Falmouth 6 Portland 0 

F- 302 000 1- 6 6 0
P- 000 000 0- 0 2 2

Top 1st
Gill doubled to left-center, Gay and Hendry scored. Simmons singled to right, Gill scored.

Top 3rd
Simmons singled to left-center, Coyne and Hendry scored.

Top 7th
Gill singled to right, Coyne said.


Multiple hits:
F- Gill, Simmons

F- Coyne, Hendry 2, Gay, Gill

F- Gill, Simmons 3

F- Gill

Stolen bases:
F- Daniels, Gay, Hendry
P- Isajar

Left on base:
F- 6
P- 4


Cowperthwaite. Rumpf (7) and Hendry; Fay-LeBlanc, DiMillo (5) and Becker.

Cowperthwaite (W, 1-0) 6 IP 2 H 0 R 2 BB 13 K 1 WP
Rumpf 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 2 K

Fay-LeBlanc (L, 0-1) 4 IP 5 H 5 R 0 ER 2 BB 4 K
DiMillo 3 IP 1 H 1 R 1 ER 2 BB 2 K 1 WP

Time: 1:58

PORTLAND—Eli Cowperthwaite couldn’t wait to take the mound at Hadlock Field Thursday afternoon.

And he certainly made the most of his time there.


Falmouth’s junior left-handed ace completely frustrated the host Portland Bulldogs and got some help from an opportunistic offense to lead the Navigators to victory.

Falmouth scored three unearned runs in the top of the first, as an error kept the inning alive, then senior first baseman Patrick Gill ripped a two-out, two-run double and freshman designated hitter Tyler Simmons followed with an RBI single.

A similar script played out in the top of the third, as the Navigators parlayed a leadoff walk and another Portland error into a two-run inning, as Simmons again came through with a two-out, two-run single to make it 5-0.

After Cowperthwaite completely stymied the Bulldogs in six dominant innings, his teammates added a run in the top of the seventh, as senior shortstop Brady Coyne scored on a wind-aided Gill single and Falmouth went on to a 6-0 victory.

Cowperthwaite finished with 13 strikeouts and the Navigators improved to 2-0 on the season while dropping Portland to 2-1-1.

“It was just a great experience to be out on a field like this with a nice mound and to do what I did,” said Cowperthwaite.


Early showdown

Both Falmouth and Portland expect to make deep playoff runs this season and early results have been promising.

The Bulldogs had to rally to beat visiting Biddeford, 4-3, in their opener, then downed host Marshwood (7-4) before settling for a weather-induced 5-5 (six-inning) tie at Westbrook Tuesday.

The Navigators started their season Tuesday with a 12-2 (six-inning) home victory over Windham.

The teams played twice last year, in a doubleheader at Falmouth, where the Navigators won twice in five-innings, by 10-0 and 13-2 margins.

Thursday, on a windy but otherwise decent spring day (48 degrees at first pitch), Portland sought its first win over Falmouth since a 2-0 triumph April 29, 2019, but instead, the Bulldogs couldn’t generate any offense and made life even more difficult for themselves with defensive miscues.


The Navigators struck quickly, as junior centerfielder Miles Gay drew a four-pitch walk and after Bulldogs junior starter Liam Fay-LeBlanc got Coyne to pop out to second on the first pitch and Cowperthwaite to also pop to second, he struck out sophomore catcher Ethan Hendry swinging, but strike three wound up in the dirt and senior catcher James Gignac’s throw to first was high for an error, setting the stage for Gill, who ripped a drive to deep left-center which fell in for a double, scoring both runners. Simmons then blooped the first pitch he saw to right to bring home Gill. Fay-LeBlanc got sophomore Mitchell Ham to strike out swinging, but the damage was done, as Falmouth had a 3-0 advantage.

In the bottom half, senior leftfielder Colby Winship led off with a single to left-center, but Cowperthwaite caught senior third baseman Mason Rang, junior shortstop Henry Bibeau and senior first baseman Grant Crosby all looking at strike three.

Fay-LeBlanc bounced back in the top of the second, getting sophomore second baseman Brennan Rumpf to fly to center, rightfielder Eben Daniels to fly out to left on a 3-2 pitch and Gay to line out to right.

In the bottom half, Cowperthwaite got senior designated hitter Andrew Legere to chase strike three, then junior rightfielder Andrew Brewer singled through the hole between shortstop and third, but Gignac was thrown out by Coyne on a nice play and senior centerfielder Carter Page chased strike three.

Falmouth returned to its scoring ways again in the top of the third.

Again, with some help.


Coyne walked on a 3-2 pitch, then took second on a sacrifice bunt from Cowperthwaite. Hendry then grounded to third, but the ball went under Rang’s glove for an error, putting runners at the corners. Hendry stole second, but Gill struck out looking, leaving the inning up to Simmons, who again came up huge with two outs, lining a two-run single to left-center.

“We’re more of a defensive team,” Cowperthwaite said. “Offense isn’t really our strength, so we need to get aggressive on the basepaths and be smart.”

Ham kept the inning alive with a single to right-center, but Rumpf flew out deep to center to keep the score 5-0.

The Navigators then flashed some leather in the bottom of the third.

After senior second baseman Nathan Isajar drew a leadoff walk, Winship lined the ball to left-center for an apparent hit, but Gay, despite the ball tailing away from him, dove and made a highlight reel catch for the first out. Rang then struck out swinging and Bibeau grounded back to Cowperthwaite, who made a nice play coming off the mound before throwing to first to retire the side.

In the top of the fourth, Daniels looked at strike three leading off, but Gay singled sharply to left. He’d be stranded, however, as Coyne popped out foul to Crosby at first and Cowperthwaite fouled out to Gignac behind the plate.


In the bottom half, Cowperthwaite caught Crosby staring at strike three, fanned Legere, then got Brewer to ground meekly back to the mound.

Senior Aidan DiMillo came on to pitch for Portland in the fifth and got Hendry to ground back to the mound, Gill to chase strike three and senior pinch-hitter Dom Tracy to strike out swinging.

In the bottom half, Cowperthwaite continued his dominance, catching Gignac looking at strike three before fanning both Page and Isajar.

DiMillo started the sixth by getting Ham to fly to out right and Rumpf to line to right, but he then walked Daniels, who promptly stole second. DiMillo then ended the frame by getting Gay to fly out to center.

Cowperthwaite started the bottom half by striking out Winship, then walked senior pinch-hitter Ryan Becker to snap his string of 10 straight outs. Bibeau was next and grounded wide of first, but Gill made a nice play going to his right before throwing to second for the force out. Crosby then watched strike three for Cowperthwaite’s 13th and final strikeout.

Falmouth tacked on one more run in the top of the seventh, as Coyne walked on a 3-2 pitch leading off, moved to second on a wild pitch and after Cowperthwaite lined out to right, Coyne took third when Hendry grounded out to second. Gill appeared to end the inning with a fly ball to right, but the wind took it away from Brewer and the ball landed safely for a single to bring home Coyne. Tracy popped out foul to Gignac, but the Navigators took a 6-0 advantage to the bottom of the seventh, where Rumpf replaced Cowperthwaite and put it away.


Rumpf caught Legere looking to start the frame, then got Brewer to pop out to short before working the count full and striking out Gignac to end it.

“(Portland) had a couple mishaps we took advantage of,” Falmouth coach Mike D’Andrea said. “We were fortunate to get those extra opportunities and we capitalized today. That was the difference in the game.”

Cowperthwaite stole the show with his six shutout innings, which saw him allow just two hits, walk two and fan 13.

“They hit the ball a little in the first inning, then I settled in,” Cowperthwaite said. “My fastball and my curveball were working. I didn’t really have to throw a change-up. (Ethan’s) a great catcher. I’m very comfortable with him.”

“Eli had good command today and he had good stuff,” D’Andrea said. “He was the big difference in the game. He threw two pitches. He didn’t have to throw many change-ups because his fastball and curveball were both effective. He minimized his pitch count with his control, so we were really happy with that. Ethan Hendry did a great job too. He’s only a sophomore and he blocked balls and made throws on the money.”

Rumpf closed it out with a perfect inning of relief, which included two strikeouts.


Falmouth got two hits and three runs batted in apiece from Gill and Simmons. Coyne and Hendry scored two runs each, while Gay and Gill also touched home.

The Navigators left six runners on.

Portland only managed four baserunners all game and stranded all four them. The Bulldogs had just two hits.

Fay-LeBlanc took the loss, despite none of the five runs he surrendered being earned. In four innings, Fay-LeBlanc gave up five hits, two walks and struck out four.

In three innings of relief, DiMillo gave up one run on one hit, walked two, struck out two and threw a wild pitch.

“I just told the guys we should still be playing,” said Portland coach Mike Rutherford. “It should be the top of the eighth inning. It should be 0-0. Cowperthwaite’s good and we knew that, but we had two errors and messed up communication in the outfield on a routine fly ball. That was a mental error, but it was an earned run. Falmouth’s a really good team, especially with Cowperthwaite on the mound and for us, without a strikeout pitcher on our staff, to beat one of the better teams, which Falmouth is, we had to be perfect defensively. We had three leadoff walks and they all scored.


“It wasn’t a great day to hit. Cowperthwaite will do that against every team he faces, not just Portland High School. He has three pitches he throws for strikes. He pounds the zone with a two-seamer and a four-seamer and he’s got a great change and a really nice curveball. If he can make good hitters like Henry Bibeau look off-balance, you know he’s got pretty good stuff.”

Next up

Portland is home again Saturday, versus Noble. The Bulldogs then take to the road next week to play reigning state champion South Portland and Sanford.

“We knew we’d have a tough time with Falmouth,” Rutherford said. “Westbrook was scrappy. Marshwood’s a good baseball team and that was a nice win for us, so I like being 2-1-1.”

Falmouth returns to action Saturday, when it visits Massabesic. The Navigators play host to Deering Tuesday.

“I think we look good so far,” said Cowperthwaite. “We have some battles coming up, but I’m confident in the team.”

“We’ve got a long way to go,” D’Andrea said. “We have to get better with the bats. We’ll get there. It’s still early and everybody’s in a similar boat being cold outside.”

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

Comments are not available on this story.