Spring sports season off to rainy, dramatic start-Portland edition

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Cheverus’ Chris Cimino lines a base hit during a recent 5-2 loss to Gorham.

Portland ace Jess Brown delivers a pitch during a season-opening loss to Gorham.

Portland’s Max Cheever plays some defense during the Bulldogs’ 9-6 win at Edward Little Saturday. Portland improved to 3-0 on the season.

Waynflete junior Sophie Sangster defends as sophomore goalie Avis Akers denies Cheverus junior Zoe Mazur for one of her 15 saves during the Flyers’ 9-3 victory last week.

While Mother Nature has given local athletic directors nightmares in the opening couple weeks of the spring sports season, games have been played and many of them have them memorable.

Now that everyone is underway, here’s a look at what you might have missed in the early action and a glimpse ahead:

Baseball

Portland’s baseball team has gotten off to the quickest start this season.

The Bulldogs opened with a 7-1 victory at Noble, then won an early season showdown at preseason favorite Thornton Academy, 8-1. In the first game, Donnie Tocci earned the win and produced three hits, while Ben Sawyer doubled twice and also singled and Will Barnard added three hits. In the win over the Golden Trojans, Tocci improved to 2-0 with a four-hitter and Sawyer had three hits and two RBI, as Portland took advantage of five Thornton Academy errors.

“This was a huge game for us,” said Sawyer. “We came in excited having our ace on the mound. We made them throw it around a bit, then got on their pitcher.”

“I felt good the whole way,” Tocci said. “My curve ball was on. My change-up was a little shaky, but it’s early in the season.”

“The game’s about throwing strikes and playing defense,” Bulldogs coach Mike Rutherford added. “That’s our second game with no errors. We made some really good plays.”

Portland was at Windham Tuesday, hosts Marshwood Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story), goes to Falmouth for a playoff rematch Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and visits Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Deering began with a stirring 6-5 come-from-behind home victory over Windham. Trailing 5-0 going to the bottom of the fourth, Luc Harrison, on his 18th birthday, hit a two-run inside-the-park home run. After the Rams scored twice in the fifth, they won it in the seventh on Keegan Stanton’s two-run, walkoff double. Mike Jones earned the win in relief and Josh Paisley had three hits.

“Baseball’s a game where you can rally around certain people and pick up certain energy,” said Deering coach Josh Stowell. “Once you get one guy into it, the next guy can pick it up and everyone kind of rides the wave.”

The Rams then lost, 5-0, to Scarborough Saturday, in a game played at Gorham. Deering only managed two hits as it fell to 1-1. The Rams host Massabesic Thursday, visit Westbrook Saturday and welcome Biddeford Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus, a regional finalist a year ago, began with a 5-2 home loss to Gorham, then blanked host Sanford, 10-0, in five innings. In the setback, the Stags were doomed by four errors.

“We had two dropped fly balls and made three or four errors in the infield,” Cheverus coach Mac McKew lamented. “We talked before the game about the best defense winning the game. We were by far the worse defensive team.”

In the victory, Justin Ray threw a one-hit gem with seven strikeouts and Maxx St. John had two hits and three RBI. Griffin Watson and Andrew Young added two hits apiece. The Stags hosted Thornton Academy in a makeup game Monday, played at Falmouth in a regional final rematch Tuesday, host Kennebunk Thursday, go to Windham Friday and welcome Westbrook Tuesday of next week.

In Class C South, Waynflete opened with five-inning losses at Gray-New Gloucester (20-0) and Traip Academy (27-1). After hosting rival North Yarmouth Academy Monday and welcoming Old Orchard Beach Tuesday, the Flyers visit NYA Saturday and host Sacopee Valley Monday.

Softball

Portland’s softball team, a regional finalist a year ago, dropped its first game, then won three straight. The Bulldogs opened with a hard-fought 2-1 home loss to Gorham. Jess Brown struck out 14 and had a pair of hits, but was the hard-luck loser.

“It was a well played game,” Portland coach Robbie Ferrante said. “They just had a little bit more.”

Portland then defeated host Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth (11-1), visiting Marshwood (16-5) and host Kennebunk (7-1) to improve to 3-1. Against the Sea Lions, Brown threw a two-hitter with 17 strikeouts and Grace Stacey had a two-run double. Mackenzie Bryant, Kit Rosmus and Callie Watson all had three hits in the win over the Hawks, while Stacey tripled twice. Brown singled, tripled and earned the victory. Against the Rams, Brown struck out a dozen and had three hits and three RBI. The Bulldogs were at Massabesic Monday, visit Sanford Wednesday and play at South Portland Monday of next week.

MGA/Falmouth won its opener, 9-5, at Sanford, then lost at home to Portland (11-1), at South Portland (16-10) and at home to defending Class A champion Scarborough (32-0, in five innings). In the loss to the Red Riots, Holly Akey and Gabby Begos also had three hits apiece. The Sea Lions were home with Thornton Academy Monday, visit Biddeford Wednesday, play host to Windham Friday and travel to Cheverus/North Yarmouth Academy Monday of next week.

The Cheverus/NYA co-op team has been close to getting in the win column for the first time since 2016, but sandwiched one-run losses at South Portland (16-15) and Westbrook (10-9) around a 22-0 five-inning home loss to Scarborough. Against the Red Riots, Hannah Abbott had three hits and three RBI and Madison Durgin added a pair of hits and two runs batted in. Abbott and Mackenzie Turner both had two hits in the loss to the Blue Blazes, where Cheverus/NYA let a 9-7 lead slip away in the last inning. Cheverus/NYA hoped to snap a 43-game skid when it hosted Windham Monday. After hosting Thornton Academy in a makeup game Tuesday, Cheverus/NYA plays host to Bonny Eagle Friday and welcomes MGA/Falmouth Monday.

Deering started with a gutwrenching 12-11 (eight-inning) home loss to visiting Sanford, then dropped five-inning decisions to host Scarborough (18-0), host Thornton Academy (25-3), visiting Windham (15-1) and visiting South Portland (27-3). Against the Spartans, where the Rams let a three-run lead slip away in the seventh inning, Megan Dunn doubled twice and Liz Drelich and Ashleigh Mathisen had two hits apiece. Deering was home with Westbrook Monday, plays at Bonny Eagle Wednesday, then welcomes Biddeford Friday.

Boys’ lacrosse

Portland’s boys’ lacrosse team is off to an encouraging 3-0 start. One year after finishing 2-10, the Bulldogs opened with a 13-8 home victory over Windham, then defeated visiting Westbrook (14-5) and host Edward Little (9-6). Reilly O’Brien scored seven goals in the opener. Against the Blue Blazes, O’Brien tickled the twine nine times. Portland trailed, 4-3, at halftime against the Red Eddies, but came to life in the second half to stay unbeaten. O’Brien led the way with three goals and goalie Aaron Hoekstra stopped eight shots.

“We stopped forcing shots, stopped forcing bad passes,” Bulldogs coach Mike DiFusco said. “We ended up slowing everything down.”

Portland hopes to stay undefeated Wednesday when Biddeford pays a visit. The Bulldogs go to Mt. Ararat Friday.

Deering started with a 14-10 home loss to South Portland and a 12-5 setback at Thornton Academy before getting in the win column Friday, 13-11, at home over Lewiston. Nick James had four goals in the loss to the Red Riots. Against the Golden Trojans, James scored twice and goalie Max Morrione made 14 saves. James and Omar Contreras had four goals apiece to spark the victory over the Blue Devils. The Rams host Kennebunk Wednesday and visit Messalonskee Friday.

Cheverus dropped its first three outings: 13-5 at Scarborough, 14-12 at home to South Portland and 17-14 at York. Michael Hatch scored twice against the Red Storm. In the loss to the Red Riots, Max Coffin had five goals. Against the Wildcats, Coffin scored four times and Finn Cawley added three goals. The Stags host powerhouse Falmouth Wednesday and travel to Lewiston Friday.

Waynflete opened with an 18-9 loss to visiting Class B state champion Cape Elizabeth, then fell at home to Greely, 18-11. Hank Duvall had four goals against the Capers. Mitchell Adams scored three times in the loss to the Rangers. The Flyers hoped to get in the win column Tuesday when Wells paid a visit. Waynflete plays at Freeport Thursday and goes to Gardiner Monday.

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, Waynflete won its first three games for the first time since its undefeated championship season of 2013. The Flyers started with a dramatic 8-7 overtime win at York, then downed visiting Cheverus (9-3) and host Scarborough (6-5). Izzy Burdick had the winning tally at the Wildcats and LZ Olney and Ya Stockford both scored three times. Against the Stags, goalie Avis Akers made 15 saves and Stockford scored five goals.

“My goalie coach (Laura Bishop) has helped me immensely,” Akers said. “I’m more confident this year.”

“Our transition was really strong, but our connection wasn’t there at the beginning,” Stockford said. “Then we started talking and that inspired me.”

“We struggled with ground balls and we weren’t connecting or trusting each other enough, but we got it going,” Waynflete coach Cathie Connors added. “So far, so good.”

In the win over the Red Storm, Olney had three goals and Stockford scored twice. The Flyers play at Greely Wednesday.

Cheverus got goals from Bella Booth, Mackenzie Johnston and Zoe Mazur in its season-opening 9-3 loss at Waynflete.

“The biggest thing coming out of this is it was a huge learning curve for our girls,” said Stags coach Bill Fenton. “We’re coming together as a team.”

Cheverus hosted Windham Tuesday, hosts Lewiston in a makeup game Thursday and welcomes Scarborough Monday.

Deering is off to a promising 2-0 start. One year after winning just three times in 12 games, the Rams welcomed new coach Chelsea Morley with victories over visiting Noble (9-6) and host Camden Hills (13-12, in overtime). Against the Knights, Alli Donovan led the way with four goals and Kiaya Gatchell added three. Gatchell scored six goals, including the winner in OT, against the Windjammers. Goalie Sulwan Ismail-Ahmed made a dozen saves. Deering hosted Sanford Tuesday and welcomes Fryeburg Academy Friday.

Portland started with a 10-7 home win over Bonny Eagle. Catriona Moran had three goals, while Morgan Kierstead and Isabella More added two apiece. The Bulldogs  hosted Gorham in a makeup game Monday, went to South Portland Tuesday, host Sanford Thursday and welcome Brunswick Monday.

Maine Girls’ Academy had yet to play a countable game at press time. The Lions went to Wells Monday, visited Westbrook Tuesday, host South Portland Thursday and welcome Cony Monday of next week.

Outdoor track

Deering’s boys and girls both placed third at a recent four-team outdoor track meet at Scarborough. The boys got wins from Antonio Ciccomancini in the long jump (18 feet, 5 inches), Aryz Terlaje in the javelin (143-10) and its 4×100 relay team (46.85 seconds). The girls got first-place performances from Nicole Whipkey in the 800 (2 minutes, 31.24 seconds), Annah Rossvall in the 300 hurdles (49.14), Nicole Johnston in the shot put (29-8.75), Darcy Lally in the pole vault (8-6) and their 4×100 (53.43) and 4×800 (10:44.47) relay teams.

Cheverus and Waynflete took part in a five-team meet at Bonny Eagle. The Stags girls came in third and the Flyers were fifth. Cheverus got wins from Victoria Bossong in the 100 (13.15) and 400 (58.85), Sophia Pompeo in the 800 (2:38.69), Evelyn Hanley in the 100 hurdles (16.90) and Emma White in the 300 hurdles (51.68) and triple jump (35-11). The Flyers were led by Abby Pipkin, who was third in the mile (5:40.69). Cheverus’ boys’ squad placed fourth. The Stags got first-place finishes from Sean Tompkins in the 100 (11.66) and 200 (23.24).

Portland’s girls joined four other teams at South Portland and came in fourth. The Bulldogs got a win from Caroline Lerch in the discus (86-4).

Tennis

Waynflete’s 10-time defending Class C state champion boys’ tennis team opened with a 5-0 win over York. The defending champion Flyers girls started with a 3-2 loss to York.

Portland’s girls blanked Marshwood in their opener, 5-0. The Portland boys were a 5-0 winner over Marshwood, then lost, 4-1, to defending Class A champion Falmouth.

Deering’s boys’ team beat Gorham, 4-1, in its first match. The Rams girls lost, 5-0, to Gorham.

Cheverus’ boys and girls both defeated Sanford, 5-0, to open the season.

MGA started with a 3-2 loss to Westbrook.

Press Herald staff writer Glenn Jordan and Sun Journal assistant editor Lee Horton contributed to this story.

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.