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Spring season already at midway point

Sports

Spring season already at midway point

(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland-Thornton Academy and Portland-Windham baseball, McAuley-Westbrook softball and Cheverus-Portland girls' lacrosse game stories, with box scores and photos, please visit theforecaster.net)

It seems like just yesterday that we were presenting our spring preview and now, in the snap of a finger, the season is half over.

That's indeed the case for most local squads, who continued to turn heads in recent days.

Here's a glimpse:

Baseball

Portland's baseball team has lived up to its preseason billing as a top contender.

Last week, the Bulldogs beat visiting Thornton Academy, 6-3, and suffered a close 2-0 home loss to Windham.

In the win, Tim Rovnak hit an inside-the-park home run against ace pitcher Jeff Gelinas, Joe Apon singled in the go-ahead run and Caleb Fraser and Nate Smart combined to hold the Golden Trojans at bay.

"Our team seems much more laid back about our plate approach this season," Rovnak said. "I think it makes a huge difference. Today was a challenge for us with a great pitcher. We saw where we truly are as a team.."

"The three years this group's been together, I think it's the best win we've had against a quality pitcher," said Portland coach Tony DiBiase. "Tacking on runs, playing good defense, getting out of jams. (Gelinas) a very good pitcher. We were excited to play him. I was excited to see how we'd do against a quality pitcher like that and I thought we did pretty well."

Against the Eagles, the Bulldogs had their chances, but couldn't solve Windham ace Nate Boyle, leaving Smart the hard-luck loser.

"We had chances early and late, we just didn't capitalize," lamented DiBiase. "Give their pitcher credit. He pitched a great game. We couldn't come up with a key hit. I was happy with how we competed. It was just a really good, well played game."

Portland was at Marshwood Tuesday, plays at Bonny Eagle Thursday and welcomes Massabesic Saturday.

"It's a very competitive league," said DiBiase. "There's not one dominant team. We have to hit a little better to be competitive against good teams."

Cheverus won its first four outings, but the Stags were humbled, 11-0, in five innings, at Windham last Tuesday and lost, 4-1, to visiting Gorham Thursday. Drew Ferrick had two hits against the Eagles and Mitchell Powers had a pair against the Rams. Cheverus was home with Westbrook Tuesday, welcomes Marshwood Thursday and plays at Noble Friday.

Deering fell to 1-6 after losing at Noble (1-0), at home to Westbrook (7-3) and at home to Gorham (11-3) last week. Sam Luebbert was the hard-luck loser against the Knights. Nick Payne had two hits and three RBI against the Blue Blazes. The Rams were at Biddeford Tuesday, host Sanford Thursday and Bonny Eagle Saturday.

In Western C, Waynflete has shaken off its opening loss with four straight wins, including decisive triumphs last week over visiting Greater Portland Christian School (12-1, in five innings), visiting GPCS again (16-0, in five innings) and visiting Old Orchard Beach (10-3). In the first win over the Lions, Nik Morrill homered had five RBI. In the second victory, Ben Mallon had three hits, three RBI and scored three times, while Tom Silk added two doubles and two RBI. Against the Seagulls, Joey Schnier hit a grand slam and drove in five runs. The Flyers go to Old Orchard Beach Wednesday, host Western B contender Gray-New Gloucester Friday and play at Traip Monday.

Softball

Cheverus' softball team continues to set the pace in the city. The Stags suffered their first loss, 4-0, at Marshwood last Monday, but improved to 5-1 Friday with a 7-2 home win over Windham. Sophia Giancotti and Libby DesRuisseaux both had two RBI, while Brittany Bell scattered five hits to earn the victory. Cheverus was at Westbrook Monday, hosts Biddeford Wednesday, plays at Portland Friday and welcomes reigning regional champion South Portland Monday of next week.

Portland is coming on. The Bulldogs earned back-to-back victories last week for the first time since May 23 and 27, 2008, 13-9, over visiting Deering and 21-3 (in five innings) at McAuley. Against the Rams, Leanne Reichert had two hits and three runs scored, Olivia Gilbert added two hits, two RBI and scored twice and Amanda Gould drove in three runs. Cassandra Kennie had five hits, Reichert homered twice and Isabelle DiMillo earned the win against the Lions. Portland was home with Kennebunk Monday, plays at Marshwood Wednesday, welcomes Cheverus Friday and plays at Windham Monday of next week.

McAuley began last week with a 6-0 home loss to Westbrook. The Lions got 15 strikeouts from pitcher Sam Libby, but three errors in the seventh allowed the Blue Blazes to score all their runs.

"We didn't have to make plays, because we got so many outs on the strikeouts, but when it came time, we dropped a fly ball and we threw it away," lamented Lions coach Robbie Ferrante.

After falling, 13-3, at Biddeford last Wednesday, McAuley lost, 21-3 (in five innings) against Portland to drop to 1-6. The Lions were at South Portland Monday, host Gorham Wednesday, play at Bonny Eagle Friday and welcome powerhouse Scarborough Monday of next week.

Deering fell to 0-7 after losing last week to visiting Biddeford (19-0, in five innings), at Portland (13-9) and at home to South Portland (28-3, in five innings). Cassidy Coyne hit a home run against the Bulldogs. The Rams were at Gorham Monday, host Bonny Eagle Wednesday, go to Scarborough Friday and welcome Thornton Academy Monday of next week.

Boys' lacrosse

Cheverus' boys' lacrosse team improved to 5-1 with a 13-3 home win over Massabesic last Monday. Tom Lawson scored three times and assisted on six other goals. The Stags then had eight days off before going to Westbrook Wednesday. Friday brings a big home test against Class B power Cape Elizabeth.

Deering dropped to 3-3 after a 16-3 home loss to three-time defending Class A champion Scarborough last Wednesday. The Rams play at Windham Wednesday, then host two-time defending Class B champion Falmouth Friday.

Portland began the week 0-7 after falling at home to Kennebunk (8-1) and at Scarborough (15-2) last week. The Bulldogs hoped to get in the win column Tuesday when Noble paid a visit. Portland hosts Class B power Yarmouth Friday.

In Western B, Waynflete dropped a 16-9 decision at Cape Elizabeth Wednesday (despite five goals from Zander Majercik), then improved to 2-3 Saturday by outslugging host Freeport, 19-14 (Henry Cleaves erupted for seven goals and three assists). The Flyers were home against Fryeburg Tuesday and go to Thornton Academy for a crossover game Saturday.

Girls' lacrosse

While Waynflete's defending Class B girls' lacrosse team was having itself a week (please see story), Cheverus is making its move in Eastern A.

The Stags, regional finalists each of the past two seasons, won at Portland (9-7) last Tuesday and dominated visiting Deering (14-1) Friday. Against the Bulldogs, Cheverus jumped out 5-0 and 7-2, then had to hold on for dear life behind four goals from Elyse Caiazzo and three more from Alex Logan.

"I think we kept our cool," Logan said. "(Portland's) a very good team. We knew that. We knew we just had to play our game."

"It was good competition," Caiazzo said. "It's good experience for the new girls. We had to start well and end well."

"The city rivalry always comes into play," added Cheverus coach Jamie Chamberlain. "It doesn't matter what sport. Fortunately for us, we got out to a good lead. They came back. We knew they were that kind of a team. They put a lot of pressure on us. It always seems for us, it's bend, but don't break."

Abby Biegel and Mary Kate Walsh both scored three times in the win over the Rams, which lifted the Stags to 3-1. Cheverus was home for a key matchup with Marshwood Tuesday and goes to three-time defending Class A champion Scarborough Thursday.

Portland, which was coming off a 7-6 win at Biddeford the day before (Drew Barry and Erin Mahoney both had two goals and Laura Frank scored the winner) got two goals from Barry against the Stags, in a game it almost rallied to win.

"We dug a little bit too big of a hole to come back from," said Bulldogs coach Kait Johnson. "I think we just ran out of time."

Portland improved to 3-2 with a 15-8 home win over Windham Thursday (Barry had a half dozen goals, Isabel Stehli five). The Bulldogs were at Bonny Eagle Tuesday, host Thornton Academy Thursday and McAuley Friday, then go to Deering Tuesday of next week.

The Rams fell to 1-4 last week with 14-1 losses at Thornton Academy and Cheverus. Deering was at Biddeford Tuesday, hosts Noble Thursday and goes to Sanford Saturday before hosting Portland next Tuesday.

McAuley entered the week seeking its first win. The Lions fell to 0-5 after a 14-1 loss at Massabesic and a 13-12 home defeat to Biddeford. Katherine Lake had five goals, but McAuley's rally fell short against the Tigers. The Lions were at Windham Tuesday, go to Portland Friday and welcome South Portland Tuesday of next week.

Track

Cheverus hosted a city outdoor track meet last Monday. In the boys' competition, the Stags were first, Deering third and Portland fourth. Cheverus also won on the girls' side, as Deering came in second, Portland fourth and McAuley fifth.

In the boys' meet, the Stags got wins from Isaac Yeboah in the 110 hurdles (16 seconds) and the 300 hurdles (41.6), Jackson McMann in the 100 (11.4) and the long jump (19 feet, 9 inches), Jimmy Campbell in the 400 (51.3), Colin Grove in the 800 (2 minutes, 7 seconds), Mike Orne in the high jump (5-8), Jacob Schott in the pole vault (9-6), Matt Cushing in the javelin (172-0) and their 400 (45.4) and 1,600 (3:34.4) relays. Jared Bell of Deering won the discus (175-8) and Portland's John Bobe won the 200 (23.7).

On the girls' side, Cheverus got wins from Greta Niedermeyer in the racewalk (9:57.7), Sarah Mount in the 200 (28.1), Kiera Murray in the two-mile (11:44.0), Abby Goodrich in the triple jump (31-9) and its 400 (53.9) and 1,600 (4:34.4) relays. Deering winners included Alexis Elowitch in the javelin (107-2) and Rashad Zagon in the high jump (5-0) and the 300 hurdles (52.4). McAuley got first-place showings from Liz Houston in the pole vault (8 feet) and Victoria Lux in the shot put (35-1) and discus (92-6). Portland's Madison Bolduc took the long jump (14-3), while Claire Kirby won the 100 (13.4) and the 100 hurdles (17.5).

Waynflete, meanwhile, joined Old Orchard Beach and Poland at powerhouse Falmouth for a Western Maine Conference meet last Thursday, where both Flyers teams placed fourth. The boys were paced by Abdi Mohamed, who was runner-up in the high jump (5-4) and Abukar Adan, second in the 800 (2:23.07). The girls were led by Rowan Price, who was second in the high jump (4-2). Gemma Laurence was third in the 800 (2:49.6).

Tennis

The tennis season heated up Monday afternoon when the unbeaten Portland girls' squad welcomed undefeated Scarborough in a match which could decide who earns the top seed for the tournament (see theforecaster.net for match details). The Bulldogs came in 6-0 after downing Westbrook (5-0) and Cheverus (4-1) last week. If Portland survived Scarborough, an undefeated season is possible.

Elsewhere in girls' action, defending Western A champion McAuley has won four straight, capped by a 3-2 win at Kennebunk, to improve to 4-1. Cheverus began the week 4-2 after the Portland loss and Deering fell to 3-3 Friday with a 4-1 loss at Cheverus. Two-time defending Class C champion Waynflete began the week 4-2 and had to host seemingly invincible Falmouth Tuesday.

On the boys' side, five-time Class C champion Waynflete suffered its first loss in five outings, 4-1, to Cape Elizabeth, last Wednesday. The Flyers went to Falmouth Tuesday. In Western A, Cheverus beat Deering, 5-0, Friday for its first win in five matches, dropping the Rams to 2-4 in the process. Portland won four of its first five matches, but lost, 5-0, to Kennebunk Friday.

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