Several tennis teams on cusp of glory; Baseball, softball, lax playoffs begin-Northern edition

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Falmouth’s Kate Kelley returns a shot during the Yachtsmen’s 5-0 win over Gorham in Saturday’s Class A South semifinal. Kelley won her first singles match, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1, as Falmouth won its 153rd consecutive match and moved within two victories of a 10th straight state title.

Greely’s Joe Piwowarski laces a hit during last week’s 10-2 win at Falmouth. The Rangers handed the Yachtsmen their first setback of the season.

On a draw, Falmouth’s Sydney Bell and Yarmouth’s Meredith Lane keep their eye on the ball during the Clippers’ 9-8 victory Friday.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Greely-Falmouth baseball and Falmouth-Waynflete and Yarmouth-Falmouth girls’ lacrosse game stories, see theforecaster.net)

Rest assured that if the calendar reads June, Falmouth’s girls’ tennis team is closing in on another state title.

And it isn’t alone.

The nine-time defending state champion Yachtsmen, along with the Falmouth and Yarmouth boys and the Greely and Yarmouth girls, all remain alive heading into Thursday’s regional final round.

The baseball, softball and lacrosse postseasons are underway as well and there promises to be plenty of excitement and triumph between now and Championship Saturday, June 17.

Here’s an overview:

Tennis

Falmouth’s girls’ have won the past three Class A state championships and have taken nine in a row overall when their six successive Class B championships are added in. It appears number 10 is right around the corner.

The Yachtsmen went 12-0 in the regular season and as the No. 2 seed in Class A South, downed No. 7 Deering and third-ranked Gorham by 5-0 scores in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to increase their mind-boggling match win streak to 153. Thursday, Falmouth battles No. 1 Thornton Academy (14-0) in the regional final at Bates College in Lewiston. The teams didn’t play this year. The Yachtsmen ousted the Golden Trojans, 5-0, in last year’s semifinals.

If the Yachtsmen make it to states, they will meet either Lewiston (13-1) or Brunswick (12-2) in Saturday’s state final at Colby College in Waterville. Falmouth beat the Blue Devils, 5-0, in last year’s state match.

Greely, the 2014 and 2015 Class B state champion, is also looking to reach the pinnacle. The Rangers earned the top seed in Class B South after an 11-1 regular season and had little trouble with eighth-ranked Morse, 5-0, in the quarterfinals. Defending champion Cape Elizabeth, the No. 4 seed, gave Greely a much tougher match in the semifinals, but the Rangers survived, 3-2, to set up a battle against No. 6 Yarmouth (9-5) in Thursday’s regional final.

The Clippers advanced by knocking off higher seeded Maranacook, ranked third (5-0), and Lincoln Academy, ranked second (4-1).

Greely won the regular season meeting, 5-0, over the visiting Clippers May 19. Yarmouth holds a 4-3 all-time postseason edge, although the most recent meeting went to the Rangers, 3-2, in the 2015 Western B semifinals.

The Greely-Yarmouth winner will face either Camden Hills (14-0) or Caribou (14-0) in the state final. Neither the Clippers or Rangers faced either team this season.

Falmouth’s boys went 12-0 in the regular season and wound up second in Class A South. The Yachtsmen advanced with 5-0 victories over both No. 7 Windham in the quarterfinals and third-ranked Portland in the semifinals to meet top-ranked Thornton Academy (14-0) in the regional final Thursday. Last year, the Golden Trojans beat Falmouth, 3-2, in the Class A South Final en route to the state championship. The teams didn’t play during the regular season.

If the Yachtsmen get to the state final Saturday, they will play either Brunswick (14-0) or Lewiston (12-2). Falmouth didn’t play either team in the regular season.

Fourth-ranked Yarmouth reached the Class B South Final for the first time since 2014 after following up a 7-5 regular season with 3-2 wins over No. 5 York and top-seeded Morse in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. The Clippers will meet No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (11-3), the perennial championship contender, in the regional final. The host Capers downed Yarmouth, 4-1, May 3. Cape Elizabeth has won all 12 of the prior postseason meetings, including last year’s 5-0 victory in the Class B South quarterfinals.

Freeport’s boys, ranked sixth in Class B South, lost, 5-0, to Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals to wind up 5-8.

Baseball

All five local baseball teams qualified for the postseason.

Falmouth had its 33-game regular season win streak snapped last Wednesday, 10-2, by visiting Greely, but the Yachtsmen still wound up 15-1 and first in the Class A South Heal Points standings. In the final countable meeting between the ancient rivals, Falmouth got RBI from Griffin Aube and Max Fortier, but ace Cam Guarino suffered his first setback.

“I didn’t draw it up like this, but tip your cap to (Greely),” Yachtsmen coach Kevin Winship said. “They came ready to play. I won’t say we didn’t, but they executed and got the job done and we didn’t. That’s baseball”

Falmouth will host either No. 8 Scarborough (9-7) or No. 9 Windham (7-9) in the quarterfinals Thursday. The Yachtsmen didn’t play either team this  year. Falmouth has never played the Red Storm in the postseason. The Eagles upset Falmouth, 4-2, in the 2014 Western A semifinals, the only prior meeting between the teams.

If the Yachtsmen move on to Saturday’s semifinals, they will host No. 4 Portland (12-4), No. 5 South Portland (12-4) or No. 12 Bonny Eagle (5-11). Falmouth didn’t play any of those teams this season. 

The Class A South Final will be Wednesday of next week. 

In Class B South, Greely finished 10-6 and fifth after its 10-2 win at Falmouth in the finale. Zach Brown, Eben Kiesow and Connor Sullivan combined to hold the Yachtsmen to five hits and Joe Piwowarski had two hits and drove in three runs as the Rangers snapped a seven-game losing streak at the hands of the Yachtsmen.

“We really had nothing to lose,” Brown said. “We knew it would be a big win and would be good momentum going into the playoffs..”

“We have a lot of heart,” Piwowarski said. “We came out and played well. We’re a tight group and we have a great coaching staff.”

“We felt like we could really relax today,” added Rangers coach Derek Soule. “The pressure was on (Falmouth). They were trying to go undefeated. When our guys are relaxed and confident, we’re a pretty good team.”

Greely hosted No. 12 Gray-New Gloucester (7-9) in the preliminary round Tuesday. The Rangers, who last had to play in a prelim in 2005, beat the host Patriots, 1-0, in their opener way back on April 24. The teams had no playoff history.

If Greely advances to Thursday’s quarterfinals, it will play at another longtime rival, No. 4 Cape Elizabeth (12-4). The Rangers lost two close games this spring to the Capers (4-3 at home and 2-1, in eight-innings away). The teams have met 11 previous times in the playoffs with Greely taking six of them, including a 3-1, eight-inning decision in the 2015 Western B Final.

If the Rangers can get all the way to Saturday’s semifinals, they’ll go to No. 1 Carrabec/Madison (13-3) or host No. 8 Leavitt (10-6) or No. 9 Yarmouth (11-5). Greely played only the Clippers this year, beating them twice, 7-2 in Yarmouth April 28 and 4-1 at home May 3.

Yarmouth closed with a 10-4 home victory over Kennebunk last Wednesday. Jack Romano had two hits and drove in three runs. Joe Coyne and Luke Waeldner drove in two runs each and Gibson Harnett earned his fourth win.

The Clippers didn’t face Leavitt this season. The teams had only met once before in the playoffs and it was a shootout won by the Hornets, 13-12, in nine-innings, in the 1998 Western C quarterfinals.

If Yarmouth advanced, it would play at top-ranked Carrabec-Madison in Thursday’s quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play this year. The Clippers lost two previous playoff games to Madison, in the 1986 Western C preliminary round (10-9) and the 1996 Western C quarterfinals (3-2).

If Yarmouth gets to Saturday’s semifinals, it would go to Cape Elizabeth or Greely, or conceivably host Gray-New Gloucester. 

Defending regional champion Freeport wound up 6-9-1 and 11th in the region after a 3-0 win at Fryeburg Academy in the finale. 

The Falcons went to No. 6 Spruce Mountain (11-5) for the preliminary round Tuesday. The teams had no history. 

If Freeport sprung the upset, it would play at third-ranked Wells (10-5-1) in Thursday’s quarterfinals. The teams settled for a 5-5 tie May 22 at Wells. The Warriors beat the Falcons, 8-3, in the 2014 Western B preliminary round, in the lone prior playoff encounter.

If the Falcons go on another run and reach Saturday’s semifinals, they’ll will play at No. 2 York (13-3), seventh-ranked Morse (11-5) or No. 10 Mountain Valley (11-5). Freeport didn’t play Morse or Mountain Valley this spring. The Falcons lost, 10-0, in six-innings, May 15 at York.

The Class B South Final is Tuesday of next week.

In Class D South, North Yarmouth Academy finished 7-7 and third in the Heals after closing with a 3-0 win at Richmond. Dana Nichols earned the victory.

The Panthers host No. 6 Greenville (9-7) in Thursday’s quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play this season and have never met in the playoffs.

If NYA gets to the semifinals for the first time since 2010, it will either go to No. 2 Richmond (14-2) or host seventh-ranked Forest Hills (5-8) Saturday. In addition to last week’s win, the Panthers also lost, 8-2, to Richmond this season. NYA didn’t face Forest Hills. 

The Class D Final is Tuesday of next week.

The state finals for all classes are Saturday, June 17.

Softball

Greely, Yarmouth and the Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth co-op team all qualified for the softball playoffs.

The Clippers finished 12-4 and fourth in Class B South following a 14-1 home victory over Kennebunk in the finale last Wednesday. Cate Ralph had three hits and five RBI. Ceanne Lyon threw a four-hitter. Yarmouth earned a bye into the quarterfinals.

Greely wound up 9-7 and fifth after a 3-0 loss at Gray-New Gloucester and a 14-7 win at York last week. Emma Spoerri had two hits against the Patriots. Kayley Cimino crushed a home run in the win over the Wildcats. 

The Rangers hosted No. 12 Poland (6-10) in a preliminary round test Tuesday. Back on May 8, Greely edged the visiting Knights, 2-1. The Rangers won both prior playoff meetings, 3-1 in the 2004 Western B quarterfinals and 9-5 in the 2015 Western B quarterfinals. 

If Greely and Yarmouth meet in the quarterfinals Thursday it would mark the fifth consecutive season they square off in the playoffs. The teams split in the regular season, both winning at home (Yarmouth, 7-1, and Greely, 5-4, in nine-innings). The Rangers hold a 3-2 all-time playoff edge by virtue of last season’s 8-1 semifinal round triumph. 

The Clippers won twice at Poland this year: 5-3 May 1 and 9-1 12 days later. The teams have no playoff history.

The Class B South Final is Tuesday of next week. 

In Class A South, the first-year MGA/Falmouth co-op team proved to be a success, finishing 7-9 and grabbing the 12th and final playoff spot. The Sea Lions closed by downing visiting South Portland (6-5) and Deering (18-5, in five-innings). Liberty Ladd homered against the Red Riots and singled, doubled, homered, scored five runs and drove in four in the win over the Rams.

The Sea Lions went to No. 5 Noble (11-5) for the preliminary round Tuesday. MGA/Falmouth upset the host Knights, 4-3, on May 24. If the Sea Lions pulled off another upset, they would play at No. 4 Windham (13-3) in Thursday’s quarterfinals. On May 19, the host Eagles beat visiting MGA/Falmouth, 7-4.

The Class A South Final is Wednesday of next week.

The state finals for all classes are Saturday, June 17.

Freeport wound up 2-14 and 15th in Class B South (but only 12 teams qualified for the playoffs) after a 12-0 (five-inning) setback at Fryeburg Academy.

The Cheverus/North Yarmouth Academy co-op team wound up 0-16 (and 17th in Class A South) for the second year in a row after an 8-5 loss at Sanford in the finale. 

Boys’ lacrosse

Falmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team finished 11-1 and second behind Cape Elizabeth in the Class B South Heals following wins at Yarmouth (13-5) and at home over Greely (16-7). Jack Scribner had four goals and Nate Arrants three against the Clippers. In the win over the Rangers, Devin Russell scored four times, while Arrants and Nick Farnham both had three goals.

The Yachtsmen earned a bye into Saturday’s semifinals where they will host either No. 3 York (8-4) or No. 6 Fryeburg Academy (8-4). Falmouth opened the season with a 27-1 home win over the Wildcats April 13 and didn’t face the Raiders this spring. The Yachtsmen have never played Fryeburg Academy in the playoffs. They’re 2-0 all-time versus York, winning, 12-1, in the 2008 Western B quarterfinals and 13-1 in the 2012 Western B semifinals.

Yarmouth finished 6-6 after losses at home to Falmouth (13-5) and at Cape Elizabeth (16-4) last week. Anders Corey had two goals against the Yachtsmen. Silas Chappell had a pair of goals in the loss to the Capers.

The Clippers finished sixth in Class B North and went to No. 3 Erskine Academy (8-4) for the quarterfinals Wednesday. The teams didn’t play in the regular season and had no playoff history.

If Yarmouth advanced, it will go to No. 2 Camden Hills (9-3) or host seventh-ranked Maranacook/Winthrop (5-7) or No. 10 Lincoln Academy (4-8) in Saturday’s semifinals. The Clippers didn’t face any of those teams this year.

The lacrosse regional finals are Wednesday of next week. The state games are Saturday, June 17.

Freeport wound up 3-9 and 13th in Class B North (where only 10 teams qualified) after a 12-9 loss at Fryeburg Academy and a 12-10 home win over Morse. 

NYA was 5-7 and 12th in Class B North after finishing with a 16-5 home win over Lake Region and a 13-11 loss at York. 

Greely finished 4-8 and seventh in Class B South, but only six teams made the cut. The Rangers closed with a 21-11 win at Kennebunk and a 16-7 setback at Falmouth. 

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, Falmouth, Freeport and Yarmouth all reached the postseason.

The Clippers, who have won the past four Class B North titles, are the top seed and heavy favorite again this spring after going 12-0 for the first time in a decade, capping their regular season with a 9-4 home win over York and a dramatic 9-8 victory at Falmouth Friday. Against the Wildcats, Greta Elder scored four goals and Ella Antolini added three. Yarmouth got its biggest test to date at the Yachtsmen, trailing, 8-6, in the second half before rallying to win behind goals from Eva Then, Elder and Antolini.

“This was a great test,” Antolini said. “Our hard work made all the difference. We dug deep and that’s the kind of team that can go all the way.”

“This isn’t our first test, but what helped us get through was coming together as a team,” defensive standout Gretchen Barbera said. “We composed ourselves and gave it 150 percent.”

“The girls showed a lot of heart,” added Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. “It was a great game that could have gone either way. We persevered at the end. If you’d ask me at the beginning of the season, I would have said no way (we’d go 12-0) because everyone is so good.”

Yarmouth hosted either No. 8 Winslow (6-6) or ninth-ranked Erskine Academy (5-7) in the quarterfinals Wednesday. The Clippers didn’t play either team this season and had no playoff history with either prospective foe.

If, as expected, Yarmouth advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round, it would host either No. 4 Boothbay (10-2) or No. 5 St. Dom’s (7-5). The Clippers didn’t play either team this season.

Freeport earned the No. 7 ranking in Class B North following a 4-8 campaign that was capped by a 12-11 loss at Greely. 

The Falcons went to No. 2 Morse (10-2) for the quarterfinals Wednesday. On April 29, Freeport beat the host Shipbuilders, 12-6. The Falcons won both prior playoff meetings against Morse: 13-6 in the 2014 Eastern B semifinals and 17-16 in the 2015 semifinals.

If Freeport was able to win again and reach Saturday’s semifinals, it would go to No. 3 Oceanside (10-2) or sixth-ranked Cony (6-6). The Falcons didn’t face Oceanside this year. They beat the visiting Rams, 12-5, May 12. Freeport doesn’t have any playoff history with either team.

In Class B South, Falmouth ended its regular season with losses at Waynflete (8-7) and at home to Yarmouth (9-8) to wind up 9-3 and second. Against the Flyers, the Yachtsmen fell behind, 6-1, at halftime and roared back before falling a goal short. Devon Sarazin scored four times, but it wasn’t quite enough. In the loss to the Clippers, Falmouth erased an early 3-1 deficit and led, 8-6, in the second half, but gave up the final three goals. Sydney Bell paced a balanced attack with two goals.

“I’m so proud of this team,” Falmouth coach Kait Johnson said. “We focused and did what we took in practice into the game. If there was one more minute, maybe we would have had that (tying) goal.”

The Yachtsmen earned a bye into Saturday’s semifinals where they will host either No. 3 York (8-4) or No. 6 Lake Region (7-5). Falmouth downed the visiting Wildcats, 10-7, May 16 and won, 19-8, at the Lakers May 26. The Yachtsmen have never faced Lake Region in the playoffs and are 0-1 all-time versus York (a 12-11 setback in the 2013 Western B quarterfinals).

The lacrosse regional finals are Wednesday of next week. The state games are Saturday, June 17.

Greely deserved a better fate than barely missing the Class B South playoffs. The Rangers beat Waynflete and York this season and finished 7-5 after a 12-11 home victory over Freeport, but the vagaries of the Heal Points system left them seventh in the region and only six teams made the cut. 

NYA wound up 2-10 and 11th in Class B North (where only nine teams made the playoffs) following losses at Wells (10-9) and at home to St. Dom’s (20-7). 

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

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