Playoff thrills underway in baseball, softball and lacrosse-Portland edition

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(Ed. Note: For the Portland-Scarborough baseball game story, with a box score and photos, see theforecaster.net) 

The outdoor track state meet has come and gone and tennis is about to crown its team champions (see stories), leaving the stage for baseball, softball and boys’ and girls’ lacrosse.

Those playoffs promise to be memorable.

Here’s a look at where local teams stand as the postseason commences.

Baseball

Cheverus, Deering and Portland’s baseball teams all began their championship quest in the preliminary round.

Portland, a surprise regional finalist in 2015, wound up 11-5 and fifth in Class A South this spring after closing with a frustrating 4-3 loss at Scarborough. 

The Bulldogs took advantage of three walks by Red Storm starter Mitchell Wedge and a pair of errors to score twice in the top of the first inning, as Jake Knop and Dom Tocci both crossed the plate. Portland failed to break it open, however, and Scarborough got to pitcher Dan Marzilli in the bottom of the third, scoring a run, then adding two more in the fourth.

The Bulldogs answered in the fifth, as Joey Fusco tied the score with a sacrifice fly, but in the bottom of the sixth, with two outs and two on and the runners on the move, Josh Reed hit an RBI single to put Scarborough ahead to stay. Portland had a golden opportunity to answer in the seventh, loading the bases with two outs, but Wedge saved his best for last, fanning Jack Nichols, and the Red Storm prevailed, 4-3.

“The difference between Scarborough and Portland right now is they’re us from last year right now,” Portland coach Mike Rutherford said. “They’re playing above themselves. They play to win. We’re sitting back and hoping not to lose instead of trying to win. If you play not to lose, you have to make every play. Our pitching and defense have been good. We’re just not getting hitting. They gave us two runs and the other run, we had to get a sac fly to get that.”

The Bulldogs hosted No. 12 Kennebunk (6-10) in the Class A South preliminary round Monday night (see theforecaster.net for game story). The teams don’t play in the regular season. They split two prior playoff meetings, as the Rams won, 11-8, in the 1990 quarterfinals and Portland prevailed, 10-3, in the 1997 quarterfinals.

If the Bulldogs advanced, they’d have a showdown at No. 4 Thornton Academy (12-4) Thursday at 4 p.m. On May 17, the Golden Trojans rallied to beat Portland, 5-4, in nine innings in Saco. The Bulldogs won all three prior playoff meetings: 1-0 in the 1979 semifinals, 12-4 in the 1998 quarterfinals and 10-0 in the 2004 quarterfinals.

Deering earned the No. 8 seed after going 9-7. The Rams closed the regular season with an 8-5 (eight-inning) win at Sanford, as Pat Viola’s two-run single in extra innings proved to be the difference. Viola, James Sinclair and Spencer Todd (who got the win in relief) all had two hits and Nate Loranger stole three bases. 

Cheverus finished ninth at 10-6 after closing with a 3-1 home victory over Gorham. Alex Jacobs scattered 10 hits to earn the win and also drove in a run, as did Tre Fletcher and Logan McCarthy. 

For the second year in a row, the Stags and Rams met in the preliminary round Tuesday. Last season, Deering won at Cheverus, 12-2. Tuesday, the Rams were the home team, but due to Hadlock Field being unavailable with the Portland Sea Dogs in town, the teams had to go to the University of Southern Maine to play.

In the regular season meeting May 20, Deering scored in the bottom of the seventh, on a Viola single, to win, 4-3.

Last year’s victory gave the Rams a 6-0 all-time advantage in playoff meetings against the Stags.

The winner will go to top-ranked Falmouth (16-0) for the quarterfinals Thursday. Neither Cheverus or Deering played the Yachtsmen this year or ever in the postseason.

Looking ahead, the semifinals are Saturday on the fields of the higher remaining seed. The Class A South Final is Tuesday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s College. The Class A state final is Saturday, June 18 at 1 p.m. at St. Joe’s.

Waynflete’s season ended last Wednesday’s with a 20-4 (five-inning) loss at Sacopee Valley. Tommy Silk had a pair of hits for the Flyers, who ended up 3-11 and 13th in Class C South (where 11 teams qualified for the playoffs). 

Softball

Portland’s softball team has enjoyed a fairy tale season of resurgence. The Bulldogs beat Biddeford and South Portland for the first time in over a decade, made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and Tuesday, clinched a winning record for the first time since 2005 when they downed visiting Bonny Eagle, 5-1, in the regular season finale to wind up 9-7. Jess Brown earned the win, striking out 10, and she also had three hits and scored twice.

“The girls worked this year,” said Portland coach Robbie Ferrante. “We had most of our girls back and the pitching really came around. Sydney Gilbert and Jess Brown worked hard in the offseason. They kept us in games. The girls are in a place where they feel good about themselves. They’re happy, but they want to keep playing. My seniors have never played in June before. Usually their uniforms are turned in. I’m happy for them. I’ve worked them hard, but they’ve been willing to sacrifice and it’s paid off.”

The Bulldogs earned the No. 8 seed in Class A South and hosted No. 9 Marshwood (8-8) in the preliminary round Monday afternoon (see theforecaster.net for game story), their first home playoff game since 2005. The Hawks won the regular season meeting, 5-0, May 16 in Portland.  The teams had no playoff history.

If the Bulldogs won a postseason contest for the first time in a decade, they would go to top-ranked, defending regional champion Scarborough (16-0) in the quarterfinals Thursday. The Red Storm won, 14-2, at Portland May 10, in a game that didn’t get out of hand until late. 

The teams split two previous playoffs meetings, as the Bulldogs won the 2004 Western A Final (3-1) and the Red Storm prevailed, 3-0, in the 2006 quarterfinals.

Looking ahead, the semifinals are Saturday on the fields of the higher remaining seed. The Class A South Final is Tuesday, June 14 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s College. The Class A state final is Saturday, June 18 at 4:30 p.m. at St. Joe’s.

Deering finished 4-12 and 14th in Class A South (where only 12 teams qualified for the playoffs).

McAuley wound up 3-13 and 17th in Class A South. 

Cheverus was 0-16 and 18th in Class A South.

Boys’ lacrosse

Waynflete’s boys’ lacrosse team has quietly put together a strong season. The Flyers capped a three-game regular season-ending win streak last Wednesday with a 13-10 home victory over Freeport. Willy Burdick and Miles Lipton both scored three times. Waynflete finished 8-4 and fourth in Class B South.

The Flyers will host No. 5 Fryeburg Academy (7-5) in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round. On May 3, Waynflete won, 14-8, at the Raiders. Last year, in the same round, the host Flyers prevailed, 17-6, in the only prior playoff encounter.

If Waynflete advances, it will go to top-ranked, three-time defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth (12-0) for the semifinals Saturday. Back on April 14, the Flyers opened with an 18-8 loss at the Capers. Cape Elizabeth has won all seven previous playoff encounters, with a 16-3 victory in the 2013 semifinals the most recent.

In Class A North, Cheverus and Deering were set to square off in the quarterfinals.

The Stags went 8-4 in the regular season, closing with a 15-2 home victory over Marshwood, and earned the No. 4 seed in the region.

The Rams went 7-5, closing with a 25-4 romp at Noble behind eight goals from Bryce Randall and six from Andrew Johnson, and wound up fifth in Class A North.

Back on April 28, Cheverus held on for an 8-6 win over Deering in a game played at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The Stags won all three prior playoff meetings: 14-13 in the 2002 Northwest Division semifinals, 4-2 in the 2012 Eastern A Final and 11-4 in the 2013 semifinals.

The winner will go to No. 1 Brunswick (10-2), the defending Class A state champion, for the semifinals Saturday. Neither Cheverus or Deering played the Dragons this year. The Rams have no playoff history with Brunswick, while the Stags and Dragons have split four prior meetings (Brunswick rolled, 18-8, in last year’s semifinals en route to the championship). 

Looking ahead, the regional finals are Wednesday of next week, on the fields of the higher seeds. The Class A and B state finals are Saturday, June 18 at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Portland closed with an 11-4 home loss to Massabesic and finished 4-8 and eighth in Class A North, but missed the playoffs as only seven teams qualified.

Girls’ lacrosse

Cheverus, Deering and Waynflete’s girls’ lacrosse teams all reached the postseason.

The perennial powerhouse Flyers wound up 8-4 and fifth in Class B South after closing with a 13-9 loss at Lake Region. Nina Moore scored five times. The teams will square off again Wednesday in the quarterfinals for the first time ever in the playoffs.

If Waynflete avoids its first-ever quarterfinal round loss, it will go to top-ranked Kennebunk (12-0) Saturday for the semifinals. The Flyers lost at home to the defending regional champion Rams, 13-3, back on May 4. Waynflete is 3-1 all-time against Kennebunk in the playoffs, but the teams haven’t met in the postseason since the 2006 Western B Final (a 14-8 Flyers’ triumph). 

In Class A North, Deering qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2008 after a 5-7 regular season. The Rams closed with a 14-10 victory at Portland, snapping a four-game skid in the process.

Deering earned the No. 6 seed in the region and will go to No. 3 Lewiston (8-4) for the quarterfinals. The teams did not play this year and have no playoff history.

If the Rams can spring the upset, they’d go to No. 2 Windham (10-2) or host No. 7 Brunswick (2-10) in Saturday’s semifinals. Deering lost at home, 16-0, to the Eagles May 18. The Rams have never played the Eagles in the postseason. They did beat Brunswick, 18-10, in the 1999 state quarterfinals. The Rams and Dragons didn’t meet this season.

Cheverus garnered the eighth and final Class A North playoff berth after closing at 3-9 by beating visiting McAuley (16-9) and falling at Gorham (7-3). The Stags go to top-ranked Messalonskee (11-1), the defending regional champion, for the quarterfinals Wednesday. On April 30, Cheverus lost at Messalonskee, 19-7. The Stags won all three prior playoff meetings: 10-8 in the 2011 Eastern A quarterfinals, 10-9 in the 2012 Eastern A semifinals and 13-6 in the 2014 regional final.

Looking ahead, the regional finals are Wednesday of next week, on the fields of the higher seeds. The Class A and B state finals are Saturday, June 18 at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

McAuley finished 2-10 and ninth in Class A North, but only eight teams made the playoffs. The Lions closed with a 16-9 loss at Cheverus.

Portland wound up 1-11 and 11th in Class A North after closing with a 14-10 home loss to Deering. Merritt Ryan had four goals to give her 52 for the year (second in the league) and a whopping 155 in her superb Bulldogs career.

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

Sidebar Elements


Portland’s Jake Knop slides into second base during last week’s 4-3 loss at Scarborough.

Two of the giants of the Maine high school baseball coaching world, Portland’s Mike Rutherford and Scarborough’s Mike D’Andrea (the former Deering coach) meet prior to last week’s game. D’Andrea had the last laugh as the Red Storm won, 4-3.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.