Time to think playoffs; Spring sports season winds down-Southern edition

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South Portland pitcher Zach Johnson goes into his delivery during the Red Riots’ 2-1 win at Deering last weekend. South Portland had won five straight at press time.

Cape Elizabeth junior Tate Perkins fires a shot on goal during the Capers’ pivotal 8-5 win at rival Falmouth last Saturday. Cape Elizabeth earned the inside track for homefield advantage for the playoffs by virtue of the victory.

Cape Elizabeth’s Jaya McClure speeds to victory in the 400 at last week’s regular season-ending meet.

(Ed. Note: For the complete South Portland-Deering baseball and Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth boys’ lacrosse game stories, with photos and box scores, see theforecaster.net)

The team tennis regular season is winding to a close, the track conference championship meets are on tap for this coming weekend and the baseball, softball and lacrosse regular seasons are in their final days as well, meaning the most highly anticipated part of the spring campaign, the postseason, is right around the corner.

Here’s a glimpse at all the action that transpired last week, as well as what’s to come:

Baseball

South Portland’s baseball team was riding a five-game win streak at press time. The Red Riots recently sandwiched home victories over Massabesic (9-1) and Marshwood (4-0) around a 2-1 victory at Deering to improve to 10-3 and sixth in the hotly contested Class A South Heal Points standings. Hunter Owen struck out nine in six shutout innings against the Mustangs and Riley Hasson and Sam Troiano both had two hits. In the win over the Rams at Hadlock Field, Zach Johnson didn’t allow an earned run in 6.2 innings, Connor Buckley got the save with the tying and winning runs on base and Sam Troiano drove in Noah McHugh with the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning.

“Zach did a good job and we battled,” Troiano said. “We never put Connor in an easy position. Every time he comes in, he competes. Our defense has been very good and someone 1 through 9 always comes up big for us like Noah did today. It’s fun to play here.”

“When the going got tough, I was able to buckle down,” Johnson said. “I was just trying to focus and throw strikes. I was confident in our team. Our defense can overcome a lot.”

“It’s never easy with this group,” added Red Riots coach Mike Owens. “I’m happy with the end result, but I thought we made a few mistakes to keep them in the game.”

Troiano then threw a two-hit shutout against the Hawks and Hasson had two more hits. South Portland was at Biddeford Thursday, hosts Bonny Eagle Saturday and closes the regular season at home versus Windham Tuesday.

Scarborough was 7-6 and 11th in Class A South at press time (12 teams make the playoffs) after beating host Noble (6-2) and falling at home to Gorham (10-1) and Windham (4-2, in eight-innings). In the victory, Zoltan Panyi had two hits and two RBI and Zach Alofs also had two hits. Alofs drove in the lone run against the Rams. In the loss to the Eagles, Panyi had an RBI double and Morgan Pratt was the hard-luck loser. The Red Storm were at Cheverus Thursday, host Biddeford Saturday and close the regular season at Massabesic Tuesday.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth was 7-4 and 10th in the standings (12 teams make the playoffs) after a 4-1 win at Gray-New Gloucester and a key 2-1 home victory over rival Greely in eight-innings. Against the Patriots, Marshall Peterson threw a two-hitter and Brendan Tinsman homered. In the win over the Rangers, the winning run scored when Tinsman was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in extra innings. Peterson only allowed two hits and Carson Sullivan also had an RBI. The Capers were at Lake Region Wednesday and at Old Orchard Beach Thursday, host Yarmouth in their home finale Friday and finish the regular season at St. Dom’s Wednesday of next week and Fryeburg Academy the following day.

Softball

Scarborough’s softball juggernaut was closing in on the top seed in Class A South at press time. The Red Storm improved to 13-0 after wins at Marshwood (12-0, in five-innings) and Thornton Academy (18-6) and at home over Westbrook (19-1, in five-innings). Against the Hawks, Laura Powell homered twice and Chloe Griffin threw a three-hit shutout. Griffin and Powell both homered and drove in three runs and Lilly Volk earned the win against the Golden Trojans. In the win over the Blue Blazes, Griffin and Volk homered, Volk earned the victory and Abbie Murrell had three RBI. Scarborough was home with Massabesic Wednesday, plays a regional final rematch at Biddeford Friday and closes at home against Noble in a makeup game Saturday morning.

South Portland had won four games in a row and improved to 5-8 and 10th in Class A South (where 12 teams qualify for the playoffs) after downing visiting Westbrook (6-3) and host Massabesic (13-3). Against the Blue Blazes, Stephanie Aceto had two hits, three RBI and earned the victory and Kaitlin Bouchard and Meghan Livingston had multiple hits as well. In the win over the Mustangs, the Red Riots blew the game open with seven runs in the top of the fourth inning. Grace Rende had four hits and drove in three runs. Kaylee Whitten added three hits. Monday, South Portland was on the verge of another win, leading host Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth, 8-2, in the fifth inning, but rain prevented the game from being completed (a haunting throwback to last year’s preliminary round playoff near-miss against Windham) and the Red Riots will close the season at MGA/Falmouth in a makeup game Tuesday of next week. First, South Portland hosted Cheverus/North Yarmouth Academy Wednesday and welcomes Gorham in a pivotal test Friday.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth was 6-5 and ninth at press time after a 5-4 loss at Gray-New Gloucester and a 4-3 home win over Greely. The Capers let a 4-1 lead slip away against the Patriots and wasted nine strikeouts from Jessie Robicheaw and a pair of hits apiece from Robicheaw and Kelly O’Sullivan. In the victory, Robicheaw threw a one-hitter and O’Sullivan and Anna Torre had multiple hits. Cape Elizabeth was at Lake Region Wednesday, hosted Old Orchard Beach Thursday, welcomes Yarmouth on Senior Day Friday, plays at St. Dom’s Wednesday of next week and closes at Fryeburg Academy the following day.

Boys’ lacrosse

Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ lacrosse team earned a pivotal victory at rival and recent nemesis Falmouth Saturday. The Capers had previously downed host Greely (17-6) and visiting Waynflete (22-0). Tate Perkins had seven goals and Owen Thoreck finished with four at the Rangers. In the win over the Flyers, Noah Bates led the way with four goals and Perkins, Thoreck, Jeb Boeschenstein and Hans Croft had three apiece. Cape Elizabeth, which lost at home to Falmouth earlier in the season, shot to a 4-0 first quarter lead Saturday and didn’t look back. The Yachtsmen drew within a goal in the fourth period, but Thoreck scored twice to put it away and the Capers won, 8-5. Thoreck paced a balanced attack with three goals and Cape Elizabeth’s defense held prolific Falmouth in check for a win which puts it in the driver’s seat for homefield advantage for the playoffs.

“We knew it was Falmouth’s Senior Night and we love to come here and compete,” Thoreck said.

“Really, it was just another game,” said defensive standout Ben Ekedahl. “We were trying to stay even keel the entire game, not too high, not too low, and we came out with a win.”

“I would assume we’ll have to do it again,” added longtime Capers coach Ben Raymond. “Our two teams are the best two teams without a doubt. We’re the only close game the other has had. At times, the level of play is really great. It’s good lacrosse at a fast pace. The kids work hard and they’re tough. It’s great to see.”

Cape Elizabeth take an 8-1 record into Friday’s home tilt versus Greely. The Capers visit Wells Tuesday and close at home versus Yarmouth in a possible state final preview June 2.

In Class A South, defending state champion Scarborough was on the verge of locking up the top seed for the playoffs after extending its win streak to seven and improving to 9-2 after downing host Windham (19-8) and visiting Marshwood (19-3). Marc Guerette had seven goals and Sam Neugebauer added six against the Hawks. The Red Storm finish at home versus Biddeford Monday.

South Portland snapped a two-game skid with wins over visiting Deering (17-7) and at Marshwood (13-3) and Portland (13-6) to improve to 7-3 and third in Class A South. Against the Rams, Cooper Mehlhorn had five goals and five assists and David Fiorini scored five goals and added four assists.

“We showed we were one of the best teams early in the season, then we got full of ourselves,” Fiorini said. “Tonight, we decided to play more as a family. We want to show everyone we’re still one of the best teams.”

“We had a couple bad games there,” Red Riots coach Tom Fiorini said. “Today, we bounced back a little bit, but I see that we have a long way to go.”

David Fiorini had three goals and four assists at the Hawks. In the win over the Bulldogs, South Portland erased a 6-4 halftime deficit and went on a 9-0 second half run to prevail behind Ross Myers’ five goals and four more goals from Fiorini. The Red Riots are home with Massabesic Friday and close at Bonny Eagle Tuesday.

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, Cape Elizabeth took a 6-4 record and the No. 4 ranking in the Class B South Heal Points standings into Wednesday’s pivotal showdown at Waynflete (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Capers were coming off home wins last week over St. Dom’s (14-10) and Lake Region (10-6). Susie Graham scored three times against the Saints. In the win over the Lakers, Graham and Chloe Chapin had four goals apiece. Cape Elizabeth closes the regular season at home versus defending Class B champion Kennebunk Tuesday.

In Class A South, South Portland was 4-6 and seventh in the standings after a 14-3 win at Deering and a 14-11 home loss to Windham. Jena Leckie and Kayla Brown both scored five times in the win and Leckie had six goals and Kaya Backman added four in the setback. The Red Riots went to defending Class A South champion Massabesic Thursday and close at home versus Noble Tuesday.

Scarborough was in danger at press time of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2000. The Red Storm fell to 1-9 and ninth in Class A South (where only eight teams make the playoffs) after home losses to Marshwood (11-6) and Cheverus (15-13). Erin Stolz scored twice against the Hawks. Scarborough was home with Westbrook Thursday and closes at Biddeford Monday.

Track

The outdoor track regular season came to a close this past Friday.

Scarborough hosted the nine-team Cumberland County meet last weekend. The Red Storm boys were first with 152.666 points. South Portland (55) came in sixth. Scarborough got wins from Ben Batoosingh in the 400 (52.30), Jarret Flaker in the 300 hurdles (41.04), Anthony Clavette in the high jump (5 feet-8 inches), Alex Dionne in the pole vault (13-6), Sebastian Osborne in the shot put (48-5.5) and discus (142-6) and its 4×100 (44.30) and 4×400 (3 minutes, 39.62 seconds) relay teams. The Red Riots got first-place performances from Maxwell Holmes in the 200 (23.61) and Steven Smith in the racewalk (6:42.09).

Scarborough’s girls had 121 points and placed second to Cheverus (136.5). South Portland (92) placed third. Red Storm event winners included Gaby Panagakos in the 100 (13.00), Emily Labbe in the 100 hurdles (15.87), Edie Christian in the pole vault (10-0) and their 4×100 relay team (52.62). The Red Riots got a first-place showing from Callie O’Brien in the 300 hurdles (49.74).

Cape Elizabeth finished its regular season by joining Falmouth and Greely at Yarmouth. The Capers girls were third and the boys placed fourth (Falmouth was first in both genders). Cape Elizabeth’s girls got wins from Jaya McClure in the 400 (1:02.86), Darcy Cochran in the 100 hurdles (17.14), Kristen Penley in the long jump (16-2.5) and the triple jump (33-5.5) and Kyra Crovo in the racewalk (12:52.55). The boys got a first-place finish from Matthew Conley in the high jump (6-0)

The Southwestern Maine Activities Association championship meet will be held Saturday in North Berwick. The Western Maine Conference championship meet is Saturday in Naples.

Tennis

The state singles tennis tournament continues this weekend. The semifinals and championship matches will be held Monday in Lewiston.

Cape Elizabeth’s defending Class B South champion boys’ team finished the regular season 9-3 after a 5-0 loss to Falmouth and will likely be the No. 3 seed for the playoffs. In Class A South, Scarborough took a six-match win streak and an 8-3 record into Wednesday’s finale at home versus Gorham. The Red Storm were fourth in the region at press time. South Portland finished 3-9 after a 4-0 loss at Cheverus in the finale Monday. The Red Riots were 12th in Class A South, but only 10 teams qualify for the playoffs.

The Cape Elizabeth girls, the defending Class B state champions, took a 5-6 mark into Wednesday’s finale at Freeport. The Capers were sixth in the Class B South Heals at press time. Scarborough was third in Class A South at 10-1 heading into Wednesday’s finale at Gorham. South Portland finished the regular season 5-7 after a 3-1 home loss to Cheverus Monday. The Red Riots were 10th at press time (12 teams make the playoffs).

The tennis postseason starts with the preliminary round Tuesday of next week on the courts of the higher seeds. The quarterfinals are June 1.

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.