Teams close in on titles as spring postseason heats up-Northern edition

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Freeport’s Aaron Rusiecki returns a shot during the Falcons’ 4-1 win over Yarmouth in Saturday’s Class B South semifinals. Freeport reached the Class B South Final for the first time and will battle perennial powerhouse Cape Elizabeth Thursday.

Yarmouth’s Cooper May fires a shot during last week’s 12-11 overtime loss at Waynflete.

Greely’s Sam Goldburg shoots on Yarmouth’s Izzy Serrano during last week’s thrilling 12-10 Clippers’ victory.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Thornton Academy and Yarmouth-Waynflete boys’ lacrosse and Falmouth-Thornton Academy, Greely-Cape Elizabeth, Greely-Yarmouth and Yarmouth-Waynflete girls’ lacrosse game stories, with box scores and photos, see theforecaster.net)

The tennis team playoffs are down to the regional finalists, featuring some familiar names, and the baseball, softball and boys’ and girls’ lacrosse playoffs were set to commence at press time.

The mad dash to the finish line is underway and there promises to be plenty of excitement between now and June 16.

Here’s a glimpse:

Tennis

While Falmouth’s teams continued their dominance last week, the biggest tennis story came from Freeport, where the Falcons boys’ team advanced to the Class B South Final for the first time and made a regional final for the first time in any class since reaching the Western C Final way back in 2001.

Freeport, ranked second in Class B South, had no trouble downing No. 7 York in the quarterfinals, 5-0, but in Saturday’s semifinal round, the Falcons were pushed by third-seeded Yarmouth, the defending regional champion, which had advanced with a 4-1 quarterfinal round win over No. 6 Gardiner.

In the semifinal, Freeport got wins from first singles Wes Goodwin, second singles Clay Canterbury, third singles Liam Gould and top doubles tandem Aaron Rusiecki and Sullivan Smith to advance.

“I knew I had some tremendous players that could do this and today we put it together against a Yarmouth team that played so good,” said longtime Falcons coach Jay Harper.”

Freeport’s quest for a first state final berth faces the daunting roadblock of No. 5 Cape Elizabeth (9-5) in the regional final Thursday at 9:15 a.m., at Bates College in Lewiston.

The Falcons and Capers split this year, with Freeport winning, 5-0, May 2 in Cape Elizabeth, and the Capers returning the favor, 3-2, May 16 in Freeport. Cape Elizabeth won both prior playoff meetings, 5-0 in the 2006 Western B semifinals and 5-0 in last year’s quarterfinal round.

“This is super-exciting, “Harper said. “Cape’s a good team with a long history. We felt that we would have to play them.”

If Freeport advances, it will compete in the Class B state match Saturday at 9:15 a.m., at Lewiston High School.

Yarmouth ended its season 10-4 with its loss to Freeport.

“I am very proud of our kids,” said Clippers first-year coach Bill Shardlow. “They fought all year long. It was a better year than expected. Freeport is a deep team. I wish them the best of luck.”

Greely (2-10) did not qualify for the Class B South playoffs.

In Class A South, Falmouth, the defending state champion, ranked first after an undefeated regular season, advanced to the regional final by virtue of 5-0 wins over No. 8 Gorham in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Thornton Academy in the semifinals.

Thursday at 12:45 p.m., at Bates College, the Yachtsmen meet No. 2 Portland (13-1) in the regional final. Falmouth downed the visiting Bulldogs, 4-1, back on April 27. In the teams’ lone prior playoff meeting, Falmouth eliminated Portland, 5-0, in last year’s semifinal round. The winner plays in the state final match Saturday at 12:45 p.m, at Lewiston High School.

In Class C South, North Yarmouth Academy (0-12) didn’t qualify for the postseason.

Falmouth’s girls, the 10-time defending state champions and top seed in Class A South after an undefeated campaign, extended their win streak to 171 matches after beating No. 9 Windham (5-0) in the quarterfinals and fifth-ranked Scarborough (4-1) in the semifinals.

The Yachtsmen meet a surprise regional finalist, sixth-ranked Portland (9-6), in the Class A South Final Thursday at 12:45 p.m., at Bates College. Falmouth beat the host Bulldogs, 4-1, May 10. Falmouth has captured both prior playoff meetings, 5-0 in the 2014 regional final and 5-0 in the 2015 semifinals. The Class A state match is Saturday at 12:45 p.m., in Lewiston.

Defending Class B champion Greely wasn’t as fortunate. The second seed in Class B South after a perfect regular season, the Rangers handled No. 7 York, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, but Saturday in the semifinals, Greely was upset by No. 3 Cape Elizabeth, 3-2, to finish 13-1.

Yarmouth, ranked sixth in Class B South, also was eliminated by Cape Elizabeth, 5-0, in the quarterfinals to wind up 8-5.

Freeport missed the playoffs with a 4-8 record.

In Class C South, NYA earned the eighth and final playoff seed, but was ousted by top-ranked Carrabec, 5-0, in the quarterfinals to finish 4-9.

Baseball

Four of five local baseball teams qualified for the postseason.

Greely finished ranked the highest, third, after a 10-6 campaign, capped by a 7-4 win at Lake Region last Tuesday (Jacob Whiting earned the victory and Luke Miller had a pair of hits and RBI).

The Rangers earned a bye into Thursday’s quarterfinal round where it will host either No. 6 Freeport (10-6) or No. 11 Gray-New Gloucester (9-7). Greely beat the host Patriots in five-innings (15-2) April 28 and lost at home (6-2) to the Falcons May 2. Greely beat Gray-New Gloucester, 6-2, in last year’s preliminary round in the lone prior playoff encounter .The Rangers and Freeport have split two previous contests, with the Falcons’ 1-0 win in the 2016 Class B South semifinals the most recent. 

Freeport finished sixth despite closing the regular season on a three-game slide. One of those losses was a 4-3 home decision to Gray-New Gloucester May 25. The teams met again in the preliminary round Tuesday. The Patriots won the only prior playoff encounter, 1-0, in nine-innings, in the 2015 Western B preliminary round.

Defending Class B state champion Yarmouth finished 9-7 and seventh in Class B South and hosted No. 10 Spruce Mountain (9-7) in the preliminary round Tuesday. The teams didn’t meet this year and have no playoff history.

If the Clippers advanced to the quarterfinals, they’d go to No. 2 Cape Elizabeth (11-5) Thursday. The Capers won two close meetings this spring, 2-1, in nine-innings, May 9 in Yarmouth and 4-3 at home May 21. The Clippers are 1-2 all-time against Cape Elizabeth in the playoffs, but the one came last year, a 2-0 victory in the Class B South semifinals.

In Class A South, Falmouth, the two-time defending regional champion, finished 8-8 and ninth after a 10-5 home loss to Biddeford in the regular season finale last Tuesday. Griffin Aube singled, doubled and drove in two runs and Garret Aube also had two hits. The Yachtsmen went to No. 8 Marshwood (9-7) Tuesday for a preliminary round contest. On May 10, Falmouth lost at home to the Hawks, 8-3. The teams had no playoff history.

If the Yachtsmen were able to advance, they’d go to No. 1 South Portland (14-2) for a quarterfinal round game Thursday. The Red Riots won, 4-2, at Falmouth May 23. The Yachtsmen won the only prior playoff meeting, 4-2, in the 2016 Class B South Final.

In Class C South, NYA went 1-11, closing with a 12-1 (five-inning) loss at St. Dom’s, and fell short of the playoffs.

Looking ahead, the Class A South and Class B South semifinals are Saturday on the fields of the higher seeds. The Class A South Final is Tuesday, June 12 at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. The Class B South Final is Wednesday, June 13 at St. Joe’s. The Class A state game is Saturday, June 16 at St. Joe’s. The Class B state final is Saturday, June 16 in Bangor.

Softball

Greely and Yarmouth’s softball teams earned playoff berths.

The Rangers closed the regular season on a five-game win streak to wind up 9-7 and sixth in Class B South. Greely closed with a 14-7 victory at Lake Region. Maddie Rawnsley had a pair of doubles and Kelsey Currier singled, doubled and earned the win. The Rangers hosted No. 11 Spruce Mountain (9-7) in the preliminary round Tuesday. The teams didn’t meet this year and had no postseason history.

If the Rangers advanced, they’d go to No. 3 Fryeburg Academy (11-5) for the quarterfinals Thursday. Greely lost, 3-2, in 10-innings, May 7 at Fryeburg. The teams have met five previous times in the playoffs, with the Rangers holding a 3-2 edge. A 4-1 Greely victory in the 2016 Class B South quarterfinals was the most recent.

Yarmouth finished 9-7 and eighth in Class B South and hosted No. 9 Cape Elizabeth (8-8) in the preliminary round Tuesday. The teams split in the regular season, with the Capers taking an 8-3 decision May 9 in Yarmouth and the Clippers winning, 9-0, May 21 in Cape Elizabeth. The Capers won both prior playoff meetings. The most recent was unforgettable, as Cape Elizabeth scored six times in the bottom of the seventh to steal an 9-8 victory in the 2014 Western B semifinals.

If Yarmouth advanced, it would go to No. 1 Wells (11-5) for the quarterfinals Thursday. The Warriors won two one-run decisions this year, 7-6, in 11-innings, at home May 4 and 8-7 at the Clippers May 23. Yarmouth has won just one of six previous playoff encounters against Wells. Last year, the Warriors edged the visiting Clippers, 2-1, in the Class B South semifinals.

The Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth (3-13) and Cheverus/North Yarmouth Academy (3-13) co-op teams, as well as Freeport (2-14), all failed to qualify.

Looking ahead, the Class A South and Class B South semifinals are Saturday on the fields of the higher seeds. The Class A South Final is Tuesday, June 12 at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. The Class B South Final is Wednesday, June 13 at St. Joe’s. The Class A state game is Saturday, June 16 at St. Joe’s. The Class B state final is Saturday, June 16 in Brewer.

Boys’ lacrosse

Four of five Forecaster Country boys’ lacrosse teams made the playoffs and all have legitimate shots at state titles.

NYA finished first in Class C with an 8-4 record following wins at Wells (14-8) and at home over Gray-New Gloucester (16-0) to close the year. Connor Clock and Reese Farrell both had three goals in the win over the Warriors. Xander Kostelnik scored five goals and Clock added four against the Patriots.

“It is quite an honor to be the number one seed in Class C,” said Panthers coach Glenn Gorden. “The staff and the players realize how important it is to perform at NYA and what it means to wear this uniform. These players are following a rich tradition of good teams and exceptional players from the past such as current Amhurst coach Jon Thompson and other great players like Parker Adams, who went onto play at Loyola. NYA has rich tradition and I’m delighted we are back to winning here.”

The Panthers, who missed the playoffs a year ago, earned their first top seed since winning the Class B championship in 2007. They will host either No. 8 Gray-New Gloucester (6-6) or No. 9 Erskine Academy (6-6) Friday afternoon in the state quarterfinals. NYA has no playoff history with either team.

“We now have the most difficult challenge upon us with the postseason,” Gorden said. “The playoffs will be difficult because there are many well coached programs, with disciplined players.”

Freeport (1-11) failed to make the Class C playoffs. The Falcons closed with a 17-1 win at St. Dom’s and a 15-9 home loss to York. 

The Class C state semifinals are Tuesday, June 12, on the fields of the higher seeds. The state game is Friday, June 15, at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Falmouth finished 11-1 and first in Class A North despite suffering its first defeat last week, 12-5, at Thornton Academy. Nick Farnham and Lou Mainella both scored twice, but the Yachtsmen had no answers for the undefeated Golden Trojans.

“We knew it would be a battle,” Falmouth coach Dave Barton said. “We turned it into a track meet a little bit and that’s not our game. They’re super-aggressive on-ball, they get sticks in passing lanes and they love to defend every blade of grass.”

Falmouth won its finale, 16-8, over visiting Scarborough Saturday, as Farnham and Tom Fitzgerald each scored four times. The Yachtsmen earned a bye into the semifinals Saturday, where they will host either No. 4 Lewiston (9-3) or No. 5 Deering (5-7). Falmouth beat the host Rams, 17-5, May 16. The teams have never met in the postseason. The Yachtsmen and Blue Devils didn’t play this year and have no playoff history.  

The Class A North playoffs continue with the semifinals Saturday and the regional final Wednesday, June 13, on the fields of the higher seeds. The Class A state game is Saturday, June 16, at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Greely earned the top seed in Class B, the first time in a decade the Rangers can make that claim, after finishing 9-3, the program’s best record since an 11-1 mark in 2008. Greely closed with an 8-7 overtime win at Yarmouth (its first ever on the Clippers’ turf field) and an 11-9 home loss to defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth. Schuyler Wetmore scored four times, including in OT, to beat the Clippers. 

The Rangers will host either No. 8 Morse (7-5) or No. 9 Gardiner (5-7) in the quarterfinals Saturday. Greely didn’t play either team this year. The Rangers have never met the Tigers in the playoffs. They beat the Shipbuilders, 16-3, in the 1998 state preliminary round.

Yarmouth, the defending Class B North champion, finished third in Class B with an 8-4 mark following overtime losses to visiting Greely (8-7) and at Waynflete (12-11). Anders Corey had three goals and Preston Jancovic tied the game in the waning seconds against the Rangers. In the loss to the Flyers, Cooper May scored with nine second left in regulation to force OT and Corey led the way with four goals, but the Clippers lost to Waynflete for the first time in 19 years.

“This is a disappointing loss, but (Waynflete) played a gusty game,” Yarmouth coach David Pearl said. “We had our chances. It’s a game of inches. The beauty of sports is winning and the heartbreak is losing and we’ve had a little of both. We’ve lost twice in overtime where we scored late and that shows our resilience. I guarantee we’ll never give up.”

Yarmouth will host No. 6 York (8-4) Friday at 6 p.m. (see theforecaster.net for game story). On May 8, the Clippers won, 10-5, at the Wildcats. The teams have no playoff history.

Looking ahead, the Class B semifinals are Wednesday of next week, on the fields of the higher seeds. The Class B state final is Saturday, June 16 at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, all five local squads made the playoffs.

Falmouth finished first in Class A North after a 10-2 campaign that was capped by a 7-4 home win over Thornton Academy last Tuesday. Caitlyn Camelio and freshman Eva Clement both scored twice and the Yachtsmen’s defense held the Golden Trojans without a goal for nearly 35 minutes.

“Our defense has been doing so well,” Clement said. “Everyone has the drive to do their best.”

“For those 35 minutes, I was really proud of the defenders’ footwork,” said Falmouth first-year coach Ashley Pullen. “We knew they liked to drive. We shut it down and it was probably frustrating for them.”

The Yachtsmen earned a bye into the semifinals and will host either No. 4 Windham (7-5) or No. 5 Lewiston (7-5) Saturday. Falmouth handled visiting Windham (13-3) May 3 and won 5-3 at the Blue Devils May 11. The Yachtsmen have no postseason history with either team.

“We’re feisty and strong and smart despite our youth,” Pullen said. “I have no doubt that we can make a good run.”

The Class A North playoffs continue with the regional final Wednesday, June 13, on the fields of the higher seeds. The Class A state game is Saturday, June 16, at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Defending Class B North champion Yarmouth earned the top seed in Class B with a 10-2 mark, following wins last week over visiting Greely (12-10) and host Waynflete (13-6). Against the Rangers, the Clippers won a back-and-forth affair, thanks in part to five goals and three assists from senior Meredith Lane and some timely defensive plays from senior Callie Decker on Senior Night.

“It was a really exciting night,” Decker said. “We all wanted it so badly. Before the game, we got in a huddle and talked about playing for the seniors.”

“It was fun,” Lane said. “It was exciting to win our Senior Night. We were hyped for this game. Greely’s always tough competition.”

“It was a great game,” Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt added. “We needed a challenge. It’s great for us. We needed that.”

The Clippers never trailed at the Flyers, getting four goals apiece from Ehryn Groothoff and Eva Then.

“It’s really coming together toward the end of the season,” said Then. “It’s going really well.” 

Yarmouth will open the playoffs Saturday at home in the quarterfinals against either No. 8 Cony (7-5) or No. 9 Brunswick (5-7). The Clippers didn’t face either squad this year. Yarmouth has never faced the Rams in the playoffs and hasn’t met the Dragons since a 14-10 East Division semifinal round loss in 2003. Brunswick has a 2-1 all-time edge.

“We just have to keep our conditioning up,” Holt said. “It’s fun that it’s playoff-time. It’s our favorite time of the year.”

Greely ended up 8-4 and third in Class B, bouncing back from its 12-10 loss at Yarmouth with a palpitating 11-10, double-overtime home win over Cape Elizabeth in the finale Saturday. Against the Clippers, Greta Van Curan had three goals, Sam Goldburg won 12 of 17 draws and freshman goalie Hannah Perfetti made 14 saves, but it wasn’t quite enough.

“It was a very exciting game,” said Rangers coach Becca Koelker. “Our girls came out really hard, then Yarmouth responded and it was back-and-forth the rest of the game. We’re really proud of the effort we put out there today.”

In the win, on Senior Day, Brooke Clement and Courtney Sullivan each had three goals and Perfetti made nine saves, including four in the overtimes. Sullivan set up Clement for the winner with 30 seconds left in the second OT.

“It feels really good, “said Clement. “I’m just happy we won for the seniors. I love them.”

“It was my team defense,” said Perfetti. “I couldn’t have done it without them. They get their sticks out in front, so there’s a contested shot every time. I enjoy the pressure.”

“That’s the best it gets,” added Koelker. “Two really good teams taking it to the end. It was great preparation for the playoffs. It’s a big boost of confidence for us.”

Greely has the daunting task of hosting Waynflete Saturday in the state quarterfinals. On May 2, the Rangers edged the visiting Flyers, 7-5, but Waynflete has won seven of eight prior playoff meetings (with a 12-11 triumph in the 2011 Western B semifinals the most recent).

“(Playing Waynflete is no prize), but that will be nice to have a home game,” Koelker said. “We’re just glad to be in.”

The Class B state semifinals are Saturday, on the fields of the higher seeds. The Class B state final is Saturday, June 16 at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

In Class C, Freeport finished 8-4 and fourth after an 18-8 win at Wells and a 15-10 home loss to St. Dom’s. In the victory, Taylor Rinaldi had four goals and Margaret Perrotta added three. Rinaldi and Allison Greuel each scored three times against the Saints, in a game the Falcons let a big lead slip away.

“I think St. Dom’s picked up their game and we did a little bit, but not enough,” Freeport coach Marcia Wood said. “There was a little bit of panic when they started scoring more goals. That momentum shift just wasn’t in our favor.”

The Falcons will host No. 5 Boothbay (9-3) in the state quarterfinals. Freeport rolled, 15-3, at home over the Seahawks April 28. The teams have no playoff history.

NYA finished 5-7 and wound up eighth in Class C following last Wednesday’s 8-7 home win over Fryeburg Academy. Maggie Larson and Bella MacMahon both scored twice as the Panthers qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2014. NYA goes to No. 1 Lake Region (10-2) for the state quarterfinals Friday. On April 25, the Panthers lost, 17-5, in Naples. The teams have no playoff history.

The Class C semifinals are Tuesday, June 12, on the fields of the higher seeds. The Class C state final is Friday, June 15, at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Time Record staff writers Bob Conn and Eric Maxim 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.