(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Kennebunk girls’ lacrosse game story, please visit theforecaster.net)
It’s almost playoff time in the city of Portland.
While outdoor track is already primed to kick off its postseason (please see story), the tennis regular season culminates by the middle of this week and baseball, softball and lacrosse will be done by next Wednesday.
Here’s a glimpse at what’s happened, where things stand and what’s left on the agenda:
The defending Class A state champion Cheverus baseball team dropped its third game in a row last Tuesday, 1-0, to visiting Biddeford, but turned around and won three straight: 9-4 over visiting South Portland, 3-2 over visiting Portland and 4-3 in eight innings at Westbrook. Louie DiStasio (the hard-luck loser against the Tigers) had multiple hits in the win over the Red Riots, while Cam Mullen and Chris Tinsman both drove in two runs and Ryan Casale earned the victory. Against the Bulldogs, DiStasio and Tyler Flaherty both had three hits, while Mullen, Mitchell Powers and Tinsman all had an RBI. Harry Ridge earned the victory. In a playoff-type atmosphere at the Blue Blazes, the Stags prevailed thanks in large part to Powers, who got the win in relief and had the game-winning RBI. Cheverus (8-4 and fourth in the latest Western Class A Heal Points standings) was at Deering Tuesday, hosts Gorham Thursday, goes to Sanford Saturday and closes the regular season at home versus Windham Tuesday of next week.
Deering’s looking to extend its postseason streak to 15 years, but still has work to do. Last Monday, the Rams won their third straight, 3-2, over visiting Biddeford (Nick DiBiase earned the win, had two hits, scored once and drove in a run), but the rest of the week wasn’t as kind. The next day, Deering was up, 7-2 in the fifth inning, at Marshwood, but couldn’t hold on and lost, 8-7. Will Barlock drove in three runs, Jared Bell and Ben Peterson two each. Thursday night, the Rams hosted Scarborough and pitcher Sam Luebbert didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning, but he walked seven and allowed eight stolen bases. The Red Storm blew open a 2-0 game with nine runs (on four hits and a hit batsman) in the seventh and handed Deering an 11-0 loss. The Rams surrendered 14 walks and 12 steals altogether. Saturday, Deering fell to 4-8 (10th in Western A) after a 3-1 loss at Kennebunk. DiBiase had the RBI. The Rams hosted Cheverus Tuesday, welcome South Portland Thursday, play at Portland Monday and close at home versus Gorham Tuesday of next week.
Portland began the week 3-9 and 16th in Western A. The Bulldogs defeated visiting Bonny Eagle, 10-2, last week, but lost to visiting Windham (8-3), host Cheverus (3-2) and host Thornton Academy (6-5, in eight innings). Kyle Reichert drove in three runs and Nate Smart earned the victory against the Scots. Caleb Fraser and Travis Gadbout had two hits and one RBI apiece in the loss to the Stags. Against the Golden Trojans, Tim Rovnak had two hits, two RBI and a run scored, but Portland couldn’t hold a 5-2 lead. The Bulldogs were at South Portland Tuesday, play host to Westbrook Thursday and Deering Monday and finish at Scarborough Tuesday of next week.
In Western C, Waynflete appears ticketed for a third straight playoff berth. The Flyers began the week 7-3 and eighth in the Heals. Last week, Waynflete downed visiting Traip, 11-6 and host Sacopee, 13-5, before losing at home to reigning Western B champion Greely, 17-0, in five innings. Against Traip, Andrew Butler had two doubles, scored three times, drove in a run and stole two bases and Joey Schnier earned his fourth victory. Thirteen walks led to a pair of seven-run innings against Greely, but the Flyers battled throughout.
“We made some plays on hard-hit balls that we weren’t making a month ago,” said Waynflete coach Steve Kautz. ” We really made some good plays. Our cutoffs were perfect. We didn’t compete in terms of offense because we’re not used to seeing that type of pitching. We had to throw some guys with limited experience. Given what we graduated and the inexperience on this team, we got something out of it. Their coaches told me that when the ball’s in play, we know what we’re doing. I take that as a compliment.”
The Flyers were at Traip Monday, host Fryeburg Wednesday, visit Cape Elizabeth Thursday and close at Sacopee Friday.
“We want to go out Monday and beat Traip and put a (conference championship) banner up,” said Kautz. “We have three conference games left. Our goal all year has been to win the conference. People didn’t expect anything of us since we’re young and inexperienced, but these guys don’t care.”
If the season ended today, only McAuley would qualify, but the Lions still have work to do. McAuley edged host Portland, 4-2, and lost to visiting Thornton Academy (5-0) and host Noble (7-1) last week. In the victory, Shelby Bryant, Sam Libby and Taylor Whaley all had three hits, while Whaley earned the win, striking out nine. The Lions (5-8 and 10th in the Western A Heals, the top 11 teams make the playoffs) hosted Sanford Monday, go to Massabesic Wednesday and finish at Deering Friday.
Cheverus is in the mix for qualifying. The Stags sandwiched losses last week at South Portland (10-3) and Bonny Eagle (7-6, in eight innings) around a 6-1 home win over Gorham. Staci Swallow and Mollie Thibodeau had multiple hits against the Red Riots. In the victory, Brittany Bell earned her fourth win on the mound while Swallow had two hits and two RBI and Thibodeau had a pair of hits, including a double.
“I never cease to be amazed at how these girls come to compete every single day,”said first-year Cheverus coach Maureen Curran. “We caught South Portland off guard. In terms of competitive nature, I couldn’t possibly ask for more. They needed to build some confidence. Last year was demoralizing for them. Last year’s sophomores or now juniors. They’re starting to come into their own. I couldn’t have been prepared for how much fun this would be. It’s nice to Cheverus. I want to build a tradition at Cheverus that I had at South Portland with field hockey and lacrosse. I think there’s a place for Cheverus softball to be one of the more competitive programs in the SMAA.”
Cheverus (5-8 and 13th in Western A) was home with defending Class A champion Scarborough Monday, goes to Thornton Academy Wednesday and plays host to Noble in the finale Tuesday of next week.
“We want to make it to the postseason,” Curran said. “We need to knock off TA or Noble. I think we’re right in the spot we want to be. It’s within that realm of possibly. It’s exciting.”
Portland sat 1-12 and 16th in Western A after losses to visiting McAuley (4-2), host Westbrook (5-0) and visiting Marshwood (12-1) and Biddeford (6-1). Anna Evans had three hits and two runs scored against the Lions. Sydney Levesque doubled in the Bulldogs’ lone run against the Hawks. Portland goes to South Portland Wednesday, plays host to Gorham Friday and finishes at Bonny Eagle Tuesday.
Deering fell to 0-13 and 17th after recent losses at Thornton Academy (23-1, in five innings), South Portland (14-1, in five innings) and Sanford (13-1, in six innings) and at home to Noble (14-2, in five innings). Crystal Archibald and Kiana DiBiase bot had multiple hits in the loss to Sanford. The Rams were home with Massabesic Monday, go to McAuley Friday and close at home against Kennebunk Tuesday.
Portland’s boys’ lacrosse team has struggled (by its standards) this spring, but the Bulldogs are rounding into form at just the right time.
Portland got a much-needed 7-2 home win over Cheverus Wednesday, then improved to 5-6 Saturday by rolling at Windham, 11-1. Mike Fuller scored twice and Ryan Jurgelevich made 15 saves against the Stags.
“We needed this one,” said Bulldogs coach Eric Begonia. “We’re getting healthy and the team is coming together. Our tough schedule and having an incredible goalie is beginning to pay off. I hope it can carry us deep into the postseason.”
In the win over the Eagles, Max Pierter had four goals. The Bulldogs (sixth in the Eastern A Heals) close the regular season at home Wednesday versus Bonny Eagle.
Deering began the week 7-3 and hopes to hold on to the No. 2 spot behind Brunswick. The Rams easily defeated visiting Gorham, 15-3, last Wednesday, then held off visiting Greely Saturday morning, 8-6. Matt Flaherty and Anthony Verville both had four goals against Gorham. Verville scored four goals, Flaherty three and Rick Murray had the go-ahead tally against the Rangers. Deering goes to Thornton Academy Wednesday and finishes the regular season at home versus Kennebunk Wednesday of next week.
Cheverus is also in the Eastern A playoff picture. The Stags bounced back from their loss to Portland with a 13-1 home triumph over Gorham Friday, as Spencer Amberson, Thomas Lawton and Jack Sutton all scored three goals. Colm Pusey made 14 saves. Cheverus (7-3 and fourth in Eastern A) hosts Windham Wednesday and closes at Marshwood next Wednesday.
In Western B, Waynflete has suffered more heartbreaking losses than anyone this spring. The Flyers lost to York in overtime for the second time this season Thursday, 5-4, in double OT. Saturday, Waynflete improved to 3-6 (sixth in the region, where five teams qualify for the postseason) with a 9-6 victory at South Portland (Chris Burke had four goals, Jack Cutler three). The Flyers hosted Lake Region Tuesday, go to Greely Friday and Freeport Wednesday of next week to wrap up.
On the girls’ side, Waynflete is in a hotly contested three-way battle for the highly coveted top seed in Western Class B. Last week, the Flyers won at NYA (16-7) and Freeport (13-10). Against the Panthers, Waynflete broke open a close game in the second half behind five goals apiece from Sadie Cole and Walker Foehl. The Flyers were up 10-3 at halftime against the Falcons, then held on behind seven goals from Cole, four from Foehl and five assists from Martha Veroneau. Waynflete took a 10-0 mark and the No. 2 spot behind Cape Elizabeth into a pivotal home battle with Falmouth Tuesday (please see theforecaster.net for game story). The Flyers close the regular season at Yarmouth in a state final rematch Wednesday night.
In Eastern A, Portland and Cheverus are playoff-bound.
The Bulldogs improved to 8-2 last week by downing visiting Deering (8-7) and host Westbrook (9-4). Drew Barry had four goals and Kylie Dalbec scored the winner against the Rams. In the win over the Blue Blazes, Barry scored five times and Dalbec added three goals. Portland (third behind Brunswick and Cony in the standings) hosts South Portland Thursday and closes at Gorham Tuesday. A win in either game would give the Bulldogs the best regular season record in program history.
The Stags, meanwhile, have been anything but boring, even though the wins aren’t coming with as much frequency as they’d like. Cheverus was a 14-10 winner at Windham last Monday, as Elyse Caiazzo and Sarah LaQuerre both had five goals. Thursday, against visiting Kennebunk, the Stags fell behind 4-0 early, but seven first half goals from Meredith Willard helped Cheverus lead, 9-7, at the break. The Stags got the first goal of the second half, but the Rams went on a 6-0 run. After Cheverus rallied to pull even, 14-14, with just over six minutes to play, Kennebunk scored a pair and even Willard’s 10th goal, with 13.4 seconds remaining wasn’t enough as the Stags fell to 5-5 with a 16-15 setback.
“It was intense,” Willard said. “It was a good game. Both teams played very well. I’ve never had a game like this. I got some great assists and we had fast breaks. That’s always good.”
“It’s an amazing stat,” said Stags coach Jamie Chamberlain. “(Meredith) just has that one focus of making plays. Today was her day. Every game, it seems like it’s someone else. We got behind early, then kicked into gear. We’re just too charitable. We have a young, inexperienced team. They understand it. The kids see that. We talk about playing a full 50 minutes, coming out ready to go. We made a lot of great plays out there. We put ourselves in a position to win.”
Cheverus (sixth in Eastern A) hosted Thornton Academy Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and closes at Gorham Thursday.
“We hope for a repeat of last year,” said Willard, alluding to the Stags’ surprising playoff run. “I would say we’re getting confidence. It’s desire and drive to start sooner and play 50 minutes. I know we can do it. I love this team. Last year was the greatest feeling ever. Hopefully we can duplicate it.”
“We’re doing a lot of good things if we can just dot the I’s an cross the T’s,” said Chamberlain. “We’ve made some really good plays out there. We’re getting experience, which is what happened last year. The girls are willing to work hard to get over that hump. We’re focusing on going out the final week of the season. The girls know they have potential. It’ll be close. If we win the next two, maybe we could get a home game. We just want to get in and can play anywhere. We’ve shown we can do that. “
McAuley was sitting in the ninth spot with a 2-6 mark at the start of the week, but only eight teams qualify for the postseason. The Lions lost at South Portland, 13-9, last Tuesday, despite three goals from Sadie DiPierro and Clare McLaughlin and 12 saves from goalie Jaime LaCasse. McAuley was down 12-4 with just over seven minutes to go, but scored four straight goals to make things interesting. McAuley got its second win Thursday, 18-9, at Sanford, thanks to six goals from McLaughlin and four from Sam Paglia. The Lions hosted Westbrook Tuesday, go to Bonny Eagle Thursday and Biddeford Friday and close Tuesday of next week at home versus Noble.
Losses at Portland (8-7) and Bonny Eagle (16-7) dropped Deering to 3-7. The 12th-ranked Rams were at South Portland Monday and play host to Marshwood in the finale next week Tuesday.
The Southern Maine Activities Association held its girls’ doubles championships Saturday at Deering Oaks and it was an opportunity for the Portland Bulldogs to shine. Both Portland doubles teams, Georgia Drew and Lily Bruenjes and Natalie Anderson and Nyaliep Deng, reached the championship match, which was decided after press time. If that wasn’t impressive enough, another Bulldog tandem, Annette Denekas and Kayla Berg made it to the semifinals, where they lost to Anderson and Deng, 6-3, 6-7 (5) ,7-10. McAuley’s Katie Poulin and Kathleen O’Brien made it to the consolation championship, but lost to a tandem from Thornton Academy, 3-8.
In the WMC doubles championships, Waynflete’s Abby Cough and Hanae Miyaki reached the semifinals before losing to eventual champions Steffi Rothweiler and Abby Payson, 0-6, 0-6.
Deering’s boys suffered their first loss of the season Friday, 3-2, at Bonny Eagle. The 10-1 Rams were tied with Gorham atop the Western A Heals heading into Monday’s finale at Portland. The Bulldogs were 8-3 and sixth heading into that match. Cheverus sat 7-4 and seventh and is also playoff-bound. The Stags closed at home versus Windham Monday. Waynflete’s four-time Class C state champion was 8-2 and fifth in the Heals entering its final matches at Cape Elizabeth Monday and Greely Wednesday.
On the girls’ side, reigning Class C champion Waynflete was 7-4 and sixth going into Monday’s finale at unbeaten, four-time Class B champion Falmouth. In a very compelling Western Class A, McAuley sits in the top spot with an 11-0 mark after clutch 3-2 wins last week over Scarborough and Portland. The Lions finished at home with Thornton Academy Monday. The Bulldogs were second at 9-2 after the McAuley loss (both Portland losses this year came by that score, the other was to Cheverus). They closed at Deering Monday. Cheverus was 10-1 and third before closing at Windham Monday. Deering got its first victory Friday, 3-2, over Bonny Eagle. The Rams took a 1-10 record and the No. 15 spot into that final match.
The postseason begins Tuesday with the preliminary round. The quarterfinals are May 31 and semifinals June 2. All of those matches will be hosted by the higher seeded teams. The regional finals are June 6 at Bates College in Lewiston. The state finals are June 9 at Colby College in Waterville.
The singles tournament resumes Friday with the Round of 48 prelims and Round of 32. Saturday is the Round of 16 and quarterfinals. The semifinals and championship matches will be held Monday at Colby.
Local boys’ players Jesse Butler of Deering and Patrick Ordway, Ben Shapiro and Isaac Salas of Waynflete, along with females Maria Cianchette, Caty Galligan and Abby Harrison of Cheverus, Molly Gallagher of Deering, Addie Devine, Devri Ramsey and Ally Strawn of McAuley, Margot Andreasen and Sophie Hulbert of Portland and Emily White of Waynflete all remain in contention.
Cheverus sophomore Nate Smith delivers a pitch during Saturday’s game at Westbrook. The Stags eked out a much-needed 4-3, eight inning victory.
Cheverus junior Staci Swallow steals second during Monday’s 7-3 home loss to Scarborough.
Waynflete senior Will Cleaves prepares to shoot during last week’s double-overtime loss to York.