YARMOUTH—Beating a good team three times in one season is a daunting task.

When that team is a fierce rival and one of the storied programs in the state, it’s even tougher.

So when Yarmouth’s second-ranked baseball team welcomed a sixth-seeded Greely Rangers squad with nothing to lose in the Class B South semifinals Saturday afternoon, the odds did not appear to be in the Clippers’ favor.

But odds are no match for this team’s heart, skill and will and thanks to a terrific pitching performance from a player who is quick to point out he’s not a pitcher, junior second baseman Matt Gautreau taking a painful one for the team on three different occasions, mixed with some clutch hitting, base running and fielding, Yarmouth is heading somewhere it hasn’t been since 2017.

The regional final.

Greely, which entered the game surging at the right time, as it’s done so often over the years, took a quick lead against Clippers junior starter David Swift, as sophomore catcher Wyatt Soucie led off a walk, stole second, then came home on a clutch two-out RBI single from junior leftfielder Ryder Simpson.


Yarmouth then hit Rangers’ sophomore starter Keeler Vogt hard in the bottom half, only to have nothing to show for it.

The Clippers then turned momentum in their favor in the second, as junior designated hitter Sam Lowenstein sparked a rally with a bunt single, stole second, then came home on a bloop RBI single off the bat of senior centerfielder Jonny Cody to tie the score.

In the third, Gautreau was hit by a pitch, not for the first or the last time, then he raced home all the way from first on an RBI double from Swift to put Yarmouth ahead for good.

With Swift holding the Rangers at bay, the Clippers gradually added to their lead, as they made it 3-1 with an unearned run in the fourth, then tacked on two more in the fifth, as junior shortstop Andrew Cheever came home on a ground ball off the bat of senior third baseman Stevie Walsh, then Swift scored on a wild pitch.

After Cheever came on in relief and set Greely down in the top of the sixth, Swift provided one last highlight with his bat, when he hit an RBI single to score Gautreau, who had been hit with a pitch yet again.

Cheever then worked out of trouble in the seventh and slammed the door on a 6-1 victory.


Yarmouth improved to 13-5, ended Greely’s season at 11-8, handing the Rangers three of their losses, and advanced to take on No. 1 Cape Elizabeth (14-3-1) in the Class B South Final Tuesday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish at a time to be announced.

“Greely’s a great team, a great program,” said longtime Clippers coach Marc Halsted. “We have all the respect in the world for them and we want to go toe-to-toe against them.”


For much of the 2023 season, Greely couldn’t put it together, as it lingered at the .500 mark late in the year, then finished 9-7 (see sidebar for links to previous stories), but the Rangers flipped the switch late and despite being ranked just sixth for the tournament, managed to advance by virtue of a 5-1 win over No. 11 York in the preliminary round and a 9-2 victory at No. 3 Wells in Thursday’s semifinals.

Yarmouth, meanwhile, rode a nine-game win streak to an eventual 11-5 record and the No. 2 ranking in the region.

Thursday, the Clippers trailed No. 10 Leavitt late in their quarterfinal, but scored once in the sixth and walked it off in the seventh on a wild pitch to prevail, 2-1.


Yarmouth swept Greely this regular season for the first time in 13 years, rolling to a 12-2 victory at Twin Brook, then holding off the visiting Rangers, 4-2.

The teams had played seven previous times in the tournament (see sidebar), with Greely holding a 5-2 advantage. The most recent meeting came in the 2016 Class B South quarterfinals, a 2-0 Rangers’ victory.

Saturday, in front of a huge crowd on a day that featured both raindrops and brilliant sunshine, Greely started fast and looked to end the Clippers’ season, but Yarmouth made it clear that it isn’t ready to put away its bats and gloves.

Swift, normally a first baseman, began the game by throwing a strike to Soucie, but he missed on his next four offerings. Swift then caught junior second baseman Sam Almy looking at strike three, but with junior shortstop Marky Axelsen at the plate, Soucie stole second. Axelsen struck out looking as well, but Simpson came through in the clutch. After lining a deep drive down the rightfield line just foul, he singled to right and Soucie barely beat the throw home to open the scoring. Simpson stole second as well, but was stranded as senior designated hitter Mason Kelso struck out swinging.

The Clippers hoped to answer in the bottom half and Gautreau got things started by being plunked with Vogt’s first pitch of the game. Cheever then crushed a ball to deep center, but it was right at Rangers’ junior Jackson Leding for the first out. After Gautreau stole second, Swift then made solid contact as well, but his deep fly ball to left on a 3-2 pitch was snared by Simpson and Gautreau had to retreat to second.

“We’re used to lining into outs,” Halsted said. “We started the season 1-2 and only averaged 1.3 runs per game, but we swung the bats well. When we caught that heater and went 9-0, the balls were falling in.”


Walsh then struck out looking to end the threat.

Swift had his easiest inning in the top of the second, fanning senior third baseman Cam Irish on a high fastball, getting first baseman Alex Gamache to fly out to left, then striking out junior Ethan Robeck swinging as well.

Lowenstein led off the bottom half wit ha surprise bunt down the third base line and he beat it out for a single.

“We talk a lot about humility in this program,” Halsted said. “Sam can hit a three-run double, but for him to lead off with a base hit bunt, that was him saying, ‘Anything I can do to help the team right now.’ That was awesome.”

Lowenstein then stole second, but junior leftfielder Sam Bradford struck out looking. That brought up Cody and with Lowenstein on the move, Cody blooped a ball over the head of Axelsen for a single into left-center and Lowenstein easily scored to tie the game. Junior first baseman Jack Janczuk grounded into a third-to-second force out, as Irish made a nice play moving to his left, then Cody was called out as well for runner’s interference.

Swift started the top of the third by fanning Vogt, but Soucie reached on a sharp single to right. He was erased when he tried to steal second and was thrown out by Yarmouth junior catcher Graeme Roux. Almy then took strike three on the inside corner to retire the side.


The Clippers then went ahead to stay in the bottom half.

Roux nearly hit the ball out of the park on the first pitch he saw, but Simpson caught it right in front of fence in deep left. Gautreau was then hit by a pitch for a second time and Cheever went the other way and bid for extra bases, but rightfielder Sam Carter, stationed nearly straight-away in center, raced over to make the catch for the second out. That brought up Swift, who hit a shot just fair down the leftfield line for extra bases. Gautreau, who was moving on the play, rounded second, didn’t slow as he rounded third, then took off for home. The throw was strong but on the first base side and Gautreau dove in with the go-ahead run, as Swift took second with a double.

“We stayed on attack and were aggressive,” Gautreau said. “I was stealing already and (David) put it on the ground to leftfield and (Coach) waved me around. Coach told me to get down. Better safe than sorry.”

“I was pretty happy with my first at-bat,” Swift said. “I know it got caught, but I hit it hard. Next time, I got a fastball and pulled it down the line. I didn’t think (Matt would) score. That was an aggressive send. He’s the fastest guy on the team, so of course he scored.”

“I was 50-50 (whether or not to send Matt home), then I saw the lead throw slightly off line and I figured I’d take a risk and with Matt Gautreau, you always take a risk,” Halsted added. “He’s a winner. He’s tougher than most. Everything you want in a ballplayer and in a human being. He’s gritty and he’ll keep attacking and attacking.”

Walsh walked on a full count pitch, but Lowenstein hit a little squibber in front of the plate and was thrown out by Soucie, keeping the score 2-1.


In the top of the fourth, Swift got Axelsen to ground sharply to Walsh at third, then induced Simpson to hit a long fly out to right. Kelso drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, but Irish looked at strike three for the third out.

Yarmouth tacked on another run in the bottom half for a little insurance.

Bradford got things started with a grounder to short, where Axelsen’s throw to first was wide, allowing Bradford to reach safely. Cody then bunted down the third base line and the ball died for an easy single. That brought up Janczuk, who also bunted down the line and Vogt’s throw to first was wild, allowing Bradford to come in and score, putting runners at second and third in the process.

The Clippers had a chance to break it open, but Vogt bore down and after Roux failed to get a bunt down, Cody was thrown out in a rundown between third and home. Roux eventually walked, but when Gautreau grounded out back to the mound, Janczuk tried to race home from third, but Gamache’s throw home was just in time for Soucie to apply the tag and end the inning.

Swift then fell behind Gamache 3-1 leading off the top of the fifth, but got him to ground back to the mound. Robeck was next and he lined a single to center on the first pitch he saw. Cheever was primed to come into the game in relief, but Swift did the job himself, battling back from a 3-1 count to fan sophomore pinch-hitter Wes Piper before getting Soucie to squib the ball in front of the plate, where Roux made a great play to pounce on it and throw him out by a step.

“We were ready to bring in Cheever in the sixth because we thought ‘Big Rig’ was running out of gas, but David refused to allow it,” Halsted said.


Yarmouth finally broke it open in the bottom half.

Cheever led off by drawing a four-pitch walk off Vogt, then Swift singled through the hole between short and third. With Walsh at the plate, Vogt threw a wild pitch to move the runners up and that loomed large when Walsh hit a grounder to second. The infield was playing in, but Almy’s throw home was too late to catch Cheever.

Greely coach Derek Soule pulled Vogt for Simpson and Simpson’s outing began inauspiciously with a wild pitch that allowed Swift to score to make it 5-1. Simpson avoided further damage by catching both Lowenstein and Bradford looking before getting Cody to line out to first.

Cheever did come on to start the sixth and after throwing two strikes to Almy, he hit him with an off-speed pitch to give the Rangers life. Cheever then extinguished those hopes by fanning Axelsen on a 3-2 pitch, getting Simpson to look an off-speed pitch for strike three and after Kelso singled through the hole, getting Irish to hit a grounder to Walsh, who had moved to short, and while the ball deflected off Walsh’s glove, it fortuitously ricocheted right to Gautreau standing on the second base bag to retire the side.

“We actually work on that a lot,” said Halsted. “A little backhand redirection. That’s Stevie Walsh being Stevie Walsh.”

The Clippers tacked on one more run in the bottom of the sixth, courtesy some two-out magic.


Simpson got Janczuk to ground out to short, then senior pinch-hitter Truman Peters lined right back to the pitcher on the first pitch he saw, but for the third time, Gautreau was hit by a pitch and while he in was in obvious pain, Gautreau stayed in the game and immediately stole second.

“The last one really hurt,” said Gautreau. “It’s playoffs. I just try to get on base and help my team.”

After Cheever drew a walk, Swift delivered the coup de grace, a single the other way, to rightfield, and Gautreau scored easily, while Cheever took third. Swift stole second, but Walsh’s line drive was caught by Irish at third to send the game to the top of the seventh.

Where Yarmouth punched its ticket to the regional final.

Cheever got Gamache to bounce out to second on the first pitch he saw, then Robeck lined out to Swift at third, who made a nice sprawling catch.

To its credit, Greely refused to go quietly, as pinch-hitter Zach Vanni drew a four-pitch walk and Soucie singled up the middle, but Almy hit a fly ball to center and Cody let it nestle in his glove for the final out of the Clippers’ 6-1 victory.


Yarmouth’s offense was paced by Swift, who doubled, had two singles, drove in two runs and scored once.

“David Swift turned on a fastball and hit a line drive down the line for an RBI, then pushes one to rightfield with two strikes for an RBI, then hits one through the hole,” Halsted said. “That’s hitting. Using the whole field. That’s almost professional.”

Cody also had two hits.

Gautreau scored twice, while Bradford, Cheever and Lowenstein also touched home.

Cody and Walsh also had RBI.

The Clippers left seven runners on base.


Swift earned the victory by allowing just one run on three hits in five strong innings. He walked two, but struck out nine and earned high praise in the aftermath.

“I don’t really consider myself a pitcher, but I had to pitch today,” Swift said. “I just stepped up and did it for all the boys. Sometimes you have to step up for the seniors. I’ve gotten better at staying steady. Anything can happen in baseball. A game’s never over. I just told myself to keep pitching. I stayed the same throughout the game. I had more fun when we had the lead and the more fun you’re having, the better you play. I didn’t shake off a single sign from Graeme. I trusted my teammates to do the job.”

“We were confident (in David) to have a great outing,” Gautreau said. “He can pitch and hit for us.”

“David Swift, I believe he had two starts during the year, maybe three, but he got ahead of hitters and he battled today,” Halsted said. “He stayed inside himself. That was difference. He took deep breaths and simplified things.

“He looked a lot like Gibson Harnett (the hero of the 2017 championship run) out there. Gibson would give up a run in the first inning and then throw 20 consecutive scoreless innings. Gibson Harnett wouldn’t let a run bother him, or a 3-0 count bother him. David Swift looked a lot like Gibson Harnett today.”

Cheever got the save with two scoreless innings. He surrendered two hits and a walk, but struck out a pair.


“I have all the trust in the world in Cheever,” Swift said.

Much to build on

For Greely, Soucie had two hits and scored the lone run. Simpson had the RBI.

The Rangers had their chances, but stranded seven.

Vogt took the loss, giving up five runs (three earned) in four-plus innings. He walked three, hit two and struck out two.

Simpson surrendered two earned runs on two hits in two innings of relief. He walked one and fanned two.


“Today, we made some mistakes, but our guys really competed and made some plays to keep us in the game,” Soule said. “It was nice we came out with some fire and got the early lead. There were some close calls that swung momentum. A ball that just hit the line for them, then we had a near home run and another ball that went just foul. That changes the momentum in a hurry. Things didn’t fall our way. We made some mistakes that allowed them to open it up. Yarmouth did a good job putting pressure on us. With each game, we got a little better handling it. Today, we bent but didn’t break, then eventually the pressure got to us. They did a great job all year of putting pressure on our defense. Over the years, we’ve taken a lot of pride at handling that. We’ll learn and get better.

“I’m just proud of this team for how hard they worked from the time we were struggling at 7-7 and there were questions whether we’d even get in the playoffs and from that point on, we played with a lot of energy, grit and heart and got two big wins at the end of the season and two nice playoff wins. We graduated a lot and it was a young team, so there were a lot of growing pains through the season. There were only two senior starters today. We had a sophomore pitcher and a sophomore catcher.”

Greely will return the core of this year’s team and will be even stronger in 2024.

“We’ll greatly miss this group of seniors,” Soule said. “It’s a tremendous group of fun personalities, really good student-athletes. I had the pleasure of having a lot of them in my (social studies/English) classroom. They worked hard both in the classroom and on the field.

“All the pitchers, the catcher, the vast majority of starters are coming back. We’ll keep working and be back next year ready to compete.”

And one and a two


Yarmouth lost at Cape Elizabeth in the regular season finale, 1-0, May 30.

The Clippers are just 1-4 all-time versus the Capers in the playoffs, with last year’s 5-0 setback in the quarterfinals the most recent.

Senior ace Liam Hickey will get the ball and try to propel Yarmouth to the state final for the first time in six seasons.

“Nothing’s better than a regional final,’ said Swift. “We’ll keep the same energy and have fun and be ourselves.”

“We’ll come out and be aggressive,” Gautreau said. “There’s no worse feeling than losing. That (basketball regional final loss to Oceanside still) lingers. We’ll try to get the job done.”

“If we score more than zero runs, we’ll have a chance,” added Halsted. “I always like my chances with this group. We’ve got guys who have won state championships in golf, football, soccer, basketball. I have guys who haven’t even played yet in the playoffs who I’d trust in key situations.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net.

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