Let the fun begin; Spring playoffs are here for Northern teams
(Ed. Note: For the full Yarmouth-Greely and Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth baseball game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
The spring sports regular season is nearing its conclusion. Track will begin its postseason next weekend with tennis soon to follow suit. By this time next week, baseball (please see story), softball and lacrosse will also be looking ahead to the playoffs.
Here's a glimpse at where Forecaster Country teams stand as we near the end of May:
Local baseball squads are either looking to make the playoffs or secure a top seed.
Leading the way is Yarmouth, which is enjoying its finest-ever season at the Class B level. Last week, the Clippers earned three big wins to move to the brink of the top spot in the Heal Points standings.
Last Tuesday, Yarmouth edged host Greely, the defending Class B champion, 5-4, on senior Nick Whittaker's seventh inning RBI double. Thursday, after a 24-hour rain postponement, the Clippers avenged their lone loss when they went to Cape Elizabeth. Junior Aidan Sullivan earned the victory with a gutsy pitching effort (and with help from senior closer Reed Wommack) and drove in three runs as Yarmouth had six two-out RBI in holding on for an 8-6 triumph.
Friday, the Clippers improved to 12-1 (their highest win total since 1998) with a 9-2 home win over Freeport. In that one, an eight-run third inning broke it open as Sullivan and senior Jeff Kuklewicz bot had a pair of hits.
Yarmouth, which was a close second to Cape Elizabeth in the Western B standings, was at Falmouth Wednesday, plays host to Greely Friday and closes the regular season at home versus North Yarmouth Academy Wednesday of next week.
Greely bounced back from its loss to Yarmouth with four successive wins to improve to 9-4 (fifth in the standings). Last week, the Rangers downed host Wells (17-8), won, 17-0, in five innings, at Poland, then eked out a 2-1 (11 inning) home decision over York.
Against the Warriors, sophomore Pete Stauber had three hits, four RBI and three runs scored and senior Ben Walsh slammed a home run. In the win at Poland, junior Ben Shain threw a one-hitter and fanned 11.
Saturday, senior Luke Booth's RBI hit ended the marathon, which saw seniors Sam Thompson and Dan O'Brion combine for 11 innings of one-hit ball. Senior Mark Dominick hit a home run.
Monday, Greely edged visting Falmouth, 4-3, as Booth delivered the winning hit in the eighth. Sophomore Mike Leeman got the win in relief.
The Rangers hosted Traip Wednesday, play at Yarmouth Friday and close at home next Wednesday against Cape Elizabeth.
Falmouth has lost two in a row and three of four and is now 7-6 (sixth in the Heals) after falling, 8-0, at home to Cape Elizabeth and 4-3, at Greely. The Yachtsmen hosted Yarmouth Wednesday, go to Sacopee Friday, host Fryeburg Monday and close at Wells next Wednesday.
Freeport isn't in the playoff hunt, but the Falcons have made life miserable for several of their foes this spring. After losing to Yarmouth Friday, Freeport enjoyed a 10-5 home win over Sacopee (in a game played at Yarmouth High). Connor Dietrich threw a six-hitter in his first varsity start to earn the victory. Kyle Moore added four hits and four RBI.
The Falcons fell to 3-10 Monday after a 22-11 home loss to York. Moore homered twice in defeat.
"We are still very young and inexperienced," said coach Hank Ogilby. "In general, we're starting two freshmen, five or six sophomores, one junior and one senior. We have our good days, but we have been killed by the occasional disastrous inning. When Spencer Egan is pitching and 'on' and we are focused, we are a competitive squad. However, we still have a ways to go before we can compete with the best in our conference on any given day. But, we are moving in the right direction and I am confident that this season is an important stepping stone for the future. We are looking to finish the season strong and maybe pick up a couple more 'W's.'"
Freeport (16th in Western B) went to Wells Wednesday, hosts Old Orchard Beach Friday and closes at Traip next Wednesday.
In Western C, NYA continues to be one of the stronger teams in the region. After rolling, 13-3, at Richmond Thursday, the Panthers hosted Waynflete for a twinbill Saturday. NYA dropped the opener, 6-3, then rolled, 7-0, in the nightcap (behind Toey LeBlanc's shutout).
Monday, the Panthers improved to 9-3-1 after winning, 13-2, at Sacopee. NYA (seventh in the Heals) hosted Old Orchard Beach Wednesday, plays at Traip Friday and closes at Yarmouth June 2.
Freeport's softball team is coming on, but it's likely too late for the Falcons to make a playoff push. Friday, Freeport rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to stun host Yarmouth, 4-3. Freshman Leigh Wyman tied the game with an RBI hit and Dani Perry's RBI put the Falcons ahead.
Saturday, Freeport enjoyed a 9-5 home win over Sacopee. The Falcons scored all their runs in one inning, the third, as Wyman earned the win and Grant, Jess Kane and Stephanie Pottle all drove in multiple runs.
Freeport fell to 4-9 (12th in the Western B Heal Points standings, the top nine qualify for the playoffs) Monday with a 10-0 home loss to York. The Falcons were at Wells Wednesday (where a victory would help the playoff cause), host Old Orchard Beach Friday and finish up at Traip June 2.
Greely has no worries about making the playoffs. The Rangers improved to 11-2 Monday with a 6-4 home win over Falmouth. Greely was coming off a 10-4 home win over Yarmouth (junior Michaela Finnegan earned the win, doubled twice and drove in three runs, while senior Marika Stayte added three hits and three RBI) and a 9-6 loss at Wells (despite three hits from Stayte and two each from senior Karlee Biskup and sophomore Edith Aromando).
Against the Yachtsmen, Stayte drove in three runs and sophomore Katie Whittum had three hits. The Rangers (third in Western B) hosted Traip Wednesday, play at Yarmouth Friday and close at home versus Cape Elizabeth next Wednesday.
Yarmouth had fallen to the 10th spot at press time. The Clippers lost 10-4 at Greely last Tuesday (despite a home run from Abbie Hutchinson), avenged an earlier loss with an 8-2 win at Cape Elizabeth Thursday (Hutchinson had two hits and Abbey Ridge drove in a pair of runs), then couldn't hold on at home against Freeport Friday (despite three hits from Julie Dursema). Monday, Yarmouth dropped to 7-7 after a 3-2 loss at Poland.
The Clippers were at Falmouth Wednesday and play host to Greely Friday in the regular season finale.
Falmouth had a lot of work to do entering the week to qualify. The Yachtsmen lost, 12-1, at home to Cape Elizabeth Friday, but bounced back Saturday to beat visiting Traip, 4-0. Falmouth fell to 5-8 Monday after a 6-4 loss at Greely.
The Yachtsmen (16th in Western B) were home Wednesday with Yarmouth, go to Sacopee Friday and finish at Wells June 2.
The Yarmouth and Falmouth boys' lacrosse teams were on centerstage last weekend (please see story). In the meantime, Freeport, Greely and NYA continue their playoff quests.
The Falcons have quietly put together another superb year. They took a 7-2 mark and the No. 3 ranking in the Eastern B Heal Points into a home showdown with Yarmouth Wednesday. Freeport increased its win streak to four last week with a dramatic 14-13 (overtime) home win over Greely and a 16-6 triumph at Wells.
Against the Rangers, defeat appeared imminent before senior Jackson Dodge scored with a fraction of a second remaining to force OT. There, senior Christo Milholland delivered the game winner for one of the more inspirational victories in program history.
The win over the Warriors was more conventional, as Dodge had five goals and Milholland and senior Thomas Dorsey both added four.
Freeport finishes the season on the road, at Lake Region Friday and Falmouth next Tuesday.
The Rangers are in the thick of the Western B playoff hunt and are currently third in the Heals with the top four teams qualifying. After dropping the overtime heartbreaker at Freeport, Greely bounced back Thursday and handled visiting Lake Region, 10-2, behind a goal and two assists from Brendan Trelegan, a goal and an assist from Adam Parolin, a goal from Liam Campbell and 10 saves from sophomore goalie Griffin Demick.
The Rangers (5-4) hosted Falmouth Tuesday, played at Lake Region Wednesday and finish the regular season at Yarmouth next Tuesday.
The Panthers are in a battle for the fifth and final playoff spot in Eastern B. They were tied with Gardiner when the week began. NYA has hit a rut of late, losing 19-1 at home to rival Yarmouth last Tuesday and 10-2 at home to Cape Elizabeth Friday. In the latter contest, the Panthers fell behind 5-0 less than 10 minutes in and couldn't score until junior Tim Millett tickled the twine with 10:54 to play.
NYA (4-5 and ninth in the latest coaches' poll) hosted Waynflete Tuesday, goes to Falmouth Friday and closes at York next Wednesday.
On the girls' side, while Yarmouth and Falmouth were squaring off Saturday (please see story), North Yarmouth Academy was getting back in the win column following an 11-6 home loss to Yarmouth last Wednesday. The Panthers improved to 7-3 Saturday after downing visiting Cape Elizabeth, 12-6, as junior Lily Wellenbach had five goals, senior Courtney Dumont added four and senior goalie Ashley Salerno stopped 20 shots.
NYA took a 7-3 mark into Tuesday's showdown at two-time defending Class B champion Waynflete, a team the Panthers beat, 7-6, at home back on April 28. A second victory over the Flyers would keep NYA's hopes alive for the top seed in Eastern B (Yarmouth was first at the start of the week).
The Panthers closed the regular season Wednesday at home versus Greely.
The Rangers finally got in the win column Monday, beating visiting Freeport, 16-7, on Senior Night, behind six goals, four assists and eight ground balls from senior Kylie Ross, five goals from senior Melanie Howland, two goals, two assists and five ground balls from sophomore Audrey Parolin and 16 saves from senior Hannah Dexter.
Last week, Greely lost, 14-4, to visiting Waynflete and 12-8 at Cony. Howland had three goals, while Ross grabbed 11 ground balls in the loss to the Flyers.
Against the Rams, Ross had four goals and Dexter made 13 saves. The Rangers (sixth in Western B) were at Yarmouth Wednesday and close at NYA Friday.
Freeport fell to 3-8 Monday with the loss at Greely. The Falcons had dropped decisions last week at Wells (9-5) and at home to Falmouth (10-6).
Against the Warriors, Senior Lucy Whitacre had three goals and senior goalie Hannah Goodenow made 14 saves. In the loss to the Yachtsmen, sophomore Jess Hench scored three times and Goodenow stopped 12 shots. Monday, senior Shelby Colvin scored five goals.
Freeport (fifth in the Eastern B Heals) finishes its season at Fryeburg Saturday.
The track regular season came to a close last weekend. Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth joined St. Dom's and Greater Portland Christian School at Cape Elizabeth.
The Yachtsmen boys capped their undefeated regular season by winning the meet with 261.5 points. Greely (123) came in second and Yarmouth (65.5) was third. Falmouth won two of three relays and had two individuals win a pair of events. Senior Alec Dunn took the 100 (11.4 seconds) and the 400 (52.9). Senior Kellen MacDonald was tops in the 110 hurdles (15.4) and the 300 hurdles (42.2).
Greely also had two multiple winners as senior distance standout Mark McCauley won the mile (4 minutes, 20.7 seconds) and the 800 (2:05.7). Junior Michael Burgess captured the discus (128 feet) and the shot put (49-1).
For Yarmouth, sophomore Lucas Davis took second in the high jump (5-8) and 200 (24.3) and tied Falmouth freshman Jacob Buhelt for second in the 100 (11.5). Junior Shane Ryan was runner-up in the discus (106-3) and the Clippers had the second-fastest 3,200 relay team (8:57.5).
In the girls' meet, Greely took top honors with 224 points, while Falmouth (138.5) came in second and Yarmouth (60) placed third. Rangers junior Anna Whitaker took the 100 (13.0) and the long jump (14-1.25).
The Yachtsmen were paced by junior Kate Sparks, who was tops in the javelin (73 feet) and the shot put (35-4).
The Clippers top individuals were junior Mary Sansone (second in the 100, 13.5 seconds) and sophomore Mary McGrail (runner-up in the javelin (64-2). Yarmouth also placed second in the 400 relay (56.7).
Freeport and NYA, meanwhile, joined Poland at Gray-New Gloucester for their finale. The Panthers were second in the boys' meet and third on the girls' side, while both Falcons teams placed fourth.
In the boys' competition, NYA got wins from senior Henry Sterling in the 400 (53.4) and the two-mile (10:38), junior Mohamed Dahia in the 300 hurdles (43.4), sophomore Asad Dahia in the 800 (2:05.3) and senior Doug Goldstein in the racewalk (8:57).
On the girls' side, the Panthers had first place finishes from sophomore Hillary Detert in the two-mile (13:35), senior Hannah Bewsey in the high jump (5-3.5) and senior Maeve Stier in the long jump (15-3.5), along with its 1,600 relay team (4:32).
The postseason begins this weekend as the Western Maine Conference meet will be held Saturday at 9 a.m., at Yarmouth High. The Class B (at Windham) and Class C (at Foxcroft) state meets are the following Saturday, June 5.
The Falmouth girls' tennis team sought to cap another undefeated regular season and avoid losing a single point all year when it went to York for its finale Tuesday. The Yachtsmen are battling Oak Hill for the right to be the top seed for the upcoming Western B tournament and will be heavy favorites to win a third straight state championship and a fifth in six seasons.
Yarmouth is also playoff-bound. The Clippers entered the week 7-3 and fourth in Western B.
Greely lost, 3-2, at Cape Elizabeth in its finale Monday and wound up 4-8. The Rangers were 10th in the Heals, but only eight teams make the playoffs.
Freeport (2-8 and 13th in the standings as of Monday) closed the regular season with home matches against Waynflete and Lake Region Tuesday.
In Western C, three-time champion NYA is battling Winthrop for the top tournament seed. The Panthers were third with a 9-1 mark as the week began. They closed with a pair of matches versus Old Orchard Beach Tuesday.
On the boys' side, Falmouth hopes to get back to its championship form of 2006 and 2007. The Yachtsmen took a 9-2 mark into Monday's finale at defending Class B champ Yarmouth. Falmouth appears locked into the third spot for the playoffs.
The Clippers were in the ninth Western B spot (only eight teams make the cut) entering the week. If Yarmouth does qualify, it could be very dangerous.
Greely, which finished 4-8, good for 13th, and Freeport (3-9 and 14th) will fall short of the postseason. The Panthers of NYA will also miss out. They got their first win last week, 5-0, at Lake Region, but closed with losses to Yarmouth (5-0) and Cape Elizabeth (5-0) to finish 1-11 (12th in the region).
The playoffs begin June 3 with the quarterfinals.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org