After a year with no spring sports, the return of postseason play last week was highly anticipated and welcomed, but no one could have predicted the drama or unpredictability of the days just past.

A lot of excitement was packed into a short time and a familiar champion was crowned.

Here’s a look back at the action-packed week that was:

Tennis

In an annual rite of spring, Waynflete’s boys’ tennis team shows off its championship trophy Saturday. Kevin Thomas / Portland Press Herald

Water remains wet, the sun continues to rise in the east and Saturday, for the 13th consecutive season, Waynflete’s boys’ tennis team captured a Class C state title.

The Flyers, the top seed in Class C South after a 10-1 regular season, blemished only by a 3-2 loss to eventual repeat Class B champion Yarmouth, blanked No. 9 Dirigo and No. 4 North Yarmouth Academy by 5-0 scores in the first two playoffs rounds, then took on No. 2 Maranacook in the regional final last Wednesday. The Flyers prevailed again, 5-0, as Ben Adey won in straight sets at first singles, Connor Feeney was triumphant at second singles when his opponent retired, Henry Kerr won in two sets at third singles, Matt Adey and Henry Hart swept their opponents at first doubles and John Moon-Black and Henry Moore won, 6-0, 6-0, at second doubles.

Saturday, in the state final versus George Stevens Academy, Waynflete capped its 14-1 campaign with a 5-0 victory, as Ben Adey beat Robbie Bennett, 6-1, 6-3, at first singles, Feeney was a 6-2, 7-5, winner at second singles over Oliver Lardner, Kerr downed Elias Lieser, 6-0, 6-0, at third singles, Matt Adey and Hart defeated Ben Hallett and Cyrus Blake, 6-4, 6-1, at first doubles and Moon-Black and Ed Cox downed Tony Politano and Theo Lesko, 6-0, 6-1, at second doubles.

“(The streak) means a lot,” Ben Adey said. “I was a little nervous. We knew we had another good team and a good shot at it. No one wants to be that team (that breaks the streak).”

“Four months ago, I didn’t think we were going to have a season,” Waynflete coach Jeff Madore said. “Now, to be here, isn’t this great?”

In all, Waynflete, whose streak dates to 2008 and has only been interrupted by a pandemic, has won 17 state titles. Conversely, George Stevens has been to the final 15 times, losing 14 of them – 12 to Waynflete. The Eagles did beat Waynflete for its one championship in 2004 (the Flyers’ only defeat in the final).

Ben Adey, Feeney and Moon-Black graduate, but Waynflete will return plenty of firepower in 2022.

Waynflete’s girls’ squad wasn’t quite as fortunate, although it enjoyed a nice run.

The Flyers, ranked third in Class C South, blanked No. 6 Boothbay, 5-0, in the quarterfinals and edged No. 2 Maranacook, 3-2, in a nailbiter of a semifinal round match, but last Wednesday, in the regional final, Waynflete lost to No. 1 Hall-Dale, the eventual state champion, 3-2, to finish 8-7.

Morgan Warner was victorious at first singles and Selina He and Vivian Rallus won their second doubles match, but Lucy Hart dropped a three-set decision at second singles, Courtney Ford lost in straight sets at No. 3 singles and Eliza Clark and Jane Livingston lost in straight sets at second doubles.

Boys’ lacrosse

Waynflete’s boys’ lacrosse team, the top seed in Class C, was two wins from a state title at press time.

The Flyers had no trouble with No. 8 Fryeburg Academy, 12-1, in Saturday’s state quarterfinal round. Sam Whipple led the way with five goals. Waynflete hosts rival No. 4 North Yarmouth Academy in the state semifinal round Wednesday afternoon (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story). The Flyers beat the visiting Panthers, 8-7, May 21. The teams split two prior playoff meetings, with the Flyers winning, 18-6, in the 2018 Class C semifinals en route to the title and NYA prevailing, 9-7, in the 2019 Class C semis, en route to the championship.

If Waynflete advances to Saturday’s Class C state final at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, it will face either No. 2 Oak Hill/Monmouth (12-0) or No. 3 Wells (10-4). The Flyers didn’t meet Oak Hill/Monmouth this season. The Flyers are 2-1 all time in the teams’ playoff series, with a 13-6 win in the 2018 Class C quarterfinals the most recent. Waynflete held off the visiting Warriors, 11-6, on April 28 and captured the only prior postseason encounter, 21-10, in the 2013 Western B quarterfinal round.

The other city teams weren’t as fortunate.

Portland, ranked third in Class A North, lost, 8-3, to No. 6 Windham in the quarterfinals to wind up 8-5.

Cheverus, the No. 9 seed in Class A North, defeated eighth-ranked Maine Central Institute, 19-6, in the preliminary round, then lost, 20-3, at top-ranked Falmouth in the quarterfinals to finish 6-8.

Deering, the No. 10 seed in Class A North, fell, 14-7, at No. 7 Edward Little in the preliminary round to finish 3-10. Andrew James scored three times. Robert Johnson added a pair of goals.

Girls’ lacrosse

On the girls’ side, Waynflete, ranked third in Class C, handled No. 6 Wells in Saturday’s state quarterfinal round, 11-2, as Cece Bliss and Kilee Sherry each scored four goals and Jess Connors added two goals with four assists. The Flyers (8-5) are at No. 2 Maranacook (10-3) in the state semifinals Wednesday. The teams didn’t play this year and have no postseason history. If Waynflete advanced and reached the state final for the first time in eight years, it will meet either No. 1 Freeport (10-3) or No. 4 Lake Region (8-5) Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. The Flyers lost at the Falcons, 9-6, May 19. They won the lone prior playoff meeting, 16-5, in the 2012 Class B state final. Waynflete beat the host Lakers, 4-3, May 26. The Flyers won the teams’ lone previous playoff encounter, 7-6, in the 2016 Class B South quarterfinals.

In Class A North, Portland, the No. 5 seed, fell, 9-6, at No. 4 Lewiston in the quarterfinals to finish 6-7.

Cheverus, ranked seventh in Class A North, was ousted by No. 2 Windham, 15-1, in the quarterfinals last week to wind up 2-11. Riley O’Mara scored the goal.

Baseball

Cheverus’ Brady Cormier tags out Portland’s Reegan Buck as he tries to steal second during the Stags’ 1-0, 10-inning victory in the Class A South quarterfinals last week. Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald

City baseball teams made their share of postseason noise.

Cheverus, the No. 7 seed in Class A South, began its playoff run with an 8-6 home victory over No. 10 Massabesic in the Round of 16, as Nick Giancotti earned the win and Brian Connolly had three runs batted in. In the quarterfinals last Thursday, the Stags hosted No. 15 Portland, which had gone on quite a run of its own.

The Bulldogs opened with an 11-3 victory over No. 18 Deering in a play-in game, then stunned reigning state champion Scarborough, ranked second, in the Round of 16, 5-1. Colby Winship earned the victory, allowing four hits, and he also scored twice. Henry Bibeau tripled and Danny Tocci had two hits and drove in a run.

Portland and Cheverus then met last Thursday for just the fourth time in the playoffs and it was by far the most memorable.

The game began as a vintage pitcher’s duel between Tocci and University of Connecticut-bound Stags senior hurler Sam Clark, who allowed just one base runner apiece in the first three innings and surrendered a combined five hits in the game’s first six innings. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Cheverus appeared poised to advance, as a walk and two perfectly placed bunt singles loaded the bases, but Tocci pulled off a Houdini act, inducing a ground ball that led to a force out at home, then getting a line drive double play to force extra innings.

Portland had chances in the eighth and ninth, but failed to score, then, in the bottom of the 10th, Cheverus finally produced the only run it would need. Giancotti led off with a booming drive to left-center that hit the fence and resulted in a triple. One out later, freshman pinch-hitter Chris Murphy bunted on a 1-2 count and with Giancotti on the move, he placed the squeeze perfectly and Giancotti came home to win it, 1-0.

“I was nervous, but I just had to get it down,” Murphy said. “I didn’t even get a sign, the coaches told me before. I was a little discouraged after the pitch before, but I just wanted to get the next one down. I just wanted to get to first and celebrate. It’s a fun feeling to do my part and help us advance.”

“I knew he’d get (the bunt) down at some point and I’d get (home),” Giancotti said. “We battled hard and we stuck with it and got the win.”

“The toughest team always wins, so you can’t give up,” Clark said. “The game of baseball can go any way.”

“It was a wonderful game,” added Cheverus coach Tony DiBiase. “A very exciting game. You can’t ask for a better day. We’ve played three really good games against (Portland) this year and we’ve been fortunate to be on the winning side each game. This one was special because it’s a tournament game.”

The Bulldogs finished a misleading 6-12 after the tough defeat.

“I’ve coached against Tony DiBiase for a long time and we’ve had some good ones,” said Portland coach Mike Rutherford. “That might be one of the better ones. A classic game. I’ve coached a long time and I’ve had great teams, but I couldn’t be any more proud. I thought at the beginning of the year, we had a chance to be one of the best four or five teams. We didn’t play well early and we had 20 days off with COVID. The Scarborough game and this game were two perfect games. We both had good chances today. Neither team made an error. That two-strike squeeze was risky, but they got it done.

“The kids competed all year. I’m really proud. They’re great kids and they’re not a 15 seed. This is a program-builder. These kids are bummed out they lost, but they know they played the best they could.”

Cheverus moved on to face No. 6 South Portland in the semifinals Saturday and played another one-run thriller. The Stags started fast, as Jackson Header led off with a triple and came home to score on a one-out RBI single from Connolly, but Cheverus stranded two runners that inning, left two more on in the second and another in third as it missed a chance to open things up.

The Red Riots then scored twice in the fourth off Giancotti and held on for a 2-1 victory, ending the Stags’ season at 13-6.

“This type of game, you have to take advantage of situations,” DiBiase said. “I thought we’d get three or four (runs) on the board that first inning. We had chances early.

“We’ve won a majority of one-run games and sometimes you’re going to lose. We had excellent pitching this year and the hitting came along. The kids bought into the teaching process and got better. The kids were great, the administration was great, everybody was great. It’s a good place to be. All these guys, it was their first year of varsity play, so it was a good experience. It hurts because it means so much.”

The Stags lose nine seniors, including their two aces, Clark and Giancotti, but look for this squad to be right back in the hunt in 2022.

“We lose two really good arms, but we have some really good players coming back,” DiBiase said. “It’s always going to be a tough league, but I think we’ll be very competitive again.”

In Class C South, the Waynflete/North Yarmouth Academy co-op team, ranked fifth, had no problem with No. 12 Mountain Valley in the Round of 16, prevailing, 13-1, in six innings. Winning pitcher Luke Josephson and Mike Belleau each blasted two-run homers. Belleau finished with three hits, driving in six runs. Liam Slocumb added three hits, including a double, while Will Jackson had two hits.

Waynflete/NYA then dropped a 4-3 decision at No. 4 Lisbon in the quarterfinals to finish 12-6. Belleau had a RBI double and Josephson struck out seven, had a hit and a run scored.

“I am so incredibly proud of the players and what they were able to accomplish this season,” said Waynflete/NYA coach Paul Grazia. “We had a lot of reasons for hope and optimism after the 2019 season and the loss the 2020 due to COVID was heartbreaking, but throughout the kids stayed positive, connected, and focused on this season. They were led by an amazing group of seniors, Ben Curtis, Will Jackson, Gabe Garcia, Cal Davies, Derek Wolverton, Anders Jonson and Luke Josephson, who were focused, engaged, and selfless. Their leadership was paramount to our success throughout the season.

“Now that we all have had time to reflect on the season, it was a historic one for our program. We were able post an 11-5 regular season record, which was the most for Waynflete since joining Class C in 2006 and the most for NYA since 2011. We made the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and had our first playoff win since 2011. Finally, our fifth-place finish in the Heal Points was the highest finish by either school ever in Class C.

“Our accomplishments go beyond simply wins and losses. Co-op teams can be difficult as you are combining two schools and in our case being historic rivals and competing against each other in other sports. As expected, we had some growing pains the first year, but through the pandemic and into this season it was flawless. Everyone was inclusive, supportive and bought into the team’s goals. But our accomplishments go beyond wins and losses. Not everyone can start or play every game, but everyone can help the team compete and win. Every player bought in and was able to use their own individual skill set to help the team throughout the season, whether it was bunting, as a defensive specialist, fireman, back-up catcher, or pinch runner. Most importantly, we were able to foster a strong, empowering, and supportive environment that highlighted everyone’s strengths and made individual successes team successes. In our final breakdown after our playoff loss to Lisbon, the seniors and captains elected to say ‘Family,’ which is different than our normal ‘Flying Panthers’ chant. I believe this small action embodies what the team and the season meant to each player and those involved.”

Waynflete/NYA looks forward to what awaits in 2022.

“We are incredibly optimistic about the future of our program,” said Grazia. “Although we are graduating seven seniors, we have strong underclassmen ready to play expanded roles and we expect to build off this season, compete again next year and return to the playoffs.”

Softball

Portland sophomore Sadie Armstrong delivers a strike during the Bulldogs’ victory over Sanford in last week’s Class A South Round of 16 last week. Mike Lowe / Portland Press Herald

The softball season has come to an end in the city.

Portland, ranked 13th in Class A South, upset No. 4 Sanford, 6-1, in the Round of 16. Rebekah Dunn had three hits and drove in three runs and Sadie Armstrong threw a two-hitter.

“Being able to have those runs was like having security,” said Armstrong, who struck out five. “If I started to walk people, having those runs helped confidence-wise. And it was just a lot more fun to pitch.”

“We’ve been coming,” said Portland coach Robbie Ferrante. “We’ve been playing pretty good lately. I thought getting out front was big. We’re not a good come-from-behind team.”

The Bulldogs were then eliminated at No. 5 Thornton Academy, 12-0, in five innings, to finish 8-10.

Cheverus, ranked 16th, beat No. 17 Deering in a play-in game, 11-0, then fell at top-ranked Marshwood, 8-2, to wind up 5-13.

Press Herald staff writers Mike Lowe and Kevin Thomas contributed to this story.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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