Spring sports stretch run begins-Southern edition

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The weather heated up last week and so did the spring sports action.

With the end of the regular season right around the corner, teams are jockeying for playoff spots and positioning and there figures to be plenty of excitement in store.

Here’s a glimpse at what occurred last week and what’s upcoming:

Baseball

Local baseball teams are very much in the playoff hunt.

South Portland was 10-1 and third behind Falmouth and Thornton Academy in the Class A South Heal Points at press time after recent wins over visiting Deering (4-3), visiting Scarborough (5-1) and host Noble (7-1). Against the Rams, Drew Abramson drove in the tying run and got the win in relief after leaving the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, Sam Troiano tripled and scored twice and Ben Conti doubled in Alex Livington in the bottom of the seventh to end it. In the win over the Red Storm, Griffin Kelley didn’t allow an earned run and surrendered just four hits, Sam Troiano had three hits, three runs scored and three stolen bases and Nick Troiano had three RBI.

“I knew we’d be good this year even thought we lost a lot of seniors,” Sam Troiano said. “We’re coming together.”

“I felt strong,” Kelley said. “Everything worked well. I was spotting the curveball well. My change-up was diving in. The fastball wasn’t flat. That’s the recipe for success.”

“I thought it was a solid performance,” Red Riots coach Mike Owens added. “We made some good defensive plays and did what we had to do to win today.”

Against the Knights, Abramson threw a gem and drove in two runs, Conti had two RBI, Riley Hasson had an RBI single and Sam Troiano cracked an RBI double.

South Portland was home with Marshwood Thursday, visits Portland for a pivotal showdown Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and plays host to Biddeford Tuesday.

Scarborough remains in the thick of things as well. Last week, the Red Storm rallied to beat visiting Massabesic, 4-3, and lost at South Portland, 5-1, and Monday, they improved to 8-2 and sixth in Class A South with a 6-4 home victory over Cheverus. Against the Mustangs, Connor Kelly had two RBI, including the tying hit in the fifth, Josh Reed had an RBI double and Nick Lorello came through with a clutch RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to plate the go-ahead run. Mitchell Wedge went the distance and escaped a jam in the seventh to end it.

“I knew I had to come up with a big hit,” Lorello said. “I was looking for a pitch middle-in. I got it and I hit it.”

“We come to practice every day and we work really hard,” said Wedge. “We love to play baseball and we love to get into it. It’s a very good team atmosphere.”

“I’m happy with how we bounced back,” added Scarborough first-year coach Mike D’Andrea. “The guys were resilient.”

In the loss, the Red Storm did little against Red Riots ace Griffin Kelley.

“Griffin Kelley is a strike thrower,” D’Andrea said. “When I knew he was pitching, I knew it would be quick. They’re a good team. The fact we were in the game, I’m pleased with that.” 

Against the Stags, Scarborough scored five times in the fourth inning to erase a 3-1 deficit. Wedge got the win and improved to 4-1 and Jack Hughes had a pair of hits.

The Red Storm went to Westbrook Thursday, visit Gorham Saturday, host Marshwood Tuesday and play at Windham Thursday of next week.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth was atop the Heal at 9-1 after stretching its win streak to seven with recent victories over visiting Greely in a regional final rematch (1-0), visiting Lake Region (10-0, in five innings) and visiting Poland (11-1). Mitchell Peterson went the distance against the Rangers, throwing a one-hit game and getting out of a runner-at-third-with-one-out jam in the seventh. Dylan Roberts’ first inning RBI double scored the only run. In the win over the Knights, Nate Ingalls improved to 3-0 and Peterson, Roberts and Pat Macdonald all had two hits. The Capers were at Wells Wednesday, host Yarmouth Friday and welcome York Wednesday of next week.

In Class D South, Greater Portland Christian School was 0-6 and 11th after dropping a doubleheader at Vinalhaven Tuesday (12-1 and 17-1). The Lions return to action Thursday of next week when they close the season with a doubleheader versus Forest Hills.

Softball

Scarborough’s juggernaut softball team continues to have no peer. Recent five-inning, mercy rule wins over visiting South Portland (18-1), visiting McAuley (15-0) and host Noble (19-0) extended the Red Storm’s regular season win streak to 51 games. In the win over the Red Riots, Chloe Griffin threw a four-hitter, Abbie Murrell homered twice, Katie Verreault hit a grand slam and Lilly Volk also homered. Volk threw a one-hitter against the Lions and also homered, as did Griffin. Both players had three hits, as did Maggie Murphy. In the win over the Knights, Murrell earned the win, Griffin homered twice, Tori Hale also went deep and Laura Powell had four hits. Scarborough (third behind Sanford and Biddeford in the Class A South Heal Points standings) was home with Marshwood Thursday, faces a home test versus Thornton Academy Friday, plays at Westbrook Monday and visits Massabesic Wednesday of next week.

South Portland’s streak of 15 straight playoff appearances is in jeopardy. The Red Riots were 2-9 and 14th in Class A South at press time, but only 12 teams qualify for the postseason. South Portland’s skid hit eight with losses last week at Scarborough (18-1, in five innings) and at home against Sanford (7-1), but the Red Riots got back in the win column Monday, 5-2, over visiting Deering. Kaitlin Bouchard had two hits against the Red Storm. Stephanie Aceto got the victory against the Rams, Maeve Kelley had a pair of hits and Miranda Gleason homered. South Portland was at Westbrook Wednesday, hosts Massabesic Friday, welcomes McAuley Monday and goes to Cheverus Wednesday of next week.

In Class B South, surging Cape Elizabeth’s win streak was at nine following recent victories over visiting Greely (2-0), Lake Region (17-5, in five innings) and Poland (11-2). Against the Rangers, Maddie Culkin homered, Jessica Robicheaw threw a two-hitter and centerfielder Kelley O’Sullivan made a highlight reel leaping catch up against the fence to take away a home run that might have led to a very different result. Robicheaw earned the win and had a pair of hits against the Lakers. Culkin, Tess Haller and Allison Ingalls also had multiple hits. In the win over the Knights, Haller and Ingalls both had two hits, scored twice and drove in a pair. The Capers host defending Class B champion Yarmouth in a pivotal showdown Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and go Traip Academy Monday.

Boys’ lacrosse

Cape Elizabeth’s three-time defending Class B state champion boys’ lacrosse team narrowly passed two more huge tests last week. First, the Capers held off visiting rival Falmouth, 11-9. Cape Elizabeth got four goals from Riley Pillsbury, three from R.J. Sarka and 12 clutch saves from goalie Alex Narvaez, but almost let a 10-5 fourth quarter lead slip away.

“It was nervewracking,” Narvaez said. “Playing Falmouth brings out the best in both teams.”

“We were up 10-5 and we knew they’d make a run, since they always do,” said Pillsbury. “They got it to 10-9 and we just had to resettle and regroup.”

“These games always get interesting,” added Capers coach Ben Raymond. “I don’t know if any lead is ever really safe. Our teams are similar, our strengths and weaknesses.” 

Saturday, Cape Elizabeth had to scratch and claw to escape host South Portland, the two-time defending Western A champion, 9-8. A late goal from Sarka proved to be the difference. J Bottomley led the way with three goals. The Capers (8-0 and first in the Class B South Heal Points standings) host Lake Region Saturday and welcome North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday, then close with showdowns at home versus Yarmouth and at Falmouth. 

Scarborough was 7-3 and second to Gorham in Class A South at press time following a 16-11 home loss to Yarmouth and a thrilling 14-13 victory at Cheverus. In the setback, Cam Nigro had four goals, but the Red Storm lost 14 of 15 faceoffs in one stretch and hardly had the ball in the second and third quarters. A late rally wasn’t enough.

“I would have liked to have made it more interesting,” Scarborough coach Joe Hezlep said. “When you play that much defense early in a game against a team that can really move the ball, it wears on you.”

Scarborough and Cheverus were tied nine different ties before Marc Guerette was credited for a goal with 2:53 remaining that actually deflected in off a defender. That proved to be the winner. Sam Neugebauer scored five goals, Guerette had four and Dominic Joy made 12 clutch saves.

“Coach gave us a good speech at halftime,” Guerette said. “He told us to keep our heads up and stay in the game. We finished strong. We’re a really good second half team and we did a good job coming back.”

“You have to have a short term memory as a goalie,” Joy said. “You can’t hang your head too much and you have to bounce back.”

“It was a lot of fun,” added Hezlep. “It worked out pretty well. Cheverus is so tough. They play as hard as anyone we’ve seen.” 

The Red Storm host undefeated Windham on Senior Night Friday, then close the regular season at Marshwood Tuesday of next week.

South Portland looked like it had turned the corner with a 14-8 victory at Westbrook and a near-miss 9-8 home loss to Cape Elizabeth, but Tuesday evening, at home, the Red Riots lost to Thornton Academy, 11-5, in a regional final rematch. Freshman Cooper Mehlhorn erupted for nine goals against the Blue Blazes. Jack Fiorini added four. Fiorini had three goals and freshman goalie Quinn Watson made 14 saves in the loss to the Capers. Against the Golden Trojans, South Portland suffered a 25-minute scoring drought and fell to 3-5.

“We had two big steps forward against Westbrook and Cape, but tonight was a gigantic step backwards,” said South Portland coach Tom Fiorini. 

The Red Riots (fourth in Class A South) go to Deering Friday and host Portland Tuesday.

Girls’ lacrosse

South Portland’s girls’ lacrosse squad continues to defy the pundits and impress.

After gaining confidence with a rare win over Scarborough, the Red Riots’ win streak hit five last Thursday with a 16-9 victory at Portland behind eight goals from Mary Cronin. Saturday, South Portland met its match and fell to 5-3 with a 14-12 home loss to York despite six goals from Maddie Hasson.

“I’ve been telling my players they’re good enough to play with those top teams,” said Red Riots coach Leslie Dyer. “What they needed to realize was that they’re just as good. If they play hard and smart, they can beat a top team. It took us a few games to get going, but each player found their role and we’re working well together.”

The Red Riots (sixth in the Class A South Heals at press time) were home with Deering Thursday, visit Windham Tuesday and play host to Massabesic Thursday of next week.

“The team is driven and we still have things to work on, but it’s a coachable group with the drive to succeed,” Dyer said. 

Scarborough’s skid hit seven (its longest since a five-game stretch in 2006) after recent losses at Thornton Academy (12-5), at home to two-time defending Class B champion Yarmouth (12-6) and at home to Massabesic (10-3). Emma Smith scored twice against the Golden Trojans. The Red Storm (who were clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in Class A South at press time) went to defending Class A champion Marshwood Thursday, visit Cheverus Tuesday and close the regular season Thursday of next week at Westbrook.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth saw its skid hit four games last week with a 14-2 setback at defending regional champion Kennebunk, but Monday, the Capers improved to 2-6 and seventh in the Heals (six teams make the playoffs) with a 14-4 home victory over Wells. Cape Elizabeth hosts York Saturday, goes to NYA Tuesday and visits Yarmouth Thursday of next week.

Outdoor track

Scarborough’s outdoor track teams hosted Gorham, Westbrook and Windham Tuesday and both Red Storm squads came in first. The boys got wins from Sam Rusak in the 200 (23.48 seconds), the 110 hurdles (15.97) and pole vault (15 feet), Colin Tardiff in the 400 (53.88) and the two-mile (9 minutes, 52.68 seconds), Ben Batoosingh in the 300 hurdles (42.46), Andrew Sholl in the 800 (2:01.72) and the mile (4:30.18), Sebastian Osborne in the discus (135-1) and their 4×400 relay team (3:41.09). Girls’ first-place finishers included Gaby Panagakos in the 400 (1:02.88), Marisa Carbone in the 800 (2:29.96), Bethany Sholl in the mile (5:28.69), Ellen Shaw in the 100 hurdles (16.73), Elizabeth Gentile in the discus (107-6) and the 4×100 (54.43), 4×400 (4:36.82) and 4×800 (11:11.50) relay teams.

South Portland’s girls hosted Cheverus, Deering, McAuley and Portland and placed first. Event winners included Juliana Selser in the mile (5:31.99), Serena McKenzie in the two-mile (12:37.87), Callie O’Brien in the 100 hurdles (16.78), 300 hurdles (54.25) and long jump (15-3), Lingdong Bol in the high jump (4-10) and triple jump (32-11.5) and Abby Donahue in the racewalk (9:22.85).

The South Portland boys joined Biddeford and Sanford at Noble and placed second behind the Tigers. First-place finishers included Noah Blake in the 100 (11.81) and 200 (23.69), Jacob Maloney in the mile (4:46.48), Ruay Bol in the long jump (20-3) and triple jump (40-10), Daniel Guiliani in the shot put (with a whopping top throw of 71 feet, 1.5 inches!) and discus (169-9.5) and Steven Smith in the racewalk (7:49.61).

Cape Elizabeth joined Gray-New Gloucester and Old Orchard Beach at Fryeburg Academy last Friday. The Capers were second to the Patriots in both genders. Boy’s first-place finishers included Luc Houle in the shot put (37-7.25) and discus (96-3), Jacob Budichewsky in the 110 hurdles (25.61), Kyle Long in the 300 hurdles (48.65) and their 4×800 relay team (9:32.07). Girls’ winners included Annika Demeter in the 100 hurdles (20.10), Lily Bergh in the 300 hurdles (56.05), Katie Oberholzer in the high jump (4-8) and the 4×800 relay team (10:58.28).

Tennis

The state singles tournament is underway. Saturday at Deering High School, the girls’ Region 5 first and qualifying rounds were held.

Scarborough’s Megan Nathanson, the No. 6 seed, beat Massabesic’s Acadia Byther, 6-0, 6-1, in the qualifying round. Cape Elizabeth’s Liv Clifford, seeded seventh, advanced with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Biddeford’s Cara Boisvert. Cape Elizabeth’s Katie Gilman, the No. 10 seed, also qualified by beating Bonny Eagle’s Kathryn Bearor, 6-4, 6-0.

Cape Elizabeth’s Erin Whitcomb beat Cheverus’ Kendall Jackson, 8-6, in the first round, then lost to No. 5 Caroline Ray of Falmouth, 1-6, 0-6, in the qualifying round. 

South Portland’s Julia Stanton lost, 3-8, to Massabesic’s Byther in the first round. Teammate Maggie Koukos lost, 0-8, to No. 14 Sarah Rich of Windham. Scarborough’s Bryce Nitchman was an 0-8 loser to No. 13 Maddie Abbott of Deering. Teammate Emily Keenan was ousted, 4-8, by NYA’s Corinne Poitras.

The boys’ Region 5 first and qualifying rounds were held at Waynflete’s courts at Fore River Fields.

Cape Elizabeth’s Michael Mills, the No. 3 seed, advanced with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Yarmouth’s Ravi Patel in the qualifying round. Teammate Edward Hall, the No. 15 seed, advanced with wins over Kennebunk’s Mason Burke in the first round (8-0) and Freeport’s Liam Gould in the qualifying round (6-2, 6-2). They”ll be joined in the next round by Scarborough’s John McCloskey, who downed Connor White of Gorham, 8-5, in the first round, then upset No. 12 Peter Barry in the qualifying round, 6-3, 7-6 (4). 

South Portland’s Andrew LeBlanc beat Freeport’s John Smail, 8-4, in the first round, then lost, 1-6, 1-6 to Waynflete’s Brandon Ameglio, the No. 8 seed, in the qualifying round. Cape Elizabeth’s James Salerno was an 8-1 winner over Marshwood’s Lewis Guy in the first round, then was eliminated, 0-6, 3-6, by No. 14 Jacob Green of Waynflete in the qualifying round. South Portland’s Ian Mitchell, the No. 16 seed, beat NYA’s Josh Soucy, 8-0, in the first round, then lost, 4-6, 1-6, to Portland’s Quinn Clarke in the qualifying round. Scarborough’s Alex Giles was an 8-4 winner over Cheverus’ James Nguyen in the first round, then was ousted, 6-0, 3-6, 2-6, by NYA’s Hunter Mahoney in the qualifying round.

Scarborough’s Andrew Paradis lost, 8-9 (6-8) to Windham’s David Sepulveda in the first round. 

The next round will begin May 27 in Lewiston.

The team regular season ends next week and several local teams continue to do well.

The three-time defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth boys were 8-1 and second behind Lincoln Academy in Class B South after 5-0 wins over Waynflete and York. In Class A South, Scarborough was 7-2 and sixth heading into key matches versus Deering and Gorham. South Portland was 6-4 and seventh at press time. The Red Riots are seeking their second straight winning season, something which last happened from 2002-04.

On the girls’ side, Scarborough was 10-0 and second behind Gorham in Class A South after Monday’s 5-0 win at Massabesic. The Red Storm have a home showdown versus Gorham Monday to end the regular season. South Portland was 4-5 and ninth in Class A South heading into Wednesday’s match vs. McAuley. Cape Elizabeth was 7-2 and fourth in Class B South following wins at Waynflete (4-1) and York (5-0). The Capers visited two-time defending Class B champion Greely Wednesday and close at home versus eight-time defending champion Falmouth Monday.

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

Sidebar Elements


South Portland’s Sam Troiano plops into second base with a steal as Scarborough’s Nick Lorello takes the throw during the Red Riots’ 5-1 victory Saturday.

Cape Elizabeth’s Riley Pillsbury, left, and Tate Perkins celebrate a goal during the Capers’ 11-9 win over Falmouth last week.

Scarborough’s Sam Neugebauer scores one of his five goals during the Red Storm’s 14-13 victory at Cheverus Tuesday.

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