Spring sports season in full swing
(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Deering baseball, Cheverus-Kennebunk softball, Cheverus-Deering, Cheverus-South Portland and Deering-Portland boys' lacrosse and Waynflete-Kennebunk girls' lacrosse game stories, with box scores and additional photos, please visit theforecaster.net/section/sports).
The calendar has flipped to May and while summer is still several weeks away, Mother Nature has come around with increasing warmth and sunshine as the spring sports season got underway in full last week.
Local baseball, softball, lacrosse, track and tennis teams all created plenty of drama with much more to come.
Here's a glimpse:
The Cheverus baseball team is up to its usual tricks, even after being hard hit by graduation.
The Stags opened with 3-0 win at Bonny Eagle (behind Mitchell Powers' four-hitter with 11 strikeouts), then handled visiting Sanford, 10-0, in five innings, as Nate Smith threw a two-hitter and Powers, Drew Ferrick and Chris Tinsman all drove in a pair of runs.
Next up was a Deering squad which had split its first two games (losing, 4-0, at Massabesic, winning, 6-1, at Thornton Academy). Cheverus took the lead for good with two runs in the third inning and ultimately built a 10-2 lead, but the Rams refused to go quietly, scoring twice in both the fifth and seventh innings. Ultimately, Deering couldn't come all the way back and the Stags prevailed, 11-6, behind three hits apiece from Ferrick, Ryan Casale and Felix del Vecchio, as they scored in every inning but two. Derek Hammond earned the win.
"It's always great to beat our crosstown rival," said del Vecchio. "We hit really well. We saw the ball well out of the hand. We roped a bunch of hits together and ended up with a bunch of runs."
"We got away with one," Cheverus coach Mac McKew said. "Thank God we hit. We outhit them. That's how we won. We didn't pitch great or play great defense. We're happy to come away with a win."
The Stags improved to 4-0 Saturday with a palpitating 6-5 come-from-behind home victory over Thornton Academy in eight innings. Cheverus tied it with two runs in the seventh, then won it on an RBI single from Liam Fitzpatrick, his fourth hit of the day.
The Stags were at Windham Tuesday and host Gorham Thursday and Westbrook Tuesday of next week.
Deering got a strong start from Sam Luebbert in the win over Thornton Academy and two hits apiece from Nick Carmichael and Pat Viola in the loss to Cheverus.
"I just told the kids they showed a lot of character," Deering coach Tim Eisenhart said, after the loss to the Stags. "They never gave up. We walked a lot of guys and made some errors, but we stayed together. I'm really proud of the guys. I just told them it's a victory in my mind."
The Rams fell to 1-3 Friday with an 11-2 home loss to Massabesic. Deering was at Noble Tuesday, hosts Westbrook Thursday and welcomes Gorham Saturday.
Portland has lived up to preseason billing with a 3-1 start.
The Bulldogs opened by downing host Sanford, 12-4 (Nate Smart had three hits, two RBI and earned the win with 10 strikeouts), beat host Kennebunk, 4-3, and after losing at Gorham, 8-4 (despite a pair of hits from Nick Volger), blanked visiting Noble, 7-0 (behind a shutout from Ryan Dixon and three more hits from Volger).
Portland was home with Thornton Academy Tuesday (see theforecaster.net/section/sports for game story), welcomes Windham Thursday and goes to Marshwood Tuesday of next week.
In Western C, Waynflete split its first two games, falling, 12-3, at Old Orchard Beach and beating visiting Sacopee, 13-7. Joey Schnier stole the show in the victory, hitting a grand slam and driving in six runs.
The Flyers were home with Greater Portland Christian School Monday, welcome GPCS again Wednesday and play host to Old Orchard Beach Friday.
Cheverus has been the biggest softball story in the early going.
The Stags, who had never even started a season 1-0 before, won their first four outings, 5-4 at Massabesic, 13-1 (in six innings) over visiting Deering, 3-1, in eight innings, at McAuley and 6-1 at home over Kennebunk.
Izzi Grasso saved the day at the Mustangs, working out of bases loaded jams in both the sixth and seventh innings. Katie Roy had the winning RBI. Against Deering, Brittany Bell had four hits (including a double and two triples), scored four times and drove in two. Roy played the hero again against the Lions, as her triple broke a tie in extra innings.
Friday, against Kennebunk, Bell scattered eight hits while striking out 11, drove in the go-ahead run with a bases loaded walk and Jamie Dulac added a pair of RBIs, while Libby DesRuisseaux had three hits.
"It's pretty awesome," said Bell. "We're really excited. The energy in the dugout is really good. We're always upbeat and positive and we're having the time of our lives."
"It's a really nice start," said Cheverus coach Maureen Curran. "From Day 1, I've been impressed with these girls' ability and willingness to compete. Last year, we found ways to lose games. This year, we're finding ways to win games. It's nice that it's not coming from one or two players. It's coming from everyone. It's nice to see the younger players performing and building confidence."
The Stags were at Marshwood Monday and host Windham Friday. Monday of next week, Cheverus goes to Westbrook.
McAuley began with 3-1 losses at Marshwood and at home to Cheverus (in eight innings), then got in the win column with an 11-7 come-from-behind victory at Windham. Taylor Whaley struck out 13 against the Hawks and tripled in the loss to the Stags, while Sam Libby pitched a strong game. In the victory, Molly Mack had four hits and Megan Bailey and Lauren Coulombe two each, while Libby got the win in relief.
The Lions hosted Westbrook Monday (see theforecaster.net/section/sports for game story), visit Biddeford Wednesday, welcome Portland Friday and play at reigning regional champion South Portland Monday of next week.
Deering dropped its first four outings, 16-2 to visiting Marshwood, 13-1 (six innings) at Cheverus, 17-1 (six innings) to visiting Windham and 13-1 (five innings) at Westbrook. Isabel Doughty had three hits against the Hawks and two more versus the Stags.
The Rams sought their first win since the 2011 season Monday when they hosted Biddeford. Deering plays at Portland Wednesday, welcomes South Portland Thursday and plays at Gorham Monday of next week.
Portland opened with losses to visiting Thornton Academy (18-1, in five innings), visiting Noble (14-2, in six innings), visiting Bonny Eagle (18-0 in five innings), visiting Sanford (14-1, in five innings) and host Scarborough (5-0). Against the Red Storm, the Bulldogs were no-hit.
Portland was at Noble Monday, plays host to Deering Wednesday, goes to McAuley Friday and welcomes Kennebunk Monday of next week.
Local boys' lacrosse teams have already played multiple games.
Cheverus opened with a 12-6 win at Deering, a 7-3 home triumph over Thornton Academy and after a tough 13-10 home loss to South Portland, downed host Noble (11-4) and Waynflete (19-12).
Jack Sutton had five goals against the Rams and added two more, including the go-ahead tally against the Golden Trojans. Thomas Lawson scored five times against the Red Riots, but the Stags couldn't hold a 9-7 lead.
"We started with three tough games and the weather hasn't been kind to us, so to come out of it 2-1, I can't be too disappointed," first-year Cheverus coach Bill Bodwell said.
In the win over the Flyers, Warren Murray scored five goals, while Lawson and Sutton each added four.
The Stags host Massabesic Wednesday.
Deering bounced back from its opening loss to Cheverus with wins at Marshwood (7-4) and Portland (10-3). Brett Harmon scored three times in the win over the Bulldogs.
"It's always nice to beat the Bulldogs," said Rams coach Jon Dubois. "It's a big city thing. There's a certain pride in beating your buddies from the same city."
Deering lost, 8-7, to visiting Westbrook, then doubled up visiting Bonny Eagle, 10-5. Billy Farrell had four goals in both games.
The Rams host three-time defending Class A champion Scarborough Wednesday.
Portland dropped its first five outings, 9-4 at Thornton Academy, 6-3 at Massabesic, 10-3 at home to Deering, 10-8 to visiting Gorham and 18-1 at two-time defending Class B champion Falmouth.
"We're just asking the next guy to step up every day," said first-year Bulldogs coach Mike DiFusco. "Everyone has to be ready to play. The team we have right now isn't the team we want to have a month down the road."
Portland is home against Kennebunk Wednesday and goes to Scarborough Saturday.
Waynflete, under first-year coach Dan Thomsen, opened with a 16-0 home romp over York (Henry Cleaves had six goals, Zander Majercik four), then suffered a tough 11-10 loss at Greely (Majercik had three goals) and fell at home to Cheverus in a shootout Saturday, 19-12 (Majercik scored five times, Cleaves four).
The Flyers go to powerhouse Cape Elizabeth Wednesday and visit Freeport Saturday.
Waynflete's powerhouse girls' lacrosse team, the defending Class B champion, is staking its claim to the top spot again.
The Flyers opened with a 14-2 win against visiting Wells (Sadie Cole and Ella Millard each had five goals), then romped at Yarmouth, 16-7 (behind five more goals from Cole and five from Martha Veroneau).
Saturday afternoon, Waynflete welcomed a Kennebunk squad which usually gives it a close game, but the Flyers put together as close to 50 perfect minutes as you'll see at this point of the season, racing to a 10-0 halftime lead en route to a 15-1 triumph. Veroneau had five goals and Walker Foehl added four.
"Our transition and our offense, everything seems to be coming together early in the season," said Veroneau, the Miss Maine Basketball winner, who, as always, deflected praise to her teammates. "It promising for where we can be in June. Team chemistry, which is vital to success, is there as well."
"We're really happy," Foehl said. "I feel like we did all the little things right and it came together. We have seven people who can put it in the net."
"I'm psyched and surprised," said longtime Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. "When you have seven seniors and seven juniors, eventually it kicks in. Today, it kicked in. We've worked on a lot of different things. Everything came together today."
After going to Fryeburg Tuesday, the Flyers have a highly anticipated showdown at Cape Elizabeth Wednesday.
At this stage, the Capers are the only team who appear to be a serious threat to Waynflete.
"We're definitely pumped," said Foehl, who beat the Capers with her "sudden victory" overtime goal last June in an epic Western Class B Final. "It will be a great game. They're an incredibly strong team. We're excited."
"(The Capers) have a lot of star players," Veroneau said. "They're really good. It will be a tough match, but we're excited."
Friday, the Flyers have another test and another playoff rematch, at Falmouth.
In Western A, Cheverus, a preseason favorite, suffered a marathon 7-6, four overtime loss to visiting Massabesic in its opener. Meredith Willard picked up where she left off last year with four goals. The Stags then got in the win column with an 18-5 victory at McAuley, as Elyse Caiazzo had four goals and Willard and Alex Logan both added three.
Cheverus was at Portland Tuesday and hosts Deering Friday. Dangerous Marshwood pays a visit next Tuesday.
Portland started with a 16-5 loss at Kennebunk (standout Drew Barry did have three goals), then handled host Sanford, 8-4 (as Barry scored five times).
The Buldogs were at Biddeford in a makeup game Monday, hosted Cheverus Tuesday and welcome Windham Thursday.
Deering lost its first two games, 14-2, at Windham and 14-7 at home to Gorham, before getting in the win column Saturday, 16-9, over visiting McAuley. Samantha Sivovlos had three goals against the Rams. In the win, Nyalat Biliew and Julianna Salamone had four goals apiece and Maddy Mazjanis and Mony Prak both added three.
Deering was at Thornton Academy Monday and plays at Cheverus Friday.
McAuley dropped its opener, 17-2, at home to three-time defending Class A champion Scarborough, then fell to visiting Cheverus (18-5) and at Deering (16-9). Katherine Lake had two goals against both the Red Storm and Stags and scored four times versus the Rams.
The Lions were at Massabesic Tuesday and host Biddeford Thursday.
The outdoor track season began as McAuley and Portland competed against Gorham, Sanford and Thornton Academy (the Lions were third and the Bulldogs fifth in the girls' meet, while the Portland boys came in fourth), Cheverus battled Biddeford, Noble and Westbrook (the Stags won both genders), Deering competed with Kennebunk, Massabesic and Windham (the Rams girls were second and the boys fourth) and Waynflete joined A.R. Gould, NYA and Yarmouth at Sacopee (the Flyers boys and girls both placed fourth).
Portland's girls' tennis team has gotten off to an expected fast start, defeating Bonny Eagle, Gorham and Sanford by 5-0 scores. The Bulldogs will be tested when they host Cheverus Wednesday and Scarborough Monday.
The Stags sandwiched wins over South Portland and Thornton Academy around a loss to Scarborough in their first week of action.
Reigning regional champion McAuley lost to Sanford and beat Marshwood in its first week.
Deering lost to Windham to start, then beat Massabesic and South Portland.
Waynflete's two-time defending Class C champions fell, 3-2, to NYA in their first match, then blanked Yarmouth and Fryeburg. The Flyers are at Cape Elizabeth Wednesday.
Waynflete's boys' team, the five-time reigning Class C champions, cruised to a 3-0 start with wins over NYA, Yarmouth and Fryeburg. The Flyers host Cape Elizabeth Wednesday.
In Western A, Cheverus started with 3-2 losses to Scarborough, South Portland and Thornton Academy.
Deering lost its opener to Windham, then beat Massabesic and South Portland. The Rams play host to Cheverus Friday.
Portland sandwiched wins over Bonny Eagle and Sanford around a loss to preseason favorite Gorham. The Bulldogs go to Cheverus Wednesday.