Cape surely knew No. 7 Freeport was hot, when both teams descended on St. Joseph’s College in Standish for June 15’s B South final; the Falcons had, after all, already offed the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds. Nevertheless, the No. 1 Capers must have felt shocked when, despite showing signs of offensive life in the bottom of the fourth – Patrick MacDonald scored on an error – they ultimately dropped the bout 3-1.

“Marshall pitched a great game; Davenport just kept us off-balance,” said Cape head coach Andrew Wood of his starter on the mound, Marshall Peterson, and Freeport’s, Jack Davenport.

“I think I’m in shock right now,” said Freeport head coach Bill Ridge. “It’s seemed kind of unreal all playoffs. I don’t know, maybe I should just start believing at some point.”

“It’s special for Coach Ridge,” said Wood. “I grew up in South Portland with him. I’m bummed the way it happened, but there’s no one out there better than him. He got those guys playing hot at the right time. I tip my cap to him.”

The Falcons upended two-seed York 7-2 in the second round, then three-seed Greely 1-0 in the third round. But anyone following the Class B postseason had to imagine Freeport’s luck would run out when they took to the diamond for the regional final. Cape had, after all, slaughtered them quite without mercy in the regular season (10-0 on May 4). 

“They hammered us, last time we played them,” said Ridge about Cape. “[But] we came in, we knew Jack was pitching well, we were hitting all right – good enough; we were putting the ball in play, not striking out a ton. And we knew if we played good defense behind Jack, anything’s possible.”

Joey Burke began the Falcons’ evening, grounding a ball towards first that baseman Bryce Hewitt couldn’t hold onto and thus reaching on an error. Davenport then launched a real space shuttle of a hit into deep center, giving Burke the time he needed to round all the way to home. Davenport himself stayed at third, and though he wouldn’t score, he’d done what he’d needed to do.

“They were planning on jumping on us early, I think – that’s what they did the first time we played them,” said Ridge. “Our mindset was kind of, ‘If we can get one in the top, go put a zero up in the bottom of the first, that might get them on their heels enough to get through those first three, four innings. And if we can keep that lead, who the hell knows at that point?’”

The Capers went down one-two-three in the bottom of the first: Nate Ingalls grounded into a 6-3 play and Brendan Tinsman popped-out to catcher Colby Wagner. Wagner then teamed up with second baseman Max Doughty to throw out Dylan Roberts on a steal attempt.

Patrick MacDonald and Sean Agrodnia logged back-to-back singles in Cape’s next at-bats, but they did so with two outs, and the team couldn’t capitalize. Likewise, Tinsman blasted a beautiful double into centerfield, just out of reach of Falcon Josh Spaulding, in the bottom of the third, but again Cape already had a pair of outs weighing against them and failed to convert.

In the top of the fourth, Freeport extended its lead by a run. Cape retorted at their next opportunity, though, MacDonald volleying a double to left then and stealing third on Agrodnia’s follow-up at-bat. MacDonald scored when his huge lead coaxed Wagner into trying, over-aggressively, to throw him out. The ball sailed high of baseman Ben Humphrey and into left, giving MacDonald the margin he needed to cross the plate. 2-1. 

Despite Wagner’s misstep, Freeport played a cleaner game than did Cape, recording only two errors to the Capers’ four. In a tight contest, a pair of errors can make a world of difference, as Wood well knew.

“The four errors put [Freeport] in a good situation,” he said. “That first run put our backs against the wall. You have to have some luck along the way. Today, we just couldn’t score runs.”

The Falcons regained their two-tally advantage in their next ups. Doughty drove a first-pitch single into shallow left and reached second on a Joey Burke sac bunt. 

The mere fact of Davenport’s presence – he was due up, next in the order – lured Cape into a tactical gambit. Wood yanked Peterson and put Hewitt on the mound instead to face Davenport, who bats lefty.

But as it turns out, Davenport doesn’t need to swing to squeeze runs from other teams. Hewitt looked uncharacteristically rattled from the get-go, and threw two wild pitches that allowed Doughty to score. Davenport eventually grounded out, but again he’d done his job – even if his job was merely to stand around intimidatingly.

Ingalls recorded a single for the Capers in the bottom of the fifth, but otherwise, the Capers’ attack couldn’t find the fire they needed to mount a comeback, given the time remaining. 

Cape retires till 2017 at 13-6. Freeport, unfortunately, couldn’t bring the magic one last time in the State Final, and fell to North reps Old Town 12-2. 

Freeporter Colby Wagner dives back to first as Cape first baseman Bryce Hewitt leans out for a throw.

Caper Patrick MacDonald skids into third as Freeport baseman Ben Humphrey cuts in close.

Marshall Peterson hurls a ball toward home for the Capers vs. Freeport on Wednesday, June 15.

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