(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland-Cheverus and Deering-Scarborough baseball, Cheverus-Portland softball and Waynflete-Cape Elizabeth girls’ lacrosse game stories, with photos and box scores, visit theforecaster.net)
The midway pole has been passed and local teams are jockeying to make the playoffs as we enter the final phase of the regular season.
There’s been a lot of excitement in recent days and the days to come promise to deliver more drama.
Here’s a glimpse:
Portland’s baseball team is moving up the standings and could be one of the teams to beat in a very balanced league.
After falling at Biddeford last Monday, 6-4 (despite two hits and two RBI from Evan Gallant, two RBI from Justin Zukowski and two hits and two runs from Ryan Dixon), the Bulldogs beat visiting Bonny Eagle (8-0) and Cheverus (9-8). Against the Scots, Dixon threw a two-hitter with eight strikeouts and the offense featured three hits and two RBI from Joe Fusco and two hits from Joe Apon, Dan Kane and Ryan Ruhlin. Portland fell behind early to the Stags, 5-1, but roared back behind strong relief pitching from Travis Godbout, who also had two hits, three runs and an RBI, and three hits and an RBI from Gallant.
“Usually I just throw one or two innings,” Godbout said. “I knew I had to come in, do my best and try to shut them down.”
“We have the heart and we came back and got it done,” Gallant said. “There was no panic. The past couple games, we’ve been down and came back. We don’t get down on ourselves and we stay up. That’s all that matters.”
“We gutted it out,” added Bulldogs coach Tony DiBiase. “We play well when games are tight, but sometimes when we fall behind, the kids press. Today, they relaxed and hung in there and had confidence. That was a good sign.”
Portland (6-3 and fourth in the Western Class A Heal Points standings as of press time) was scheduled to play at Scarborough Saturday, but that game was postponed by rain and moved to Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Bulldogs were at red-hot South Portland Tuesday, host Windham Saturday and play at Deering Monday of next week.
The Rams lost at home to Biddeford last Tuesday, 7-4, then earned a pivotal 4-3 home victory over Scarborough Thursday. Against the Tigers, Nick Bevilacqua had three hits and two RBI and Will Barlock and Luciano Minervino each added two hits. Deering got a superb start from Dan Marzilli against the Red Storm, two RBI from Pat Viola, then, with Scarborough on the verge of coming back to steal the game, Bevilacqua made a highlight reel play, diving to stop a ground ball, then throwing out the runner from a prone position on a disputed play to end it.
“I just had to do it for the team there with two outs,” said Bevilacqua. “No doubt I had a play. I threw from my butt. I couldn’t do much else. I didn’t know what he wasn’t going to call, but when the ump called out, it pumped me up.”
“This is huge,” said Viola. “We’ve started to put things together. We made solid contact.”
“I was feeling it,” said Marzilli, who was pulled one out shy of a complete game. “My curveball worked best. I got them to hit ground balls. That’s all I really needed. I felt comfortable after they got me some runs.”
“I’m just psyched we won in such dramatic fashion,” Deering coach Tim Eisenhart added. “They’ve worked so hard. This means so much to the kids. They’ve stuck with it.”
The Rams began the week 3-6 and 13th in Western A and went to Cheverus Tuesday, host Bonny Eagle Wednesday, go to Windham Thursday, host South Portland Saturday and welcome Portland Monday of next week.
Cheverus began the week 5-4 and eighth after a 2-0 loss at South Portland, a 9-8 setback at Portland and a 9-4 home win over Windham. Against the Bulldogs, Charlie Mull sparked the Stags to a 5-1 lead with a three-run, inside-the-park home run, but five errors sealed Cheverus’ doom.
“We hit and pitched pretty well, but you have to play defense and we didn’t,” lamented Stags coach Mac McKew. “We were tentative. We had a don’t-hit-the-ball-to-me attitude. We had a lack of killer instinct. If we could all put in the effort that Charlie Mull does on every at-bat and every play, we’d be a lot better off. “
In the win, Mull, Jensen LaPoint and Mitchell Powers each had three hits and Chris Tinsman homered. Cheverus was home against Deering Tuesday, hosts Westbrook Thursday, visits Massabesic Saturday and plays at Sanford Tuesday of next week.
In Western C, Waynflete was 6-3 and ninth in the standings after high-scoring home wins over Old Orchard Beach (10-9) and Traip (18-8). Against the Seagulls, the Flyers took a quick 7-0 lead, then held on for dear life behind three hits and three RBI from Isaac Scher, three RBI from Nik Morrill and Joey Schnier’s single and triple. In the win over the Rangers, Waynflete was down, 6-3, entering the bottom of the fourth, but it scored seven times in that frame, then added five more in the fifth. Scher had three hits, including a home run, and Schnier doubled twice and earned the victory. Morrill and Tom Silk both had three hits. The Flyers were at Sacopee Valley Monday, go to Traip Wednesday, host North Yarmouth Academy in a makeup game Thursday, play at Old Orchard Beach Friday and visit Sacopee Tuesday of next week.
Cheverus’ softball team made history last week. The week began with a 9-2 home win over Portland, continued with the Stags’ first loss, 2-1, at Biddeford, was highlighted by a program-first victory over perennial powerhouse South Portland, 5-4, in eight innings, then culminated with a 10-1 home victory over Gorham.
Against the Bulldogs, Cheverus scored eight unearned runs, Brittany Bell struck out eight, Katie Randall drove in two runs and Libby DesRuisseaux had an RBI and run scored.
“Portland’s come a long way,” Bell said. “They put up a good fight. We really had to buckle down and focus and stay intense today.”
“The game was a little weird, but the score is what matters in the end,” said DesRuisseaux. “Team chemistry has been a big factor. The team’s getting along great and we’re having fun and that’s helped us win.”
In the loss, Bell only gave up two runs. Casey Simpson had two hits and her team’s lone RBI. Against the Red Riots, Bell, after giving up a game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh, singled in the winner in the eighth. It was one of three hits for the standout. In the victory over the Rams, Sophia Giancotti had three hits and two RBI, while Bell improved to 9-1 with a three-hit, 10-strikeout performance. Cheverus (9-1 and second to Scarborough in the Western A Heals at press time) was at Bonny Eagle Monday, has a home showdown with the undefeated, defending Class A champion Red Storm Wednesday and visits Thornton Academy Friday.
“We’re learning to persevere,” said Cheverus coach Maureen Curran. “The girls believe that we can beat anybody we face.”
McAuley won at Gorham last week, 4-2, then lost at Bonny Eagle, 8-2, and gave Scarborough its biggest scare to date before falling, 7-6. In the victory, Taylor Whaley struck out 10 and Ally Tillotson and Sam Libby both had multiple hits. Against the Red Storm, the Lions rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 6-3, but Scarborough pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh. Tillotson and Lauren Coulombe both had multiple hits against one of the state’s best pitchers, Alyssa Williamson. McAuley (5-6 and eighth in Western A) hosted Thornton Academy Monday, visits Noble Wednesday, plays host to Sanford Friday and visit Massabesic Tuesday of next week.
Portland was 3-7 and 16th at the start of the week. Last week, the Bulldogs lost at Cheverus (9-2) and at home to Windham (5-2), then eked out a 5-4 victory at Westbrook. Against the Stags, pitcher Isabelle DiMillo had to leave the game after a scary incident, when she was hit in the head with a line drive. DiMillo was taken from the game for precautionary reasons, but was believed to be OK. The Bulldogs were done in by four errors in the loss.
“We competed well,” Portland coach Kelly Libby said. “I’m being patient. We’ve come a long way in a couple years. A couple years ago, when we were losing, 22-1, they didn’t understand why I was yelling at them about little things. It’s because those mistakes count.”
In the win, DiMillo returned to action and earned the victory while delivering two hits. Anna Evans and Lauren McIntyre also had multiple hits. The Bulldogs were home against Biddeford Monday, visit South Portland Friday and play at Bonny Eagle Tuesday of next week.
Deering fell to 0-9 and 18th after recent losses at Bonny Eagle (13-1) at home to Scarborough (33-0, in five innings) and at Thornton Academy (28-3, in five innings). Kaylee Helmick had two hits against the Red Storm. Cassidy Coyne and Nicole Queen both had two hits versus the Golden Trojans. The Rams were home against Noble Monday, visit Sanford Wednesday and play host to Massabesic Friday.
Cheverus’ boys’ lacrosse team got to deliver a dose of revenge two years in the making when it hosted four-time Class A state champion Scarborough last Wednesday. The Stags jumped to a 7-3 halftime lead and never looked back, winning, 13-8, as Nick Schleh and Jack Sutton both scored three times. Cheverus had lost the past two state finals to the Red Storm. Friday, the Stags dropped a tough 13-12 double overtime decision at Kennebunk. Cheverus (4-4 and third in the Eastern A Heals) was went to Noble Wednesday and visits Westbrook Friday.
Deering was 2-5 and sixth in the Heals after a 17-6 home win over Bonny Eagle and a 20-4 loss at Maranacook. The Rams were home against undefeated South Portland Tuesday and host Massabesic Friday.
Portland began the week 2-4 and eighth in Eastern A. The Bulldogs were at Oak Hill Tuesday and go to South Portland Saturday.
In Western B, Waynflete saw its four-game win streak snapped last week with an 8-5 loss at Freeport. The Flyers then fell at Thornton Academy, 9-2. Waynflete (4-3 and fifth in the Heals) was home against Lake Region Tuesday and plays host to Yarmouth Friday.
Waynflete’s girls’ lacrosse team, the two-time Class B champion, continued its resurgence last Tuesday by holding off visiting rival Cape Elizabeth for the 23rd straight time, 6-5. Sofia Canning’s goal with two seconds to go before the half put the Flyers ahead for good. Cat Johnson had three goals and Helen Gray-Bauer made huge plays all over the field as Waynflete made it three wins in a row and improved to 4-2 (second to Kennebunk in the Western B Heals).
“It’s a total team effort this year,” Canning said. “We’re not based on one person. We use everyone on the field. Our entire team can play.”
“We have an exceptional team again,” Gray-Bauer said. “It’s totally different, but we’re meshing well. Since teams might be overlooking us, that helps our game. I like it better that way.”
“It was a really nice win,” added Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. “I’m psyched. The girls are working super hard. There’s not much chatting at practice. I thought it would take us awhile. I knew the girls had potential, it was just putting it together in time.”
Waynflete returned to action Monday, when it hosted York. The Flyers go to Greely Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story).
In Eastern A, defending state champion Cheverus handled visiting Portland last Tuesday, 12-3, then suffered its first loss, 12-10, at Massabesic, in a state championship game rematch. In the victory, Elyse Caiazzo and Alex Logan both scored three times. Caiazzo and Meredith Willard both had three goals in the loss. The Stags (4-1 and fourth in the Heals) were home against Thornton Academy Tuesday, go to Mashwood Thursday and Messalonskee Saturday and return home Tuesday of next week to meet Scarborough.
Portland (2-3 and fifth in Eastern A) lost at Cheverus, 12-3, then held off visiting South Portland, 13-12, behind Ella Coose’s four goals and three from Isabel Stehli. Saturday, the Bulldogs fell at Scarborough, 12-5, Merritt Ryan scored twice. Portland was at McAuley Tuesday, visits Windham Thursday, then plays at Thornton Academy Tuesday of next week.
Deering (1-5 and ninth in Eastern A) is coming off home losses to Massabesic (16-2) and Windham (10-5). The Rams go to South Portland Wednesday, visit Westbrook Thursday and play at McAuley Tuesday of next week.
Speaking of the Lions, they began the week 1-5 and 10th in Eastern A after losses at home to Westbrook (17-7) and at Sanford (14-8) and NYA (18-5). Natalie Juris scored three times against the Blue Blazes. Allison Tardiff had three goals versus the Spartans.
On the track, Cheverus’ boys were second to Sanford at a four-team meet in Windham. Event winners included Issac Yeboah in the 110 hurdles (15.56 seconds), Jake Dixon in the 200 (22.58), Elijah Yeboah in the 300 hurdles (41.44), Nick White in the discus (150 feet, 6 inches) and shot put (47-3.75) and the 1,600 relay team (3 minutes, 38.51 seconds).
The Stags girls hosted Bonny Eagle, Sanford and Windham. Event winners included Lizzie Ford in the 100 (13.04) and 200 (27.94), Georgia Caso in the 800 (2:30.9), Kiera Murray in the mile (5:25.0), Emily Grinnell in the javelin (92-0), Milena Opielowski in the long jump (15-7.5), Katelyn Gendron in the triple jump (30-11) and the 400 (53.94), 1,600 (4:30.7) and 3,200 (10:29.0) relays.
Deering’s boys joined Marshwood and Westbrook at Thornton Academy, where the Rams were second to the hosts. Event winners included Hany Ramadan in the 100 (11.88) and 200 (23.24), Jacob Coon in the 110 hurdles (18.43) and high jump (5-10), Giles Holmes in the triple jump (38-6.5), Yahya Hussein in the two-mile (10:07.29), and the 1,600 (3:46.59) and 3,200 (10:05.28) relays.
The girls went to Marshwood along with Thornton Academy and Westbrook. Event winners included Alexis Elowitch in the javelin (95-11) and shot put (33-8) and the 1,600 (4:37.6) and 3,200 (11:37.86) relays.
Portland’s boys joined Noble at Scarborough. The girls joined Scarborough at Noble. The Bulldogs girls got wins from Claire Kirby in the 100 (13.69) and 100 hurdles (17.96), Bea Hasselbart in the two-mile (14:17.37) and the 400 relay (54.94).
Waynflete joined Fryeburg and Old Orchard Beach at Falmouth, where the girls were third and the boys fourth. Emily Tabb won the racewalk (11:25.81). The boys were led by Julian Ireland, who placed third in the 400 (58.41).
Portland’s girls’ tennis team, the defending Western A champion, improved to 7-0 and second to Falmouth in the Heals after 5-0 wins last week over Bonny Eagle, Cheverus and Biddeford. Cheverus was fifth at 7-1 after sandwiching wins over South Portland (5-0) and Scarborough (3-1) around its loss to the Bulldogs. McAuley began the week 2-6 and 10th after 5-0 losses to Sanford and Thornton Academy. Deering was 3-5 and 13th after a 5-0 loss to Windham and a 4-1 win over Marshwood.
In Western C, three-time defending state champion Waynflete was up to 9-1 and second in the Heals after 5-0 wins over Fryeburg, York and NYA. The Flyers went to Yarmouth Tuesday and close the regular season Thursday at Falmouth.
On the boys’ side, Waynflete, the six-time Class C champion, began the week 8-2 and fourth in the Heals after 4-1 wins over Fryeburg and York, a 5-0 triumph over NYA and a 4-1 loss to defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth.
In Western A, Deering improved to 9-0 (second to Falmouth in the Heals) after beating host Sanford (5-0), visiting Windham (3-2) and host Marshwood (4-1). The Rams play at Cheverus Wednesday. The Stags were seventh at 5-3. Portland improved to 3-4 and ninth after recent 4-1 wins over Cheverus and Biddeford.
Cheverus senior shortstop Felix del Vecchio records an out on Portland sophomore Joe Fusco and pivots to throw to first to complete a double play during the Bulldogs’ 9-8 win last week.
Portland junior Olivia Gilbert is tagged out at home by Cheverus junior catcher Margaret Rigney after trying to stretch a triple into a home run during the Stags’ 9-2 win last week.
Portland junior Margot Andreasen returns a shot during last week’s 5-0 win over Cheverus. The Bulldogs remained undefeated at the start of the week.