PORTLAND – Deering High, which had a 50-game winning streak snapped with an opening-game loss to Cheverus, received a double bonus Wednesday in its regular- season finale.

The Rams beat the Stags 3-0 to avenge that loss and gained the No. 1 ranking in the Western Class A Heal point standings heading to next week’s playoffs.

Deering (12-4) entered the game ranked third but jumped over No. 1 Scarborough and No. 2 Bonny Eagle.

Cheverus, which was ranked eighth and felt it needed a win to make the playoffs, lost but moved up to seventh as Biddeford dropped to eighth — the final playoff berth.

The top four teams — Deering, Scarborough, Bonny Eagle and Westbrook — will be in the one-day Telegram League playoffs Saturday. The league final will be at 3 p.m. at Deering High.

Travis Wade scattered six hits and kept the Stags off balance with an assortment of off-speed pitches. He walked only one.

“A lot of people didn’t believe this team would have this type of season because we lost so many key players from a year ago,” said Deering Coach Mike Coutts. “To finish No. 1 after losing that first game, that says a lot about the perseverance of the kids. It’s a credit to them. Hopefully we can continue to play well in the playoffs. We play good defense and any time a team can do that, they have a chance to win.”

Deering took advantage of three errors that resulted in runs. The Rams also used timely hitting to keep the pressure on the Stags (9-7).

“I haven’t had all my stuff in past games but today I did,” said Wade. “My fastball, curveball, slider and change-up were all working. No one gave us much of a chance at the start of the season. We wanted to prove to everyone that we could make our own mark and I feel we have so far.”

Wade, a senior, put Cheverus down in order in the first and third innings. Cheverus loaded the bases in the fifth and sixth, both with two outs, but Wade and the defense came through.

In the fifth, Deering right fielder Nick DiBiase made a running catch with runners on first and second. Wade then issued his only walk to load the bases. The next batter, Lou DiStasio, hit a hard grounder to second baseman Jake Nichols, who backhanded the ball and flipped to first to end the threat.

In the sixth, Wade got the first two batters on a strikeout and a groundout. Nic Lops and Tom Webber followed with singles, and Wade hit the next batter, Jack Bushey, to load the bases. A fly to center then ended the inning.

In the top of the seventh, third baseman Devon Fitzgerald dove to his left to field a hot grounder and threw to first for the second out. Wade said the defense has been outstanding all season.

“You can count on those guys to make plays,” he said.

Deering scored single runs in the first, fourth and fifth.

Sam Balzano led off the bottom of the first with a line single to left-center. DiStasio, the Stags’ pitcher, threw wildly to first trying to pick off Balzano, and Balzano ended up on third.

Nick Colucci drove him home with a single to left.

In the fourth, Nichols opened with a single to right, moved to second on a fielder’s choice and scored when the ball went past first on a pickoff attempt.

Balzano scored the third run when he led off the fifth with a single, stole second and scored when DiStasio’s throw, trying to nab him at second, went into the outfield.

“This is a playoff game for us,” said Cheverus Coach Mac McKew before the game.

The Stags left the field believing their season was over. Now with a reprieve, Cheverus is looking forward to continuing its season.

If the playoffs are anything like the regular season, any of the eight teams in the postseason has a legitimate shot to win the regional title and advance to the state championship game.

“I’m just glad our season is still going,” McKew said after the game.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]


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