It’s been an emotional roller coaster for Bonny Eagle baseball coach Dan Stefanilo over the last two weeks.
His mother, Kathleen Stefanilo, died after a valiant fight from lung cancer on Mother’s Day.
The next day the Scots played Deering at Hadlock Field. Stefanilo did his best to coach, buoyed by his mother’s memory and her love of baseball — she was a Red Sox season-ticket holder. His players stepped up to help, wearing pink wristbands in memory of his mother.
Bonny Eagle scored 12 runs in the first three innings, seven in the top of the first, in a 12-3 win.
“Every time one of my players rounded third they said, ‘This one’s for you, Coach,’ ” said Stefanilo. “It was one of the most special, amazing and moving moments in my life. The players have just been fantastic. The way we played recently is a tribute to the guys we have on the team.”
Ranked 12th in the Heal point standings, Bonny Eagle hopes to qualify for the 11-team Western Class A tournament.
DEERING HAS struggled this season due to inexperience, but the Rams beat South Portland 6-1 on Tuesday for their second win of the season. The other was against Thornton Academy, 6-1, in the second game of the year. Thornton will be in the playoffs and South Portland may make it.
The Rams are 2-11 but not that far out of the 11th and last spot to get into the playoffs. Only Noble and Bonny Eagle are ahead of them.
“We’ve been in all of our games with the exception of the Marshwood and Bonny Eagle games,” said Coach Tim Eisenhart. “The kids hadn’t played much varsity ball when the season started. We have only two seniors. It was a confidence level thing. They’re figuring it out and playing good ball. They just keep battling.”
Dominic Esposito-Martin pitched a three-hitter and struck out seven against the Riots. He also drove in two runs. Nick Carmichael, another standout for Deering, had a two-run double in the second. He was converted from utility to catcher earlier in the season.
The Rams have three games remaining, starting at 6 p.m., Friday at Hadlock Field against Portland (6-7), which is eighth in the Heal point standings. The game was moved from Thursday because of a senior awards night at Portland.
After Portland, Deering plays Kennebunk on Saturday and is at Westbrook on Tuesday.
“If we can win two out of three games, we could make the playoffs,” said Eisenhart.
The Deering players will play American Legion baseball for Bristol Seafood.
Any successful high school team gains the building blocks for that success in American Legion ball. Deering is an example with its success playing for Nova Seafood, which won the national title a few years ago.
Eisenhart said there also will be a Junior Legion team. He likes the prospects from the middle school level expected to enroll at Deering.
A COUPLE OF outstanding defensive plays in the outfield keyed Windham’s win over Westbrook on Tuesday.
Right fielder Ethan Petty made a diving catch toward the line in the first inning with a runner on second. The Eagles had just taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning.
After his catch, Petty doubled off the Westbrook runner, who was halfway to third. Westbrook Coach Greg Souza, who was coaching third, said he didn’t think Petty had a chance to catch it.
The other fielding gem was by left fielder Andrew Whiting, who charged and dove to catch a sinking line drive off the bat of Ryan Gilligan leading off the bottom of the third.
“We’ve been getting some outfield play all season,” said Coach Brody Artes. “Our defense has been a staple.”
WITH THE REGULAR season ending next week, teams on the bubble of making the playoffs hope for a strong finish.
In Western Class A, 11 teams qualify for the postseason. Noble High of North Berwick is in 11th place, ahead of Bonny Eagle by fewer than five points. Deering, with its victory against South Portland on Tuesday, also has an outside shot, as does Kennebunk.
Deering is 13th and Kennebunk is 14th. Sanford has four wins but is in 15th place.
Twelve teams make the playoffs in Class B. Freeport is in 13th place and Mountain Valley is 14th.
Oak Hill is in 12th place, a point ahead of Freeport in the tournament index.
Traip Academy occupies the 11th and final qualifying spot in Class C. Mt. Abram, Wiscasset and Carrabec follow.
The regional prelims are June 4, the quarterfinals are June 6 and the semifinals June 8.
MARSHWOOD SHORTSTOP Max McCoomb is the clear hitting leader in the SMAA. McCoomb leads in batting average at .474, hits (18), runs (18), doubles (5), triples (3) and RBI (21).
Casey Nava of Massabesic is second in the SMAA in batting with a .472 average. Jeff Gelinas of Thornton Academy leads in home runs with four, slugging percentage (.931) and on-base percentage (.622).
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: