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Spring season hits critical stretch

Sports

Spring season hits critical stretch

(Ed. Note: For the complete Greely-Yarmouth baseball, Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth softball, Greely-Cape Elizabeth boys' lacrosse and Freeport-South Portland and Yarmouth-Gorham girls' lacrosse game stories, with additional photos and box scores, please visit theforecaster.net)

The games are getting more meaningful as the spring sports season roars past the midway pole and into the home stretch and that was reflected in recent days with several pivotal matchups. Even more loom in the days to come.

Here's a glimpse:

Baseball

Things are definitely heating up on the diamond as local powers square off.

Defending Class B state champion Falmouth blanked visiting Poland, 10-0 (in five innings), last Wednesday, then outlasted host Wells, 8-7, in an 11 inning marathon, Thursday. Against the Knights, Connor Aube had three hits, including a home run, scored twice and drove in three runs, Will D'Agostino had three hits, including a long ball, and Andrew Emple also went deep, as Connor Murphy earned the win. At the Warriors, D'Agostino tied the game with a hit in the top of the seventh and after the Yachtsmen blew a three-run lead in the ninth, D'Agostino earned the win in relief. Matt MacDowell had three hits. Monday, Falmouth hosted rival Yarmouth and won, 4-1, behind the third no-hitter of the year from amazing senior Thomas Fortier, improving to 7-1 and fourth in the Western Class B Heal Points standings in the process. Fortier did walk three and balked, as he gave up the one unearned run, but he also struck out nine, tripled to drive in a run and scored another.

"I'm just going out and pitching," said Fortier. "My teammates are making key plays behind me. I didn't know exactly if I'd given up a hit. I couldn't remember if one had snuck through. Once everybody starting to run to me, I thought, 'No way!' Today was the debut of my splitter. It worked out well."

"It's unbelievable," said Falmouth coach Kevin Winship. "I have no explanation. Thomas is just in a groove right now. I have to give credit to Craig Pendleton, our pitching coach, who's calling the game. He and Thomas are on the same page."

Aube also had an RBI triple.

"Connor's really coming on for us, which is really nice to see," Winship said.

The Yachtsmen were at Poland Wednesday, play host to Traip Friday, welcome Freeport Monday and host Cape Elizabeth Wednesday of next week.

Monday's loss was Yarmouth's second setback in four days. The Clippers had rallied past visiting Cape Elizabeth, 2-1, last Wednesday, as Connor Lainey delivered a two-run single with the Clippers down to their final out. Yarmouth hosted Greely Friday and rallied from a 4-1 deficit and had the Rangers down to their final strike, but Greely tied the game on Will Bryant's RBI single and went ahead, 7-5, on a two-run double from Mike McDevitt. Undaunted, the Clippers rallied again, tied the game on back-to-back wild pitches and had the winning run at third, but a failed squeeze play ended the threat. In the eighth, the Rangers got a three-run homer from Bailey Train and went on to a 10-7 victory.

"We have tough kids," said Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted. "We'll hang around and grind it out. That's what you want. Great kids you want to be around who will compete every time they play."

Monday, the Clippers ran into Fortier and had no answers.

"Obviously, (Fortier) was fantastic," Halsted said. "He didn't have great stuff the first two innings, then settled down and was dominant. He's the best pitcher in our league for a reason. He knows how to approach hitters. He knows how to pound the zone, be inside, outside. He knows how to keep hitters off balance."

Yarmouth (6-3 and ninth in Western B) was at Greely Wednesday, welcomes Gray-New Gloucester Friday, visits Cape Elizabeth Monday and plays at Freeport Wednesday of next week.

Greely remained unbeaten with wins last week at home over York (10-0, in six innings) and at Yarmouth (10-7, in eight innings) before improving to 10-0 (first in Western B) with a 13-3, six inning victory at Lake Region Monday. Against the Wildcats, Train threw a two-hitter and had an RBI double. Pat Finnegan hit a home run. Train then played the hero at Yarmouth with his epic three-run bomb in the eighth, which easily cleared the distant leftfield fence.

"It felt good off the bat," Train said. "Sometimes you know when it's gone. I love those situations. You dream about those."

"Bailey's a great hitter," Greely coach Derek Soule said. "He stays very calm and he's so strong. He almost took a tree down. The way it was going, I thought that ball might go through that tree."

At Lake Region, the Rangers scored six times in both the second and third innings. Catcher Matt Ames hit a two-run single in the second and Greely had six straight two-out hits in the third. Connor Russell earned the win, allowing one run on two hits while striking out nine.

The Rangers were home with Yarmouth Wednesday, welcome Waynflete Friday, go to Wells Monday and visit York Wednesday of next week.

Freeport made it three victories in four outings last Wednesday with a 16-3 romp at Traip, then fell to 4-6 Monday after a 6-2 loss at Cape Elizabeth. At the Rangers, James Purdy earned the win with a complete game and doubled in a pair of runs, Connor Dietrich had four hits, including a bases loaded triple, and scored four times and Brandon Williams had a two-run double.

The Falcons (14th in Western B) were home with Wells Wednesday, play host to Lake Region Thursday, go to Falmouth Monday and welcome Yarmouth Wednesday of next week.

Softball

Greely's softball team sat third in the Western B Heal Points standings (behind reigning regional champion Fryeburg and undefeated Cape Elizabeth) at 9-2 after wins over visiting York (11-2) and at Lake Region (9-2). Against the Wildcats, Dani Cimino homered and earned the win while striking out 11. In the victory at the Lakers, Cimino got the win and struck out 10, while Elyse Dinan drove in three runs. The Rangers were home with Yarmouth Wednesday and go to Yarmouth for a makeup game Tuesday.

Falmouth extended its win streak to three games Friday with a 7-4 win at Wells (Julia Treadwell had three doubles and earned the win on the mound). After Saturday's game versus York was postponed by rain, the Yachtsmen fell to 5-4 (sixth in Western B) Monday with a 5-3 home loss to Yarmouth. Falmouth was at Poland Wednesday, hosts Traip Friday and Freeport Monday and welcomes Cape Elizabeth Wednesday of next week.

Yarmouth almost handed Cape Elizabeth its first loss last Wednesday, but suffered a tough 7-6 home loss. The Clippers led 2-0 and 3-2, but the Capers rallied to lead 7-3 heading for the bottom of the seventh. There, Yarmouth scored three times, but stranded the tying run at second.

"I'm so tired of 'almost,'" lamented Clippers first-year coach Amy McMullin. "What's so great about a team like this is that we've been through so many situations. I'm happy the girls really believe in each other and they've bought into the coaches and believe they can rally. It's exciting."

Yarmouth improved to 5-5 (13th in Western B) with a 5-3 win at Falmouth Monday. Pitcher Mckenzie Gray struck out seven and allowed just one unearned run, while Monica Austin, Kallie Hutchinson and Melissa Levinson all had one RBI. The Clippers were at Greely Wednesday, visit Cape Elizabeth Monday, host Greely Tuesday, then go to Freeport Wednesday of next week.

The Falcons enjoyed a 10-0 win at Traip last Wednesday (pitcher Leigh Wyman threw a one-hitter with 12Ks), then fell to 4-6 Monday after a 17-5 (five inning) loss at Cape Elizabeth. Freeport was home with Wells Wednesday, hosts Lake Region Thursday, goes to Falmouth Monday and welcomes Yarmouth Wednesday of next week.

Boys' lacrosse

Don't look now, but Falmouth's boys' lacrosse team, the two-time defending Class B state champion, is coming on strong. The Yachtsmen extended their win streak to five with recent victories over visiting Wells (18-8) and at Deering (14-4) and Greely (12-3). Against the Warriors, I.V. Stucker had four goals and six assists, Charlie Fay added four goals and Brad Gilbert had three goals and three assists. In the win over the Rams, Fay had six goals and Joe Dancoes scored four times. Against the Rangers, Fay scored five times. Dancoes added four and Stucker had three. Falmouth (second behind Cape Elizabeth in the Western Class B Heals) went to the Capers for a showdown Wednesday night (see theforecaster.net for full details) and hosts York Tuesday.

Greely hoped to be able to hang with Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth this spring, but recent results weren't what the Rangers hoped. Greely hosted the Capers last Tuesday and lost, 8-4. Brendan Trelegan had two goals, but the Rangers turned the ball over 35 times.

"I'd say us not taking care of the ball was the difference," said Greely coach Mike Storey. "There were a lot of errors. (Cape's) a great program and a great team. We tried to prepare the guys, but you can't prepare for that pressure."

The Rangers lost, 11-4, at Kennebunk Friday and fell to 5-3 Monday with a 12-3 home loss to Falmouth. Greely (third in Western B) was home with Freeport Wednesday and welcomes Deering Saturday, at the cruel start time of 9 a.m.

In Eastern B, North Yarmouth Academy began the week second to Gardiner in the Heals with a 5-2 record after a 15-4 home win over Gorham Saturday. T.J. Daigler had four goals, while Jacob Scammon, Oliver Silverson and Jeremy Sylvain scored three apiece as NYA rallied from an early 3-1 deficit. The Panthers had a showdown at Yarmouth Wednesday, host Thornton Academy in a crossover game Saturday and welcome Waynflete Tuesday.

Yarmouth bounced back from its first loss (at Cape Elizabeth) with decisive wins at Freeport (15-2), at home over Lake Region (12-0), at Portland (17-5) and at home over Fryeburg (21-2). Joe Oliva scored four times against the Falcons, while Christian Henry had three goals. Against the Lakers, Nick Ronan had three goals. Quinn Hathcock and Oliva both scored three times against the Bulldogs. In the win over the Raiders, Henry went off for six goals, while Oliva and Ian Edgecomb both scored four times. The Clippers' schedule returns to a high degree of difficulty for the remainder of the season. After hosting NYA Wednesday, Yarmouth welcomes Scarborough Saturday and closes at Falmouth and at home versus Cape Elizabeth.

Freeport took an 0-6 record and the No. 11 spot in Eastern B to Greely Wednesday. The Falcons host Windham Friday and Wells Monday.

Girls' lacrosse

On the girls' side, Freeport is quietly putting together another solid season.

One year after their stunning run to the state final, the Falcons were 5-3 and second to Gardiner in the Eastern B Heals at the start of the week. Last week, Freeport went to defending Class B champion Waynflete for a state game rematch and became the first team lead the powerhouse Flyers all year before going down to a 13-7 defeat. Jocelyn Davee had four goals in the loss. Saturday, at South Portland, the Falcons raced to a 7-1 lead and never looked back en route to a 15-8 triumph. Davee led all scorers with seven goals, Aubrey Pennell added six assists and Meredith Broderick scored four times.

"Our passing was working today," said Pennell. "This game, we really passed it up and it worked well. I'm very content setting up goals. I just want to go back to states and have a chance to win it."

"Aubrey set me up for most of my goals," said Davee. "I just had to finish."

"We seem to come out strong," coach Karin Kurry added. "The question is can we continue it and today, we held on to it. Our transition looked really good. The passes were good."

Freeport was home against NYA Tuesday and goes to York next Tuesday.

Yarmouth is in the thick of things in Eastern B as well, riding a roller-coaster last week. The Clippers won at Wells, 17-10, last Tuesday, shocked host Cape Elizabeth, 8-7, Thursday, then lost at home to Gorham, 12-8, Saturday to fall to 4-4 and third in the Heals. Against the Warriors, Oliva Conrad and Grace O'Donnell both had four goals, Ali Merrill scored three times and Molly Maguire tickled the twine twice. Merrill scored the winner at the Capers as O'Donnell scored four times. The Clippers fell behind Gorham, 8-3, at halftime Saturday, due in part to 18 turnovers. Five goals from O'Donnell helped key a rally, but Yarmouth could never get closer than two and despite a dozen saves from fill-in goalie Nicole Hickey, the Clippers went down to defeat.

"We just had a bad day and (Gorham) played really well," said Holt. "We started to get back in it, but it was just one of those games where we put ourselves in a hole way too deep."

Yarmouth was at Fryeburg Tuesday, hosts York Thursday and plays at Waynflete Wednesday of next week.

NYA began the week 0-6 and eighth in Eastern B. The Panthers were coming off a 21-6 home loss to Greely and a 14-3 setback at Massabesic. Alex Wahlstrom had two goals in both games. Olivia Madore scored twice against the Rangers. NYA was at Freeport Tuesday and hosted Cheverus Wednesday. The Panthers welcome Fryeburg Friday and go to Wells Tuesday of next week.

In Western B, Greely sat third in the Heals at the start of the week with a 6-1 record. After handling visiting NYA, 21-6, last Tuesday (Julia Mitiguy had five goals and Meg Finlay four), the Rangers hosted Waynflete Thursday and fell behind, 3-1 (Finlay had the goal), before the game was interrupted by thunder, then called. It will be made up May 29. Friday, Greely held off host Windham, 11-7, as Finlay had five goals and Mitiguy and Cameron Keefe two each. The Rangers were at Wells Tuesday and visit Cape Elizabeth Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Falmouth improved to 5-2 (fourth in Western B) with an 18-3 victory at Fryeburg Thursday (behind seven goals from Alex Bernier and three from Sabrina Smithwick). The Yachtsmen's game at Kennebunk Saturday was postponed by rain and rescheduled for this coming Saturday. First, Falmouth was at York Tuesday and hosts Wells Thursday. Next Tuesday brings a showdown at Waynflete.

Track

Greely hosted Freeport, Lake Region and Old Orchard Beach in an outdoor track meet last week. The Rangers won both the boys' and girls' competitions. The Falcons were second on the boys' side and third among the girls.

In the boys' meet, Greely got wins from Jacob Isaacson in the 100 (11.94 seconds) and the 200 (23.99), Liam Campbell in the mile (4 minutes, 37.65 seconds), Ryan Morrison in the two-mile (10:41.18), Will Jackson in the 110 hurdles (18.96), Nick Maynard in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches), triple jump (39-9.25) and long jump (19-2.75), James Ferrar in the shot put (43-0.5) and javelin (141-8), Ben Ray in the pole vault (9-6) and its 400 (47.11) and 1,600 (3:49.0) relays, while Freeport featured first-place finishers Harrison Stivers in the 400 (52.06), Zach Merrill in the 800 (2:09.44), Shane Brady in the 300 hurdles (47.87) and Ben MacMillan in the discus (89-8).

Greely girls' winners included Jessica Wilson in the mile (5:24.54), Sophia Stickney in the two-mile (13:14.76), Hannah Keisman in the 100 hurdles (17.11) and the 300 hurdles (53.08), Kaley Sawyer in the high jump (4-8) and triple jump (32-10.5), Sophia McMonagle in the pole vault (8 feet), Sarah Ingraham in the long jump (15-1) and Gwen Sawyer in the shot put (38-1) and discus (108-1). Freeport got victories from Kelsey Grant in the 100 (13.64), Lexi Dietrich in the 200 (27.54) and its 400 (55.25) and 1,600 (4:30.77) relays.

Falmouth and Yarmouth joined Gray-New Gloucester and Wells at York Friday. The Yachtsmen boys were first, while the Clippers came in fifth. Falmouth got wins from Bryce Murdick in the two-mile (10:34.6), Shreyas Joshi in the discus (115-5), Alex Gowen in the pole vault (12-0) and its 400 relay team. Yarmouth's Ben Decker took the mile in 4:31.3.

In the girls' meet, Falmouth was second to York, while Yarmouth came in fourth. Yachtsmen winners included Kaleigh Wimert in the racewalk (8:55.4), Madeline Roberts in the two-mile (12:02.9), Kiersten Dyhrberg in the shot put (27-11) and discus (85-0) and their 3,200 relay. The Clippers got first-place showings from Meghan Smith in the pole vault (8-6) and Emma Pidden in the 300 hurdles (54.2).

"It was a good meet and I am pleased overall with where we are," said Falmouth coach Danny Paul. "If we can get close to completely healthy, we will be tough the next three weeks."
 
NYA joined Poland and Sacopee at Traip. The boys were third and the girls fourth. Boys' winners included Michael McIntosh in the 100 (11.73), John LeBlanc in the two-mile (11:18.05) and the 400 relay (46.57). For the girls, Hannah Austin won the two-mile in 12:03.45. Muriel Adams took the discus with a top throw of 95-10.

Tennis

Falmouth's girls' tennis team improved to 9-0 Monday with its ninth straight 5-0 win this season, in this case over Yarmouth, for its 86th straight match victory. The top-ranked Yachtsmen were at Freeport Wednesday and close the regular season with home matches against Fryeburg Friday and two-time defending Class C champion Waynflete Monday. Greely was 7-3 and fifth after Monday's 4-1 win over York. Freeport fell to 4-5 (and 11th) after a 4-1 loss to Lake Region Monday. Yarmouth's loss to Falmouth left it 1-8 and 15th. In Western C, NYA lost, 3-2, to Waynflete Monday to fall to 6-4 (eighth in the standings).

On the boys' side, Falmouth's win streak hit six Monday with a 5-0 win over Yarmouth. The Yachtsmen improved to 8-1 and are third in the Western B Heals. Freeport's 4-1 win over Lake Region Monday lifted it 6-2 and fourth. Greely fell to 2-7 and 12th with a 5-0 loss to York Monday. Yarmouth's setback to Falmouth left it 0-9 and 14th. In Western C, NYA fell to 6-4 and sixth after a 5-0 loss to Waynflete Monday.

The tennis singles tournament was scheduled to begin Saturday, but the qualifying round was moved to Tuesday due to bad weather.

Falmouth's superb singles triumvirate of Olivia Leavitt, Julia Brogan and Libby Voccola are the top three seeds in Region 5. NYA's Lena Rich is ranked fifth. Greely's Alison Eaton is 14th. Falmouth's Brendan McCarthy is first in the boys' draw. NYA's Burke Paxton is ranked seventh, Falmouth's Aiden McGrory ninth and NYA's Bryce Tetreault 15th.

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