FALMOUTH—What started off as one of the hottest days of the year, turned into a thunderstorm marathon mess at Cape Elizabeth Thursday afternoon.
The Capers, the defending regional champion, ranked third in Western B, hosted the No. 6 Falmouth Yachtsmen for a quarterfinal playoff matchup which started at 3:30 (because Cape Elizabeth had a senior banquet slated for 6:30 in Portland). However, the contest dragged on thanks to Mother Nature and wouldn’t end until 7:45.
The teams endured a two-and-a-half hour rain-and-lightning delay and Falmouth came out victorious, by a score of 2-1, behind a complete game performance from senior ace Dillon Dresser.
At 4:45, it was the top of the 6th inning and Falmouth was up 2-0 when the base umpire saw lightning in the background. The players vacated the field and soon moved inside the high school. Every time there was a bolt of lightning in the vicinity, they had to wait 30 minutes. The players wouldn’t come back to the dugouts until approximately 6:50, with the game resuming around 7:20 after the squads re-warmed up.
“(Dillon) pitched great for five innings and we had that two hour rain delay, whatever it was, sl I went to him and said, ‘How do you feel?’ and he said, ‘Coach, I want the ball.’ ” said Falmouth coach Kevin Winship. “He’s a senior, he’s been our horse, he’s pitching as well as anybody around.”
During the lengthy delay, lightning bolts were cracking across the sky non-stop and there was doubt if the game would get finished in the same day. However, since it was a playoff game, the teams were determined to finish it out.
Before the delay, Dresser was dueling against junior Will LeBlond, the Capers’ number two pitcher.
The Yachtsmen got on the scoreboard first, getting a run in the fourth inning and another run in the fifth.
In the fourth, Ben Goffin led off with a double deep down the leftfield line that was almost snagged by leftfielder Jack Barber. Andrew Emple then popped out, but next was Grayson Beressi. Beressi grounded softly to third, but the throw to first was wild and went out of play, scoring Goffin for a 1-0 Falmouth lead. The next two batters flew out to end the frame.
Falmouth rallied with two outs in the fifth inning. Dresser drew a four pitch walk, and senior Matt MacDowell promptly blasted the first pitch he saw into the right-center gap for a standup triple, scoring Dresser easily for a 2-0 lead.
“They took it to us the past couple years, so we wanted to get out of here with a ‘W,’ and we were fortunate enough to get it,” said MacDowell.
Before the rain/thunder delay, Dresser was cruising, allowing just three hits while striking out four. LeBlond had only allowed three hits, too, but he had three walks. From the get-go, LeBlond was missing high with his pitches, while Dresser was crisp and accurate.
Cape Elizabeth wasted a golden scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fifth inning when it had two runners in scoring position with only one out.
Chris Tinsman and Pat Tyler hit back-to-back singles and then were bunted over by Chris Robicheaw. Pinch hitter Seth Dobieski then struck out and Derek Roberts grounded out to end the threat.
When the rain delay ended, the Capers brought on senior shortstop Cam Brown to pitch to the Yachtsmen in the top of the sixth inning. Brown got Emple and Beressi to strike out and retired Brett Emmertz on a comebacker.
Dresser, however, did not need any relief. After throwing about 70 pitches through five innings, Dresser was more than ready to go for the last two.
“It was his game to win or lose,” said Winship.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Capers rallied for their lone run.
Tinsman led off with a walk. Tyler then grounded into a fielder’s choice, advancing Tinsman to second. Robicheaw struck out on a fastball for out number two. Ben Berman also walked, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Roberts then smashed a grounder past second base for an RBI single, plating Tinsman for a 2-1 score. The next batter was Brown, who blasted a one-hopper back up the middle off Dresser’s leg. Dresser athletically recovered from the ricochet and threw out Brown by a stride at first to seal the victory, ending the Capers’ season at 12-5.
“We showed great stones getting that hit with two outs in the seventh with two strikes, to get us that first run,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Chris Hayward.
Dresser’s final line was seven innings pitched, five hits, two walks, and one earned run.
Falmouth (11-6, now riding a five-game win streak) played a complete game, with their rightfielder, Beressi, making five solid putouts on the game.
“My coach had been putting me on the rightfield line all game,” said Beressi. Apparently it worked out well.”
Beressi in right caught any threat in his vicinity, making sure that any runner or run for that matter, was very premium.
“We scored just enough runs to win the game,” said Winship. “It was a quick game, but a long one.”
Falmouth now faces the winner of Friday afternoon’s game between Maranacook and Greely. That game is slated for 1:00 at the higher seed’s field on Saturday, June 11th.