Deering baseball primed to win it all again; Cheverus, Portland also in the mix
The future of the Deering baseball dynasty might be in question, but the Rams' present is looking similar to so many seasons past.
Senior-laden Deering went 16-0 during the regular year, then downed Cheverus and Westbrook late last week to win a league championship.
Now, the Rams (who have won 46 straight countable games) turn their attention to their quest for a third straight Class A state title. Anyone suggesting this accomplished group of 12th graders can't do it one more time will likely wind up eating their words.
Deering won six times by the mercy rule this spring and averaged over 10 runs per contest, while surrendering under three.
The Rams dispatched Cheverus 6-0 in the SMAA semifinals, then rallied for an 8-7 win over Westbrook in the non-countable league final last week.
No. 1 Deering opens its state title quest Thursday in the quarterfinals when it hosts either No. 8 Portland (9-7) or No. 8 Biddeford (8-8). The Bulldogs faced the visiting Tigers in the preliminary round Tuesday.
On May 14, Portland downed visiting Biddeford in a shootout, 10-7. The last playoff meeting between the schools came in 2000 (where the Bulldogs rolled 11-2 in the semifinals).
In Deering and Portland square off, the defending champs have to like their chances. On May 21, the Rams won 14-6 at Portland. Two days later, they eked out a 3-2 decision at the Tigers. The Rams and Bulldogs have played seven previous times in the playoffs with Deering winning on four occasions. The latest was in the 2007 Western A Final where the Rams were 2-1 victors in eight innings.
Deering last saw Biddeford in the semifinals a year ago (an 11-1, five-inning triumph).
If victorious, the Rams might see Cheverus again.
The Stags closed the year with a flourish, winning three of their last four, including a stirring 4-3 home victory over Westbrook, to wind up 10-6, good for the No. 4 seed. Cheverus will host No. 5 Marshwood (9-7) in Thursday's quarterfinals. On May 6, the Stags edged the visiting Hawks, 1-0.
The teams have no postseason history.
The last time Cheverus and Deering met in the playoffs was in 2003 (a 5-0 Rams' win in the semifinals).
In Western C, despite many positive signs, Waynflete went 2-10 this spring and failed to make the playoffs.
The semifinals are Saturday on the field of the highest remaining seed. The Western A Final is Wednesday of next week at 3 p.m., at St. Joseph's College. The Class A state game is Saturday, June 20 at 2 p.m., in Augusta.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org