Spring season hits midway pole

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(Ed. Note: For the complete McAuley-Westbrook softball and Portland-Lewiston and Waynflete-Greely boys’ lacrosse game stories, visit theforecaster.net)

While we’re still awaiting warmer weather, one sure sign that summer is close is that the spring high school sports regular season is halfway done.

Many local teams are excelling on the diamond, field, track and courts, and here’s a glimpse of where they stand:

Baseball

All four baseball teams have enjoyed big wins in recent days.

In Western A, Cheverus lost, 12-1, in five innings at defending regional champion Biddeford last Tuesday, but responded Thursday to beat host South Portland, 7-1, and improve to 5-1 (good for second in the Western Class A Heal Points standings as of Monday morning). Against the Tigers, junior Nick Melville had a couple hits. Junior Harry Ridge beat the Red Riots with a four-hitter. Junior Tyler Flaherty had a pair of hits.

The Stags hosted Kennebunk Tuesday, welcome Sanford Thursday and Marshwood Saturday and go to Massabesic Tuesday of next week.

Portland fell to .500 after losses to visiting South Portland (7-0) and host Kennebunk (4-3), but improved to 4-3 Saturday with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over visiting defending regional champion Biddeford. Sophomore Nate Smart took the loss against the Rams, but did have a two-run single. In the victory, Smart and classmate Tim Rovnak had clutch RBI hits in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore Caleb Fraser earned the win, allowing just five hits. Sophomore Nick Volger added three hits.

The Bulldogs (sixth in the Heals) are at Deering Thursday, host Thornton Academy Saturday and play at Sanford Tuesday.

Deering began the week 5-1 (and seventh in the standings) after downing host Massabesic (5-0) and visiting Sanford (18-0, in five innings) last week. Against the Mustangs, junior Nick DiBiase threw a two-hit shutout, striking out six. Senior Jamie Ross had four hits, including a double and a triple, drove in two runs and scored twice. Senior Sam Balzano threw a three-hitter to beat the Redskins. Senior Nick Colucci had three hits and drove in five runs. Ross also had three hits and drove in a pair. Senior John Miranda had three RBIs.

The Rams were at Noble Tuesday, host Portland Thursday and Windham Saturday and play at Thornton Academy Tuesday of next week.

In Western C, Waynflete improved to 3-1 (third in the Heals) after a 13-4 home victory over Sacopee Friday. The Flyers got two hits each from seniors Alex Hadiaris and Noah Aronson, and junior Sam Murphy. Sophomore Andrew Butler drove in a pair. Sophomore Charlie Laprade earned the win.

Waynflete was home with Old Orchard Beach Monday and goes to Sacopee for a twinbill Saturday.

Softball

For the second year in a row, the McAuley softball team is the top story in the city of Portland.

Last week, the Lions edged visiting Kennebunk (3-2), won at Sanford (5-2) and rallied for an eight-inning home victory over Westbrook (5-4) to improve to 5-0. Against the Rams, sophomore Gabby Townsend’s bases loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh scored senior Kayla Daigle. Townsend also earned the win on the hill, allowing four hits, while fanning 15. She tripled in a run and scored one. In the victory over the Redskins, sophomore catcher Sam Schildroth drove in three runs with a home run and single, while junior standout Shelby Bryant added a triple. Townsend earned the win with a three-hit, seven-K performance.

Friday, McAuley raced to a 3-0 lead on the Blue Blazes as Bryant homered and doubled, but Westbrook got four runs in the top of the fifth. The Lions tied the score in the bottom half on freshman Sam Libby’s RBI groundout. Finally, in the bottom of the eighth, McAuley loaded the bases with one out and Daigle blooped a hit to score senior Sara Mercier for the win.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” said Daigle. “We had to give it all we had. They came back and stayed with us and we did what we had to do. I was nervous, but I wanted to get a hit. It felt good when it dropped in. Very good.”

“I knew this would be a tough game,” added Lions coach Robby Ferrante. “Westbrook’s scrappy. We haven’t put seven innings together yet. I didn’t think Gabby was on like she has been, but she came up big in the seventh and eighth.”

McAuley (fourth in the Western A Heals as of Monday) played at Windham Tuesday in the first of four games on four successive days. Wednesday, the Lions host Noble, Thursday, they play a makeup game at Deering and Friday brings a trip to Marshwood.

McAuley’s biggest remaining tests come May 20 against visiting Thornton Academy, May 23 at Scarborough, May 25 against visiting Biddeford and May 31 at home against South Portland.

“We’re having fun,” Townsend said. “We’re having a good year.”

“Teams know we’ll come out hard,” Daigle said. “Last year, it was a shock to them, but they know we’ll do it again. We have a good group of girls and we want it. We know there are some solid teams. We believe if we give it everything and we keep on practicing, we’ll give it a good fight.”

Cheverus lost to visiting Westbrook (3-0) and Noble (12-0, in six innings) last week to drop to 1-5. The Stags (12th in the Heals) were at Marshwood Monday, host Gorham Wednesday, play a makeup game at Windham Thursday, go to Massabesic Friday and welcome Thornton Academy in a playoff rematch Monday of next week.

Deering dropped to 1-5 last week after losses to visiting Bonny Eagle (16-9) and host Sanford (8-0). Senior Jennifer Lynch and junior Nicole Mason had multiple hits in the loss to the Scots. The Rams (13th in the Western A Heals) hosted Kennebunk Monday, welcome McAuley Thursday, go to Westbrook Friday and host Windham Monday of next week.

Portland is still seeking winning number one. Last week, the Bulldogs lost to visiting Noble (8-3) and Gorham (14-1, in five innings). Senior Stephanie Rogers and freshman Kaitlin Rutherford had multiple hits against the Knights. Rogers drove in the lone run against the Rams. Portland was at Massabesic Monday and visited Marshwood Tuesday. After hosting Thornton Academy Wednesday, the Bulldogs (17th in Western A) play at Scarborough Friday and welcome Biddeford Monday of next week.

Boys’ lacrosse

Deering and Portland’s boys’ lacrosse teams began the week undefeated.

The resurgent Rams made it five wins in a row Friday with a 14-0 shutout at Biddeford. Deering (second in the Eastern A Heal Points standings at the week’s onset and fifth in the latest coaches’ poll) was at Westbrook Monday, go to Kennebunk Wednesday and Morse Thursday.

As for the two-time defending regional champion Bulldogs, they’re 6-0 and first in the region after sandwiching 9-8 victories over Lewiston (in overtime) and Massabesic around a 15-3 triumph over Marshwood.

Against the Blue Devils, Portland couldn’t hold a 5-1 lead and saw the visitors tie the game with 5.4 seconds left in regulation. Just 57 seconds into overtime, however, senior standout Caleb Kenney (four goals) fed junior Seamus Kilbride (three goals) for the winner.

“I was in the open spot and just scored,” said Kilbride. “I didn’t think about it at that point. I just caught and shot. It was big. I knew we had to keep playing well. (Lewiston) wouldn’t lay down. It’s a big win for us. We have to beat the teams we should. These are fun, but I’d prefer not to be in that situation to begin with.”

“That was a blast,” said Kenney. “The plan was to win the faceoff. We were going to call a timeout, but we really trust our offense. We swung it around. I saw Seamus open on the crease and he buried it. I was surprised he was so wide open. I thought his defender slid over to the goalie’s right. He didn’t slide back. It was a nice catch and shoot. It was good lacrosse today. It was fun.”

“It was a just a great finish,” added Portland coach Eric Begonia. “I’m happy to win a game like this. It’s huge for us. A lot of the teams we play are above us right now in the Heal Points. It’s been a long time since we’ve lost a regular season game at home. There’s a lot of pride for these guys to play on this field and preserve that aspect as well.”

Against the Hawks, in Portland’s 18th straight regular season home triumph, Kilbride went off for six goals. Kenney had four goals and Kilbride a pair as the Bulldogs (fourth in the latest coaches’ poll) held on at Massabesic. They’re home with Biddeford Wednesday and have a crossover test at Messalonskee Saturday in a regional final rematch.

Deering hosts Portland on May 21.

Cheverus dropped a 6-5 decision at Thornton Academy last Monday, but improved to 2-4 Friday with a 9-1 win at Marshwood (junior Brian Whalen and freshman Jimmy Talbott both had two goals). The Stags (seventh in Eastern A) host Westbrook Wednesday and go to defending Eastern B champion Yarmouth in a crossover Saturday.

In Western B, Waynflete continues to quietly put together a solid season. The Flyers took a 4-1 mark into the week after downing visiting Greely (9-8) and host Fryeburg (15-0) last week.

Waynflete beat Greely for the first time since June 3, 2005 as four different players had two goals each and senior goalie Will Hallett made two clutch saves in the waning seconds to help the Flyers hold on.

“This is the best game we’ve been in all year,” said Hallett, a four-year starter in goal. “It’s fun. I like to be in that situation. My teeth hurt because I was grinding them so hard.”

“It’s a really good win for us,” added longtime Waynflete coach Bob Johnson. “I thought we did a great job coming out in the third quarter and scoring a couple goals. We needed that cushion. I thought our defense was just incredible.”

Against the Raiders, sophomore Zander Majercik went off for seven goals.

The Flyers (third in the Heals) had a huge home test versus Yarmouth Tuesday, welcome Lake Region Thursday, Camden Hills Saturday and play at York Monday.

Girls’ lacrosse

While Waynflete’s girls’ lacrosse team was earning a pair of pivotal wins (please see story), McAuley has been turning heads as well.

The Lions, who won just three games in 2010 and who haven’t made the playoffs since 2005, are already 3-2 in 2011 after an eventful three games last week. First, McAuley lost in overtime at South Portland, 13-12, despite four goals from junior Clare McLaughlin. The Lions then enjoyed home wins over Edward Little (17-6) and Biddeford (18-8). Against the Red Eddies, junior Sadie DiPierro scored four times, as did sophomore Sam Paglia. Senior Tori Tenenbaum had three goals. In the win over the Tigers, Tenenbaum and junior Mary Leasure both scored five times, while McLaughlin added three goals.

“We have gotten off to a great start this season,” said Lions coach Jo Ellen Rand. “Everyone wants to win and we never give up. We’re also working as a team, not as individuals. In the past few years, our transition game has not developed until the last two weeks of the season. This season, our transition game was great right from the first game. We can pass and catch up and down the field.

“Having Sadie back this year has really helped. Last year she was injured and didn’t play most of the season. She’s an all-around great player. She plays great defense, she is so smart on offense and she controls our midfield and executes the draws for us. We have a great freshman, Katherine Lake, who gets most of our draws at the beginning of the games and that is a key. When you can get the draws, you’re already on the offensive end. Our defense has really come together and on offense, seven different girls score.”

McAuley (11th in the Western A Heals) was at Windham Monday and goes to Noble Wednesday before returning home Monday of next week for a rematch with South Portland.

“Hopefully we can keep the momentum going,” Rand said.

Portland won at Cheverus, 9-4, last Monday (sophomore Drew Barry scored four times and junior goalie Kara Grant made 11 saves), avenging a playoff loss from a year ago. It was the Bulldogs’ first win over the Stags since May 29, 2006. Thursday, Portland lost, 12-9, to visiting Windham (despite four goals from junior Catherine Flaherty and three from Barry). The Bulldogs (seventh in the Eastern A Heals) went to Bonny Eagle Monday, host Thornton Academy Thursday, visit Camden Hills Friday and host Deering Monday.

The Rams are still seeking their initial victory. Losses last week to visiting defending Class A champion Scarborough (17-5) and host Cheverus (10-5) left Deering 0-4. Senior Zahra Abu had four goals versus the Red Storm and scored twice in the loss to the Stags. The Rams (10th in Eastern A) were at Biddeford Monday, host Westbrook Thursday, play at Gardiner Saturday and Portland Monday.

Cheverus bounced back from its 9-4 loss at Portland with a 10-5 victory over visiting Deering to improve to 1-4. Freshmen Alex Logan and Michaela Weeks had three goals apiece, freshman Meredith Willard added two and junior goalie Ali Saxton made 10 saves in the win. The Stags (ninth in Eastern A) were home with Marshwood Monday, then face a brutal back-to-back stretch, going to Scarborough Thursday and hosting Waynflete Saturday. Cheverus welcomes Windham Monday of next week.

Track

In outdoor track, Cheverus played host to its city rivals last Monday. The boys’ meet was won by South Portland with 106 points. The Stags (97) were second, Deering (58) came in third and Portland (31) placed fourth.

Cheverus got wins from Matt Benoit in the discus (106 feet, 8 inches), Kane Molleo in the javelin (152-9), Malcolm Smith in the high jump (5-10), Lukas Temple in the two-mile (10 minutes, 49.32 seconds), Jack Terwilliger in the 800 (1:58.54), Michael Orne in the pole vault (9 feet) and the 3,200 relay team (Terwilliger, Lars Murphy, Adam Zieba and Temple, 8:37.3). Deering’s event winners were Brian White in the shot put (49-11), Tony Sen in the 110 hurdles (16.38 seconds) and Logan Roche in the racewalk (9:25.1). Portland got victories from Imadhi Zagon in the 100 (10.96), Abde Ahmed in the 400 (53.25) and Drew Graham in the 300 hurdles (42.03).

In the girls’ meet, Cheverus held off South Portland for first, 134-118. Deering (63) placed third, Portland (41) fourth and McAuley (35) fifth.

The Stags had first-place finishes from Fiona Hendry in the mile (5:24), Allison Thomas in the 300 hurdles (51.1), Emily Durgin in the 800 (2:25.3), Shannon Conley in the two-mile (11:48.8), Katie Shapiro in the shot put (33-0.5) and discus (118-10), Caroline Summa in the high (5 feet) and triple (31-5.75) jumps and their three relay teams. The 400 squad (Armani Alonzo, Thomas, Taylor Spang and Summa) won in 53.8 seconds. The 1,600 team (Spang, Durgin, Thomas and Summa) had a time of 4:27.1. The 3,200 squad (Conley, Lizzie Gwilym, Durgin and Hendry) won in 10 minutes. Deering got victories from Rashad Zagon in the 100 hurdles (17.9) and Tricia Stewart in the long jump (15-9.25). McAuley’s Liz Houston won the pole vault (7-6). Portland’s Mary Nyembo was first in the 100 (13.2).

Waynflete joined powers Greely and NYA at Traip Friday. Both Flyers teams placed fourth.

Tennis

The biggest local story of the tennis season to date has been the Cheverus girls. The Stags, an eight-win playoff team in 2010, took a 5-0 mark into Monday’s home match versus Sanford. Friday, Cheverus registered an impressive 3-2 win over defending Western A champion Gorham. The Stags host surprising Portland Wednesday.

“We’re having such a great year and hopefully the good luck will continue,” said Cheverus second-year coach Erin Ovalle. “I think we have a few things going for us. First off, we have some new blood. We have a strong freshman, Caty Galligan, who is playing number 1 doubles for us. We lost a senior last year who was in that spot, so Caty really stepped in to help the team. Second, we have such a young team. We have no seniors and our juniors (No. 1 singles) Maria Cianchette, (No. 2 singles) Abby Harrison and (No. 3) singles Stephanie Maxsimic are playing some great tennis. Third, our program is still very young. I’m seeing a lot of support from the school and community. We have girls on the team really serious about the sport. Last, I’m seeing a lot of camaradery from the girls. The girls look like a team and act like a team to beat. After beating Gorham on Friday, longtime respected coach Sonia Frey said, ‘We underestimated you, you’re the real deal.’ Pretty cool stuff!”

The Bulldogs, regional champs in 2009 and undefeated in the 2010 regular season, were expected to be mortal this spring after taking a serious graduation hit, but Portland blanked visiting Thornton Academy, 5-0, Friday to improve to 5-0. The Bulldogs went to Gorham in a regional final rematch Monday, then play at Cheverus Wednesday.

McAuley enjoyed shutout wins over Bonny Eagle and Thornton Academy and a 3-2 triumph at South Portland last week to improve to 4-1. The Lions had a big test at Scarborough Monday and visit Deering Wednesday. The Rams fell to 2-3 Friday after a 4-1 home loss to Scarborough.

In Western C, Waynflete took a 2-2 mark to Lake Region Monday. Tuesday, they were at four-time champion and nemesis NYA. Wednesday, the Flyers face three-time defending Class B champ, juggernaut Falmouth.

On the boys’ side, three-time defending Class C champion Waynflete was 3-1 at the start of the week. The Flyers host Falmouth Wednesday. In Western A, Portland has dropped four in a row after winning its opener, most recently a 5-0 decision at Thornton Academy. The Bulldogs host Cheverus Wednesday. The Stags had won four straight and were 4-1 entering Monday’s match at Sanford. Deering suffered its first loss in five matches Friday, 5-0, at Scarborough.

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

Sidebar Elements


In the pivotal play of the decisive bottom of the eighth inning, McAuley’s Sara Mercier barely beats Westbrook’s Katie Clark to third on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Maura Esten to load the bases with one out. Senior Kayla Daigle then ended the game with an RBI single, bringing Mercier home with the winner.

McAuley sophomore hurler Gabby Townsend went all eight innings and earned the 5-4 win Friday versus Westbrook.

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