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

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South Portland first baseman Sydney Sherburne tags out Portland’s Annie Martin during the Red Riots’ 2-0 loss in Tuesday’s Class A South preliminary round playoff game.

Cape Elizabeth’s Emily Healy shoots and scores during the Capers’ 11-10 double-overtime loss at Greely in the regular season finale Saturday.

South Portland’s Paige Fleming fights for a draw control during the Red Riots’ 8-4 win over Gorham in Tuesday’s Class A South quarterfinal.

(Ed. Note: For the complete South Portland-Portland softball and Cape Elizabeth-Greely and South Portland-Gorham 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 are underway as well.

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

Both Cape Elizabeth tennis teams were still standing at press time.

The girls’ squad, ranked third, downed No. 6 Yarmouth, 5-0, in the quarterfinals, then upset No. 2 Greely, the undefeated, defending state champion, 3-2, in Saturday’s semifinals, avenging a pair of 3-2 regular season losses. With the victory, the Capers (12-2) advanced to meet top-ranked Lincoln Academy (14-0) in Thursday’s regional final at Bates College in Lewiston. The teams didn’t play this spring. If victorious, Cape Elizabeth would seek a second state title in three seasons Saturday at 9:15 a.m., at Lewiston High School, against Caribou (15-0).

Cape Elizabeth’s boys went just 7-5 in the regular season and finished fifth in Class B South, but the Capers downed No. 4 Mountain Valley (5-0) in the quarterfinals and top-ranked Lincoln Academy (4-1) in the semifinals to reach Thursday’s regional final (for the ninth straight season) against No. 2 Freeport (11-3). The teams split two regular season matches. If Cape Elizabeth advances to the state final Saturday at 9:15 a.m., at Lewiston High School for the first time since 2015, it will play Caribou (15-0).

The Scarborough girls, ranked fifth in Class A South, downed No. 12 Deering in a preliminary round match (5-0), then knocked off No. 4 Kennebunk/Wells (3-2) in the quarterfinals, before being eliminated, 4-1, by top-ranked Falmouth in the semifinals to finish 11-4.

Baseball

All three local baseball teams qualified for the postseason.

South Portland earned the top seed in Class A South after finishing 14-2. The Red Riots hosted either No. 8 Marshwood (9-7) or No. 9 Falmouth (8-8) in Thursday’s quarterfinals. South Portland was a 3-2 winner at the Hawks May 5 and beat the host Yachtsmen, 4-2, May 23. The Red Riots are 2-1 all-time against Marshwood in the playoffs, with a 6-4 victory in the 2016 Class A South quarterfinals the most recent. South Portland lost its only prior postseason encounter against the Yachtsmen, 4-2, in the 2016 Class A South Final.

If the Red Riots advanced, they’ll host either No. 4 Cheverus (11-5) or No. 12 Deering (8-9) in the semifinals Saturday afternoon. South Portland won, 8-0, at the Stags May 11 and 10-0, in five-innings, at home over the Rams May 17. The Red Riots split two prior playoff meetings with Cheverus, with a 1-0 (eight-inning) win in the 2014 Western A quarterfinals the most recent. South Portland is 3-4 all-time against Deering, with an 11-3 loss in the 2008 Western A quarterfinals the most recent.

Scarborough wasn’t as fortunate. Ranked 12th in Class A South, the Red Storm dropped a 2-1 preliminary round decision at Windham Tuesday to finish 6-11. Scarborough mustered just three hits and Jack Clark was the hard-luck loser.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth finished second and hosted No. 7 Yarmouth (10-7), the defending state champion, in the quarterfinals Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Capers won two close meetings this spring, 2-1, in nine-innings, May 9 in Yarmouth and 4-3 at home May 21. Cape Elizabeth is 2-1 all-time in the playoffs against the Clippers, but Yarmouth prevailed last year, 2-0, in the Class B South semifinals.

If the Capers move on to Saturday’s semifinals, they will either host No. 3 Greely (10-6) or No. 11 Gray-New Gloucester (10-7). Cape Elizabeth split two games against the Rangers this year, winning, 4-1, in 13-innings, April 23 in Cumberland and falling, 7-2, at home May 25. The teams have split a dozen playoff meetings dating to 1991. Last year, the Capers held on for a 5-4 victory in the Class B South quarterfinals. Cape Elizabeth closed the regular season with a 12-0 win at Gray-New Gloucester May 29. The Capers won both prior playoff encounters, with a 9-0 victory in the 2006 Western B preliminary round the most recent.

Looking ahead, 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

Scarborough’s undefeated softball team is favored to win a repeat Class A championship. After going 16-0 and extending their regular season win streak to 89 games, the Red Storm earned the top seed in the region for the seventh year in a row and earned a bye into Thursday’s quarterfinal round, where they hosted No. 8 Portland (10-7) in a rematch of last year’s regional final. Scarborough won, 11-0, at Portland on May 10. The Red Storm held a 3-1 all-time playoff edge, with last year’s 8-3 victory in the Class A South the most recent.

If Scarborough advanced to Saturday’s semifinals, it will host either No. 4 Massabesic (12-4) or fifth-ranked Gorham (13-4). The Red Storm beat the visiting Rams, 12-3, April 23 and blanked the host Mustangs, 9-0, May 4. Scarborough is 2-1 all-time against Gorham in the playoffs with an 8-0 victory in last year’s quarterfinals the most recent. The Red Storm and Massabesic haven’t met in the postseason.

South Portland, ranked ninth in Class A South, lost, 2-0, at No. 8 Portland in the preliminary round Tuesday to finish 8-9. The Red Riots had good chances to score in the fifth and sixth innings, but left runners on, and Hattie Tetzlaff was the hard-luck loser.

“We had our chances, but we had a couple of blunders,” said Ralph Aceto, who returned as coach this season. “We’ll get rid of those next year when we’re a year older. Hattie pitched fantastic. I talked to her yesterday and I said, ‘I need your best tomorrow.’ It was one of her best games all year.”

The Red Riots made nice strides during the season and will return everyone but one player next spring.

“It took the girls most of the season to get used to me,” Aceto said. “We got to this point which was more than most people thought we could do. I’m pretty pleased with the season. We’ll just work a little bit harder. Next year, we won’t be satisfied. There’s only one place to be and that’s on top.”

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth finished ninth and upset No. 8 Yarmouth, 4-3, in the preliminary round Tuesday to improve to 9-8 and earn a trip to top-ranked Wells (11-5) for the quarterfinals Thursday. Julia Torre hit a three-run double in the win over the Clippers. The Capers lost twice to the Warriors this spring: 7-1 at home May 11 and 5-3 in Wells May 18. The Warriors have won three of five prior playoff meetings with an 8-3 victory in the 2014 Western B Final the most recent.

If Cape Elizabeth sprung another upset, it would either go to No. 4 Morse (12-4) or fifth-ranked Oak Hill (13-3) in Saturday’s semifinal round. The Capers didn’t play either team this spring. Cape Elizabeth beat the Shipbuilders, 7-5, in the 2016 Class B South preliminary round in the only prior playoff meeting and is 4-2 all-time against Oak Hill, with a 3-1 loss in the 2016 Class B South quarterfinals the most recent.

Looking ahead, 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

Cape Elizabeth’s defending Class B boys’ lacrosse team is hoping to win its first Class A championship. The Capers wound up 9-3 and second in Class A South, closing on a seven-game win streak after downing visiting Fryeburg Academy (13-1) and host Greely (11-9). Cape Elizabeth earned a bye into the semifinals, where it will host No. 6 Gorham (6-7) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The teams didn’t meet this year and have no playoff history.

South Portland finished fifth in Class A South at 7-5 following a 9-7 loss at Scarborough and a 20-5 home win over Cheverus. Cooper Mehlhorn had three goals in the loss and five goals in the victory. David Fiorini and Alex Stevens added four goals against the Stags.

Tuesday, the Red Riots went to No. 4 Bonny Eagle in the quarterfinals and dominated, 15-1, behind six goals from Fiorini. The Red Riots travel to top-ranked Thornton Academy (12-0) for the semifinals Saturday at 1 p.m. South Portland lost, 14-4, at home to the Golden Trojans May 23. The Red Riots won six of seven prior playoff meetings, but last year, Thornton Academy prevailed, 13-10, in the Class A South semifinals.

Scarborough finished 3-9 after a 9-7 home win over Scarborough and a 16-8 loss at Falmouth. Andrew Granzier, Aidan Joyce and Nathan Taggart all had two goals in the victory. The Red Storm wound up eighth in Class A South, but only six teams made the playoffs. Scarborough missed the postseason for the first time since 2003.

The Class A South 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.

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, Cape Elizabeth earned the No. 2 seed in Class B South following a 7-5 regular season that was capped by an 11-10, double-overtime loss at Greely last Saturday. Emily Healy scored three times, but was robbed three times in the overtimes before the Rangers ended matters.

“It was a fun game, a great game, really fun to watch,” Capers coach Alex Spark said. “It was just a good, hard fight. It could have gone either way. We’re definitely seasoned for overtime, which is great. We never give up.”

Cape Elizabeth earned a bye into the semifinals, where it will host either No. 7 York (6-6) or No. 10 Morse (5-7) Saturday at a time to be announced. The Capers opened the season with a 9-8 overtime home win over the Wildcats and beat them, 16-9, in the 2008 Western B quarterfinals, in the teams’ only prior postseason encounter. Cape Elizabeth didn’t meet the Shipbuilders this spring and the teams have no playoff history.

In Class A South, South Portland finished fourth at 5-7 after a 12-9 setback at Cheverus in the regular season finale last week. Paige Fleming scored three goals. The Red Riots then knocked off fifth-ranked Gorham, 8-4, in the quarterfinals Tuesday night, as Kaya Backman, Jena Leckie and Molly Walker all scored twice. It was only the second quarterfinal round playoff win in program history.

“It means so much,” Backman said. “We’ve worked so hard. We put it together this game. We’ve learned from our mistakes in past games.”

“The past couple games we’ve fallen short because we were thinking, ‘Me, me, me,’ but today was one of the days when we realized that together, we’re strong,” South Portland coach Leslie Dyer said. “That’s what we worked on. (Gorham) played really hard. Five more minutes and the game could have been different. This was my first home playoff game. We knew it was a big deal.”

The Red Riots go to No. 1 Kennebunk (12-0) Saturday at 11 a.m. for a challenging semifinal. South Portland lost at home to Kennebunk, 15-4, May 22. The Rams won both prior playoff meetings, with a 12-5 decision in the 2012 Western A quarterfinals the most recent.

Scarborough ended up 2-10 and ninth in Class A South (only seven teams qualified for the playoffs) following an 11-10 home loss to Biddeford in the finale last week. The Red Storm missed the playoffs for the first time since 2000.

The Class A South 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.

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

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.