Cape downs Greely, finishes unbeaten for first time
CAPE ELIZABETH—The Cape Elizabeth softball team didn't pound the ball all over the park Monday afternoon, as it's accustomed to doing.
But the Capers still managed to post 10 runs.
Cape Elizabeth was opportunistic and while its 10-6 victory over visiting Greely wasn't a thing of beauty, as far as the Capers are concerned, it was simply perfect.
Cape Elizabeth, which scored six runs on Rangers' wild pitches, finished the regular season 16-0 for the first time in program history. The Capers wrapped up the top seed for the upcoming playoffs and ended Greely's regular season at 11-5 in the process.
"This is so exciting for us, especially for the seniors, because we won states as 9/10 (year-old) all-stars and this is basically the same team," said Cape Elizabeth senior first baseman/catcher Elise Flathers, who had two hits, a run scored and an RBI. "You can't jinx yourself. You have to come to play every day. Every team is going to compete and there have been so many upsets this year."
Cape Elizabeth and Greely both viewed themselves as title contenders entering the season and both appear to be on the short list of teams capable of winning it all June 21.
The Rangers, who lost, 8-1, to Oceanside in last year's Class B Final, got off to a sizzling start, beating visiting Fryeburg (3-2, on a dramatic late rally), Kennebunk (11-5) and Lake Region (4-0), host Poland (12-6) and visiting Traip (16-0, in five innings) and Yarmouth (5-4, thanks to a late comeback), then stumbled at Falmouth (11-7). After winning at York, 8-1, Greely fell at home to Cape Elizabeth, 12-3, in a game which got out of hand late. Another comeback victory over Fryeburg, this one at the Raiders, 14-10, followed, but the Rangers then lost at Gray-New Gloucester, 4-3. Last week, Greely pounded host Old Orchard Beach (32-6, in five innings) and won at York (5-1) and Kennebunk (7-2) before struggling Saturday morning in a 13-0 (five inning) home loss to Falmouth.
The Capers were a Western B semifinalist last year, but came into Monday's contest unblemished. They opened with a 6-3 home win over Yarmouth, then beat the Clippers in Yarmouth, 13-4, downed visiting Falmouth, 4-1, and won at York, 13-0 (in five innings). After handling visiting Fryeburg, 5-1, Cape Elizabeth steamrolled host Freeport (10-1), visiting Traip (13-1, in five innings) and Gray-New Gloucester (11-1), host Greely (12-3) and Kennebunk (20-1). The Capers were finally tested at Lake Region, but eked out a 6-5 victory. They blanked Poland, 2-0, pounded visiting Kennebunk, 18-6, and after a 6-1 win at Falmouth, they improved to 15-0 with an 11-4 victory at Wells.
Cape Elizabeth and Greely have played their share of memorable (and important) games over the years (see sidebar below), including Western B Finals in 2006 and 2007. Entering Monday's battle, dating back to the start of the 2002 season, the Capers held a 16-9 edge, including their win at the Rangers last month.
This time, Cape Elizabeth's quest for perfection wasn't about to be denied.
It was a beautiful day for softball, 73 degrees at first pitch, and Greely came out hot in the top of the first inning, pushing a run across against Capers senior starting pitcher Katie Rabasca.
Junior leftfielder Haley Felkel blooped an opposite field double down the leftfield line leading off and after sophomore third baseman Sarah Felkel grounded out to short, Haley Felkel stole third and came home when freshman centerfielder Kayley Cimino ripped a single to right. Senior pitcher Miranda Moore lined out to center, but senior first baseman Mykaela Twitchell walked and Cimino and Twitchell pulled off a double steal. Rabasca then got out of further trouble by getting senior second baseman Elyse Dinan to line out to senior centerfielder Mary Perkins.
Cape Elizabeth got the run right back in the bottom half, putting together a two-out rally.
Moore got junior shortstop Ashley Tinsman to pop foul to freshman catcher Jennie Smith leading off, then struck out sophomore catcher Tess Haller swinging, but Flathers lined a single to center and moved up on a passed ball. Senior third baseman Emma O'Rourke then delivered a single to center to bring home Flathers. Perkins grounded out to third, but the game was deadlocked, 1-1.
Rabasca settled down in the second, getting sophomore rightfielder Charlotte Benoit to chase strike three, sophomore designated player Miranda Eisenhart to fly out to left and freshman shortstop Moira Train to bunt back to the mound.
The Capers went ahead in the bottom half, as Moore lost her control.
After Rabasca led off with a single to center and was replaced by sophomore courtesy runner Sam Feenstra, junior Hannah Saturley grounded back to the mound. Moore then threw a wild pitch to move Feenstra to third and ball four to senior leftfielder Anna Goldstein was wild as well and Feenstra came home to put Cape Elizabeth ahead to stay. Goldstein stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and when sophomore second baseman Meg Nicholson took a wild pitch on ball four, Goldstein scored for a 3-1 lead. Moore allowed Tinsman to single to left and an error put runners at second and third, but the pitcher escaped further damage by striking out Haller swinging and getting Flathers to ground out to short.
Rabasca allowed a leadoff walk to Haley Felkel in the third, but got Sarah Felkel to pop back to the mound, Cimino to fly deep to left and Moore to look at strike three.
The Capers then blew the game open, with a lot of help.
O'Rourke walked to lead off the bottom of the third and Perkins sacrifice bunted her to second. O'Rourke then stole third and Rabasca walked. Feenstra came in again to run and a wild pitch scored O'Rourke and moved Feenstra to second. Another wild pitch sent her to third and a walk to Saturley put runners at the corners. Saturley stole second, then a wild pitch scored Feenstra to make it 5-1, sending Saturley to third. After Goldstein walked, Moore got Nicholson to ground out to third. Sarah Felkel threw to first for the out and Twitchell threw home, hoping to get Saturley, but Smith couldn't hold on and Saturley slid in with the third run of the inning, as Goldstein took third.
Cape Elizabeth wasn't done.
After Tinsman walked, Haller singled to right to drive home Goldstein (Tinsman took third) and Flathers followed with an RBI hit to right, scoring Tinsman and moving Flathers to third. With O'Rourke at the plate, yet another wild pitch brought home Flathers and although O'Rourke grounded into a force out, the Capers had opened up a 9-1 lead.
The shell-shocked Rangers went quietly in the top of the fourth, as Twitchell struck out, Dinan flew to center and Benoit struck out.
Cimino came on to pitch in the bottom of the fourth and restored calm. She got O'Rourke to fly deep to center and Perkins to fly out to left. Then, after walking Rabasca, Cimino ended the frame by getting Saturley to line to second.
Greely got a run back in the top of the fifth, as Eisenhart doubled over the head of Goldstein, was sacrificed to third by Train and after Haley Felkel struck out, Sarah Felkel grounded to Haller, who had taken over at shortstop, but her throw was low, allowing Eisenhart to come home. Rabasca escaped further damage by getting Cimino to pop out to second.
Again, the Capers got the run back in the bottom half.
After Goldstein struck out, Nicholson singled to left, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball. Junior Michalea Pinette drew a walk and stole second and another wild pitch scored Nicholson. Haller then grounded into a shortstop-to-second force out and Train made a great backhanded stab on an O'Rourke grounder to the hole and threw her out to end the frame with Cape Elizabeth ahead, 10-2.
Rabasca got Moore to fly to right leading off the sixth. After walking Twitchell, who stole second, Rabasca fanned Dinan and Benoit grounded out to short to end it.
The Capers got a leadoff single from Perkins in the bottom half and Rabasca added an infield hit, but Cimino got Saturley to ground to Train, who smartly threw to third for the force, fanned Goldstein looking, then ended the inning by getting Nicholson to ground out.
Greely refused to go quietly in the seventh.
Rabasca got Eisenhart to line to center and after Train beat out an infield single, got Haley Felkel to pop out to short, but the Rangers would score four times before finally being retired.
After Train stole second and moved up on a wild pitch, Sarah Felkel lined a shot back at Rabasca, which deflected off her arm for an infield hit and an RBI. Cimino then appeared to end it by lining to O'Rourke at third, but she couldn't come up with the ball and Moore made the hosts pay by lining a single to left, scoring Sarah Felkel. The runners moved up on the throw and Twitchell followed with a single to right, scoring Cimino and Moore to cut the deficit to 10-6, forcing Cape Elizabeth coach Joe Henrikson to pull Rabasca in favor of Goldstein.
Goldstein then ended the drama quickly, getting Dinan to line to right.
"We only lost two really good seniors, but I couldn't imagine we'd be this good," Flathers said. "We've really developed. We're all having our best years. Sometimes our hitting is on, sometimes our pitching, sometimes our defense. We haven't even played our best ball yet."
Cape Elizabeth didn't have an extra base hit and boasted just two multiple hitters (Flathers and Rabasca), but produced double digit runs for the 10th time this season. Feenstra and Goldstein both scored twice, while Flathers, Haller, Nicholson, O'Rourke, Saturley and Tinsman each touched home once. Flathers, Haller, Nicholson and O'Rourke had RBI. Feenstra, Goldstein, Nicholson, O'Rourke, Pinette and Saturley stole bases.
Rabasca improved to 11-0. She gave up six runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks. She struck out six and threw a wild pitch. Goldstein retired the lone batter she faced.
"I wanted to get (Katie) through the whole game," Henrikson said. "I didn't want anybody to see Anna going into the playoffs. The less they see of her, the better, but the third and fourth times through the lineup, teams will catch up with you."
Henrikson marveled at his team's ability to win every game, especially since it played such a challenging schedule.
"We've played everybody who was tough," Henrikson said. "There were really few easy games. I thought we were capable, but we almost lost to Lake Region and Poland. We had close games. Fryeburg was really tough. Wells, Greely, Falmouth, Yarmouth. They were all really tough."
Greely had a pair of extra base hits, as Haley Felkel and Eisenhart both doubled. Cimino, Eisenhart, Haley Felkel, Sarah Felkel, Moore and Train all scored. Twitchell had two RBI and Cimino, Sarah Felkel and Moore delivered one each. Twitchell stole two bases, while Cimino, Haley Felkel and Train each pilfered one.
"We battled to the end," Greely coach Jess Brady said.
Moore fell to 10-4 after giving up nine earned runs on six hits, seven walks and seven wild pitches in three innings. She fanned two. Cimino surrendered one run on three hits and three walks in three innings. She struck out two and threw a wild pitch.
While there were too many wild pitches and passed balls, Brady praised Smith, who saw her first varsity action against the best team in the league.
"I had all the confidence in the world in (Jennie)," Brady said. "I know she's new to the position, but she hung tough. She just became a catcher this year. She has very little game experience, but she played very well."
Both teams now start anew, 0-0, and look to win an elusive championship.
The Rangers will likely be the fourth or fifth seed and could square off against Yarmouth in the quarterfinals next week.
Regardless of where it ends up of who it plays, Greely needs to pull together and quickly.
"I hope we figure it out," Brady said. "We don't have much time. As I've said all year long, we have all the right pieces. We just need to put it together. Hopefully we figure it out in time. If not, it will be too late."
The perfect Capers, meanwhile, are looking like they have what it takes to go all the way. The road to the championship will go through Cape Elizabeth and this hungry group is ready to take on all comers.
"We have to keep doing what we've been doing," Flathers said. "We want it all to come together. We're having so much fun. We have so much team chemistry. It's one of the best teams I've been on."
"It's one at a time," Henrikson said. "We won't look ahead. Anybody can win, but like I said at the beginning of the season, if we come to play, we'll be tough to beat."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Recent Cape Elizabeth-Greely results
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Greely 3
@ Cape Elizabeth 5 Greely 0
@ Greely 8 Cape Elizabeth 5
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 6 Cape Elizabeth 0
Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Greely 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 5 Greely 0
Greely 14 @ Cape Elizabeth 6
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 3 (8)
Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Greely 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 0
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 2
Cape Elizabeth 9 @ Greely 2
@ Cape Elizabeth 7 Greely 2
Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 6 Greely 2
Greely 6 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Greely 8 Cape Elizabeth 7
Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 10 Greely 0
Greely 6 @ Cape Elizabeth 2
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 2
Cape Elizabeth 7 @ Greely 5
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 1 (8)
Cape Elizabeth 5 @ Greely 2
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Greely 3
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0
@ Greely 13 Cape Elizabeth 0 (5)