Baseball, softball upsets highlight early action for Portland-area teams
(Ed. Note: For the full Cheverus-Scarborough, Cheverus-South Portland and Deering-South Portland boys' lacrosse game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
The 2010 spring sports season is now underway for virtually every city team and in just a few short days, there has already been a ton of drama. Here's a glimpse:
While three-time defending Class A champion Deering had its 50-game win streak and opener spoiled by Cheverus Saturday, Portland was making some noise of its own.
The Bulldogs, who return just two players who spent a lot of time on varsity a year ago, weren't given much of a chance against Westbrook, this year's favorite, but proved that in this sport, you just never know.
Portland jumped to a 3-0 lead against talented Blue Blazes' starter Scott Heath and received a tremendous effort from starter Adam Gould, but Westbrook battled back and tied the score, 3-3, in the sixth. But in the bottom of the eight, the Bulldogs finished it off, as Gould raced home to score the winner on an error, giving Portland an improbable 4-3 triumph.
"My guys have had a long spring outside and have been working hard," said second-year Bulldogs coach Mike McCullum. "No one expected this. Scott Heath's the best pitcher in the state, but these guys believe they can win and we found a way. Adam kept his composure on the mound. Everything starts with the pitcher. He's a leader. He's the guy. I was really impressed with his performance. Westbrook's a good team. They'll be there in the end. For us, no one expects anything, except for us. I'm really happy for the kids."
The Bulldogs hoped to improve to 2-0 Tuesday at Biddeford. They host Kennebunk Thursday.
Waynflete opened its 2010 season Monday at Old Orchard Beach. The Flyers welcome North Yarmouth Academy Friday.
City softball teams began play Saturday and two produced one of the more amazing finishes seen in a long, long time.
Cheverus, a team considered to be a top contender in 2010, went to McAuley, which is unheralded under new coach Robbie Ferrante. The Stags got a home run from senior standout Theresa Hendrix to start the contest, built a 7-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth and were still firmly in control, leading 12-4 entering the bottom of the seventh before the Lions roared back, scoring nine times to steal an improbable 13-12 victory.
"Cheverus was really in control the whole game," said Ferrante. "I hoped to stay close and give the kids some confidence. We came up to hit and got nine straight singles, an error, a walk and a wild pitch. Everything just went our way and before you knew it, nine runs had scored. (Junior Kayla) Daigle had the game-winning hit. A single to left.
"The girls were very excited. One of them cried and said that she'd never beaten Cheverus in anything. This will help us later. It's worth a lot of Heal Points."
McAuley looked to make it two straight Monday, when it went to Bonny Eagle. The Lions are home with Sanford Friday and play at Kennebunk Monday.
Cheverus looked to bounce back Monday when it hosted Sanford. The Stags play at Kennebunk Wednesday, host Deering Friday and play at Westbrook Monday.
The Rams lost their opener, 5-0, to Biddeford. Deering visited Portland Monday seeking its first victory. After hosting South Portland Friday, the Rams go to Cheverus Friday and host Bonny Eagle Monday.
Portland dropped a 15-3, six inning decision at Kennebunk in its opener Saturday. The Bulldogs hoped to earn a win Monday at home against Deering. Wednesday, they go to Westbrook, Friday brings a visit from Windham and Monday, they go to Noble.
Defending Class A state champion Portland began its 2010 season Saturday morning at home versus Noble. It left little doubt that it will be a powerhouse yet again.
The Bulldogs raced to a 7-1 lead after one quarter as the first five goals came from five different players: seniors Jason Knight and Kevin Nielsen, juniors Bronson Guimond and Caleb Kenney and freshman Max Pierter. Goals from Pierter, Kenney and Nielsen (who also dominated on faceoffs) gave Portland a 10-2 advantage at the break. The Bulldogs could have been up a lot more, but hit the post on five separate occasions. Portland went on to an easy 18-2 victory, behind four goals from Nielsen and three each from Guimond and Knight.
The Bulldogs visited Bonny Eagle Monday, play at Kennebunk Wednesday and host Massabesic Saturday.
Cheverus and Deering both ran into the South Portland Express and suffered losses last week.
The Stags opened with an 8-3 home loss to South Portland last Wednesday. They didn't score until late in the third period. Peter Dyche, Garrett Naimie and Tommy Sullivan had goals. Friday night, at Scarborough, Cheverus led 3-1 early, then went 24 minutes, 49 seconds without a goal before rallying to take a 7-6 lead on Stefano Caiazzo's strike midway through the fourth. The Stags almost held on, but the Red Storm tied the score with 30.2 seconds to go. Scarborough won it 3:10 into overtime, taking an 8-7 decision and dropping Cheverus (which got 15 saves from goalie Sean Oddy) to 0-2.
"We had a couple overthrown passes and we had some possessions in overtime, but we showed dramatic improvement effort-wise over the previous game," said Stags coach Deke Andrew. "It's a game that will bring this group of guys together. That's the most important thing to bring out of this. It was a great matchup. They're young like us. We have to get better.
The Stags sought their first win Monday at Biddeford. After hosting Thornton Academy Wednesday, Cheverus welcomes Marshwood Saturday.
The Rams of Deering got off to a great start in 2010, winning its first two games for the first time since 2005, downing visiting Marshwood, 16-3 (behind four goals each from Riley Asbury, Carleton Allen and Jackson Sewall), and Thornton Academy, 6-2. Saturday, however, at South Portland, the season took a painful turn.
The Rams and Red Riots were tied at 3-3 in the second period when Allen, one of the league's premier players, hurt his knee on a late hit on the sideline and had to be helped off the field. South Portland got two goals in the final minute of the first half then cruised to a 15-9 triumph.
Asbury and Sewall both scored three times and Karl Rickett won 18 of 23 faceoffs as Deering fell to 2-1.
"We fell apart (after Allen got hurt)," said Rams coach Bob Rothbart. "It doesn't look good. It might be his season. (Stuff) happens. Psychologically, losing him was a big blow. We miss him on ground balls, faceoffs, offense, clearing. He's one of the best players around. We pulled it together late and remembered how to play lacrosse. We still have a solid attack and have kids who can score. We have a little time to regroup."
Deering is idle until Friday when it hosts Biddeford.
Waynflete began its season Tuesday when it hosted a Falmouth team that is off to a terrific start. The Flyers welcome York Friday and play at Greely Monday.
The two-time defending Class B state champion Waynflete girls' lacrosse team begins its quest for another title Wednesday afternoon at home against longtime rival Greely. The Flyers have a rematch of the past two state finals when they go to North Yarmouth Academy Friday.
McAuley opened its season Tuesday at home against Gorham. Friday, the Lions visit Cheverus.
The Stags played their first game in 2010 at Massabesic Tuesday. After hosting McAuley, Cheverus is home with Portland on Monday.
Speaking of the Bulldogs, they opened at home versus Biddeford Tuesday and welcome Scarborough Thursday.
Deering was home against Windham Tuesday, plays host to three-time regional champion Kennebunk Friday, then plays at Scarborough next Tuesday.
The track and tennis regular seasons began this week. We'll have more on those sports next week.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com