Spring sports season off to a promising start-Portland edition

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

Early returns are promising for spring sports teams. With everyone now underway, here’s a glimpse at what’s happened and what’s to come.

Baseball

Portland’s baseball team has picked up where last year’s regional finalists left off, winning games by any means necessary.

The Bulldogs opened with a 4-3 home victory over Biddeford, then last week defeated visiting Westbrook (6-2) and Gorham (14-8) and host Massabesic (6-3). Against the Blue Blazes, Jake Knop had two hits and scored three runs, Joe Fusco had a pair of runs batted in and Donato Tocci got the win in relief. In the win over the Rams, Knop had three hits, three runs and two RBI, Fusco had three hits and three RBI, Nick Archambault had two hits, including a bases loaded triple, and three RBI, John Williams added two hits, three runs and three RBI and Dan Marzilli earned his first victory. Dom Tocci’s RBI single broke a tie against the Mustangs. Tocci finished with four hits and three RBI, Knop doubled twice and scored three runs, Jack Nichols had two hits and Charles Barnard improved to 2-0 after allowing just one earned run on five hits with six strikeouts. Portland continued its road trip with a game at Windham Tuesday and a trip to Noble Thursday. The Bulldogs return home Saturday to meet Sanford (see theforecaster.net for game story). They host Marshwood Tuesday of next week.

Deering lost its opener, 9-2, to visiting Thornton Academy, then hit its stride with three wins last week. Last Wednesday, in a makeup game, the Rams beat visiting Windham, 4-1, as James Sinclair went the distance to earn the win, allowing just four hits and striking out nine, including the side in the final inning. Dom Bernard had three hits and an RBI and Ian Westphal had two hits, including a two-run single.

The following day, Deering enjoyed an even more dramatic victory over visiting Biddeford. The Rams didn’t have a hit until two were out in the fifth and after stranding two runners in the sixth, trailed, 1-0, heading for the seventh. With two out and none on, Spencer Todd, who broke up Brady Crepeau’s perfect game in the fifth, singled to keep hope alive. After a passed ball moved pinch-runner Luc Harrison to second, Luciano Minervino walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Robbie Dacey. That set the stage for Riley Bartell, who came up with his team’s biggest hit of the season so far, a single to center, to tie the score.

“We just focused on quality at-bats at the end of the game,” Bartell said. “I was just trying to hit the fastball. I knew with two outs, Luc was coming hard from second.”

Nate Loranger then did Bartell one better, coming up with an even bigger hit, singling to right to bring home Dacey and Deering walked off with an improbable 2-1 victory.

“It’s a dramatic win,” Loranger said. “We had trouble the whole game, then we picked it up and did what we needed to do with two outs. I was trying to shorten up with two strikes and hit the ball. It was a fun celebration.”

“We got timely hitting at the end,” said Rams coach Josh Stowell. “I would have been more concerned down 3-0 or 4-0. A one-run lead, anything can happen. I knew these guys would fight to the end. I wasn’t too worried.”

Colby Dame allowed just one run on four hits to earn the victory and Bernard made a mindboggling running, diving catch to retire the first batter of the game.

Deering improved to 3-1 Saturday with a 4-2 victory at Bonny Eagle Saturday, as Todd hit a home run, Westphal had a pair of hits and Bartell earned the win with Todd getting the save. The Rams went to Westbrook Tuesday and visit Marshwood Thursday. They come home Saturday to host Massabesic, then welcome former coach Mike D’Andrea and red-hot Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus was 2-1 at press time, sandwiching wins at Windham (9-1) and at home over Sanford (7-0) around a 3-2 loss at Thornton Academy. In the setback, Tre Fletcher and Josh Veroneau both had two hits and Jack Casale pitched well, but the Golden Trojans scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Alex Jacobs threw a two-hit gem against the Spartans, striking out nine in a shutout effort. Logan McCarthy doubled twice and had four RBI. Jared Brooks and Casale also had two hits. After hosting Marshwood Tuesday, the Stags visit Massabesic Thursday, play host to South Portland Friday and go to Bonny Eagle Tuesday of next week.

Waynflete lost its first two games, 27-0 (in five innings) to visiting Sacopee Valley and 9-1 to visiting Old Orchard Beach, then swept visiting Greater Portland Christian School in a doubleheader Thursday (13-3, in five innings, and 18-5, in five innings). Ben Mallon had two hits in the loss to the Seagulls. He added three hits and three RBI in the first win over GPCS. Nick Hagler earned the victory. The Flyers go to Old Orchard Beach Wednesday, play host to North Yarmouth Academy Friday, then welcome the Panthers again Monday before hosting Traip Academy in a makeup game Tuesday of next week.

Softball

Portland’s softball team was off to a strong 3-1 start at press time. The Bulldogs, who lost, 7-1, at Sanford in their opener, downed visiting Cheverus (9-0), host Westbrook (11-2) and host McAuley (13-1, in five innings) last week. Jess Brown had an outing to remember against the Stags, throwing a no-hitter while striking out 18. If that wasn’t enough, she also scored two runs, drove in a pair and had a two hits. Sydney Gilbert also had two runs and two RBI. Kitiara Rosmus and Grace Stacey added two hits apiece. Gilbert had a strong outing against the Blue Blazes, recording seven strikeouts, and Annie Twombly had two hits. In the win over the Lions, Brown threw a one-hitter and fanned 10. Gianna Gaudet had three hits, while Morgan Boyle, Mable Pence and Rosmus had two apiece. Portland hosted Thornton Academy Tuesday, goes to powerhouse Scarborough, the defending regional champion, Wednesday, plays at South Portland Friday and hosts Noble Monday of next week.

McAuley, which won at Cheverus in the opener (15-2, in six innings) fell to 1-3 after losses last week to visiting Westbrook (13-2, in six innings), at Biddeford (12-0, in five innings) and at home against Portland (13-1, in five innings). Elizabeth Kennedy had a pair of hits against the Blue Blazes. Lily Donovan had multiple hits against the Tigers. The Lions host Gorham Wednesday, play at Massabesic Friday and welcome Bonny Eagle Monday of next week.

Deering started with a 6-4 home win over Westbrook, then lost last week at Gorham (5-3), at home to Scarborough (34-0, in five innings) and at Noble (15-1, in five innings). The Rams let a 3-0 lead slip away at Gorham, as Kaylee Helmick was the tough-luck loser. Cassidy Coyne and Mackenzie O’Donnell both had two hits against the Knights. Deering was at Cheverus Tuesday, hosts Marshwood Wednesday and Sanford Friday and goes to Windham Monday of next week.

Cheverus was 0-4 at press time after losses to visiting McAuley (15-2, in five innings), at Portland (9-0), at home to Gorham (25-1, in five innings) and at Scarborough (30-0, in five innings). After hosting Deering Tuesday, the Stags go to Massabesic Wednesday, welcome Thornton Academy Friday and visit Marshwood Monday of next week.

Boys’ lacrosse

Portland’s boys’ lacrosse team has stolen headlines in the early going. The Bulldogs, who opened with decisive home wins over Marshwood (15-5) and Noble (18-2), fell from the unbeaten ranks last Thursday after a gutwrenching 7-6 double-overtime loss at Windham. Saturday, Portland improved to 3-1 after downing visiting Oak Hill in a crossover, 16-5, behind six goals and six assists from Robert Nolan and three goals from Sam Shaw. The Bulldogs played at Deering Tuesday and host Scarborough Friday.

Cheverus, which won the preseason Casco Bay Cup (which also includes rivals Deering, Portland and South Portland), opened with an 11-6 loss at Thornton Academy, then beat visiting Deering (8-6) and Kennebunk (9-7) last week. Max Coffin and Frankie Curran both had two goals against Deering. In the win over Kennebunk, Mike Hatch, Alex Nason and Jesse Pierce all had two goals. The Stags visit two-time defending Western A champion South Portland Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), play at Gorham Friday and welcome Bonny Eagle Tuesday of next week.

Deering started with a 16-9 home loss to Westbrook, then fell, 8-6, at Cheverus. Nick James and Bryce Randall both had two goals versus the Stags. The Rams hosted Portland Tuesday, go to Thornton Academy Friday and play at Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Waynflete was no match for three-time defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth in its first game, falling, 18-8, on the road. The Flyers bounced back with a dramatic 12-11 home win over York last Wednesday. Will Nelligan had four goals, including the winner late, and Miles Lipton scored three times. Saturday, Waynflete fell to 1-2 after a 10-6 home loss to Thornton Academy. The Flyers led at halftime, but couldn’t score in the second half. Waynflete was at Fryeburg Academy Tuesday, hosts Lake Region Friday and plays at Freeport Tuesday of next week.

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, perennial powerhouse Waynflete has been up and down in the early going. The Flyers won at Cape Elizabeth, 8-7, in overtime, in the opener April 14, then, after two weeks off, they lost at powerhouse Falmouth, 17-6, last Thursday. Waynflete got two goals from Christian Rowe and hung tough for a half, but lost to the Yachtsmen for the fourth straight time.

“(Falmouth was) phenomenal,” Flyers coach Cathie Connors said. “We tried a lot of different things, but they were on offensively and we were struggling getting to the ball and getting to the midfield.”

Saturday, Waynflete got back on track, beating visiting Scarborough in a crossover, 10-5, to improve to 2-1. Lydia Giguere broke a tie with a goal with 22 seconds remaining before halftime and Rowe scored five times, while Nina Moore added three goals and goalie Charlotte Majercik made nine clutch saves.

“I had no doubt we’d come out and play our best,” Rowe said. “We played tons better than we did against Falmouth. We were all on the same page. Falmouth was just our second game of the season. After that loss, we didn’t like how that felt, so we came out today on the same wavelength. It all came together. The whole team was there today.”

“I’m proud of how we played and how we were there for each other,” Majercik said. “(Falmouth) was a difficult game after April break. We couldn’t dwell on that game. We’ve worked hard and showed up today as a team, not as individual players.”

“Coming out for the second half, we told ourselves it was 0-0,” Giguere said. “We knew Scarborough could come back quickly.”

“It’s a positive step forward,” added Connors, after her 270th career victory. “These are my girls. We played together. This was my team today.”

Waynflete has a huge home showdown Wednesday against defending regional champion Kennebunk (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Flyers then go to Freeport Saturday.

Portland, a regional finalist in 2015, opened with a 21-15 setback at Scarborough and an 11-6 home loss to Lewiston. Merritt Ryan, who eclipsed the 100-career goal plateau a year ago, opened the season with seven goals versus the Red Storm. Isabel Stehli added four. Ryan scored five more goals against the Blue Devils, while Stehli had four assists. The Bulldogs sought their first victory Tuesday when they hosted Massabesic. Portland is at Cheverus Tuesday of next week.

McAuley started with a 16-4 loss at defending Class A champion Marshwood, then beat visiting Noble, 8-7, and lost at home to Cony, 5-4. Kaeli Leddy had three goals, including the winning tally, and Elizabeth Poulin added two against the Knights. The Lions play at North Yarmouth Academy Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and host Westbrook Tuesday of next week.

Deering handled visiting Lawrence in its opener, 14-2, then lost at home to Biddeford, 11-7. The Rams went to Noble Tuesday, host Cheverus Thursday, play at Camden Hills Saturday and welcome Massabesic Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus started with losses at Windham (10-8) and Messalonskee (19-7). Mackenzie Johnston had three goals against the Eagles. The Stags hosted Bonny Eagle Tuesday, play at Deering Thursday and welcome Portland Tuesday of next week.

Outdoor track

The outdoor track and field regular season began last week.

McAuley and Portland joined Bonny Eagle at a four-team meet in South Portland. The Bulldogs boys and girls placed third. In the boys’ meet, Portland got a win from Ryan Lizanecz in the two-mile (11 minutes, 43.62 seconds). The Lions came in fourth in the girls’ meet. McAuley got wins from Sophie Krieckhaus in the shot put (32 feet, 11 inches) and Sam Witkowski in the pole vault (7 feet, 6 inches).

Cheverus’ boys’ team hosted Deering, Massabesic and Noble to start the season. The Rams were first and the Stags came in third. Deering got wins from Gabe Luka in the 200 (24.86 seconds), Abdi Hassan in the 800 (2:05.86) and mile (4:46.27), Yahya Nure in the two-mile (10:46.44), Ezra Chapola in the long jump (19-7) and triple jump (42-5) and its 1,600 relay team (3:49.34). Cheverus first-place finishers included Luke Trickey in the 100 (11.75), Hunter Griffiths in the pole vault (10-6), Will Kelly in the javelin (138-6) and its 4×100 relay (47.04).

Tennis

Waynflete’s boys’ tennis team, the eight-time defending Class C champion, opened with wins over Yarmouth (4-1) and North Yarmouth Academy (5-0). The Flyers have a showdown at two-time defending Class A champion Falmouth Friday. Waynflete’s girls started by losing at Yarmouth (4-1) and defending Class C champion NYA (3-2).

Portland’s boys’ team won its first three matches by 5-0 scores over Scarborough, Marshwood and South Portland. The Bulldogs girls started with a 5-0 loss to Scarborough, then defeated Marshwood (5-0) and South Portland (3-2).

McAuley started with 5-0 losses to Massabesic and Bonny Eagle.

Both Deering teams began 2-1. The boys sandwiched wins over South Portland (3-2) and Marshwood (5-0) around a 3-2 loss to Thornton Academy. The girls beat the Red Riots (4-1) and after losing to the Golden Trojans (4-1), beat the Hawks (5-0).

Cheverus’ girls opened with a 5-0 win at Sanford, then were blanked by Scarborough, 5-0. The Stags boys lost to the Spartans (3-2) and Red Storm (5-0).

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

Sidebar Elements


Cheverus’ boys’ lacrosse team won the recent Casco Bay Cup, a preseason tournament that also includes rivals Deering, Portland and South Portland.

Waynflete senior Anne Veroneau races past a Scarborough defender during the Flyers’ 10-5 home win Saturday.

Waynflete’s Jacob Greene returns a shot during the Flyers’ 5-0 win over North Yarmouth Academy Friday. The eight-time defending Class C champions are 2-0 on the young season.

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