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Baseball, softball, lax regular seasons wrap up; Playoffs next for Portland schools

Sports

Baseball, softball, lax regular seasons wrap up; Playoffs next for Portland schools

(Ed. Note: For the full Cheverus-South Portland softball and Waynflete-Yarmouth and Waynflete-NYA girls' lacrosse game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)

With the track and tennis postseasons underway (please see stories), baseball, softball and lacrosse are gearing up to chase their share of glory.

City teams have either wrapped up or are in the process of finishing the regular season and here's a look at who's moving on to the playoffs.

Baseball

At press time, there were many more questions than certainties in regards to local baseball teams and the postseason.

In Western A, as the dust settles, three-time defending state champion Deering is right where it always is, near the top. The Rams have been mortal in 2010, losing to Cheverus, Portland, Westbrook and Bonny Eagle, but wins last week over Gorham (5-1) and Scarborough (13-3, in five innings) have them fighting for the top spot. Against Gorham, the Rams got three RBI and a strong start from senior Travis Wade, who earned the win. Deering had 12 hits versus the red-hot Red Storm. Senior Jake Nichols earned the win. Junior Nick Colucci drove in four runs. Sophomore Nick DiBiase doubled and tripled and drove home two.

The Rams (11-4) were second to Bonny Eagle in the Western A Heal Points standings as of Monday. Deering closed at home with Cheverus Tuesday as it sought to avenge a loss from earlier this spring.

The Stags lost, 6-2, at home to Westbrook and 3-2 at Windham before bouncing back Saturday with a 4-1 home victory over Biddeford to improve to 9-6 (good for seventh in the Heals). Against the Tigers, junior Joey Royer threw a three-hitter and junior Jack Bushey crushed a home run. Cheverus looked to move up in its finale at Deering.

Portland, despite its 4-1 start and wins over Westbrook and Deering, will likely fall short. The Bulldogs lost, 6-3, at home to Windham last Tuesday, then won, 10-2, at home over Gorham Thursday to balance their ledger at 7-7. In the victory, senior Adam Gould was dominant on the hill and had a triple. Freshman Caleb Fraser drove in a pair of runs. Entering Monday's home game versus Sanford, Portland was 11th in the standings, but only eight teams qualify. The Bulldogs could have gotten over the hump if they were able to beat Westbrook Tuesday.

In Western C, Waynflete clinched its best regular season record since 2003 by sweeping Traip Academy Saturday, 5-2, and 10-8, to finish 6-7. A superb pitching effort from Charlie Laprade and three hits from Max Ritchie gave the Flyers the win in the opener. In the nightcap, Waynflete rallied from an early 4-1 deficit and held on behind two hits from Laprade, three RBI from John Sherman and three runs from Tom Ryan.

Now, the Flyers hope those six victories are enough to send them to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. As of Monday, Waynflete was eighth in the Western C Heals. The top 10 squads qualify for the postseason, but three teams are hot on the Flyers' heels.

"Some folks around the school, with more Heal Points experience than me, say that we are likely in, but I don't see it as locked down," said Waynflete coach Steve Kautz. "We are going to prepare as if we're in and see what news comes in the next few days. It's been a great season for the kids and they are on edge waiting to hear about the playoffs. In previous years, we'd be in easily, but under the new system (where only half of each region qualifies)...

"(If we make it), it'll just be that much sweeter."

Softball

On the softball front, Cheverus and McAuley are preparing for postseason action.

The Stags had a dramatic week last week, easily defeating visiting Portland, 14-3, Monday (seniors Theresa Hendrix, Keturah Smith and Jasmyn Welch all had four hits, Hendrix and Welch hit home runs), then rallying to hand defending Class A champion Scarborough its first loss of the season, 5-1, Tuesday, as Hendrix was dominant on the mound and Welch broke the game open with a home run. Wednesday, however, Cheverus fell to 11-4 after a 10-6, error-filled loss at South Portland.

"Emotionally it was tough," said Stags coach Amy McMullin. "If we had a day off in-between (Scarborough and South Portland), it might have been a different story, but we hold ourselves to no excuses. Offensively, we played great. I don't know if anyone's scored six runs on South Portland. Defensively, I never want to see (today's) team again. We weren't focused when we got to the field. We were still celebrating the big win from yesterday. As soon as we got here, I could feel a bad vibe and tried to nip it in the bud, but it didn't quite happen.

"Theresa pitched so well yesterday. I give her a lot of credit. Our team didn't give her a lot of help. They didn't have 10 earned runs. A lot of routine outs we didn't make. I'm proud we didn't give up. We battled and I'm proud of them. Defensively, it just wasn't our game."

Cheverus was in a three-way tie for fourth place (with Kennebunk and Thornton Academy) in the Western A Heals as the week began. The Stags closed at home versus Bonny Eagle Tuesday.

"We'll be three or four," McMullin said. "We're getting stronger. We'll be ready for playoffs."

McAuley, which has enjoyed a fantasy season in 2010, came back to Earth a bit last week, getting drubbed, 15-0 (in five innings), by visiting Scarborough and falling, 8-6, at Biddeford before winning, 15-0 (in six innings), at home over Portland Friday to improve to 11-4, the Lions best regular season mark ever.

Against the Bulldogs, junior Jen Field earned the win and freshman Sam Shildroth had five hits, including three triples. McAuley was likely bound for the No. 7 spot for the playoffs unless it was able to upset host South Portland in the finale Tuesday.

Deering won twice last week, 7-6, at home over Gorham (Jen Lynch drove in the game-winner) and 6-2 at Massabesic (behind two RBI from Fiona Densmore), before losing, 12-1, at home to Thornton Academy to take a 6-9 record into its finale Tuesday night at Scarborough. The Rams were 12th in the Heals and unless they were able to upset the Red Storm, will fall short of the playoffs for the first time since 2000.

Portland lost three times last week, 14-3, at Cheverus, 10-4, at home to Bonny Eagle and 15-0 at McAuley to drop to 1-14. The Bulldogs (16th in the region) closed Tuesday at home versus Sanford and will miss the postseason for the second year in a row.

Boys' lacrosse

All four city boys' lacrosse teams have a shot at making the playoffs this spring.

Defending Class A champion Portland is a shoo-in and the Bulldogs have the inside track on the No. 1 seed in Eastern A and homefield advantage right through the state game, if they get that far.

Last week, Portland improved to 11-0 and extended its win streak to 20 with a 20-5 home romp over Westbrook. Junior Caleb Kenney scored five times. The Bulldogs had a big showdown in the regular season finale Tuesday when they hosted rival Scarborough in a rematch of last year's Western A Final.

Deering, which hasn't made the playoffs since 2007, entered the week in the No. 5 spot in Eastern A (the top six teams qualify). The Rams, who have overcome myriad injuries this season, edged host Gorham, 9-8, last Wednesday (behind two goals each from juniors Matt Thomes and Isaac Wipfler) to improve to 7-4 (their best record in three years). Deering closes at home versus Bonny Eagle Wednesday.

Cheverus began the week clinging to the sixth and final spot in Eastern A. The up-and-down Stags rolled 13-2 at Noble in their most recent outing, last Monday, to improve to 6-5. Cheverus finishes at home against Gorham Wednesday.

In Western B, Waynflete is peaking at the right time. The Flyers took a five-game winning streak into Tuesday's home finale against Cape Elizabeth (please see Web site for game story). Last week, Waynflete beat NYA for the first time in a long time, 15-8, in Yarmouth, behind four goals from freshman Zander Majercik, three each from Chris Burke and Matt Butler and 24 saves from senior goalie Will Hallett. Friday, the Flyers improved to 8-3 with a 15-2 romp at Fryeburg as Burke and Butler both scored five times. Waynflete (holding fast to the fourth and final Western B playoff spot) could have guaranteed itself a playoff trip if it was able to beat the red-hot Capers.

Girls' lacrosse

On the girls' side, Waynflete had a pair of possible Class B championship game previews to end its regular season.

Last Monday, the Flyers went to Yarmouth, got off to a hot start and held on for a 12-9 victory behind four goals from senior Morgan Woodhouse, three from senior Amy Allen and two goals and two assists from sophomore Sadie Cole.

 "This is the best game we've played," said Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. "I just feel like everyone came and wanted it."

Tuesday, Waynflete hosted NYA. The Flyers beat the Panthers in the 2008 and 2009 state championship games, but fell, 7-6, at NYA back on April 28. Waynflete was hoping for revenge, but fell behind early and despite tying the game several times, lost, 8-7. Woodhouse had four goals, but it wasn't enough.

"I think we were exhausted," Connors said. "No excuses, but (playing yesterday against Yarmouth) made a difference. We didn't have a day off to come back fresh. I'm thrilled to death to be 10-2. I have no regrets. Having two losses by one goal, I'm good with that. For such a young team to have this record, I'm really proud of them."

Waynflete (10-2) is the top seed for the upcoming Western B playoffs, but won't play another meaningful game until hosting either Wells or York in the semifinals on June 12.

In Eastern A, Cheverus and Portland appear playoff-bound.

The Stags dropped their final two regular season games, 11-8, at home to Thornton Academy and 16-14 at Gorham. Senior Bri Amato had seven goals against the Rams. Cheverus was third in the Heals at the start of the week and will likely host a quarterfinal round game, possibly against Portland, Wednesday of next week.

The Bulldogs held the sixth and final Eastern A spot as the week began. They edged visiting South Portland, 9-8, Friday, behind senior Nancy McAdam's game-winner. Sophomore  Catherine Flaherty scored three goals. Portland wrapped up the regular season at Marshwood Tuesday.

Deering lost, 4-2, at South Portland last Tuesday to fall to 3-7-1 (ninth in the region). The Rams closed at Massabesic Tuesday.

In Western A, McAuley will also fall short of the playoffs after finishing 3-9. Last week, the Lions (12th in the standings) were defeated, 9-6, by visiting Westbrook and 13-3 at Bonny Eagle.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

Photo: Jason Veilleux / For The Forecaster

Portland junior Mckenzie Parker runs past a South Portland opponent during Friday night's victory.