Waynflete tennis teams on cusp of glory; Baseball, softball, lax playoffs begin-Portland edition

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Portland’s Nick Archambault slides in safely past Deering catcher Jack Lynch during the Bulldogs’ 5-3 win in Friday’s regular season finale. The Bulldogs are seeded fourth for the Class A South playoffs, while the Rams finished 10th.

Waynflete’s Isabel Canning shoots during the Flyers’ 8-7 home win over Falmouth last week. The Flyers earned the No. 5 seed for the Class B South playoffs.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Biddeford and Deering-Portland baseball and Waynflete-Falmouth girls’ lacrosse game stories, with photos and box scores, see theforecaster.net)

One of the recent certainties in Maine high school sports is when the calendar flips to June, Waynflete’s boys’ tennis team stands alone.

This spring, both Flyers teams began the week on the brink of a championship and that’s just the beginning of the playoff story.

The baseball, softball and lacrosse postseasons are underway as well and there promises to be plenty of excitement and triumph between now and Championship Saturday, June 17.

Here’s an overview:

Tennis

Waynflete’s boys have won nine successive Class C state titles and it appears number 10 is right around the corner.

The Flyers went 11-1 in the regular season and finished second in Class C South. Waynflete defeated No. 7 Wiscasset, 5-0, in the quarterfinals, then eliminated third-ranked St. Dom’s, 4-1, in the semifinals, for its 38th straight postseason victory. The Flyers will face No. 1 Boothbay (11-1) in the regional final Thursday in Lewiston. The teams didn’t meet this year. Last spring, Waynflete beat BBR, 4-1, in the semifinals.

If the Flyers get back to the state match, Saturday in Waterville, they will go up against either George Stevens Academy (14-0) or Van Buren (11-1). Waynflete has beaten GSA in each of the past seven state finals, including 4-1 a year ago.

Waynflete girls’ earned the No. 4 seed after a 10-2 regular season and advanced by downing No. 5 Madison and top-ranked Carrabec by 5-0 scores in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. Thursday, the Flyers will meet No. 6 St. Dom’s (10-4), the defending state champion. On May 19, Waynflete eked out a 3-2 decision at the Saints. St. Dom’s beat the Flyers in last year’s regional final, 4-1.

If Waynflete gets to states for the first time since 2014, it will face either Orono (14-0) or George Stevens Academy (12-3). The Flyers last played GSA in the state match in 2012 and won, 3-2. Waynflete last faced Orono in the state final in 2006 and prevailed, 5-0.

Every other city team was eliminated by the semifinals.

Cheverus, the No. 5 seed in Class A South, edged No. 12 Kennebunk in a preliminary round match, 3-2, then lost, 4-1, to No. 4 Scarborough in the quarterfinals to finish 10-4.

Portland, the sixth seed in Class A South, beat No. 11 Biddeford, 5-0, in its prelim, then lost, 5-0, to No. 3 Gorham in the quarterfinals to wind up 9-5.

Deering, ranked seventh in Class A South, eliminated No. 10 South Portland, 3-2, in the preliminary round, then finished 9-5 after a 5-0 loss to nine-time defending state champion Falmouth in the quarterfinals.

Maine Girls’ Academy (3-9) didn’t make the playoffs.

On the boys’ side, Portland finished third in Class A South. The Bulldogs advanced with a 5-0 quarterfinal round win over No. 6 Deering (which finished 8-5), then lost, 5-0, to No. 2 Falmouth in the semifinals to finish 12-2.

Cheverus was seeded fifth in the region. The Stags dropped a tough 3-2 decision to No. 4 Scarborough in the quarterfinals to end the year 8-5.

Baseball

Cheverus, Deering and Portland’s baseball teams all qualified for the postseason.

The Stags finished 15-1 and second in Class A South after downing host Biddeford (8-1) and visiting Scarborough (2-1, in a nine-inning marathon). Jared Brooks threw a one-hit gem at the Tigers and also crushed a home run, scored twice and had two RBI.

“I went out there on a mission,” Brooks said. “We wanted this game. My team was behind me.”

“(Jared) was overpowering,” said Cheverus coach Mac McKew. “He did what he had to do. He overpowered them as he’s overpowered most teams he’s faced this year.”

Brooks also drove in the winning run (and had three hits) against the Red Storm. Jack Casale went the distance to earn the victory.

The Stags earned a bye into Thursday’s quarterfinals where they will host either No. 7 Biddeford (7-9) or No. 10 Deering (7-9). In addition to its win at Biddeford on Memorial Day, Cheverus also beat the visiting Rams, 7-0, May 13. The Tigers beat the Stags in both prior playoff meetings, the 1992 Western A preliminary round (11-5) and 1999 Western A quarterfinals (4-3, in nine-innings). Cheverus is 0-7 all-time versus Deering in the playoffs, including a loss in last year’s preliminary round (5-4, in nine-innings).

If Cheverus moves on to Saturday’s semifinals, it will host No. 3 Gorham (14-2), No. 6 Thornton Academy (11-5) or No. 11 Sanford (5-11). The Stags beat the host Rams (3-0, April 24), downed the host Golden Trojans (3-2, May 2) and defeated the visiting Spartans (11-1, in five-innings, May 18).

Portland exceeded the expectations this year, going 12-4 and earning the No. 4 seed in Class A South after closing with a 7-6 come-from-behind home victory over Noble, a 16-6 home loss to Thornton Academy and a 5-3 win at Deering. Against the Knights, the Bulldogs erased a 5-0 deficit with five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Gio Ruotolo had a key two-run triple, Nick Archambault and Dom Tocci both had a pair of hits and Brian Riley earned the win in relief. Portland got a pair of hits apiece from Tom Joyce and Jake Knop in the loss to the Golden Trojans. Against the Rams, the Bulldogs got two hits and two RBI from Donnie Tocci, Archambault reached bases four times and scored twice and Ruotolo and Joyce combined on a four-hitter.

“It was a little more exciting than we wanted it to be, but I had faith,” Archambault said. “I had faith in Gio, I think he would have worked his way out of it, and we have faith in Joyce coming in to get the save and he did.”

“Everybody thought we wouldn’t be that good, but we knew we had good players,” Joyce said. “We have nine baseball players on the field at once and that’s big. Even if they’re unproven, we know they can play.”

“It was relaxing that we didn’t need a win,” added Portland coach Mike Rutherford. “We were in the 4 hole no matter what, but it’s Deering, a crosstown rival, so it was big to win. The kids have played great baseball. I honestly believed if we won nine games and got in the playoffs this year, that would be great, but now, we’re getting greedy.”

The Bulldogs will host either No. 5 South Portland (12-4) or No. 12 Bonny Eagle (5-11) in the quarterfinals Thursday. Portland won at the Red Riots, 5-2 on May 9, and downed the host Scots, 5-2, a week later. The Bulldogs are 2-1 all-time against Bonny Eagle in the playoffs, with a 7-3 victory in the 1994 Western A semifinals the most recent. Portland had beaten South Portland in eight of 11 previous playoff encounters, with a 2-1 Red Riots victory in the 2015 Western A Final the most recent.

If the Bulldogs reach the semifinals for the third year in a row, they will either go to top-ranked Falmouth (15-1) or host No. 8 Scarborough (9-7) or No. 8 Windham (7-9) Saturday. Portland didn’t meet the Yachtsmen this year, but lost to them, 5-0, in last year’s semifinals. The Bulldogs beat the visiting Red Storm, 3-2 April 27 and blanked the visiting Eagles, 5-0, May 11.

Deering had a busy stretch to close the season and the Rams wound up 7-9 and 10th after wins over visiting Bonny Eagle (4-3, in eight-innings) and at Noble (4-1) and losses to visiting Thornton Academy (5-2) and Portland (5-3). Against the Scots, Jack Lynch hit an RBI triple and Riley Bartell singled him in the bottom of the seventh and in their eighth, Lynch’s sacrifice fly won it. James Sinclair earned the win in relief. In the win over the Knights, Bartell threw a six-hitter and Jacob Gikas had a pair of hits. In the loss to the Golden Trojans, the Rams fell behind 3-0 early, scored a run when Sinclair came all the way around from second on a sacrifice bunt, and after Thornton Academy went ahead, 5-1, Deering got an RBI single from Colby Dame in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough. In the nightcap, the Rams trailed 5-0 going to the bottom of the seventh, but scored three times on an RBI double from Lynch and a two-run single from Bartell only to fall just short.

“It was an interesting day,” Deering coach Josh Stowell said. “I’m glad we fought to the end. We did enough earlier this week to get in the playoffs and that was our goal.”

Deering went to 10th-seeded Biddeford for the preliminary round Tuesday. The Rams lost, 3-1, at the Tigers May 9. Deering had won six of eight previous playoff meetings, including an 11-1 (five-inning) victory in the 2008 Western A semifinals, the most recent.

The Rams were hoping for a victory and a chance to eliminate Cheverus for the third year in a row.

The regional final will be Wednesday of next week. The state final is Saturday, June 17.

In Class C South, Waynflete finished 0-12 and 13th (only nine teams made the playoffs) after an 11-3 home loss to Traip Academy last Thursday. The Flyers finished with a winless record for the first time since 2004.

Softball

Portland and the Maine Girls’ Academy/Falmouth co-op squad punched their softball playoff tickets.

The Bulldogs capped their best regular season since 2001 with a 12-3 victory at Bonny Eagle to wind up 14-2 and second in the Class A South Heal Points standings. Morgan Boyle had four hits, Jess Brown, Taylor Crosby and Laini Legere had two apiece and Sydney Gilbert earned the win. 

Portland will host either No. 7 Kennebunk (9-7) or No. 10 South Portland (7-9) in Thursday’s quarterfinal round. The Bulldogs blanked the visiting Red Riots, 4-0, May 4. They did not face the Rams this spring. Portland is 1-0 all-time versus Kennebunk in the playoffs (an 8-3 win in the 2006 Western A preliminary round) and has split four previous encounters with South Portland (with a 5-3 loss in the 2003 Western A quarterfinals the most recent).

If the Bulldogs reach the semifinals Saturday for the first time since 2004, they will host either third-ranked Thornton Academy (13-3), No. 6 Massabesic (11-5) or No. 11 Biddeford (7-9), the defending Class A state champion. Portland downed the host Golden Trojans, 9-1, on May 1, rallied past the visiting Mustangs, 5-4, on May 12 and doubled up the host Tigers, 8-4, five days later. 

The first-year MGA/Falmouth co-op team proved to be a success, finishing 7-9 and grabbing the 12th and final playoff spot in Class A South. The Sea Lions closed by downing visiting South Portland (6-5) and Deering (18-5, in five-innings). Holly Akey, Gabrielle Begos and Liberty Ladd all homered against the Red Riots as MGA/Falmouth held off a late rally. In the win over the Rams, Ladd singled, doubled, homered, scored five runs and drove in four. 

The Sea Lions went to No. 5 Noble (11-5) for the preliminary round Tuesday. MGA/Falmouth upset the host Knights, 4-3, on May 24. If the Sea Lions pulled off another upset, they would play at No. 4 Windham (13-3) in Thursday’s quarterfinals. On May 19, the host Eagles beat visiting MGA/Falmouth, 7-4.

The regional final will be Wednesday of next week. The state final is Saturday, June 17.

Deering ended up 2-14 and 16th in Class A South (only 12 teams qualified for the playoffs) after closing with losses at Westbrook (15-3, in six-innings) and MGA/Falmouth (18-5, in five-innings). In the loss to the Sea Lions, Sydney Giroux had three hits. 

Cheverus wound up 0-16 (and 17th in Class A South) for the second year in a row after an 8-5 loss at Sanford in the finale. 

Boys’ lacrosse

Cheverus and Deering were the lone city boys’ lacrosse teams to make it to the playoffs and they’ll square off in a Class A North quarterfinal Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. at Boulos Stadium.

The Stags finished 9-3 and fourth after wins at Marshwood (14-3) and Portland (8-3) to close the regular season. Michael Hatch scored four times and Max Coffin added three goals against the Hawks. Cole Anton led the way with three goals versus the Bulldogs.

The Rams wound up 8-4 and fifth after a 25-6 home win over Noble in their finale. Jonah Peterson and Nate Richards both had six goals, while Nick James scored five times and Omar Contreras added four. 

Cheverus beat host Deering, 11-3, back on April 25. The Stags have won all four prior playoff meetings, including last year’s 11-9 victory in the quarterfinals.

The winner will move on to Saturday’s semifinals, where it will likely go to top-ranked, 12-0 Brunswick, the defending regional champion. Neither Cheverus or Deering faced the Dragons this season. The Rams have never played Brunswick in the playoffs. The Stags are 2-3 all-time against the Dragons after falling, 10-9, in last year’s semifinals.

The lacrosse regional finals are Wednesday of next week. The state games are Saturday, June 17.

Portland wound up 2-10 and 10th in Class A North (where eight teams make the playoffs) after losses at Massabesic (9-6) and at home to Cheverus (8-3). 

Waynflete finished 3-9 and eighth in Class B South (where only six teams made the playoffs) following a 20-9 home loss to York and a 16-10 win at St. Dom’s. Hank Duvall scored three times against the Wildcats. 

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, Cheverus, Portland and Waynflete will all take part in the postseason.

The Flyers weren’t a sure thing for the playoffs until they upset visiting Falmouth, 8-7, last Tuesday. Waynflete, on its Senior Day, shot to a 6-1 halftime lead, then held on for dear life down the stretch before celebrating its biggest victory of the season. Laura Baginski had three goals, senior Isabel Canning had a couple assists and a game-high nine ground balls and senior Ali Pope helped anchor a strong defensive effort.

“We were hyped up to start,” Pope said. “Everyone was excited to play Falmouth.” 

“Emotionally, it was obviously a big game,” Canning said. “That played to our advantage and made us stronger together. We’ve put in a ton of hours and we wanted the result.”

“We needed this win,” Waynflete coach Cathie Connors added. “I tried to remind the girls that anything can happen on a given day and we proved it. I’m psyched for the girls because they’ve worked so hard.”

The Flyers then finished 7-5 and fifth in Class B South following Thursday’s 12-5 loss at Kennebunk. Ya Stockford scored all five goals in defeat.

Waynflete earned a quarterfinal round playoff date at No. 4 Cape Elizabeth (7-5) Wednesday at 6 p.m. (see theforecaster.net for game story). On May 24, the Flyers lost at home to the Capers, 15-9. Waynflete has taken nine of the past 10 playoff meetings, including an 8-4 victory in the 2015 Western B quarterfinals, the most recent.

If Waynflete gets to the semifinals once again (the Flyers have never been eliminated prior to that round), it would go back to No. 1 Kennebunk (10-2) Saturday. Waynflete has won three of five previous postseason meetings against the Rams, but last year, en route to its first championship, Kennebunk eliminated the Flyers, 10-2, in the semifinals.

In Class A North, Cheverus earned the No. 4 seed after going 5-7. The Stags closed with an 11-5 victory at Maine Girls’ Academy. 

Cheverus will host No. 5 Gardiner/Hall-Dale (4-8) in the quarterfinals Wednesday. The teams have no history. If the Stags advance, they’ll likely play at No. 1 Messalonskee (11-1), the defending Class A champion, in Saturday’s semifinals. The Eagles won, 17-6, at Cheverus April 29. The Stags won three of four prior playoff meetings, but last spring, Messalonskee won, 13-4, in the quarterfinals.

Portland earned the eighth and final berth in Class A North with a 4-8 mark following an 11-8 loss at Bonny Eagle and a 12-8 win at Deering last week. Annika More had three goals in the setback. Georgia Stoddard scored three times against the Rams.

The Bulldogs play at Messalonskee in the quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play this year. The Eagles won both prior playoff games, including an 11-8 victory in the 2015 regional final.

The lacrosse regional finals are Wednesday of next week. The state games are Saturday, June 17.

MGA wound up 5-7 and just out of the playoffs in ninth place following an 11-5 home loss to Cheverus.

Deering finished 3-9 and 10th after a 20-11 loss at Sanford and a 12-8 home setback to Portland. Kiaya Gatchell had three goals against the Bulldogs.

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.