PORTLAND – The Cheverus baseball team understood the task at hand. Win the next-to-last regular-season game and strengthen its chance for a playoff berth.

The Stags wasted little time when it came to execution in a 4-1 victory against Biddeford.

Saturday at MacDonald Memorial Field, the Stags scored three runs on two hits and an error in the first inning, then held off the Tigers’ attempt at a seventh-inning rally in a Telegram League game that had playoff-seeding implications.

“We had to win this one,” Cheverus starting pitcher Joey Royer said.

“Coming into the game, we knew we had to be fired up. After we got that four-run lead, our bats went flat for a while and we got a little comfortable with the lead. But our defense was strong the whole game and we still got the win.”

Cheverus entered the game ranked eighth in the Heal point standings and Biddeford ninth. Cheverus didn’t lock up a playoff spot, but Coach Mac McKew believed the win helped his team’s cause for one of the eight berths in Western Class A.

“I think both teams were well aware of where we sat when the game started, although a lot of things depend on what other people do because of the Heal point system,” McKew said. “There’s no question we had to have this game. There’s no question it was big.”

Cheverus (9-6) will close the regular season Tuesday against Deering at Hadlock Field, while Biddeford (8-7) will close Tuesday at home against Bonny Eagle.

“A win (Saturday) would have gotten us in the top eight and would have helped us to secure a playoff spot and make it a lot easier on ourselves,” Biddeford Coach Casey Roy said. “Right now I think we’re going to have to rely on some other teams winning or losing to make sure we get into the playoffs.”

The game was quick, less than an hour and a half, and efficient.

Royer threw only 72 pitches, striking out six and walking one.

He allowed three hits, including just one through six innings — Nick Simpson’s single in the third — and the defense helped to contain Biddeford to two runners on base until the seventh.

“Our infield was spectacular today,” said Royer, who finished 1 for 3 with two RBI.

“We needed to win today and it was the most important game we played all year, at least I think so. I think we played well.”

With Kyle Randall and Louie DiStasio on base in the first, Royer’s double to the left-field corner drove in two runs, and two batters later, Nic Lops drove in Royer to give the Stags a 3-0 lead.

“Cheverus came out and played with a lot of energy early,” Roy said.

Jack Bushey opened the second with a home run off Biddeford starter Tyler Audie (four strikeouts), and Cheverus’ 4-0 lead stood until the seventh, when the Tigers put runners on first and second against Royer.

With one out, Nick Gagne drove in Trevor Fleurent for Biddeford’s lone run.

“It’s nice to see that spark was there and that they didn’t give up,” Roy said. “But on the same token, we’ve got to play that seven innings to be a winning baseball team.

“You can’t rely on getting up for one inning and giving the other six away. Seeing the league and how close it is, you’ve got to come every inning and every pitch.

“You can’t rely on trying to come back.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

[email protected]