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Cape boys' tennis nears another crown; Baseball, softball, lax playoffs underway

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Cape boys' tennis nears another crown; Baseball, softball, lax playoffs underway

With outdoor track having bestowed its championships last weekend (see story), it's now tennis' turn, with baseball, softball and lacrosse not far behind.

Here's a glimpse of what's happened and what's to come during a very busy playoff season.

Tennis

Cape Elizabeth's boys' tennis team, the defending Class B state champion, found itself two wins shy of a repeat title at press time. The Capers, ranked first in Western B after a 10-2 regular season, advanced by virtue of a 5-0 win over No. 8 Fryeburg in the quarterfinals and a 5-0 victory over No. 4 Lincoln in the semifinals to set up a regional final showdown versus No. 3 Yarmouth (11-3) Thursday at Bates College in Lewiston. Cape Elizabeth beat the Clippers, 4-1, on May 27. The Capers had won all 11 previous playoff meetings, with the most recent a 5-0 victory in the 2006 quarterfinals.

If Cape Elizabeth advanced to the Class B state match, Saturday at 4:30 p.m., at Bates, it would meet either Oceanside (14-0) or Camden Hills (12-2).

Scarborough was the No. 3 seed in Western A after an 11-1 regular season, but after downing No. 11 Kennebunk, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, the Red Storm were ousted by No. 2 Falmouth, 5-0, in the semifinals to finish 12-2.

On the girls' side, Scarborough made a nice run to the Western A semifinals. The Red Storm earned the No. 6 seed and after ousting No. 11 Marshwood, 4-1, in the preliminary round, upset No. 3 Windham, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. Scarborough then ran into juggernaut Falmouth in the semifinals and became the Yachtsmen's 107th straight victim, falling, 5-0, to finish the season 11-4.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth ranked fifth, was a 4-1 quarterfinal round winner over Lisbon, then was ousted by top-ranked Greely, 3-2, in the semifinals to wind up 8-6.

Baseball

The baseball playoffs got underway with the preliminary round Tuesday when Scarborough hosted Sanford. The Red Storm, ranked fifth in Western A after a 9-6-1 regular season, had beaten the visiting Spartans, 9-4, back on May 22. The teams had no playoff history before Scarborough took care of business, 5-0 (Matt Hartl and Zach Carreiro combined on a seven-hit shutout and Hartl and Nick Lorello both had multiple hits), to advance to face No. 4 Marshwood (13-3) in Thursday's quarterfinals.

The Red Storm struggled with the Hawks this spring, losing to them at home (4-2) on April 29 and again on the road (3-2) June 2. Scarborough beat Marshwood in the 1991 Western B preliminary round (11-0) and the 1996 Western B preliminary round (7-4) and lost to the Hawks in the 2007 Western A preliminary round (7-1).

South Portland finished first at 14-2 and hosted a quarterfinal Thursday against No. 9 Cheverus (9-8, after a 9-7 win at No. 8 Thornton Academy in Tuesday's prelim). The Red Riots bested visiting Cheverus May 13, 2-0. South Portland lost to the Stags, 8-2, in the 2011 semifinals, in the only previous postseason encounter.

The Western A semifinals are Saturday on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Western A Final is Tuesday at St. Joseph's College in Standish. The Class A state game is Saturday, June 21, also at St. Joe's.

Cape Elizabeth failed to qualify for the postseason after going 4-12 this spring.

Softball

On the softball diamond, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough both took undefeated records and the top seed in their respective class into Thursday's quarterfinals.

In Western B, the Capers wound up 16-0 and faced No. 9 Poland (9-8). Cape Elizabeth held off the visiting Knights, 2-0, on May 21. Last year, in the quarterfinals, the Capers beat Poland, 4-2. They also downed the Knights, 5-1, in the 2005 quarterfinals and 4-1 in the 2007 quarterfinals.

In Western A, Scarborough capped its 16-0 season with a 6-4 win at South Portland last Friday (in a game twice postponed by bad weather). The Red Storm shot to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, capped by a two-run double from Abbie Murrell, then went up, 6-0, after four before holding off a late Red Riots' rally. Alyssa Williamson earned the win with two shutout innings, singled twice and tripled.

Scarborough faced No. 8 Noble (12-5, after a 2-0 win over No. 9 McAuley in its prelim) in the quarterfinals. The Red Storm beat visiting Knights, 15-5, back on May 7. Scarborough lost to Noble, 1-0, in the 2003 Western A Final and beat the Knights, 12-0, in six innings, in the 2009 quarterfinals and 9-0 (in five innings) in the 2011 quarterfinals in previous meetings.

South Portland finished 12-4 with the loss to Scarborough. Abby Young had two hits and two RBI. The Red Riots earned the No. 4 seed and hosted No. 5 Bonny Eagle (11-5) in Thursday's quarterfinals. South Portland rallied from a 9-1 deficit to edge the visiting Scots, 10-9, June 2. The Red Riots lost to Bonny Eagle in the 1995 regional final (4-1) and beat the Scots in the 2006 semifinals (1-0), the 2007 quarterfinals (4-3) and the 2008 quarterfinals (2-0).

The Western A and Western B semifinals are Saturday, on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Western A Final is Tuesday at St. Joe's, while the Western B Final will be contested Wednesday at St. Joe's. The Class A state game is Saturday, June 21 at St. Joe's, while the Class B contest is the same day in Brewer.

Boys' lacrosse

All three boys' lacrosse teams enter the playoffs confident they have what it takes to win a state title.

Cape Elizabeth capped its first undefeated regular season since 2002 last Wednesday with a 12-10 win at rival Falmouth. The Capers got three goals apiece from Noah Haversat, Ben Shea, Griffin Thoreck and Owen Thoreck and 10 clutch saves from goalie Alex Narvaez.

"It was pretty nervewracking, but I've settled in and have gotten to know my defense," said Narvaez. "I've gotten more comfortable. We've come really far."

"Our record is well earned," Shea said. "Losing our core defense from last year was a big step back, but our defense has stepped up to the occasion this year. They've been unbelievable."

"We didn't have as much incentive to win as we did the first time, but then we realized we had a chance to do something we hadn't done (since 2002)," Haversat said.

"At the beginning of the year, we would have said that (going 12-0) would be great, but I don't know if we thought it would have been realistic," added longtime Capers coach Ben Raymond. "We play quality teams, we lost a lot from last year, but we've played really, really well."

Cape Elizabeth earned the top seed in Western B for the second year in a row and will host No. 4 Greely (7-5) or No. 5 Waynflete (8-4) in Saturday's semifinal round. The Capers romped over the visiting Flyers, 15-1, back on April 18 and doubled up host Greely, 8-4, May 20. Cape Elizabeth is 7-0 all-time in the postseason against each school. Last year, the Capers ousted the Flyers in last year's semifinals, 17-4. Cape Elizabeth last beat Greely in June in the 2012 semifinals (12-1).

In Western A, South Portland is the number one seed, but Scarborough goes into the postseason with momentum after ending the Red Riots' quest for a perfect season last Thursday, by the surprisingly lopsided score of 14-8. Freshman Sam Neugebauer had four goals, Cam Loiselle added three, Nate Howard won 15 of 24 faceoffs and Brendon Smith spearheaded a smothering defensive effort which held South Portland to its lowest offensive total of the season.

"It was the biggest game I've played," Neugebauer said. "It was great. We just passed the ball and got open and tested the goalie."

"We're playing our best lacrosse right now," said Smith. "We knew they hadn't been in too many close games. We knew if we came in here and kept our game plan and didn't let them get easy shots, we'd come out on top."

"I like to think of faceoffs as 'Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot' and typically guys only have one move, so I like to find that one move and counter that and work with my people on the wings and dominate faceoffs because possession is huge," Howard said.

"It was another step in our progression," added Red Storm coach Joe Hezlep. "We had a far different look coming into the year and it's taken us awhile to get our feet set."

Scarborough wound up 9-3 and leapfrogged Thornton Academy into the No. 2 spot in Western A. The Red Storm began their quest for a fifth straight Class A crown Wednesday when they hosted No. 7 Bonny Eagle (4-8), a team they did not play in the regular season. Scarborough beat the Scots, 9-6, in the 2010 quarterfinals in the lone prior playoff meeting.

The Red Riots got three goals from Thomas Leddy against the Red Storm, but was stymied by their nemesis yet again.

"I can't lie, I'm so disappointed," South Portland coach Tom Fiorini said. "I have to be honest, at no point tonight did I feel we should win. It didn't work out the way we were hoping. Hats off to Scarborough. They had a great game plan and they executed. They took it. We didn't give it to them. They played a great game."

Even with the loss, the Red Riots posted a program-best 11-1 mark and earned the top seed in Western A for the first time. South Portland earned a bye into Saturday's semifinals where it will play either No. 4 Gorham (9-3) or No. 5 Westbrook (6-6). The Red Riots beat the host Blue Blazes, 21-4, on May 7. They didn't face the Rams this year. Last year, in the quarterfinals, South Portland beat Gorham, 12-6. The Red Riots have no playoff history with Westbrook.

The regional finals are Wednesday, on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class A and Class B state finals are both Saturday, June 21 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Girls' lacrosse

On the girls' side, Scarborough hosted South Portland in a quarterfinal Wednesday.

The Red Storm earned the No. 3 seed in Western A after a 7-5 regular season. The Red Riots wound up 6-6 and sixth. Back on May 2, Scarborough romped at South Portland, 15-3. The Red Riots won the lone prior playoff meeting (16-7, in the 2003 West Region preliminary round).

The winner either goes to No. 2 Thornton Academy (9-3) or hosts No. 7 Biddeford (7-5) in Saturday's semifinal.

South Portland didn't play either team this year.  The Red Riots lost to Thornton Academy, 8-4, in the 2010 quarterfinals and 13-12 (in overtime) in the 2011 quarterfinals.

Scarborough lost at the Golden Trojans, 9-5, May 15 and handled the visiting Tigers, 12-5, June 2. The Red Storm beat Thornton Academy, 11-3, in the 2007 quarterfinals and 9-7 in the 2011 semifinals.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth wound up 8-4 and third after a 10-5 home loss to nemesis Waynflete in the regular season finale last Friday, the Capers' 24th straight setback at the hands of the two-time defending state champions. Abby McInerney scored three times and Liz Robinson added two goals, but it wasn't enough.

"I think we had some very good opportunities, but we couldn't get them to go," Cape Elizabeth coach Jeff Perkins said. "We missed some eight-meter shots. Waynflete made it harder for us, but it was a lot closer played than what the scoreboard showed."

The Capers hosted No. 6 Falmouth (4-8) in the quarterfinals Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story). Cape Elizabeth beat the Yachtsmen twice this year: 12-5 at home and 10-7 in Falmouth. The teams had met three previous times in the playoffs with Cape Elizabeth prevailing twice. The most recent encounter was a 14-12 Capers' victory in the 2011 semifinals.

The regional finals for lacrosse are Wednesday. Games will be hosted by teams with higher seeds. The Class A and Class B Finals are Saturday, June 21 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

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