May 20, 2013

High School Notebook: Double threat in more ways than one

From staff reports

In three of four local doubles tennis conference tournaments held Saturday, four teammates faced off for the title.

click image to enlarge

Falmouth’s Katie Carew, from left, and Caroline Ray don’t like losing a doubles match, but at least it was to teammates Abby Payson and Kate Ryan in the Western Maine Conference.

Contributed photo

In the Western Maine Conference, Falmouth girls and Cape Elizabeth boys showed their dominance.

Falmouth's Abby Payson and Kate Ryan defeated teammates Katie Carew and Caroline Ray 6-1, 6-0 at Falmouth, and Cape Elizabeth's Mike Mills and Sam Sherman beat Luke Gilman and Eli Breed 6-4, 6-3 at the Fore River complex in Portland.

In the Southwestern Maine Activities Association, Gorham's top two doubles teams emerged from a field of 36. That top-seeded Mike Lubelczyk and Tom Susi reached the finals was not a shocker. They're 11-0 this season.

As for seniors Joe Bennett and Riley Perkins, "I'm not super surprised," said Coach Aaron Landry of his undefeated second doubles tandem, which knocked off three No. 1 teams from other schools to reach the finals. "But they haven't played really high-quality teams so it's hard to gauge."

Bennett and Perkins took a 6-0 record into the tournament. They teamed up in early May after freshman Thomas Brent returned from a toe injury and took over the No. 3 singles spot from Perkins.

Brent hasn't lost in singles, nor has senior Ryan Gilbert (11-0) at No. 2. In the top spot, senior Milan Vidovic is 9-2.

All of which translates to a 12-0 regular season that ended with Friday's 4-1 victory over Kennebunk and assured the Rams of the No. 1 seed in the Western Maine Class A tournament, the preliminaries of which begin a week from Tuesday.

Gorham won the Class A title last spring and features 10 seniors in a program that rose from 2-10 their freshman year to 7-5 and 11-1 in the regular season before running the table this year.

"This senior group is very special," Landry said. "They're really impressive."

Bennett and Perkins reached the finals by beating Portland's top tandem of Chris Eye and Alex Abreu 6-0, 6-3 while Lubelczyk and Susi beat Windham's Brad Carpentier and Jarron Nadeau 6-2, 6-2.

Because of the late hour, the finals will be played later this week, probably Friday, said Landry, due to rain in the forecast and scrimmages with NYA and Cape Elizabeth.

The SMAA girls doubles tournament, held at Deering Oaks, featured the top teams from Portland and Scarborough. Reversing the outcome from a three-set loss last Monday, Portland's Lily Bruenjes and Kayla Berg edged Scarborough's Katie Wahrer and Maria Philbrick in a 10-8 tiebreaker after splitting the first two sets, 6-4, 5-7.

Each school's No. 2 doubles team reached the semifinals, but both lost 6-4, 6-3 in an attempt to meet their teammates in the final.

IT HASN'T been the season so far that the Portland High baseball team envisioned when the season started. The Bulldogs are 5-6 heading into the final week and a half of the regular season. Portland suffered a tough 4-3 loss to Westbrook on Saturday.

At the beginning of the season and for a few weeks in, Portland, a senior-oriented team, was ranked No. 1 in our weekly baseball poll of area teams.

They've plummeted, but things can change and that's what Coach Tony DiBiase's squad is hoping for.

A problem that plagued the Bulldogs last year -- the inability to score runs -- has continued. The defense has been strong for the most part and so has the pitching. But coming up with timely hits with men on base has been a challenge.

A couple of key wins down the stretch could turn things around for the Bulldogs.

A bright spot in an otherwise disappointing 9-2 loss to Scarborough last week was the players coming off the bench in the final inning and contributing. It may give DiBiase some options as he and the players looks to turn things around.

-- Staff Writers Glenn Jordan and Tom Chard contributed to this report.

 

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