Midway point passed, spring sports season turns for home-Portland edition

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Cheverus senior Jack Casale steals third as Deering junior third baseman Alex McGonagle reaches in vain for a wild throw. Casale would come home on the play and the Stags beat the Rams, 7-0, Saturday to stay undefeated.

Portland freshman first baseman Callie Watson makes a terrific catch of a foul ball at the fence during the Bulldogs’ 14-2, five-inning, win over Deering last week.

Waynflete junior Izzy Burdick scores one of her career-high six goals in Saturday’s 15-8 win over Cheverus.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Deering, Cheverus-Windham, Cheverus-South Portland and Deering-Windham baseball, Portland-Deering softball and Cheverus-Portland and Waynflete-Cheverus game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

The weather has yet to turn for the better, but most spring sports teams have now completed at least half their schedule, meaning that every game takes on added importance in the days to come.

Here’s a look at the week that was as well as a glimpse ahead:

Baseball

Cheverus’ baseball team began last week at 5-0 and one of several contenders in Class A South. By Saturday evening, the Stags were 9-0 and had separated themselves from the pack after downing host Marshwood (4-0), visiting Windham (5-3), host South Portland (4-0) and visiting Deering (7-0). Conner MacDonald and Jack Casale combined to throw the shutout and Jared Brooks homered in the win over the Hawks. Against the Eagles, Jack Mullen went the distance on just 62 pitches and Griff Watson had two hits and scored twice.

“I went out there and just tried to do my best,” said Mullen. “My teammates helped me out and got a lot of outs.”

“We just do our job,” Watson said. “The bench guys keep the energy up. I love this team.”

“We take the W’s one by one,” added Cheverus coach Mac McKew. “We don’t worry about the score. We’re finding a way. It’s a very good team from a chemistry standpoint.” 

Brooks stole the show at South Portland, throwing a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts and lining a double as well. Maxx St. John drove in a pair of runs and Cam Dube scored twice.

“I knew I was capable of doing this,” Brooks said. “This is what I love. This is my passion. I’m so glad I’m getting great results.”

“Because of his strikeouts, (Jared) runs up his pitch counts a little bit, but he’s gone out there and has been dominant,” McKew said. “He’s done the job. He’s a leader on this team.”

Jack Casale continued the strong pitching trend against the Rams, allowing just three hits in a shutout effort, striking out 10. Casale and Watson both scored twice and Brooks had two RBI.

“I hadn’t started in two weeks, but I pitched (in relief Tuesday) against Marshwood and I had confidence that my arm felt good,” Casale said. “Today, it’s the first time I’ve had both breaking pitches effective this season.”

“Mixing up the pitches was definitely the key,” said senior catcher Logan McCarthy. “(Jack) has a lot of pitches to work with. I get to sit back and relax and enjoy the ride as a catcher.”

“It was a very successful week,” added McKew. “We were aggressive with the bats. We were aggressive on the bases and we got great pitching.”

The Stags were first in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time. They went to Noble Tuesday, host Sanford Thursday, have a key showdown at Portland Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and visit Westbrook Tuesday of next week.

Portland improved to 6-2 and sixth in the region after a 5-2 victory at South Portland and a 5-0 home win over Windham. Gio Rutolo improved to 3-0 by holding the Red Riots to seven hits and Jake Knop singled and doubled. In the win over the Eagles, Donnie Tocci threw a a five-hit shutout with six strikeouts and also drove in a run. Will Snyder broke the game open with a two-run double. The Bulldogs went to Bonny Eagle Tuesday, play at Westbrook Wednesday, host Cheverus Saturday and welcome Biddeford Tuesday of next week.

Deering was 4-4 and eighth in Class A South after sandwiching losses at Biddeford (3-1) and Cheverus (7-0) around a 3-1 home win over Westbrook. James Sinclair was the hard-luck loser against the Tigers and Luke Hill drove in the run. In the victory, Riley Bartell threw a six-hitter and drove in the go-ahead run.

“I felt like I had to throw a good game,” Bartell said. “I wanted to limit them and give us the best chance to win that I could.”

“We needed it,” said Rams coach Josh Stowell. “It’s a good character win. The guys here stepped up tonight and that will give us something to build on.”

Deering only mustered three hits against the Stags.

“(Cheverus is) the best team in the league for a reason,” said Stowell. “I was proud of how the guys battled. We were in it for awhile, but we couldn’t string any hits together on offense.”

The Rams went to Windham Tuesday, host Marshwood Thursday, welcome South Portland Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and play at Sanford Tuesday of next week.

In Class C South, Waynflete fell to 0-6 and 13th after losses to visiting Old Orchard Beach (10-1) and North Yarmouth Academy (10-2) and at Lake Region (15-3). After visiting St. Dom’s Monday, the Flyers play at Sacopee Valley Wednesday, host Sacopee Valley Friday and welcome Traip Academy Monday.

Softball

Portland’s softball team started the week atop the Class A South Heals after improving to 9-1 with wins last week at Noble (5-3), at home over Deering (14-2, in five-innings) and at home over Massabesic (5-4). The Bulldogs came from behind against the Knights as Annie Twombly had a key hit and Jess Brown struck out 15 batters.  In the win over the Rams, Portland scored nine runs in the first and never looked back. Sydney Gilbert earned the win and Taylor Crosby scored twice and drove in three runs. 

“It feels good to beat Deering,” Gilbert said. “We were a little nervous at first, but we just relaxed and went back to playing our game.” 

“I knew if we jumped on them, it would be tough for them to come back,” said Bulldogs coach Robbie Ferrante. “The kids are playing really hard and they want to get better.”

Portland erased a four-run deficit against the Mustangs, as Kit Rosmus tied the score in the bottom of the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly and Grace Stacey followed with a game-ending double. Morgan Boyle had three hits. The Bulldogs were at Marshwood Monday, visit defending Class A champion Biddeford Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), play at Deering Friday and host Gorham Monday.

The Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth co-op team was 3-6 and 13th in Class A South (where 12 teams make the playoffs) at press time after a marathon 17-15 win at Cheverus/NYA and losses at Bonny Eagle (2-0) and at home to Scarborough (14-2, in five-innings). In the victory, Megan Faucher had four RBI. Jill Joyce drove in both runs against the Red Storm. The Sea Lions hosted Thornton Academy Monday, visit Sanford Wednesday, play at Windham Friday and host South Portland Monday.

Deering was 1-8 and 16th in the region after losses to visiting Windham (21-0, in five-innings), at Sanford (17-4, in five-innings), at Portland (14-2, in five-innings) and at Biddeford (14-4). Abby Elowitch had two hits and three RBI against the Spartans. In the loss to the Bulldogs, Elowitch had two more hits and drove in a run.

“(Portland’s) a good team,” Rams first-year coach John Coyne said. “It was a tough start for us.”

Liz Drelich and Kaylee Helmick both had three hits in the loss to the Tigers. Deering was home with South Portland Monday, plays at Thornton Academy Wednesday, welcomes Portland Friday and plays host to Massabesic Monday.

The Cheverus/NYA co-op team started the week 0-10 and 17th in the region after losses to visiting Marshwood (11-1), at Gorham (17-15), at home to Cheverus (17-15), at Thornton Academy (13-1) and at Windham (13-5). Ally Tillotson had five hits in the loss to the Sea Lions and homered against the Eagles. Cheverus/NYA was home with Biddeford Monday, welcomes Bonny Eagle Wednesday, plays at Westbrook Friday and hosts Noble Monday of next week.

Boys’ lacrosse

Cheverus’ boys’ lacrosse team was 5-2 and third in the Class A North Heal Points standings at press time after a marathon 7-6, four-overtime home win over Gorham, a 9-2 victory at Bonny Eagle and an 11-8 home triumph over Greely last week. Michael Hatch had the winner against the Rams. In the victory over the Scots, Max Coffin scored four times. Hatch had three goals against the Rangers. After going to defending Class A champion Scarborough Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story), the Stags host Noble Friday and welcome Westbrook Tuesday of next week.

Deering began the week 4-3 and sixth in Class A North after a 20-8 home loss to Scarborough and a 19-1 win at Oak Hill. Nate Richards had two goals against the Red Storm and Richards and Jonah Peterson had five goals apiece and Omar Contreras and Nick James both added three in the victory. The Rams go to Bonny Eagle Wednesday, play at South Portland Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and visit Massabesic Monday.

Portland fell to 2-6 and 10th in the region after losses last week at Thornton Academy (16-4) and Edward Little (12-10). The Bulldogs host Bonny Eagle Friday and welcome South Portland Tuesday.

In Class B South, Waynflete was 2-5 and eighth after a 13-12 home win over Lake Region and home losses to defending Class B champion Falmouth (17-0) and Gorham (19-3). Hank Duvall had six goals in the victory and also scored twice against the Rams. The Flyers go to Cape Elizabeth Friday and play at Wells Tuesday of next week.

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, Maine Girls’ Academy is quietly putting together a good season. Last week, the Lions improved to 4-3 and fourth in the Class A North Heals with wins at Westbrook (11-5), at home over Sanford (17-10) and at home over NYA (17-4). Zoe Mazur had six goals and Catherine Reid added five against the Blue Blazes. In the win over the Panthers, Reid erupted for 10 goals and Mazur added seven. MGA was home with Gorham Tuesday, plays at Portland Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and goes to Deering Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus held off host Portland, 7-6, then lost at home to defending Class A South champion Massabesic (17-2) and fell at perennial power Waynflete (15-8) to fall to 3-4 on the season (fifth in Class A North). In the victory, Brooke McElman had four goals and the Stags held on for dear life down the stretch.

“It was a good game,” McElman said. “We knew they were scrappy on defense, but we kept it up on offense and our defense did a great job in the second half.”

“It was a tough one,” Cheverus first-year coach Bill Fenton said. “We got a win, but we had way too many turnovers today. It was physical and we overreacted. We have a lot of work to do still.”

Against the Flyers, McElman scored twice for an early lead, but 12 of the next 14 goals went to the hosts and despite four goals from McElman and three more from Mackenzie Johnston, the Stags fell short.

“Waynflete’s a great team,” Fenton said. “We hadn’t seen the draw-and-dump as well as they do it. They were great at it and that was our big downfall.”

Cheverus was home with Marshwood Tuesday, visits Thornton Academy Thursday and plays at Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Portland fell at home to Cheverus (7-6) and at South Portland (12-5) before winning at home over Gardiner, 11-8, to improve to 2-5. Against the Stags, the Bulldogs erased an early 3-0 lead and almost came back again late to force overtime, but fell just short.

“That was a good game for us,” said Portland first-year coach Beth Broderick. “We just got unlucky a couple of times. I’m proud of how we kept our composure.”

Chloe Kilbride scored twice against the Red Riots. In the win, Annika More and Isabella More both had three goals and Abby Krieckhaus made 13 saves. The Bulldogs (11th in Class A North at press time) hosted Windham Tuesday, welcome MGA Thursday and play host to Thornton Academy Tuesday of next week.

Deering was 2-4 and seventh in Class A North after losses at Massabesic (15-4) and Windham (17-2). After hosting Westbrook Tuesday, the Rams welcome South Portland Thursday, go to Lawrence Saturday and play host to MGA Tuesday of next week.

Waynflete was fifth in a hotly contested Class B South at press time after falling at York, 10-4, then downing visiting Cheverus, 15-8, to improve to 4-3. In the win, Izzy Burdick had a career-high six goals, LZ Olney added five and Ali Pope controlled the draw circle to help the Flyers earn a much needed victory.

 “This is a great confidence boost,” Pope said. “We’ve had some competitive games and we stayed positive. It’s nice to get a win.”

“Once we started connecting, we worked to make each other look good,” Burdick said. “Our offense is great. We can all score.”

“The girls responded,” added Flyers coach Cathie Connors. “We’ve needed to connect and our transition was much better today. We made some changes to see what works well with a young team.”

Waynflete played at St. Dom’s Tuesday and returns home Monday to face Lake Region in a playoff rematch.

Track

Deering’s boys’ outdoor track team beat Gorham and host Marshwood in a meet last week. The Rams got wins from Songha Loth in the 100 (12.09 seconds), Travis Soule in the 400 (54.26), Alec Troxell in the mile (4 minutes, 36.04 seconds), Chris Irakoze in the 110 hurdles (17.16) and 300 hurdles (44.31), Emmauel Lam in the high jump (5 feet, 6 inches), Ezra Chapola in the long jump (19-2), Kabala Muka in the shot put (44-5) and their 4×100 (45.90) and 4×400 (3:46.96) relay teams.

The Rams girls’ team was second to Gorham and Maine Girls’ Academy came in fourth. Deering got first-place performances from Annah Rossvall in the 100 (13.55) and the 300 hurdles (49.96), Gaia Zampieri in the 400 (1:04.23), and its 4×400 relay team (4:19.24). The Lions were paced by Sam Witkowski, who was runner-up in the pole vault (7-0).

Cheverus’ girls placed fourth at a four-team meet at Scarborough. Emma Gallant won the 400 (1:01.10), Hannah Abbott was first in the shot put (34-3) and discus (99-10) and the Stags won the 4×100 relay (52.23).

Cheverus’ boys hosted Bonny Eagle, Sanford and Scarborough and wound up fourth. The Stags got wins from Sam Tompkins in the 100 (11.60) and their 4×100 relay team (45.91).

Portland joined Gorham and Sanford at Thornton Academy. Clinton Nicolai won the boys’ discus (142-1). Inez Braceras was first in the girls’ mile (6:05.00) and the girls’ 4×100 relay team also came in first (56.00).

Tennis

Portland’s boys’ tennis team was undefeated at press time, improving to 6-0 after 5-0 wins last week over Cheverus, Sanford and Gorham. The Bulldogs have a showdown at Deering Wednesday, then visit defending Class A champion Thornton Academy Friday.Deering has been red-hot as well, improving to 6-1 after after 5-0 victories last week over Massabesic, Biddeford and Sanford. Cheverus was 3-3 at press time and plays at Thornton Academy Wednesday. Nine-time defending Class C state champion Waynflete bounced back from its lone loss with victories over Kennebunk (4-1), Greely (5-0) and Cape Elizabeth (5-0) last week to improve to 6-1. 

On the girls’ side, all five teams appear playoff-bound.

Waynflete improved to 6-2 Friday with a 3-2 victory over defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth. In Class A South, Cheverus was 5-2 after a 4-1 win over Portland and a 4-1 loss to Gorham last week. Deering was 6-2 and took a four-match win streak into Monday’s contest against Bonny Eagle. Portland was 5-3 following a 5-0 win over MGA and the Lions fell to 2-5 with that loss.

The singles qualifying tournament began Saturday at Deering High School.

Waynflete’s Lexi Epstein and Portland’s Lauren Paradise advanced on the girls’ side and Cheverus’ Aiden Treutel, Deering’s Conor Doane, Portland’s Peter Gribizis, Peter Barry and Quinn Clarke and Waynflete’s Brandon Ameglio, Thorne Kieffer and Jacob Greene moved on in the boys’ field.

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.