Spring sports postseason nears-Portland edition

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland-South Portland baseball, Portland-Deering softball, Cheverus-Scarborough boys’ lacrosse and Waynflete-Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

The curtain has come down on the outdoor track and tennis regular seasons and baseball, lacrosse and softball have roughly a week to go.

There has been plenty of excitement in recent days and there are a lot of questions left to be answered in the days to come.

Here’s a glimpse at what’s occurred and what’s on tap:

Baseball

Portland’s baseball team played a couple of dramatic extra inning games last week and it remains in the hunt for a high playoff seed. Last Tuesday, the Bulldogs let a 4-2 seventh inning lead slip away at Thornton Academy before losing, 5-4, in nine innings. Jack Nichols had four hits and Charles Barnard went the distance, but was the hard-luck loser.

Saturday, Portland wound up on the happier end of a marathon, edging visiting South Portland, 5-4, in eight innings, in a rematch of last year’s agonizing regional final loss.

The Bulldogs fell behind, 1-0, went ahead, 3-1, in the fourth on a two-run Nichols single and an error, then allowed the Red Riots to pull even with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. After Portland left the bases loaded with nobody out in the sixth, frustration boiled over in the bottom of the seventh, when shortstop Jake Knop was ejected for arguing balls and strikes, coach Mike Rutherford followed for doing the same thing and second baseman Dom Tocci was ejected for sliding out of the baseline. When South Portland went ahead, 4-3, with a run in the top of the eighth, it appeared the Bulldogs were destined for a gutwrenching loss, but Nick Archambault doubled (his third hit of the game) leading off the bottom of the inning, Joey Fusco singled him in to tie it, then moved to third on a throwing error before Nichols won it with a sacrifice fly, his third RBI.

“I wanted to pump up the team and put the team on my back,” said Nichols. “I live for those situations. I tried to get it to the opposite field and we scored the winning run. It worked out well. We came in knowing it would be a big game. It was a playoff atmosphere. We knew we had to get it done and we did.”

“We’re like termites,” Fusco said. “You can stomp on us, but we’ll keep coming back. We keep fighting. We got angry and played angry baseball and pulled it out.”

“We leave it all on the field,” Rutherford added. “After everything that happened, the team could have died and blamed the umpires, but Archambault and Fusco have come up big all year. This is a character win. We needed it.”

Portland improved to 10-2 and was fourth behind Falmouth, Thornton Academy and South Portland in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time. The Bulldogs (who were without Knop, Rutherford and Tocci per Maine Principals’ Association rule for one game) hosted Deering Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story), welcome Massabesic Thursday, then close with games at Gorham Saturday and Scarborough Monday of next week (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Deering snapped a five-game skid Friday when it edged visiting Cheverus in a 4-3 thriller. Spencer Todd and Jake Latini had RBI singles and a third run scored on an error for a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but the Stags rallied to tie it. In the bottom of the seventh, Pat Viola’s walkoff single scored Nate Loranger for the winning run. The Rams took a 5-6 record and the No. 8 ranking in Class A South into Monday’s game at Portland. After hosting Noble Tuesday, Deering welcomes Bonny Eagle Thursday, goes to Biddeford Saturday and closes the regular season at Sanford Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus sandwiched losses at Scarborough (6-4) and Deering (4-3) around a 5-2 victory at Noble last week. Jack Casale only surrendered two earned runs against the Red Storm, but took the defeat. Tre Fletcher had two hits. In the victory, Jared Brooks had two hits and drove in three runs. Fletcher earned the win and Cam Dube got the save. Logan McCarthy had two hits and Brooks tripled against the Rams. Alex Jacobs took the loss. The Stags (6-6 and 10th in Class A South) hosted Thornton Academy Tuesday, welcome Biddeford Thursday, play at Sanford Saturday and close the regular season at home versus Gorham Tuesday of next week.

In Class C South, Waynflete lost at Traip Academy (12-2, in five innings) and at home to Old Orchard Beach (13-0, in five innings) last week to fall to 3-7 and 13th in the Heals (only 11 teams make the playoffs). The Flyers were at Sacopee Valley Monday, host Traip Academy Wednesday, visit North Yarmouth Academy Saturday and close at Sacopee Valley a week from Wednesday. Waynflete needs some wins to continue its season beyond that point.

Softball

Portland’s softball team is on the verge of ending its eight-year playoff drought. After being blanked by visiting Marshwood, 5-0, last Monday, the Bulldogs shut out visiting Biddeford, 2-0, last Wednesday for their first victory over the Tigers since May 9, 2005. Jess Brown threw a five-hit shutout and twice worked out of bases loaded jams and Morgan Boyle scored both both runs.

“Beating Biddeford was huge,” Brown said. “We came close last year and lost at the end, but we finished it this time. This whole year has been a turning point.” 

Friday, Portland improved to 7-6 with a 6-2 home win over Deering. Gianna Gaudet and Isabelle DiMillo had two RBI apiece, Brown allowed just four hits in improving to 6-3 and Boyle had two hits and scored three times.

“Now, we’re working as a team where before, we just couldn’t communicate,” Boyle said. “It’s a good group.”

“This game was just as exciting as Biddeford,” Brown said. “It’s a rivalry. It’s the most people we’ve had at one of our games.”

“We’re a game over .500 after 13 games and these girls haven’t been here before,” added Portland coach Robbie Ferrante. “I’ve told them Portland used to have a good tradition and that the people who played here still follow them.”

The Bulldogs (10th in the Class A South Heal Points at press time) went to Gorham Monday, visit Windham Wednesday and close at home versus Bonny Eagle Friday.

“It would be immense if we could keep playing,” Ferrante said. “I’ve told them that I’ve been fortunate to play in June. They’re used to having their uniforms turned in and washed.”

Deering fell to 2-11 and 17th in Class A South (where 12 teams qualify) after its skid hit eight with recent losses at South Portland (5-2), at home to Thornton Academy (15-1, in five innings) and at Portland (6-2). Kaylee Helmick had a strong start against the Red Riots, but seven errors doomed the Rams. Cassidy Coyne had an RBI triple against the Golden Trojans. In the loss to the Bulldogs, Mackenzie O’Donnell had two hits and an RBI and Siobhan Densmore scored a run and stole two bases, but Deering couldn’t get the big hit.

“We didn’t come up with the big hit and left runners on,” lamented Rams coach Anthony DiBiase. “We’re only getting four or five hits a game.”

Deering was at Massabesic Monday, visits Bonny Eagle Wednesday and closes at home versus McAuley Friday.

“We’re definitely making strides,” DiBiase said. “We want to finish strong. We have winnable games. We’ll see how it goes.”

McAuley was 3-10 and 15th heading into Monday’s game at South Portland. Last week, the Lions fell at Thornton Academy (18-1, in five innings) and at home to Sanford (13-1, in five innings) and Windham (16-5). Elizabeth Kennedy had an RBI double against both the Golden Trojans and Spartans. McAuley hosts Noble Wednesday and closes at Deering Friday.

Cheverus fell to 0-13 and 18th after falling at Biddeford (18-1, in five innings), at Bonny Eagle (11-6) and at home against Westbrook (13-7). Ally Tillotson had two hits against the Tigers and ripped three hits against the Scots and Sophia Giancotti had a pair of hits in the loss to the Blue Blazes. The Stags were at Noble Monday, welcome South Portland Wednesday and close at home versus Sanford Friday.

Boys’ lacrosse

Cheverus’ boys’ lacrosse team began the week 6-3 and fourth in the Class A North Heals after a tough 14-13 home loss to Scarborough and a 15-2 victory at Noble. In the setback, the Stags’ second in a row, Sean Walsh made 15 saves, Finn Cawley scored four goals and Alex Nason had three, including a go-ahead goal in the fourth quarter, but the Red Storm rallied and prevailed on a goal which deflected in off a Cheverus defender with just three minutes to play.

“We had some looks at the end,” Stags coach Bill Bodwell said. “Both teams played great. We had some runs, they had some runs. It’s the name of the game. It was good lacrosse. Two good teams going at it.”

In the victory, Frankie Curran and Michael Hatch both had three goals. Cheverus goes to Westbrook Wednesday, hosts Portland Friday and closes the regular season Monday at home versus Marshwood.

Deering beat visiting Bonny Eagle, 15-3, and lost at home to two-time defending Western A champion South Portland, 11-5, in recent action. Nate Richards had five goals and Nick James added four in the win. Richards and Andrew Johnson both scored twice against the Red Riots. The Rams (3-5 and sixth in Class A North, where seven teams qualify for the playoffs) hosted Massabesic Tuesday, visit Windham Friday and close at Noble Tuesday of next week.

Portland was on the outside looking in at press time, falling to 4-5 and eighth in Class A North after Friday’s 5-4 loss at Bonny Eagle. After going to South Portland Tuesday, the Bulldogs visit Cheverus Friday and close at home versus Massabesic Tuesday of next week.

In Class B South, Waynflete beat visiting NYA, 12-6, and lost at home to three-time defending Eastern B champion Yarmouth, 18-10, last week. Hank Duvall had five goals and Will Lewis finished with three in the victory. Lewis had three goals against the Clippers as well. The Flyers (5-4 and clinging to the sixth and final playoff spot) went to Wells Tuesday, visit York Friday and close the regular season at home versus Freeport Wednesday of next week.

Girls’ lacrosse

Waynflete’s girls’ lacrosse team extended its win streak to four last Monday with an 11-1 victory at NYA, then fell to 6-3 and fifth in Class B South Thursday after a hard-fought 4-3 loss at two-time defending Class B champion Yarmouth. In the victory, Izzy Burdick and Anne Veroneau both scored three times. Against the Clippers, Christian Rowe scored twice and goalie Charlotte Majercik made 10 saves, but the Flyers fell just short.

“It’s very encouraging,” Waynflete coach Cathie Connors said. “We’re getting there. We’re having fun, playing together as a team. Every game we’re playing hard.”

The Flyers were home with Wells Tuesday, host York Thursday and close at Lake Region Tuesday of next week in a game pivotal for Heal Points and playoff positioning.

In Class A North, Deering and Cheverus appear playoff-bound, while McAuley and Portland have work to do.

The Rams were 4-5 and sixth after a 13-6 victory at Westbrook and losses at home to Windham (14-0) and at South Portland (13-4). Micary Verville scored twice against the Red Riots. Deering was at McAuley Tuesday, hosts Sanford Thursday and finishes the regular season at Portland Tuesday of next week.

The Stags dropped their third in a row last Thursday, 12-4, to visiting Thornton Academy, to fall to 2-6 and eighth in Class A North (where eight teams qualify). After going to Marshwood Monday and hosting Scarborough Tuesday, Cheverus plays at Gorham Thursday and wraps up the regular season Tuesday of next week at home against McAuley.

McAuley was 1-8 and 10th in Class A North after a 13-5 setback at Gorham and a 15-13 home loss to Portland. Kaeli Leddy, Zoe Mazur and Elizabeth Poulin all scored three goals against the Bulldogs. The Lions were home against Deering Tuesday, visit Windham Thursday and wrap up the regular season at home versus Cheverus Tuesday of next week.

Portland was 1-7 and 11th in the region after a tough 9-8 loss at Windham and a 15-13 win at McAuley. Merritt Ryan scored eight times against the Eagles, but the Bulldogs lost on a goal with five seconds to play. Ryan had seven goals and Isabel Stehli finished with six in the victory. Portland was at Thornton Academy Monday, hosts Bonny Eagle Thursday, welcomes Biddeford Saturday and closes at home versus Deering Tuesday of next week.

Outdoor track

Cheverus, Deering, McAuley and Portland all took part in the nine-team, regular season-ending Cumberland County outdoor track meet last week at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

In the boys’ meet, the Rams were third, Stags seventh and Bulldogs eighth (Scarborough came in first). Deering got wins from Paolo DeMarco in the 200 (22.71 seconds) and 300 hurdles (41.06) and its 4×100 relay team (44.74). Cheverus’ Luke Trickey was first in the 100 (11.33).

On the girls’ side, where Scarborough was first, Cheverus came in fourth, Deering placed fifth, McAuley was eighth and Portland ninth. The Stags got wins from Emily Turner in the 100 (12.78), 200 (26.44) and 400 (59.29) and Hannah Abbott in the shot put (36 feet, 10 inches). Deering’s Annah Rossvall was first in the 300 hurdles (49.67). Neilab Habibzai took top honors in the discus (100-4). The Rams also won the 4×800 relay (10:32.45). 

Waynflete took part in a five-team meet at Sacopee Valley. The boys were fifth. Willson Moore won the mile in 4 minutes, 44.7 seconds. The girls’ team also placed fifth. Emily Tabb took first in the racewalk (9:30.0).

The conference championship meets will be held Saturday.

Cheverus, Deering, McAuley and Portland will take part in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association meet at Thornton Academy in Saco. Waynflete will compete at the Western Maine Conference meet at Lake Region in Naples.

The state championship meets for all classes will be held Saturday, June 4.

Tennis

The SMAA doubles tournament was held last week.

In the boys’ tournament at Cheverus, Portland’s Henry Gates and Daniel Mencher advanced to the final against Thornton Academy’s Dylan Gooch and Jared Waterhouse after they beat South Portland’s Drew Bradbury and Michael Feely, 8-1, in the second round, Thornton Academy’s Adam Lovejoy and Asher Thompson, 8-6, in the quarterfinals and Thornton Academy’s Simon Belliveau and Jackson Dohse, 9-7, in the semifinals. The championship match will be held Wednesday.

Portland’s Ian McCallum and Simon Mermin reached semifinals, then lost to Gooch and Waterhouse, 3-8. 

In the girls’ tournament, contested at South Portland, Deering’s Meghana Clere and Kerry Wells and Portland’s Abbey Record and Robyn Ritchie advanced the deepest, to the quarterfinals, before being eliminated.

The team regular season was wrapping up at press time.

Waynflete’s eight-time defending Class C boys’ champion was 8-2 and fourth in the Heal Points standings heading into final matches at NYA and Yarmouth. In Class A South, Portland rode a key 3-2 win over Deering last week to a 9-2 record and the No. 3 ranking behind Thornton Academy and two-time defending Class A champion Falmouth. The Bulldogs closed at home versus Bonny Eagle Monday. Deering was 7-3 and sixth after narrow 3-2 losses to Portland and Scarborough. The Rams closed with matches at Windham Monday and home versus Sanford Tuesday. Cheverus was 3-8 and clinging to the 10th and final playoff spot in Class A South heading into Monday’s finale at South Portland.

On the girls’ side, in Class A South, Portland was 7-4 and fifth following wins over McAuley (5-0) and Deering (3-2) and a 5-0 loss at Thornton Academy. The Bulldogs closed at Bonny Eagle Monday. Deering was 7-3 and seventh after beating Bonny Eagle (5-0) and McAuley (4-1) and losing to Portland (3-2). The Rams closed at home versus Windham Monday and at Sanford Tuesday. Cheverus was 7-4 and eighth heading into its finale Monday at home versus South Portland. McAuley was 1-10 and 14th (only 12 teams make the playoffs) heading into Monday’s finale at home versus Westbrook. In Class C South, Waynflete improved to 6-5 with 5-0 wins last week over Lake Region, York and Waynflete. The Flyers were ranked sixth in the region heading into Monday’s finale at home versus defending Class C champion NYA.

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

Sidebar Elements


Portland’s Nick Archambault tries to steal second base during the Bulldogs’ 5-4 eight-inning win over South Portland Saturday.

Portland’s Carly Peterson is tagged out at home by Deering catcher Mackenzie O’Donnell during the Bulldogs’ 6-2 win Friday night.

Cheverus’ Finn Cawley scores one of his four goals during the Stags’ 14-13 home loss to Scarborough last week.

Waynflete goalie Charlotte Majercik makes a save during the Flyers’ 4-3 loss at two-time defending state champion Yarmouth last week.

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