Baseball, softball, lax regular seasons wrap up
(Ed. Note: For the complete Deering-Portland and Waynflete-Traip baseball and Cheverus-Gorham, Waynflete-Falmouth and Waynflete-Yarmouth girls' lacrosse game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
Despite Mother Nature's best efforts, the baseball, softball and boys' and girls' lacrosse regular seasons were coming to a close at press time. The postseason is up next, starting next week, and based on what we've seen the past six weeks or so, high drama will be the theme.
Here's a glimpse at where things stand and what's to come.
The roller-coaster ride of the Cheverus baseball team is cresting once more.
The Stags started the year with four straight wins, then they lost five in a row, but Cheverus has turned it around to win five in succession, capped by a palpitating 7-6 (nine inning) come-from-behind home win over Portland and a 5-0 "home" victory over Scarborough, in a game played at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach. Against the Bulldogs, Drew Ferrick came up huge, tying the game with a seventh inning double and singling home the tying run in the ninth before Liam Fitzpatrick walked with the bases loaded to end it. Fitzpatrick and Mitchell Powers both had three hits. Powers also scored twice. In the win over the Red Storm, Brady Murray threw a four-hit shutout and Ryan Casale doubled twice and tripled. The Stags (9-5 and fifth in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) played at Gorham Tuesday and wrap up the regular season with a makeup game at South Portland Wednesday.
Portland opened last week with an 8-3 win at Bonny Eagle (Nate Smart earned the win and had two hits, as did Tim Rovnak and Mike Scala). A 7-6 (nine inning) loss at Cheverus followed. Rovnak, Evan Gallant and Chip Webber all had two hits and pinch-hitter Dan Kane had a two-run single, but it wasn't enough. Monday, the Bulldogs played host to Deering at Hadlock Field and improved to 7-7 (ninth in the Heals) with a 5-4 come-from-behind victory. Joey Apon singled in Scala with the winner in the bottom of the seventh and Caleb Fraser earned the victory on the mound.
"(Deering's pitcher) threw me first pitch fastballs down the middle and I just had to jump one," Apon said. "I found one. It felt awesome."
"Any 'W' is good right now," Scala said. "Especially one that gets us to (.500)."
"We've had a lot of tough losses," added Bulldogs coach Tony DiBiase. "This game, no matter the records, will always be a tough game. I was happy the kids battled back. I give Deering a lot of credit. They've had a tough season, but they played well."
Portland was at Windham Tuesday and closes at home against Biddeford in a makeup game Wednesday.
"We could be a tough out in the playoffs," DiBiase said. "No question about it."
Deering fell to 2-12 and 14th with the loss. The Rams were coming off a 6-1 win at South Portland, as Dominic Esposito-Martin threw a three-hitter, fanning seven and Nick Carmichael hit a key two-run double. Against Portland, Esposito-Martin pitched strong and had three hits and two RBI, but Deering suffered a tough loss.
"We never gave up," said Rams coach Tim Eisenhart. "We're getting closer. Hats off to Portland. They just came up with clutch hits in clutch moments."
Deering was at Westbrook Tuesday and closes at home against Kennebunk Thursday (in a game played at Harlow Field at 4 p.m.).
"We've come of age and are starting to learn how to play the game," Eisenhart said. "(The guys) believe they can win every game they play. If we win both, that can get us in. We have to win out. If we keep playing the way we're playing, we can do it."
In Western C, Waynflete handled visiting Traip, 8-3, last Monday, then lost, 5-0, at Fryeburg Wednesday and 7-0 at Sacopee Friday to fall to 7-6 (ninth in the Heals). In the win, Nik Morrill made a pivotal sliding catch in the outfield, drove in three runs and pitched the final two innings. Tom Silk had a clutch two-run hit and Joey Schnier earned the victory.
"When we hit the ball and make our plays, we're a very good baseball team," Morrill said.
"We got a few hits with men on base," Waynflete coach Steve Kautz said.
The Flyers close at home versus Traip Wednesday.
"We want to win them all," Kautz said. "We know we'll never get a high seed the way things are structured, but we want to be playing well. We know we can beat the other teams."
Barring a reversal of fortune, it looks like all four local softball teams will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Cheverus, which started 5-1, fell to 6-9 after losses last week at Scarborough (12-0, in six innings) at home to Thornton Academy (12-2) and at Noble (3-1). Brittany Bell fanned nine and had two hits, but was the hard-luck loser against the Knights. The Stags (14th in the Western A Heals, the top 11 teams make the playoffs) closed with a home game against Sanford Tuesday. It was simple for Cheverus, win and get in. Lose and the year was over.
McAuley lost, 23-0 (in five innings) at Sanford and 13-2 at home to Massabesic before closing with a 19-9 home win over Deering Friday. Lauren Coulombe, Molly Mack and Maddie Wade all homered in the victory as the Lions finished 2-14 (15th in the standings).
Portland wound up 2-14 and 16th after dropping a pair of games Monday, 11-1, at home to defending regional champion South Portland and, 4-3, at Gorham.
Deering fell to 0-15 and 17th after losses at Massabesic (15-1, in five innings) and McAuley (19-9). The Rams closed at Kennebunk Tuesday.
Cheverus' boys' lacrosse team is in line to finish second to Brunswick in the Eastern Class A standings. The Stags improved to 9-2 after recent wins at Gorham (10-2) and Windham (13-8). Against the Eagles, Thomas Lawton and Jack Sutton both scored three times. Cheverus closed the regular season Wednesday at home versus Marshwood.
Deering is also playoff-bound in Eastern A. The Rams improved to 6-5 and sixth in the standings after a 7-4 home win over Thornton Academy last Wednesday. Billy Farrell and Rick Murray both scored three times. Deering goes to Kennebunk to wrap up the regular season Wednesday.
Despite myriad injuries and an 0-7 start to the season, Portland was clinging to the seventh and final Eastern A playoff spot at press time after finishing 3-9. The Bulldogs closed with a 6-3 victory at Bonny Eagle last Wednesday. Portland was awaiting the final Heals to see if it could extend its streak of consecutive postseason berths to 13 years.
In Western B, Waynflete was fighting for a home playoff game at press time. The Flyers lost, 23-11, at North Yarmouth last week (despite four goals from Zander Majercik), then earned a pivotal 12-3 home victory over Greely in the rain Friday (behind four goals from Henry Cleaves) to improve to 5-6. Waynflete was fifth (barely) behind Wells in the Heals entering Wednesday's finale at home versus Freeport.
Waynflete's girls' lacrosse team, the defending Class B state champion, entered the week two wins shy of an undefeated regular season. Last week, the Flyers improved to 10-0 with their 13th and 14th straight wins, 16-3 over visiting Falmouth and 16-10 over visiting Yarmouth.
Against the Yachtsmen, the Flyers shot to a 9-2 lead at halftime and never looked back as Ella Millard and Martha Veroneau both scored four times, while Isabel Agnew and Sadie Cole added three goals each.
"We were really excited to play this game," Millard said. "It feels like we're just doing our thing. We love playing with each other."
"It was nice to look up at the scoreboard and see we handled such a successful and well-coached program by that many goals," Veroneau said. "They were the last team we've lost to. We had the fire to come out and show them it's our homefield and we can play a beautiful game here."
"We worked a ton on the draw and ground balls," added Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. "I think that paid off today. I was pleased to see that. Everybody did their job."
The win over the Clippers (on Senior Day) didn't come as easily, as Yarmouth hung tough early, but the Flyers scored six times in six minutes to extend a 3-2 lead to 9-2 and although the Clippers never quit, Waynflete was never seriously tested. Cole scored seven times and Veroneau had six goals.
"It's such a great group of seniors," Cole said. "We wanted to have a good last regular season game. The underclassmen were really great about wanting to win for us. It was great to have their support."
"I've played lacrosse with Sadie since sixth grade," said Veroneau. "We've been together for so long. We've had a connection since middle school.We've had so many connections over the years. She's one of the best teammates I've ever had. We love playing with each other."
"(The seniors are a) super-special group," Connors said. "They're so supportive of younger players. They're awesome role models and fun to be around. They'll be missed."
Waynflete already has the top spot in Western B wrapped up. It was at Cheverus Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and closes at Greely Wednesday, in a game that was postponed May 9 with the Flyers ahead, 3-1, 12 minutes, 6 seconds in.
In Eastern A, Cheverus saw its program-best eight-game win streak come to an end with a 5-3 loss at Thornton Academy last Tuesday, but bounced back to beat visiting Gorham, 14-12, Thursday to improve to 9-2 (good for the No. 2 spot behind Messalonskee in the Heals). In the loss, Alex Logan scored twice. In the win, Logan scored just before the half to put the Stags ahead to stay and they held on behind seven goals from Meredith Willard and four from Logan.
"I'm proud of my teammates for sticking through it," Willard said. "I think it was our heart. We all had the motivation to hang in there. We really wanted it. We had faith in each other."
"We just had to play our game and calm down, not be so frantic," Logan said. "If you can come off a loss and want to win that much more, that says a lot about your character as a team. It shows we wanted it and that we were going to fight."
"It's life in the SMAA," Stags coach Jamie Chamberlain added. "It seems every game is a dogfight. This season, we haven't played from behind a whole lot. We know each game won't be easy. We don't take anyone for granted."
Cheverus closed against visiting Waynflete in an interclass showdown Tuesday.
"I think we're very excited to play Waynflete," Willard said. "They're a great team."
Portland entered the final week with a record of 7-3, good for fifth in Eastern A. Last week, the Bulldogs fell at home to Thornton Academy, 11-1. Portland was at South Portland for a makeup game Tuesday and closes at home versus Gorham Wednesday.
Deering and McAuley will likely fall short of the postseason.
The Rams dropped to 3-8 and 11th after an 8-3 home loss to South Portland and a 13-5 setback at Sanford. Nyalet Biliew had two goals against the Red Riots. Biliew and Maddy Mazjanis both scored twice in the loss to the Spartans. Deering finishes the regular season at Marshwood Wednesday.
The Lions won their second straight game last Tuesday, 9-7, at Westbrook, as scoring machine Katherine Lake had four goals and Kaeli Leddy added three. Friday, McAuley fell to 2-9 and 12th with a 13-10 home loss to Bonny Eagle (Lake had seven goals, eclipsing the 50 mark for the season). The Lions closed at Noble Tuesday.