CAPE ELIZABETH—Baseball players have long memories.

As well as an urge to avenge previous shortcomings.

Monday afternoon at Holman Field, the Cape Elizabeth Capers reminded the visiting, reigning Class B South champion Yarmouth Clippers that it’s 2024, not 2023, on a couple of fronts.

First, the Capers did a much better job of putting the ball in play and that ultimately led to a tasty dose of revenge, a 7-2 victory in an early-season showdown between the ancient rivals.

Early on, Cape Elizabeth junior ace Jameson Bryant was masterful, retiring all nine batters he faced in the first three innings and his teammates gave him a run to work with when junior second baseman Brady Inman singled home senior centerfielder Charlie Song in the bottom of the first.

But the Clippers are nothing if not resilient and in the top of the fourth, they took the lead on a two-run single from senior centerfielder Sam Bradford.


The Capers drew even in the bottom half, on an RBI single from senior rightfielder Ceroi Mello, and then in the fifth, they broke it open with a four-spot, as junior first baseman Andy Choi singled home the go-ahead run, Bryant helped himself with a two-run double and Song made it a four-run lead with a two-out RBI single.

After senior Gabe Harmon came on to set Yarmouth down in order in the top of the sixth, Choi brought home another run in the bottom half with an RBI grounder and Harmon struck out the side in the seventh to bring the curtain down on an impressive 7-2 victory.

Cape Elizabeth improved to 3-0 on the young season, dropped the Clippers to 1-1 and in the process, served notice that it aims to finish the job this time around.

“We were fired up for this one,” said Bryant, the winning pitcher. “A lot of people on the team remembered last year’s game. We’re used to playing Yarmouth later in the season. We got them early this year and I think it’s just a good team win to beat them.”

Rivalry renewed

Last spring, Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth played two memorable games over a two-week span.


The Capers took the first one, eking out a 1-0 home win in the regular season finale to earn the top seed for the playoffs, but the Clippers turned the tables in the Class B South Final, riding an early home run from then-junior David Swift to a 4-2 victory.

Yarmouth went on to a drop a 1-0 decision to Old Town in the Class B state game, but returns enough talent this spring to go on another title run. The Clippers started last week with an 11-1 (six-inning) home victory over Lake Region.

Cape Elizabeth, meanwhile, has also started fast, edging visiting Poland in the opener (3-2, in eight-innings) before blanking host Leavitt (4-0).

Monday, on a typical April afternoon (50 degrees with a cold wind blowing), the rivals renewed acquaintances with the Capers putting on an impressive performance virtually throughout.

Cape Elizabeth junior pitcher Jameson Bryant fires a strike to Yarmouth senior Matt Gautreau leading off the Capers’ 7-2 victory Monday. Hoffer photos.

Bryant made quick work of Yarmouth in the top of the first, getting senior second baseman Matt Gautreau to strike out on three pitches, senior shortstop Andrew Cheever to ground out to second and Swift, the pitcher, to bounce to third on the first pitch he saw.

Swift ran into immediate trouble in the bottom half, as he fielded a squibber off the bat of Song and threw to first, but hit the runner in the process, allowing Song to reach on the error. Song then stole second and Harmon, who started the contest at shortstop, drew a walk. Inman then delivered the game’s first hit, a single up the middle, which brought home Song for a 1-0 lead.


Cape Elizabeth had a chance to put up a crooked number as after junior catcher Jimmy Hollowell lined out hard to right, Choi drew a walk to load the bases, but Swift got Bryant to watch strike three on a 1-2 pitch, then got freshman leftfielder Max Hayward to line out sharply to Bradford in center to retire the side.

Bryant then shut the Clippers down in the top of the second, getting Bradford to watch strike three, senior rightfielder Sam Lowenstein to ground out to third, then fanning senior first baseman Jack Janczuk.

Yarmouth senior pitcher David Swift delivers to Cape Elizabeth senior Charlie Song.

Swift settled in and retired the side in the bottom half, getting Mello to watch strike three, sophomore third baseman Caiden Johnson to bounce out to short and Song to line out to third.

Bryant fanned Yarmouth senior catcher Graeme Roux with an off-speed pitch leading off the top of the third, then he got junior designated hitter Bobby Wolff to ground out to third and junior third baseman Alec Gagnon to bounce out to second, making it nine up, nine down to that point.

The Capers hit the ball hard in the bottom half but had nothing to show for it, as after Swift caught Harmon looking at strike three, Inman flew out deep to left, then Hollowell lined out deep to center.

The Clippers managed to generate some offense in the top of the fourth.


Gautreau fell behind in the count two strikes leading off, but worked it back full before drawing a walk to become his team’s first baserunner. Cheever then hit a sharp grounder to first, which went off the glove of Choi, putting runners at first and second. Gautreau and Cheever then pulled off a double steal, but Bryant struck out Swift. That brought up Bradford, who got the job done, singling into the hole between third and short, scoring both runners to put Yarmouth in front.

Yarmouth senior Matt Gautreau crosses the plate with his team’s first run.

“I was definitely happy with the compete factor in the fourth inning,” said longtime Clippers coach Marc Halsted. “Some quality at-bats, good baserunning, a big hit from Sam Bradford.”

Bradford moved up to second on the play on an error, but in a momentum-turning play, he was picked off by Bryant, who threw behind the runner to Harmon, who applied the tag. Lowenstein then drew a walk, but Janczuk lined out to Inman at second, keeping the score 2-1.

“I had to keep composure,” Bryant said. “I couldn’t let it get to me because if they had gotten more than two runs that inning, it could have been a different ball game.”

The Capers responded in the bottom half.

Choi grounded out to first leading off, but Bryant drew a walk and in a perfectly executed hit-and-run, went all the way to third when Hayward singled through the right side, where Gautreau was seconds earlier before covering second base on the steal attempt. With runners at the corners, Mello came up huge, singling down the leftfield line to score Bryant with the tying run. Hayward was thrown out trying to advance to third by senior leftfielder Max Gilbert, but Mello went to second on the throw. When Johnson and Song each walked on a 3-2 pitches, Cape Elizabeth had the bases loaded for Harmon, but Swift, on his final pitch of the afternoon, got the slugger to ground up the first base line where Swift grabbed the ball and tagged out Harmon to keep the score tied, 2-2, heading to the fifth inning.


There, Bryant returned to his lockdown ways, getting Roux to ground out to third on a full-count pitch, fanning Wolff on an off-speed pitch, then getting Gagnon to line out to short, where Harmon made a tremendous diving catch to retire the side.

That set the stage for the Capers’ big uprising in the bottom half, which turned the game in their favor for good.

Cheever came on to pitch with Swift moving to third, Gautreau to shortstop and Gagnon to second.

Inman got the rally started by battling back from a 1-2 count to work it full before drawing a leadoff walk. Hollowell walked as well and that set the stage for Choi to produce a clinic on how to come through in the clutch.

Choi fell behind in the count, but kept fouling the ball off before making contact and lining the ball down the rightfield line for a single which easily scored Inman with the go-ahead run and sent Hollowell to third.

“We have a team-wide approach that when you get to two strikes, you keep working,” said Choi. “Our hitting coach, Erik Schwab, is very good at his job, at getting the boys hyped up. It’s not about individual at-bats, it’s team at-bats. I was just trying to get the ball to the outfield to get the run home.”


“Andy’s a guy who just wants to put the ball in play,” said Cape Elizabeth’s second-year coach Donny Dutton. “He was down two strikes, but he put a barrel on the ball and made some magic happen on the bases.”

After Choi stole second, it was Bryant’s turn to deliver a key hit, as he went the other way, driving the ball to right, where it sliced away from Lowenstein and dropped near the line for a double which easily brought home Hollowell and Choi to make it 5-2.

“In this game, because the pitchers were living outside, we thought outside and adjusted inside,” said Bryant. “Last year, we struck out a lot. This year, whenever we get to two strikes we want to put the ball in play for the team.”

“The main emphasis this year is having a good two-strike approach, putting the ball in play,” said Dutton. “Good team at-bats and going from there. We struck out as a team way too much last year for my liking.”

After Hayward beat out an infield single to deep short with Bryant holding at second, Mello flew out deep to center, then Johnson chased strike three, but Song came through with a single to center, scoring Bryant, when Roux couldn’t handle a strong throw home from Bradford. With runners at first and third, Harmon had a chance to add to the lead, but he grounded out back to the mound.

Regardless, the Capers had batted around and were in command, up, 6-2.


Harmon came on to pitch the top of the sixth and he made quick work of Yarmouth, getting Gautreau to chase the first pitch and ground out to short, then getting Cheever to ground out sharply to first before fanning Swift.

In the bottom half, Cape Elizabeth tacked on another run, against Bradford.

Inman led off with a single to right and stole second. Hollowell popped out foul to first and on the play, Inman tagged up and went to third. He then came home when Choi grounded out to second. Bryant then lined the ball down the rightfield line where Gilbert, who had moved over from left earlier in the inning, made a fabulous running catch in fair territory to retire the side.

Harmon then slammed the door in the seventh, not allowing a ball to be put in play.

First, Harmon caught Bradford looking at strike three. After blowing strike three past Lowenstein, Harmon caught Janczuk looking at strike three to finish off the Capers’ 7-2 victory.

“The guys haven’t forgotten last year,” Dutton said. “We’re returning six dudes who played in (the regional final). It still burns a little bit that (Yarmouth) beat us. I feel great about this team. This is a team that is very competitive. They’re buying into winning baseball games.”


Bryant earned his first victory after allowing two unearned runs on just one hit in five innings. Bryant walked two and struck out six and punctuated several innings by shouting, ‘You like that?!!’

“I was feeling good,” said Bryant. “I’ve been looking forward to pitching against Yarmouth. My off-speed pitches were working. I was able to locate. On two-strike counts, I located a little lower and got swings and misses. My inside fastballs worked.”

“Jameson was on fire early,” Dutton said. “He pitched well. He’s one of the top pitchers in Class B. He does a good job mixing pitches and changing eye levels. He’s a competitor. He doesn’t want to lose. When he’s on the mound, the flip switches and he’s ready to go regardless of who the opponent is.”

Harmon was stifling in relief, throwing two perfect innings, fanning four.

“(Gabe’s) role the past couple years is for him to come in and get the last three outs, six outs, whatever the teams needs,” Dutton said. “He just battles.”

Offensively, Hayward and Inman each had a pair of hits. Bryant and Inman scored two runs apiece, while Choi, Hollowell and Song also touched home plate. Bryant and Choi each drove in a pair of runs, while Inman, Mello and Song added one RBI apiece.


Cape Elizabeth stranded eight baserunners.

Yarmouth’s offense was limited to Bradford’s two-run single, which scored Cheever and Gautreau.

The Clippers left just one runner on.

Swift went four innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) on three hits and five walks. He struck out three.

Cheever took the loss, giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits in his inning of work. Cheever walked two and fanned one.

“Andrew threw seven of nine first pitch strikes and usually that ends up better than how it did,” said Halsted. “They just had good at-bats.”


Bradford gave up a run on a hit in one inning.

“It was a massive win for Cape,” said Halsted. “Their reaction after almost every competitive situation was phenomenal. Good for them. Everybody wants to beat us. We accept that. It’s early in the year. We have seven more weeks of baseball and we will ascend. I wake up every day knowing I teach and coach at Yarmouth. We have great kids. Every coach loves their kids, but I feel very lucky. ”

Full week

Yarmouth is back in action Wednesday with another big road test, versus Greely. The Clippers then host Wells Friday.

“I don’t worry about what’s next because Class B baseball is incredible,” Halsted said. “Every one of our games is a big game. There are no days off in Class B baseball and that’s fun.”

Cape Elizabeth goes to Wells Wednesday.

“We want to win it all,” said Choi. “Anyway we can. We know we’re going to get everybody’s best. We just have to keep grinding.”

“It comes down to getting hot at the right time, so we don’t want to peak too soon,” Dutton said. “We have a tough schedule. Class B South is very competitive and I like to think we’ll be near the top and be in the thick of things come June. The guys are hungry. They want to finish the job. The best nine guys will go out there and give us the best opportunity to win.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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