Spring sports season underway-Southern edition

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While tennis and outdoor track kicked off this week (see stories), several baseball, softball and lacrosse teams already have at least one game under their belt.

Here’s a glimpse at the abbreviated start to the 2016 season and a look at the busy slate to come:

Baseball

South Portland’s baseball team fell a run short of the state title a year ago and is off to a strong start this spring. The Red Riots opened with a 3-0 victory at Bonny Eagle behind Griffin Kelley’s five-hit shutout and three hits from Nick Troiano. South Portland was scheduled to host Sanford Tuesday, but snow postponed it to Wednesday. The Red Riots went to Westbrook Thursday, host Noble Saturday, visit Thornton Academy Tuesday and host Gorham Wednesday of next week.

Scarborough began the Mike D’Andrea Era with an 8-3 victory at Sanford. The Red Storm were scheduled to host Noble Tuesday, but snow moved that game to Wednesday. Scarborough was at Marshwood Thursday and hosts Windham Saturday.

Cape Elizabeth, a regional finalist in 2015, impressed in its opener, downing visiting Kennebunk, 6-1. Nate Ingalls had a strong effort on the mound and scored the first run. Brendan Tinsman had an RBI single and came in to get the save and Dylan Roberts hit a clutch home run after the Rams pulled within a run.

“It’s rare when the wind blows out here, so I knew if I kept my hands back, maybe I could hit it,” Roberts said. “I knew it was gone when I hit it. It felt good. It gave us momentum.”

“I felt really good getting out on the mound,” Ingalls said. “I got into it.”

 “I just went in there and tried to throw strikes,” Tinsman said. “My catcher wanted me to throw a couple curves, but I just pumped it by them.” 

“These guys are excited, they’re motivated,” added Capers coach Andy Wood. “The captains have them together. I know they’re hungry. We were excited for the season to start. We have a very good team.” 

Cape Elizabeth improved to 2-0 Monday with a 16-4, six-inning win at York. Roberts homered again, as did Ingalls and Tinsman. Bryce Hewitt earned the victory.

The Capers faced a huge home test Wednesday against Falmouth, then play at Kennebunk Friday and visit Freeport Wednesday of next week.

Greater Portland Christian School was scheduled to open Tuesday at Rangeley, but that game was postponed by poor weather. The Lions played a doubleheader at Waynflete Thursday and welcomes North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday of next week.

Softball

Scarborough’s defending Western A softball champions are up to their usual dominance to start the season. The Red Storm opened with an 18-0, five-inning win at Bonny Eagle, then downed visiting Sanford and its ace, Jen Jones, 13-4, Monday behind a late inning surge. Lilly Volk threw a one-hitter against the Scots, while Abbie Murrell homered.

Against the Spartans, Sanford took a 3-0 lead to the bottom of the third, but Chloe Griffin hit a two-run home run to get Scarborough going.

“It was pure joy,” Griffin said. “I was super-excited. I haven’t hit a home run in high school. It was a big hit.”

In the bottom of the fifth, Chloe Gorey’s two-run blast gave the Red Storm the lead for good and Griffin scored on a wild pitch for a 5-3 lead. Scarborough ended all doubt with an eight-run sixth, as Griffin hit a two-run double and Kaleigh Scoville ripped a two-run homer. Volk, who replaced Murrell in the fourth, slammed the door and earned the victory. Maggie Murphy had four hits, 

“We don’t get down,” Murphy said. “The entire team worked hard to pick each other up. It’s great to play with a team like that.”

“It’s just one game early in the season,” said longtime Red Storm coach Tom Griffin, who earned his 395th victory with the program. “We want to get better every day. It’s good for confidence. We know we can go out and compete.”

Scarborough was at Deering Wednesday, hosts Cheverus Friday, goes to South Portland Monday and visits Portland Wednesday of next week.

South Portland opened with a 5-3, eight-inning home loss to Noble, then rallied for a 2-1 victory at Marshwood. In the win, Miranda Gleason and Maddie Houlette drove in the runs and Stephanie Aeceto allowed just three hits. The Red Riots were home with Windham Wednesday, go to highly touted Biddeford Friday, host Scarborough Monday and visit Bonny Eagle Wednesday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth sandwiched losses to visiting Wells (12-4) and at York (2-1) around a 15-3 home victory over Kennebunk. In the win, Kelly O’Sullivan had four hits and two runs batted in and Tess Haller had three hits. Jessie Robicheaw earned her first varsity victory. The Capers were home against Falmouth Wednesday, visit Kennebunk Friday, welcome Sacopee Valley Monday and go to Freeport Wednesday of next week.

Boys’ lacrosse

Scarborough’s boys’ lacrosse team earned a key win last week. The Red Storm, who opened with a 9-8 double-overtime home loss to Gorham, then prevailed, 10-3, at Biddeford, downed visiting South Portland, the two-time defending Western A champion, 13-10. Cam Nigro had five goals, including four in the third period as Scarborough erased a 6-5 deficit and took a 10-7 lead, and Marco Manfra added four. Goalie Dominic Joy made 11 saves, denying Red Riots standout Jack Fiorini on several occasion.

“The first part of the game, we just had to settle down and figure out their defense, because they didn’t let us pass the ball,” Nigro said. “We knew if we beat the first guy, we’d get a good look.”

“We know (Jack’s) a great player,” said defenseman Reece Lagerquist, who helped hold Fiorini in check. “I’ve played out of state a lot, so I’m used to playing players like that. I was excited for it.”

“It puts a win in the win column and it shows the kids the level they can play at,” added Scarborough coach Joe Hezlep. “Tonight, we got shots on cage.”

The Red Storm were at Westbrook Wednesday where Hezlep had a chance to earn his 100th career victory. Scarborough has a huge test Saturday, when it goes to three-time defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth for a crossover battle (see theforecaster.net for game story) and hosts Thornton Academy in a playoff rematch Tuesday.

South Portland got four goals from Jake Angell in the loss to Scarborough. Fiorini finished with two goals and three assists.

“The pressure got to us a little bit,” said South Portland coach Tom Fiorini. “We had chances to finish. I tell my kids to shoot low, but the one time I begged them to shoot high, I couldn’t get them to do it. They’re three games in and we’re one. It was a factor.”

The Red Riots sought their first victory Tuesday at Biddeford, but snow moved the contest to Wednesday. South Portland visits Falmouth for a crossover showdown Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story), then hosts Cheverus Wednesday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth began its title defense with an 18-8 home win over Waynflete April 14. The Capers figured to be tested in a state game rematch at Yarmouth Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story). After hosting Scarborough Saturday, Cape Elizabeth goes to Kennebunk Tuesday.

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, Scarborough held off visiting Biddeford in its opener, 11-9. Ellie Smith scored three straight goals to break a tie, Abby Corbin added four goals and goalie Sami Shoebottom made a dozen clutch saves.

“As a goalie, you have to come up big,” Shoebottom said. “I couldn’t let the team down. That was a save I had to make.”

“I’m so happy with how the girls performed,” said Red Storm first-year coach Stephanie Belanger. “The girls gave 100 percent and played with their hearts.”

Scarborough hosted Portland Thursday, goes to Waynflete Saturday and welcomes Windham Tuesday of next week.

“We have to get used to playing zone defense,” Smith said. “We can’t force passes. We have to look for our open teammates when we’re running down the field.”

South Portland lost its first game, 15-3, at defending Class A champion Marshwood. The Red Riots were supposed to host Bonny Eagle Tuesday, but that game was postponed by snow to May 9. After welcoming Gorham Thursday, South Portland visits Brunswick Saturday and plays host to Scarborough Thursday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth lost an 8-7 overtime heartbreaker to visiting Waynflete in its opener. The Capers hosted two-time defending Class B champion Yarmouth Wednesday, visit Gorham Saturday and go to Greely Wednesday of next week.

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

Sidebar Elements


Cape Elizabeth ace Nate Ingalls fires a strike during the Capers’ 6-1 win over Kennebunk in Saturday’s season opener.

Scarborough sophomore second baseman Katie Verreault goes all out to make a throw to first base during the Red Storm’s 13-4 win over Sanford Tuesday.

Scarborough’s Sam Neguebauer, left, and Marco Manfra celebrate a goal during the Red Storm’s 13-10 home win over South Portland last weekend.

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