Johnson both had three hits. The Red Riots project to be the second seed behind Falmouth for the upcoming state tournament. South Portland will host a yet-to-be-determined foe Thursday of next week.

Scarborough capped a magical 13-3 regular season with pivotal home wins over Thornton Academy (1-0) and Portland (4-3). Against the Golden Trojans, Josh Reed pitched a three-hit gem and Bayley Welsh’s sacrifice fly scored Morgan Pratt with the game’s lone run.

“We were trying to get what we could and advance runners and we made it work,” Pratt said. “Small ball is what we like to do.”

“It’s a huge win,” Welsh said. “They’re obviously a very good team. It’s promising that we could come out and win this.”

“It means a lot,” Reed said. “We’ve always lost to them. I wanted this really bad.”

“That’s a great team over there,” added Wes Ridlon, who filled in as coach for Mike D’Andrea, who was out of state with his daughter at a softball tournament. “We executed our game plan and our kids delivered. If you want to be in the upper echelon, you have to win games like this and we did that today.”

Tuesday, pitcher Mitchell Wedge walked three batters in the first inning and a pair of errors helped the Bulldogs go ahead, 2-0, but the Red Storm got a run back in the third on Cam Seymour’s bloop hit, then went on top, 3-2, in the fourth on Matt Caron’s RBI ground out and Nick Lorello’s clutch two-out RBI single. Portland tied the game in the fifth, but in the bottom of the sixth, Reed’s two-out RBI single plated Lorello and Wedge escaped a bases loaded jam in the seventh as Scarborough held on to earn a preliminary round bye.

“I was a little worried, you have to be, but I was confident in my defense, since they always come through for me, and in myself, that I could get it done,” Wedge said. 

“I was confident (Mitch would) get out of it,” Reed said. “He saved his best for last.”

“I’m thrilled with the outcome and the way the season has gone as far as our record,” added D’Andrea, who has worked wonders in his first season with the program. “How can I not be pleasantly surprised with this group? I told them day one that we’d be a better team at the end of the season.”

Scarborough will likely be the No. 3 seed for the tournament and will host a quarterfinal round game against a yet-to-be-determined opponent Thursday of next week.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth locked up the top seed for the second straight spring. Last week, the Capers lost at home to York (6-3) and at Greely (8-4), then won at home over Wells (5-2). Jack O’Rourke had two hits against the Wildcats. In the loss to the Rangers, the Capers got two hits apiece from O’Rourke, Nate Ingalls and Brendan Tinsman, but were done in by three errors. 

Against Wells, consecutive errors allowed the first two Warriors to reach base and Cape Elizabeth coach Andy Wood had to resort to desperate measures and mid-inning, he moved five different players to new spots. The unorthodox move paid immediate dividends when new shortstop, sophomore Finn Bowe, started a double play, and while a run scored, order had been restored. 

“I was warned (the change) might happen,” Bowe said. “It was pretty weird, but I’m used to playing shortstop. It’s just a bit of a longer throw, but I adjusted pretty well.” 

“After the feeling of yesterday’s game, then having it happen again, I had to make the decision to do it,” Wood said. ‘I’m lucky to have guys who can go in and get the job done without practicing in that spot.”

In the bottom of the inning, the Capers got their bats going, as Dylan Roberts hit a game-tying RBI single and two more runs scored on a Wells error. The Warriors got a run back in the second, but Ingalls was fully in command from then on. The Capers got some breathing room in the third, when Sean Agrodnia executed a perfect squeeze bunt to score junior third baseman Marshall Peterson. In the fourth, Roberts’ sacrifice fly brought home Ingalls for a three-run lead. From there, Ingalls and his defense slammed the door and Cape Elizabeth got back on track with a 5-2 victory.

“I just had to keep throwing strikes,” Ingalls said. “I felt comfortable. The double play settled us down.”

“I have a lot of confidence in this team,” Roberts said. “We’ve played well all year. We’ve had some tough losses, but if we play our ‘A’ game, we can beat anyone.” 

Tuesday, the Capers lost, 11-6, at Yarmouth to finish 11-5. Roberts singled and tripled, but Cape Elizabeth let a 5-1 lead slip away. The Capers will host a quarterfinal Thursday of next week against a yet-to-be-determined foe.

In Class D South, Greater Portland Christian School finished 0-8 and 11th (only eight teams made the playoffs) after losing a home doubleheader to Forest Hills (14-1 and 22-8) to close the year.

Softball

Scarborough’s juggernaut softball team finally received a couple of tests to close the regular season, but found a way to pass them and stay perfect. Last Thursday, the Red Storm were locked in a scoreless game with visiting Windham until the bottom of the sixth, when Katie Verreault hit a home run. Kaileigh Scoville singled in Maggie Murphy for an insurance run and Lilly Volk who threw a four-hitter, striking out a dozen, closed out the 2-0 victory. The next day, Scarborough fell behind visiting Biddeford, 3-0, after one inning and was still down, 3-2, heading to the bottom of the seventh. With their 56-game win streak and 33-game home winning streak on the line, the Red Storm saved their best for last, as Chloe Griffin singled to tie it and Scoville won it for Scarborough’s most dramatic win to date, one which clinched a 16-0 regular season and the top seed for the Class A South playoffs. The Red Storm will open the tournament Thursday of next week at home against a yet-to-be-determined foe.

South Portland appears as if it will be the 12th and final team into the Class A South playoff field. The Red Riots wound up 5-11 after a 13-2 win at Cheverus and a 7-1 setback at Gorham. South Portland will play on the road in the preliminary round Tuesday.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth lost its last four games to wind up 10-6. The Capers closed with setbacks at Greely (4-2) and at Yarmouth (3-1). Against the Rangers, the Capers made four errors and couldn’t come up with a timely hit.

“We hit the ball hard, but I’m not making any excuses,” Cape Elizabeth coach Joe Henrikson said. “We had some misplays. They put pressure on us and we had some walks and we had errors and they capitalized.” 

Maddie Culkin had an RBI triple in the loss to the defending champion Clippers.

The Capers’ seed wasn’t determined at press time, but they’ll likely host a preliminary round game Tuesday.

Boys’ lacrosse

Cape Elizabeth’s three-time defending Class B state champion boys’ lacrosse team will be the top seed for the Class B South playoffs for the fourth year in a row. The Capers closed with a 14-6 home win over Yarmouth in a state game rematch and a 13-5 victory at Falmouth to go 12-0 for the second time in three regular seasons. In its 17th straight win over the Clippers, Cape Elizabeth only led, 6-5, going to the fourth quarter, but there, the Capers erupted for eight goals and pulled away behind four goals apiece from RJ Sarka and Owen Thoreck and three more from J Bottomley.

“We’ve always been a second half team,” Sarka said. “We didn’t execute in the first half and had trouble holding on to the ball, but we really brought it in the second half.”

“It’s been difficult without the seniors we lost last year, but we push each other in practice every day,” Owen Thoreck said. “It all starts there.”

“More than any other year, we’ve been in close games,” added longtime Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. “Whether we should have been in close games doesn’t really matter, but it’s helped us learn what to do in pressure situations.”

In the surprisingly easy win against the Yachtsmen, Owen Thoreck had three goals, while Sarka, Tate Perkins and Connor Thoreck each scored twice. Ben Ekedahl helped pace a solid defensive effort and even got in the scoring column and goalie Alex Narvaez has his usual stellar game against Falmouth, making nine saves.

“It feels really good,” Connor Thoreck said. “We wanted to win badly. When you come out and play a team like Falmouth, that is very talented and has players who can shoot well, we had to come out hot.”

“We’re doing really well,” Ekedahl said. “We talked and figured out what was going on and we shut them down. We’ve stuck together as a team, even in close games.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the regular season,” added Raymond, who earned his 244th career victory. “The seniors did a great job leading and making sure kids came in in the right frame of mind and focused on the little things.”

Cape Elizabeth (12-0) will have a bye into the semifinals, meaning it won’t play until Saturday, June 11, when it hosts a yet-to-be-determined foe.

In Class A South, Scarborough finished 9-3 and will be the top seed for the playoffs. The Red Storm next play Saturday, June 11, when they host a yet-to-be-determined foe.

South Portland, the two-time defending Western A champion, closed on a four-game win streak, beating host Massabesic (19-1) and visiting Bonny Eagle (19-4) to finish. Jake Angell had five goals against the Mustangs. In the win over the Scots, Cooper Mehlhorn scored five times as nine different Red Riots tickled the twine. South Portland (7-5) will likely be the No. 5 seed in Class A South and might have to go to Thornton Academy for a quarterfinal Wednesday of next week. The teams have played in the past two regional finals.

Girls’ lacrosse

South Portland’s girls’ lacrosse team went 7-5 this spring, closing with a 17-6 home loss to powerhouse Massabesic and a 16-4 win at Noble. Mary Cronin, Maddie Hasson and Jena Leckie all had two goals against the Mustangs, but the Red Riots had no answers for one of the state’s premier teams.

“I’m not disappointed in my girls, unfortunately, (Massabesic is just) stronger,” said Red Riots coach Leslie Dyer. “They were older and stronger and much better than what I was expecting.”

South Portland clinched a winning season at the Knights behind seven goals from Hasson and five from Cronin and was awaiting its final seed at press time. The Red Riots were hoping to host a quarterfinal, but will likely be on the road Wednesday.

Scarborough wound up 4-8 and seventh in Class A South after a 12-3 victory at Westbrook in the finale. The Red Storm will visit Massabesic in the quarterfinals.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth was 3-8 and seventh entering Wednesday’s finale at home versus Greely. The Capers were coming off a 14-4 loss at two-time defending Class B champion Yarmouth despite two goals each from Chloe Chapin and Mariah Deschino. Only six teams make the playoffs, so it’s likely Cape Elizabeth will miss out for the first time since 2000.

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

Sidebar Elements


Scarborough’s Morgan Pratt slides into home with the lone run of Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Thornton Academy.

Cape Elizabeth’s RJ Sarka shoots through the fog and scores one of his four goals during the Capers’ 14-6 home win over Yarmouth last Friday night.

South Portland’s Mary Cronin scores a goal during the Red Riots’ 17-6 home loss to Massabesic last week.

South Portland’s Ruay Bol heads full speed into the triple jump at last weekend’s SMAA championship meet. Bol was first in that event and won the long jump as well.

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