With tournament qualification now back at 50 percent in each class, like it used to be before the Maine Principals’ Association briefly went with an open tournament and then two-thirds of the field, regular-season games are now more meaningful.

And many coaches like it that way.

“That’s the way it should be,” Thornton Academy baseball coach Greg Paradis said about the emphasis on regular-season games.

His team just missed out on qualifying for the Western Class A tournament, finishing in ninth place despite winning 10 games.

With the Telegram League so balanced and the top teams having between four and six losses, every game took on added meaning.

There are no prelim games in Western Class A baseball. With eight out of 16 teams making the tournament, all the qualifiers head straight to the quarterfinals on Thursday at the fields of the higher seeded teams.

There are some excellent matchups. No. 1 Deering and No. 8 Cheverus split two regular-season games. The Stags won the season opener, and Deering took the season finale.

No. 2 Scarborough against No. 7 Biddeford is a rematch of a regular-season game in which Biddeford won with a walk-off homer.

No. 4 Westbrook, a preseason favorite, will be looking to even the score with fifth-seeded South Portland, which beat the Blue Blazes in the quarterfinals last year.

The other quarterfinal is No. 3 Bonny Eagle against No. 6 Windham in a battle of neighboring towns.

 

THE THREAT OF thunderstorms lingered over the Class B track and field state championships Saturday at Windham High, but foul weather held off throughout the humid day.

“Our coach told us, ‘the weather’s the same for everyone, just keep trying your hardest,’ ” Waterville distance runner Kayla Tuttle said. “We lucked out with this weather, it was really nice today.”

Greely distance runner Mark McCauley woke up to lightning and a thunderstorm, and he and the Rangers traveled to Windham in what he called “torrential downpours.”

“It was kind of strange coming into it, thinking you’re going to have an entire day of rain,” McCauley said, “But, actually having it humid and a little uncomfortable, it’s almost the classic state meet.”

 

THE LACK OF a home track didn’t prevent the Falmouth boys from winning another state championship.

The Yachtsmen captured their second consecutive Class B title, completing a season in which their home track was unavailable because of construction.

“We had an incredible amount of talent and we worked well as a team and really bonded,” senior Michael Gardner said. “We had great coaching to get us to this point, without a facility.”

 

THE CLASS C meet has been tentatively rescheduled for Wednesday at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft.

The meet was postponed Saturday because of heavy rain.

The MPA outdoor track committee will hold a conference call this morning to make a final decision about the rescheduling of the meet.

 

— Staff Writers Tom Chard and Rachel Lenzi contributed to this report.