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

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

Waynflete’s Emily Wagg cradles the ball during the Flyers’ 13-6 home loss to Yarmouth last week.

Waynflete’s boys’ lacrosse team celebrates its thrilling 12-11 overtime home win over Yarmouth last week.

Portland’s Ben Sawyer is congratulated after scoring a run during last week’s 9-2 win over Kennebunk. The Bulldogs are the No. 3 seed in Class A South.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland-Kennebunk baseball, Waynflete-Yarmouth boys’ lacrosse and Waynflete-Yarmouth 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

Waynflete’s boys’ tennis team began the week three wins away from a mind-boggling 11th straight Class C state championship.

The Flyers, seeded first in Class C South, had no trouble with No. 8 Lisbon, 5-0, in the quarterfinals last Thursday. Waynflete (13-0) hosted No. 5 Madison in the semifinals Monday and if, as expected, advanced, the Flyers would meet No. 2 Hall-Dale (11-1) in the regional final Thursday at 4:15 p.m., at Bates College in Lewiston. The state final match is Saturday at 4:15 p.m., at Lewiston High School.

Portland’s boys were still alive as well at press time. The Bulldogs, ranked second in Class A South after an 11-1 season, defeated No. 7 Deering, 4-1, in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Kennebunk, 3-2, in Saturday’s semifinals to reach the regional final for the first time since 1995.

Portland’s quest for a first-ever regional championship faces a powerful road block in the form of top-ranked and defending Class A champion Falmouth (14-0) Thursday at 12:45 p.m. The Yachtsmen 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. If the Bulldogs spring the upset, they’ll play in the state final match Saturday at 12:45 p.m, at Lewiston High School.

Deering’s 4-1 loss to Portland in the quarterfinals followed a 4-1 preliminary round victory over No. 10 South Portland and ended the Rams’ season at 8-6.

Cheverus, ranked ninth in Class A South, lost, 4-1, to No. 8 Gorham in the preliminary round to finish the year 5-8.

One local girls’ squad advanced to the regional final and it’s a surprise finalist, Portland.

The Bulldogs went 6-6 in the regular season and wound up sixth in Class A South, but caught fire at the most optimal time, eliminating No. 11 South Portland (5-0) in the preliminary round, upsetting No. 3 Cheverus (3-2) in the quarterfinals, then edging No. 7 Thornton Academy (3-2) in Saturday’s semifinal round.

“I was disappointed that a team as good as ours ended the regular season 6-6 and number six in the Heal Points standings, but we just lost all the close matches,” said Portland coach Bonnie Moran. “In reality, after Falmouth, teams two through seven were all competitive and we really stepped up in the playoffs. I’ve always said that even if we don’t have the most highly skilled players, we’re scrappy and determined. It’s a great accomplishment for us to make it to the (Class A South) Final.”

Next up for Portland is the most daunting task imaginable, a battle against top-ranked Falmouth (14-0), the 10-time defending state champion, which has won 171 consecutive matches, Thursday at 12:45 p.m., at Bates College in the regional final. The Yachtsmen 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. If Portland manages to advance to the state final for the first time since 2013, it would play Saturday at 12:45 p.m., in Lewiston.

Cheverus finished 10-3 after its 3-2 loss to Portland in the quarterfinals.

Deering, the No. 12 seed, wound up 3-10 after a 5-0 loss to Scarborough in the Class A South preliminary round.

Maine Girls’ Academy missed the playoffs with a 3-9 record.

Defending Class C champion Waynflete earned the No. 5 seed in Class C South and downed No. 4 Winthrop, 3-2, in the quarterfinals, before falling, 3-2, to top-ranked Carrabec in the semifinals to finish the year 8-6.

Baseball

Portland’s baseball team earned the No. 3 seed in Class A South after finishing 12-4 with home wins over Kennebunk (9-2) and Bonny Eagle (6-1). Against the Rams, Ben Stasium had three hits and scored four runs and Jack Kilbride had a key two-run single. Jackson Villani earned the win in relief.

“We’ve dealt with some adversity and it was nice to get out of that rut,” Stasium said. “They weren’t exciting hits, but we found a way to win and get back on track.”

“We want to finish off the season strong and get to the state championship game,” said Kilbride. “We can make a run.”

“We were supposed to win, but you still have to win,” Bulldogs coach Mike Rutherford added. “The defense was great. We’ve shored up some lapses.”

In the win over the Scots, Donnie Tocci improved to 6-1 and hit a double and Jake Loranger and Will Snyder both had two hits.

Portland earned a bye into the quarterfinals and will host either No. 6 Windham (10-6) or No. 11 Scarborough (6-10) Thursday. The Bulldogs lost, 2-1, at the Eagles May 1 and beat the host Red Storm, 4-2, May 8. Portland is 2-0 all-time against Scarborough in the playoffs and has no postseason history with Windham.

Cheverus wound up 11-5 and fourth following an 11-0 (six-inning) win at Massabesic last Tuesday. Jack Mullen threw a two-hit shutout, while Maxx St. John had three hits, Chris Cimino had two hits and three RBI and Andrew DeGeorge and Griffin Watson added two hits apiece. The Stags earned a bye into the quarterfinals and will host either No. 5 Biddeford (11-5) or No. 12 Deering (7-9) Thursday. Cheverus handled the host Rams, 14-0, in six-innings, May 16 and edged the visiting Tigers, 2-1, May 17. The Stags are 0-2 all-time against Biddeford in the playoffs (a 4-3, nine-inning loss in the 1999 Western A quarterfinals was the most recent) and are 1-7 all-time against Deering (Cheverus did win, 7-1, last year in the quarterfinals).

Deering earned the 12th and final playoff spot in the region after a 7-9 campaign. The Rams closed with a 12-3 home loss to Thornton Academy. Luc Harrison, Dan Hill and Bobby Ridge all had multiple hits. Deering went to No. 5 Biddeford for the preliminary round Tuesday. On May 8, the Tigers beat the host Rams, 13-3, in five-innings. Deering had won seven of nine prior playoff meetings, with a 3-2 victory in last year’s preliminary round the most recent.

In Class C South, Waynflete missed the playoffs with a 1-11 record.

Looking ahead, the Class A 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 A state game is Saturday, June 16 at St. Joe’s.

Softball

Portland was the lone city squad to qualify for the playoffs, earning the No. 8 seed in Class A South after a 9-7 campaign. The Bulldogs hosted No. 9 South Portland (8-8) in Tuesday’s preliminary round (see theforecaster.net for game story). Portland lost the regular season meeting, 4-3, in eight-innings, May 7 in South Portland. The teams have met five previous times in the postseason, with the Bulldogs winning three times, including last year’s 6-0 quarterfinal round triumph.

The Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth (3-13) and Cheverus/North Yarmouth Academy (3-13) co-op teams, as well as Deering (0-16), all failed to qualify.

Looking ahead, the Class A 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 A state game is Saturday, June 16 at St. Joe’s.

Boys’ lacrosse

Three of four city boys’ lacrosse teams qualified for the playoffs.

The best Waynflete squad in a generation wound up fourth in Class C at 8-4 after a 14-13 loss at York and a 12-11 overtime home win over Yarmouth last week. Oliver Burdick had six goals in the loss. In the victory, the Flyers’ first over the Clippers since the 1999 state tournament, Miles Lipton had five goals and Hank Duvall added four. Waynflete erased an early 6-2 deficit and held the lead most of the second half before Yarmouth tied the game in the waning seconds. In OT, Lipton scored his fifth goal 99 seconds in to set off a wild celebration.

“At the beginning of the season, I was talking to Hank and my goal wasn’t initially a state championship,” Lipton said. “That was too far our to think about. It was the first program win (this century) against Yarmouth on Senior Day. That was my goal the whole season. This legitimizes the program.”

“We’ve had a lot of good battles this season, one-goal games, so it was really good to come out on top tonight,” said defensive standout and captain John Veroneau.

“I told the guys we just had to play more lacrosse,” Waynflete first-year coach Parker Repko added. “The guys stayed zeroed in all game. The mental focus was a big key.”

The Flyers are on the short list of favorites to win the inaugural Class C title. They open the playoffs at home Thursday against No. 5 Oak Hill (9-3) in the quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play this year. They split a pair of postseason contests in the 1990s, with a 12-10 Waynflete win in the 1995 Division I quarterfinals the most recent.

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.

In Class A North, Portland enjoyed its best season since going 12-0 in 2010, finishing 11-1 with home victories over Westbrook (8-6) and Noble (21-1). Against the Blue Blazes, Reilly O’Brien scored twice and Sam Shaw had the go-ahead goal.

“I think what you saw today is probably not a good representation of what our team usually looks like,” said Shaw. “At the end of the day we got the ‘W’ and that’s what it’s all about.”

O’Brien and Shaw both scored four times and Kevin Moore added three goals in the win over the Knights. The Bulldogs (who finished second to Falmouth in the final Class A North Heal Points standings) have a bye into the semifinal round Saturday, June 9.

Deering wound up 5-7 and fifth in Class A North after a 14-8 win at Cheverus and an 18-2 home loss to Thornton Academy. Nick James had six goals and Omar Contreras three in the victory. The Rams go to No. 4 Lewiston (9-3) for the quarterfinals Wednesday. Deering defeated the visiting Blue Devils, 13-11, April 27. Lewiston won two of three prior playoff meetings, with a 6-1 victory in the 2012 Eastern A semifinals the most recent.

Cheverus finished 2-10 and eighth in the region (only six teams made the playoffs) after a 14-8 home loss to Deering and a 20-5 setback at South Portland. Max Coffin scored twice against both the Rams and the Red Riots. The Stags missed the postseason for the first time since 2011.

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.

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, Cheverus surged late in the year, winning its final six games, capped by victories at Marshwood (4-3) and at home over South Portland (12-9) to wind up 8-4 and second in Class A North. Aisling Flaherty scored twice against the Hawks. In the win over the Red Riots, Flaherty, Bella Booth and Mackenzie Johnston all had three goals. The Stags earned a bye into Saturday’s semifinal round.

Portland finished third in Class A North at 9-3 and will host No. 6 Oxford Hills (9-3) Wednesday in the quarterfinals. The teams didn’t meet this year and have no playoff history.

If the Bulldogs advance, they’ll square off against Cheverus in the semifinals. The Stags won, 12-8, at Portland May 24. The teams have split two prior playoff encounters, with Portland’s epic 16-15, four-overtime victory in the 2015 Eastern A quarterfinals the most recent.

Deering wound up 3-9 and eighth in Class A North (where only six teams qualified). The Rams lost their final nine games, capped by setbacks at Sanford (14-6) and Maine Girls’ Academy (12-6). Selam Desa and Kiaya Gatchell both scored twice against the Lions.

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 in Portland.

In Class B, Waynflete finished 6-6 following a 10-7 win at St. Dom’s and a 13-6 home loss to Yarmouth. In the victory, Laura Baginski and LZ Olney both had three goals and Izzy Burdick and Ya Stockford each scored twice. Against the Clippers, Burdick scored four times, but the Flyers only mustered eight shots as they finished without a winning record for the first time.

“We played hard and we had opportunities, but we just couldn’t finish today,” Waynflete coach Cathie Connors said. “It’s a great game to go into playoffs with.”

The Flyers finished sixth in Class B and will go to Greely for the quarterfinals Saturday. Waynflete lost, 9-7, at the Rangers May 2, but have won seven of eight prior playoff encounters, with a 12-11 home victory in the 2011 Western B semifinals the most recent.

The Class B semifinals are Wednesday, June 13, on the fields of the higher seeds, and the state final is Saturday, June 16 at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

In Class C, MGA closed with three straight victories, capped by an 8-7 home win over Noble and a 12-6 home victory over Deering, to finish 5-7 and earn the No. 7 seed for the playoffs. In the win over the Knights, Catherine Reid scored four goals, including the winner, and added three assists. Reid had four goals and Olivia Howard three against the Rams. The Lions will go to second-ranked St. Dom’s (9-3) for the quarterfinals Friday. The teams didn’t meet this year and 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.

Press Herald staff writer Steve Craig contributed to this story.

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

0
Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.