(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Thornton Academy and Waynflete-Falmouth and Waynflete-Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse game stories, with box scores and photos, please visit theforecaster.net)
While tennis and track’s postseasons have already begun (please see story), baseball, softball and lacrosse are about to follow suit.
The city of Portland features several teams capable of winning it all, meaning the next couple weeks will be full of drama and excitement.
Here’s a glimpse at where local schools stand and what’s to come:
Defending Class A state champion Cheverus was the lone local Western Class A baseball team guaranteed a playoff spot at press time.
The Stags made it six straight victories with recent wins at Deering (8-1), at home over Gorham (3-2) and at Sanford (7-3). In the win over the Deering Rams, Louie DiStasio pitched a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts, doubled, singled twice, stole three bases and both scored and drove in a run. Ryan Casale added three hits. Against the Rams of Gorham, Casale earned the victory while Chris Tinsman drove in the winner. In the win over Sanford, Harry Ridge got the win, while DiStasio homered as part of a three-hit day.
Cheverus (11-4 and fourth in the Western A Heal Points standings) closed the regular season at home versus Windham Tuesday (see the forecaster.net for game story).
Deering clung to the 11th and final Western A playoff spot at press time with a 4-10 record following losses to Cheverus (8-1) and at South Portland (5-1 in nine innings). Nick DiBiase had two hits against the Stags. In the loss to the Red Riots, Kenny Sweet had two hits and DiBiase was the hard-luck loser. The Rams were at Portland Monday and closed the regular season at home versus Gorham Tuesday. Deering last missed the postseason in 1997.
Portland was still in the hunt entering the week. The Bulldogs were coming off a 6-1 win at South Portland and a 10-0 (five inning) home setback to Westbrook. In the victory, Nate Smart earned the win, Tim Rovnak scored three times and Travis Gadbout had two hits and two RBI. Portland took a 4-10 mark and the No. 14 spot in Western A (11 teams qualify) into Monday’s home tilt with Deering. The Bulldogs were at Scarborough Tuesday.
In Western C, Waynflete will boast a winning record for a second straight spring and will make the playoffs for the third year in a row. The Flyers clinched the conference title last Monday with a 9-7 win at Traip. Joey Schnier earned the win, while Luke Jeton had two hits and two RBI. Andrew Butler also had a pair of hits. Waynflete then lost to Western B opponents visiting Fryeburg (11-1 in five innings) and host Cape Elizabeth (17-1 in five innings). Schnier singled and tripled and Mitch Newlin had two hits against former Flyers standout Charlie Laprade in the loss to the Capers. Waynflete improved to 9-5 (ninth in the Heals) after Friday’s 12-4 win at Sacopee. Schnier got his sixth victory on the mound, while Butler scored three times and had a pair of steals and Newlin and Matt Jarrell both had two hits. The Flyers finish the regular season at Traip Wednesday.
The baseball playoffs begin with the preliminary round Tuesday. The quarterfinals are June 7 and the semifinals June 9. All rounds will be held on the field of the highest remaining seed. The Western A and Western C Finals are Tuesday, June 12, at St. Joseph’s College. The state finals are Saturday, June 16.
At press time, it appeared as if all four city softball teams would miss the playoffs.
McAuley and Cheverus came the closest to qualifying.
The Lions, who made it to the postseason two years running, wound up 6-10 after losses to visiting Sanford (8-4) and host Massabesic (2-0) and a win over visiting Deering (6-2) last week. Standout senior Shelby Bryant had four hits against Sanford and capped her stellar high school career with a home run versus the Rams. Taylor Whaley had a three-hitter with seven strikeouts in the win. McAuley was 13th in the Western A Heals entering the week, but only 11 teams make the playoffs.
The Stags lost a 7-3 home game to defending Class A champion Scarborough last Monday, then lost at Thornton Academy, 9-1 Wednesday. Staci Swallow had three hits against the Red Storm. Cheverus (5-10 and 14th in the region at the week’s onset) closed at Noble Tuesday and still held out hope a win in that game could push it into the top 11.
Portland took a 1-14 record and the No. 16 seed into its finale at Bonny Eagle Tuesday. Last week, the Bulldogs lost at South Portland (22-2 in five innings) and at home to Gorham (16-4 in five innings). Leanne Reichert doubled and tripled against the Red Riots and crushed a grand slam against the Rams.
Deering was 0-15 and 17th as the week began. The Rams lost at home to Massabesic (12-0 in six innings) and at McAuley (6-2) last week. Deering hosted Kennebunk in the finale Tuesday.
Cheverus, Deering and Portland will take part in the Eastern Class A boys’ lacrosse playoffs.
The Rams began the week third behind Brunswick and Mt. Ararat with a 7-4 record. Deering suffered a 9-4 loss at Thornton Academy last Wednesday, despite two goals from Anthony Verville. The Rams close at home against Kennebunk Wednesday.
The Stags started the week fourth with an 8-3 mark. Last Wednesday, they cruised over visiting Windham, 10-0, as Jack Sutton scored five times. Cheverus closes at Marshwood Wednesday.
The Bulldogs completed their second half surge with a 9-2 regular season-ending home win over Bonny Eagle last Wednesday, their third in a row, as they wound up 6-6 (sixth in Western A). Portland got three goals each from Mike Fuller and Max Pierter and two more from Joe Nielsen.
In Western B, Waynflete crushed visiting Lake Region, 17-5, and lost at Greely, 12-9, last week. Against the Lakers, Henry Cleaves went off for eight goals while Chris Burke added four. The Flyers were sixth in the Heals at the start of the week. Only six teams qualify for the playoffs. Waynflete closes at Freeport Wednesday and still held out hopes of making the playoffs and extending the coaching career of longtime head man Bob Johnson.
The boys’ lacrosse playoffs begin Wednesday of next week with the quarterfinal round. The semifinals are Saturday, June 9 and the regional finals will be contested Wednesday, June 13. Each of those rounds are hosted by the highest remaining seeds. The state championship games are Saturday, June 16, at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. Class B is at 12:30 p.m., Class A begins at 5:30 p.m.
On the girls’ side, Waynflete is still in the hunt for a top seed in Western B, even though the Flyers were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten last Tuesday.
Hosting a Falmouth team to which it had never lost, Waynflete couldn’t hold a 5-0 lead and went down to a 13-10 defeat despite four goals from Martha Veroneau and three from Sadie Cole. The Flyers lost 20 of 25 draws and had no answer for the Yachtsmen’s second half onslaught.
“We didn’t have our game in the second half,” Waynflete coach Cathie Connors lamented. “(The Yachtsmen) were fantastic in the second half. They were unbelievable. They had great firepower. They were aggressive. They were stronger than us today and that’s OK, because it exposed a lot of things we have to work on. It was still a fun game. It’s difficult to win a game by losing 20 out of 25 draws. We struggled on it. I think it’s something we have to work on.”
Luckily for the Flyers, they didn’t even have 24 hours to dwell on the loss as they had their regular season finale at Yarmouth in a state final rematch Wednesday. With Cole turning fortunes around in the draw circle, Waynflete was able to possess the ball and unleash its balanced and potent attack. As a result, the Flyers were up 6-1 in less than eight minutes, held a commanding 10-4 lead at halftime, then pulled away in the second half for a 17-7 win. Veroneau was superb, scoring five times and assisting on five other goals, underappreciated senior Lucy Crane added four goals and Cole and sophomore Walker Foehl each finished with three.
“It was tough having back-to-back games, but clearly, we used it to our advantage,” said Crane. “We learned a lot from the last game. We wanted to have a good game to end up the regular season.”
“It felt good to have this opportunity to come back out and play,” Cole said. “We were so ready. We were tired, but we stayed together. Every single person I’ve talked to has said it was a good thing we lost. It’s as good as a loss can ever be.”
“It was a nice win after yesterday,” Veroneau said. “We regrouped. Yesterday was definitely a wakeup call for what we need to work on. We came in today with a lot of intensity so we could carry it over to playoffs.”
A young group that entered the spring with a plethora of question marks managed to win 11 of 12 games against a tough schedule and is only getting better.
“It’s been so much fun,” said Crane. “I’m just floored by how our team has come together, people have stepped up and come to new positions.”
“I can’t believe it’s already our last regular season game,” said Cole. “It’s gone by so fast. I’m just so proud of how well our team has done.”
The players believe that much of the credit is due Connors, who now has 233 wins and 10 state titles (and counting) in her 20 seasons.
“It all goes back to the coach,” Veroneau said. “Cathie’s been incredible bringing this team together. Everybody on the team has stepped up. Everybody’s played a really crucial role. With Cathie leading us, the sky’s the limit. “
“We owe it all to Cathie,” Crane said. “She’s the core of our team. She just brings us together. She consistently brings together good teams. She’s just so much fun. On and off the field is where we shine, being a family. She’s such a great Mom and she brings that to the field. She’s motherly and cares about us. We feel that on the field and we bring that heart and strength to the field. She instills trust and relying on each other.”
Waynflete wound up 11-1 and will either be second or third in Western B (ending a four-year streak of finishing first), depending on who won Tuesday’s Cape Elizabeth at Falmouth showdown.
“I’m very happy with the regular season,” Connors said. “I had no idea how it would turn out. All the kids stepped up. It was OK for us to feel a loss. Now we have two-and-a-half weeks to practice. We have our routine. I think we’ve done great things. We’re capable of doing more great things.”
In Eastern A, Cheverus and Portland are playoff-bound.
The Bulldogs began the week third behind Brunswick and Mt. Ararat with a 9-2 record following Thursday’s 6-5 home win over South Portland. Portland closed at Gorham Tuesday. The Bulldogs have already set a record for most regular season wins and will be a major threat in the playoffs.
The Stags closed at 7-5 after wins last week over visiting Thornton Academy (10-5) and host Gorham (15-7). Against the Golden Trojans, Elyse Caiazzo and Meredith Willard both had four goals and Alex Logan won 12 of 17 draws.
“We’ve gained confidence, learned our weaknesses and we used what we learned and came out strong today,” Logan said. “We had patience on offense today and we capitalized. That’s something we’d been struggling with.”
“A lot of goals had assists,” Caiazzo said. “We all look for each other and the open area. We have so much depth. The whole team can shoot. Teams should watch out for everyone. We all have those skills.”
“This will help us going forward,” Cheverus coach Jamie Chamberlain said. “The girls saw they can play with anyone if they play well and limit turnovers. (Avoiding slow starts has) been a focus for a few weeks. The team knows that they don’t want to get behind. We’ve played some good teams. You always live dangerously when you do that, but we did great today.”
The Stags got seven goals from Willard and four from Caiazzo in the win over the Rams. Theywere sixth in the Heals at press time, meaning they’ll have to again make playoff noise on the road.
“I think we’re in great shape, but there are things we can still work on,” said Caiazzo. “I think we’ll do well.”
McAuley was 10th with a 5-6 mark when the week began, but only eight teams in the region make the playoffs. The Lions extended their winning streak to four games with wins over visiting Westbrook (19-5) and host Bonny Eagle (14-11) and Biddeford (22-11). Against the Blue Blazes, Katherine Lake and Clare McLaughlin both had five goals, while Sadie DiPierro added four. In the win over the Scots, Lake and Sam Paglia had four goals. DiPierro and Lake both had six goals and McLaughlin four versus the Tigers. McAuley closed at home versus Noble Tuesday
Deering was 12th at 3-8 after last Monday’s 18-12 loss at South Portland. Veronica Mitchell had seven goals. The Rams closed at home versus Marshwood Tuesday.
The girls’ lacrosse playoffs begin Wednesday of next week with the quarterfinal round. The semifinals are Saturday, June 9 and the regional finals will be contested Wednesday, June 13. Each of those rounds are hosted by the highest remaining seeds. The state championship games are Saturday, June 16, at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. Class B is at 10 a.m., Class A begins at 3 p.m.
Waynflete sophomore Sofia Canning looks for an open teammate during last week’s 17-7 regular season-ending win at Yarmouth.
Cheverus sophomore Elyse Caiazzo scores a goal during the Stags’ 10-5 win over Thornton Academy last week.