STANDISH—For years, Yarmouth’s baseball team has resorted to all kinds of trickery to win games.

Wednesday evening at the Larry Mahaney Diamond on the campus of St. Joseph’s College, the Clippers kept it simple, relying on their bats and the right arm of senior ace Liam Hickey to defeat Cape Elizabeth in the Class B South Final.

And as a result, they’re now a single victory shy of the big prize.

Second-ranked Yarmouth struck quickly, as junior first baseman David Swift produced the biggest hit of his life to date, a three-run home run in the top of the first, which staked Hickey to an early 3-0 lead.

The top-seeded Capers answered, as sophomore designated hitter Jimmy Hollowell drove in junior shortstop Gabe Harmon with a single in the bottom half, then in the third, junior catcher Charlie Song doubled in Harmon to cut the deficit to just one.

But Hickey bore down, allowing just one hit the rest of the way, and he got some insurance in the top of the fourth when junior catcher Graeme Roux delivered a clutch two-out RBI single to score junior rightfielder Jack Janczuk.


Cape Elizabeth couldn’t respond and Hickey went the distance, striking out sophomore rightfielder Jameson Bryant to end it, and the Clippers prevailed, 4-2.

Yarmouth improved to 14-5, ended Cape Elizabeth’s season at 14-4-1 and advanced to the Class B state final for the first time since 2017, where it will take on Old Town (15-3) Saturday at 1 p.m., at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.

“I did nothing tonight,” said longtime Clippers coach Marc Halsted. “We didn’t drop a bunt, we didn’t steal, we didn’t do anything. We just hit our way into a win. It’s nice we could play a different game when we need to.”

Getting the jump

In a season where it appeared just about every playoff qualifier had a chance to win a regional title, it ultimately was the top two teams that were left standing (see sidebar for links to previous stories).

Cape Elizabeth enjoyed a memorable first year under coach Donny Dutton, winning its first eight games and finishing 12-3-1 (the Capers’ tie came in a game against Mt. Ararat which they won when a courtesy runner was inappropriately put into the play by the umpire in the decisive 10th inning, forcing the score to revert back to what it was heading into the frame).


Cape Elizabeth blanked No. 8 Morse (4-0) in the quarterfinals, then rode a six-run second inning to a 7-2 victory over No. 5 Fryeburg Academy in Saturday’s semifinals.

Yarmouth, meanwhile, started 1-2 and finished 1-3, but in-between, it won nine straight when it crushed the baseball on a regular basis.

The Clippers rallied to edge No. 10 Leavitt, 2-1, in the quarterfinals, then beat No. 6 Greely for the third time this spring, 6-1, in Saturday’s semifinals.

The rivals met in the regular season finale May 30, where Yarmouth failed to score on a squeeze bunt in the top of the seventh while the Capers got one down in the bottom half to prevail, 1-0.

Hickey, who was the losing pitcher that day, immediately looked forward to earning revenge.

“Liam Hickey is a different human being,” Halsted. “Liam had flipped the switch before the ball got to his glove because he knew he couldn’t get (the winning run) at home. He looked at me coming off the field before the runner reached home plate and said, ‘We’ll get them next time Coach.’ It was unbelievable. That’s Liam Hickey. It’s a great lesson of life and sports. Flip the switch, turn the page, next one matters.”


Cape Elizabeth had won four of five prior playoff meetings (see sidebar), including a 5-0 decision in last year’s quarterfinals, in a game where if it wasn’t for bad luck, the Clippers wouldn’t have had any lucky at all.

This time around, a link to the past provided Yarmouth with a lift before the first pitch was even thrown.

“Before the game, (junior leftfielder) Sam Bradford forgot his jersey,” Halsted said. “The only jersey I had in my bag is number 17 because I carry that with me. The last time number 17 was on this field, (Gibson Harnett, one of the heroes of the 2017 title run) started in leftfield. Tonight, the starting leftfielder put on number 17 and ran out for pregame. You can’t make that up. Whatever you believe in in this world, Gibson Harnett decided to show up tonight.”

Then, on a dry, comfortable 65-degree evening, Yarmouth set the tone from the onset and went on to the regional title.

Cape Elizabeth senior starter Curtis Sullivan delivers the game’s first pitch to Yarmouth junior Matt Gautreau. Hoffer photos.

Junior second baseman Matt Gautreau led off against Capers senior starter Curtis Sullivan and after falling behind in the count, 0-2, worked it full, then blooped a single to center to set the tone. Junior shortstop Andrew Cheever was next and he went the other way, singling to right to put runners at first and second. That set the stage for Swift, who is well known for pounding the ball, but had yet to hit a high school home run.

With a flair for the dramatic, Swift saved his first high school home run for the big stage, crushing a first-pitch Sullivan fastball to deep left. Senior leftfielder Sam Lombardo went back to the fence, but he had no chance and the ball cleared the wall to give the Clippers a sudden 3-0 advantage.


Yarmouth junior David Swift is greeted by his teammates after his first inning home run.

“I was just staying with my approach and trying to hit something hard,” Swift said. “I was thinking (opposite field), but he put it down the middle and I turned on it. It was all Matt and Andrew starting it and I was lucky to put a good swing on it. I knew I hit it pretty well, but it didn’t clear the fence by that much. It was kind of surreal. I didn’t really believe what I just did. It’s my first high school home run. I’m just happy to do it here for my teammates. It’s a great feeling.”

“Getting that early lead really set the tone and gave us confidence,” said Roux. “We hadn’t been hitting well lately, but Dave’s home run really helped out.”

“Having that lead was huge,” Hickey said. “It helps so much. When he hit it, I thought, ‘Let’s go.’ It took a lot of pressure off of me.”

“That was a bomb,” Halsted added. “We have all the respect in the world for Curtis Sullivan. We knew he could beat us, so to get three runs in the first four minutes of the game meant a lot.”

“Swift’s a good player and he’ll the ball that far when he gets a pitch there,” Dutton said. “You have to tip your cap to him. He got a good swing on it.”

Sullivan got his first out when he got senior third baseman Stevie Walsh to fly out to center on a 3-2 pitch. Junior designated hitter Sam Lowenstein then hit the ball hard, but right at senior third baseman Ben Altenburg, who threw him out. Senior centerfielder Jonny Cody followed with a bloop single to center, but Bradford grounded out to third to retire the side.


Yarmouth senior pitcher Liam Hickey delivers to Cape Elizabeth’s Sam Lombardo in the bottom of the first.

Cape Elizabeth hit Hickey hard in the bottom half, but only managed to get one run back.

Hickey fanned Lombardo leading off, but Harmon singled to center, just over the glove of a leaping Gautreau, to get things started. After Harmon stole second, Song blooped a single to left and Hollowell followed with a single between first and second to score Harmon and put runners at the corners. Altenburg flew out to Cody in center, but it wasn’t deep enough to score the run, then Hickey avoided further damage by fanning senior first baseman Owen Tighe.

Sullivan had a quick top of the second, fanning Janczuk, getting Roux to line out softly to second on a check swing, then getting Gautreau to pop out to second.

Hickey made quick work of the Capers in the bottom half as well, as he got sophomore second baseman Brady Inman to ground out to short, where Cheever made a nice play from the hole, fanned senior centerfielder Antonio Dell’Aquila, then caught Bryant looking at strike three.

Cheever led off the top of the third by grounding to short, where Harmon threw wildly, sending Cheever to second. He’d be stranded, however, as Sullivan got Swift top pop out foul to first, Walsh to line out to right and Lowenstein to watch strike three.

Cape Elizabeth then crept closer in the bottom half.


Lombardo led off and beat out an infield single to the right side on a ball Hickey couldn’t quite reach. Harmon then popped up to first with Lombardo running and Swift, hoping to catch the ball and double off the runner, dropped the ball, but managed to retire the lead runner. That brought up Song, who ripped a double down the leftfield line. By the time Bradford got the ball back to the infield, Harmon had come all the way around to score. Hollowell grounded out to third, putting the tying run at third, but Hickey got Altenburg to pop up to first to keep the score 3-2.

Yarmouth got the run right back in the top of the fourth.

Cody grounded out to short, but Bradford came up big with a double to left, then Sullivan plunked Janczuk on the foot with an 0-2 pitch. With Roux at the plate, both runners took off with Janczuk slowing in an attempt to draw a throw. It worked and Bradford rounded third and took off for home, but he was thrown out, with Janczuk settling at second base. Roux still managed to deliver the run with a base hit to right-center, making it 4-2.

“I was looking to go opposite (field) and I thought I could leg out a double,” Roux said. “I didn’t get a double, but it scored the run.”

“Graeme bats ninth for a reason,” Halsted said. “He’s our second leadoff man. His on-base percentage is .400-plus. He’s just a baseball player through and through. He’ll find a way. He’s so underrated. He’s one of the most valuable players we have. He moved up from Florida two years ago and we’re so happy he did.”

“It comes down to making the plays and (Roux) put it in play and that held us at bay a little bit,’ Dutton lamented. “That was a big momentum switch going the other way and we couldn’t get it going after that.”


Gautreau was next and blooped a single to right, but Roux was thrown out trying to get to third, ending the inning.

In the bottom half, Hickey caught Tighe looking at strike three, got Inman to line to center on the first pitch, then induced a fly out to center off the bat of Dell’Aquila to quickly retire the side.

The Clippers went in order in the top of the fifth, as Cheever lined out to Bryant in right, who made a nice sliding catch, Swift grounded out to short and Walsh chased strike three.

In the bottom half, Bryant chopped the ball over Hickey’s head leading off, but Cheever raced in and made a nice play to throw him out. Lombardo then hit a double to left-center to bring the tying run to the plate, but Hickey wouldn’t be touched the rest of the way. After getting Harmon to ground out to second, moving Lombardo to third, Hickey got Song to pop foul to Roux to end the threat.

Yarmouth threatened to break it open in the top of the sixth, but couldn’t do so.

Lowenstein led off with a sharp single to right-center on the first pitch he saw. After Cody popped out foul behind the plate to Song, who made a nice catch at the screen, Bradford singled down the leftfield line, but Janczuk grounded back to the mound and Sullivan threw to third for the force out, then Roux struck out looking.


In the bottom half, Hickey got Hollowell to bounce to third, Altenburg to strike out looking and Tighe to ground out to Swift at first unassisted.

Bryant came on to pitch the top of the seventh and he kept the game within reach by getting Gautreau to ground to third and after Cheever singled to left, he got Swift to pop out to second and Walsh to ground into a short-to-second force out.

Hickey then came out to finish it off in the bottom half.

Inman flew out to right on a 1-2 pitch, then on the first pitch of his at-bat, sophomore Andy Choi lined to Cheever at short. That left it up to Bryant, who at 8:02 p.m., chased strike three and the Clippers were able to celebrate their 4-2 victory.

Senior Stevie Walsh jumps for joy and Yarmouth celebrates its Class B South title.

“It feels good to get that last out by strikeout,” Hickey said. “It’s a big moment. It’s so fun celebrating with this group. Seeing them run on the field to celebrate is just the best feeling in the world.”

“I was slow to get to the mosh pit but I loved the experience,” Roux said.


Yarmouth’s offense featured two hits apiece from Bradford, Cheever and Gautreau, but the biggest blow came from Swift, who had three RBI and scored a run, as did Cheever, Gautreau and Janczuk. Roux also drove in a run.

The Clippers stranded six base runners.

Hickey went the distance to earn the win, allowing two runs on six hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven.

Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted hugs senior Liam Hickey in the postgame ceremony.

“There’s obviously some nerves first inning, big game, but after the first inning, I settled down,” Hickey said. “I like (pitching here). It’s fun. A lot of energy. I knew I have the best infield, outfield and catcher in state behind me. I just pitch where (Graeme) he gives me the sign and the guys do the rest. I came out after the sixth inning and I told (Coach) I wanted to finish it. He trusted me to keep going.”

“I can tell in the bullpen if he’s on,” Roux said. “If I see that curveball and change-up are looking really good, I know he’ll be locked in the entire game. He looked amazing tonight.”

“Liam doesn’t throw 93 (miles-per-hour),” Halsted added. “He’s a pitcher’s pitcher. He’s just gritty and hard-nosed. He doesn’t care if he gives up a run. There was no reason not to go to Cheever in the seventh, but before we came up in the top of the seventh, he came up to me and said, ‘Coach, what are we doing?’ I asked him what he wanted. He said, ‘I want to go back out.’ He just gets better as he goes. Now, he’s one of the best pitchers in the state. He’s tougher than most.”


“Liam’s a really good pitcher,” Dutton said. “We tried to put the ball in play, but he did a really good job.”

What a run

Cape Elizabeth got two hits apiece from Lombardo and Song, while Harmon scored twice. Hollowell and Song had RBI.

The Capers left three runners on base.

Sullivan took the loss, giving up four runs on nine hits in six innings. He struck out four.

“Curtis settled in after the first inning and kept us in the ball game,” Dutton said.


Bryant pitched a scoreless inning of relief, surrendering one hit.

“We accomplished a lot this year,” Dutton said. “It’s a great group of kids and it starts with the seniors. This is something they’ll remember the rest of their lives. We’re resilient, but it just didn’t go our way today. I feel for the seniors. I told them for being a first-time varsity coach, I’m glad it was with this group and we have something to build on for the future.”

Cape Elizabeth loses a lot of talent to graduation, but has set a standard of being a top team in Class B South and that should be the case again next spring.

“The sophomore class is very good and we have Gabe back, so we’ll be in a really good spot next year as well,” Dutton said. “Class B is very competitive with us, Yarmouth, Greely, Wells, York. People won’t overlook us next year, so hopefully, we’ll be in the same type of situation and go at it again.”

Off to Bangor

Yarmouth beat Old Town to win the 2017 state title, 3-0. The Coyotes knocked off reigning state champion Ellsworth in the Class B North Final Wednesday and figure to be a daunting challenge for the Clippers Saturday.


But Yarmouth is ready and eager to win one more time.

“I’m confident in whoever pitches next game,” Roux said.

“I love my team,” Swift said. “Baseball’s fun and we just need to keep having fun.”

“I want to walk off the field as a champion,” Hickey said. “That’s definitely the goal. We have the team to do that, but it starts with practice tomorrow and the next day. We have to stay locked in and not get too high or too low. I have a good feeling.”

“Our seniors have all won in other sports,” Halsted added. “They know how to win and they expect to win and they do what it takes to win selflessly. The 2017 team, we took pride in the fact we didn’t look good coming off the bus or in uniform, but we dug in and brought our lunch pail to work. This team is good and they expect to be good. Throw in a healthy mix of confidence and guys who play travel ball and guys who love Yarmouth baseball and it’s a cool mix. I’ve played more games at Mansfield Complex than any place than Yarmouth. I’m very comfortable there. I have a lot of affection for it. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ll worry about our team. Whoever Old Town has, I’m sure they’re fantastic. We’ll just go up there and go toe-to-toe with them.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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