After starting the baseball season with a 1-4 record, Thornton Academy has quietly turned things around by winning three of its last four games. The Golden Trojans have moved into sixth place in the Heal point standings.
Actually, it hasn’t been that quiet as Thornton has been going long ball. On Friday, the Golden Trojans hit three home runs in an 11-6 win over Biddeford. Alex Fallon hit a two-run shot and later added a solo homer while Jeff Gelinas, who hit two homers in an earlier game for the team’s first win of the season, added a three-run blast against the Tigers.
Thornton followed that up with a 7-2 win Saturday over Gorham, a team that is playing well.
Gelinas and Fallon are hitting well along with Cam Jackman, Brandon Briggs and others. With Gelinas on the mound, Thornton is capable of beating anyone in the league. Drew Gelinas and Matt Rutherford pitched well for Thornton. Gelinas got the win in relief against Biddeford and Rutherford was the winner against Gorham.
Marshwood and Scarborough are unbeaten. Windham and Westbrook have only one loss, but no team is that much ahead of anyone else. That could make for a wide open regional playoff in a few weeks.
THE SOUTH PORTLAND baseball team dropped its fourth straight game Friday, losing 4-3, at unbeaten Marshwood.
As it had done in losses to Thornton Academy and Scarborough, the Red Riots put themselves in a big early hole before responding.
Against the Hawks, it was South Portland’s early shaky play in the field that was the biggest problem, along with some spotty control by starter Zac Marles who allowed just two hits.
“We’ve got to continue to keep believing in ourselves and keep plugging away,” South Portland Coach Mike Owens said. “We’ve got some guys out there that are talented players and we really believe in them. We’ve just got to go back to the fundamentals a little bit. Zac did pitch really well, but he walked too many guys and he’d be the first to tell you, then we make an error on top of that.”
One reason Owens is confident his team will improve is that it features seven first-year varsity starters, with only center fielder Nick Whitten and catcher Adam Helmke returning.
“It’s a long season and we continue to work hard. If we can continue to give that effort each and every day we’re going to win more than we lose,” Owens said.
MARSHWOOD’S BASEBALL team is not only off to an 8-0 start, it’s also building for the future. Coach Eric Fernandes had five sophomores in his batting order against South Portland: third baseman Eric Quintal, second baseman Noah McDaniel, first baseman Jake Lebel, right fielder Zach Hodges and designated hitter Luke Stankovich. Quintal is hitting in the third spot.
CAPE ELIZABETH senior Satchel McCarthy, a quarterfinalist in the state tennis tournament last spring, won his most important match of this year’s tournament last week, before the start of regional qualifying.
In an intrasquad challenge match, McCarthy beat freshman Michael Mills 6-2, 6-3 to move up from first doubles to third singles for the unbeaten Capers.
That means McCarthy will join teammates Matt Gilman and Peter Higgins in the regional qualifying draw, which gets underway Tuesday morning after the Maine Principals Association postponed Saturday’s scheduled action because of inclement weather.
“Other than (against) Falmouth, these are definitely the most challenging matches,” McCarthy said of the competition within his own team to earn one of the three available slots for the singles tournament. “I think we’re going to have a few more challenge matches before the (team) playoffs.”
Gilman, Higgins and McCarthy are seeded three through five in Region 5, where 17 players will advance to the statewide Round of 48 scheduled for May 25 at Lewiston High. The top two boys in Region I are Falmouth senior Brendan McCarthy and former state champion Patrick Ordway, a Waynflete senior.
Seventy boys and 64 girls are entered in the Region 5 draw, headquartered at Waynflete for boys and Deering High for girls. Lewiston High will host Region 4, which will send eight players to the Round of 48. Mt. Ararat (girls) and Cony (boys) are the sites for Region 3, which also will send eight.
Region 2, held at the University of Maine in Orono, must whittle fields of 59 girls and 67 boys to 11 of each. Caribou High will host Region 1, which contributes four players to each draw.
Each region is seeded for qualifying, then the whole deck gets reshuffled with new seeds for the Round of 48. Falmouth snagged the top three seeds in the Region 5 girls draw: Olivia Leavitt, Julia Brogan and Libby Voccola. Devri Ramsey of McAuley is fourth and Lena Rich of NYA is fifth.
The defending state champions, Maisie Silverman of Brunswick and Jordan Friedland of Lincoln Academy, are the top seeds in Region 3.
“I’m really excited for the singles tournament,” said Cape Elizabeth’s McCarthy. “It’s going to be very interesting this year.”
– Staff Writers Tom Chard, Steve Craig and Glenn Jordan contributed to this report.