CUMBERLAND—When ancient rivals Greely and Cape Elizabeth meet in a playoff game, every pitch is magnified and no lead is ever safe.

Saturday evening, in a Class B South semifinal at Twin Brook Recreation Center, the top-ranked Rangers reminded everyone of the importance of insurance runs and as a result, they had just enough to survive and advance after a valiant comeback from the fourth-seeded Capers.

After Cape Elizabeth junior starter Jameson Bryant and Greely junior starter Keeler Vogt each pitched two scoreless innings to start the contest, the Capers broke through in the top of the third, as standout senior shortstop Gabe Harmon scored on an error.

But the Rangers came right back in the bottom half, tying the score after some derring-do on the basepaths, as junior catcher Wyatt Soucie stole home, then going ahead, 2-1, on a two-out, RBI single from clutch hitting sophomore first baseman Ben Kyles.

After Vogt escaped a no-outs, second-and-third jam in the top of the fifth, Greely appeared to put it away with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, as Kyles hit an RBI double and senior centerfielder Jackson Leding added a two-out, two-run single to make it 5-1.

Senior Ryder Simpson came on to close it out in the seventh, but Cape Elizabeth refused to fold, scoring three runs, due in large part to a couple of Rangers’ errors, but Simpson managed to get junior catcher Jimmy Hollowell to ground out to second base with the tying run on and Greely prevailed, 5-4.


The Rangers won their seventh consecutive contest, improved to 16-2, swept the season series against its rival, ending the Capers’ season at 11-7, and in the process, Greely advanced to the Class B South Final to take on No. 2 Yarmouth (14-4), the reigning regional champion, Tuesday at 3 p.m., at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

“I love this team and I love these seniors,” said longtime Greely coach Derek Soule. “We have Monday and Tuesday together, but I’d love another full week with them. We’ll fight like heck to make that happen.”

Fight to the finish

Greely and Cape Elizabeth have been among the elite in Class B South all season (see sidebar for links to previous stories).

The Capers started with three consecutive wins, then struggled against the top teams in the region but still wound up 10-6 to earn the No. 4 seed in Class B South.

Thursday, Cape Elizabeth overcame an early deficit to eliminate No. 12 Fryeburg Academy, 14-4, in five-innings, in its quarterfinal.


The Rangers lost twice by a run to reigning regional champion Yarmouth, but won their other 14 contests to earn the top seed in Class B South and in Wednesday’s quarterfinals, Greely put up 11 more runs in a mercy rule victory over No. 8 Freeport.

The Rangers won both regular season encounters, 7-5 on May 13, on a walkoff home run by Simpson, then again nine days later in Cape Elizabeth (9-1).

Greely entered play 8-6 all-time versus Cape Elizabeth in the playoffs, a postseason rivalry which dates to 1991 (see sidebar). The Rangers took the most recent encounter, 2-0, in the 2022 semifinals.

Saturday’s game was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., but a mid-afternoon thunderstorm made a mess of the field and while it was eventually made playable, first pitch was pushed back to 5:30.

“We were in the school hitting, listening to music, getting ready for the game when we heard about (the delay),” Vogt said. “We came down here and had an awesome pregame and we were ready to go.”

Once the game began, under sunny skies with temperatures near 70 degrees, the rivals went back-and-forth, but ultimately, Greely had just enough to hold on and move on.


Greely junior starting pitcher Keeler Vogt delivers a pitch to Cape Elizabeth catcher Jimmy Hollowell. The Rangers would go on to a 5-4 victory. Hoffer photos.

The game began inauspiciously for Vogt, as he plunked Harmon with a 1-0 pitch, but he settled in and fanned junior centerfielder Andy Choi, got junior first baseman Brady Inman to fly out to left on the first pitch he saw before inducing a ground out to third off the bat of freshman leftfielder Max Hayward to retire the side.

Bryant started the bottom of the first by getting Soucie to pop to second and catching senior third baseman Marky Axelsen watching strike three, but Simpson, who began the game in leftfield, drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch. Bryant then got junior second baseman Wes Piper to fly out to right for the third out.

Vogt began the top of the second by catching both Bryant and Hollowell looking at strike three, but senior rightfielder Ceroi Mello beat out an infield single to second and freshman second baseman Joseph Grela drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Vogt then recovered and fanned sophomore third baseman Caiden Johnson to strike out the side.

Cape Elizabeth starter Jameson Bryant fires to Greely’s Ben Kyles.

Kyles drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch leading off the bottom half. After senior rightfielder Sam Almy grounded into a short-to-second force out on a 3-1 pitch, freshman shortstop Kyle Soule walked on four pitches, but Bryant fanned senior designated hitter Ethan Robeck on three pitches. That brought up Leding, who singled through the hole on a 1-1 pitch, but Hayward charged the ball and threw home to Hollowell, who tagged out Kyles for the third out.

Greely’s Ben Kyles awaits the umpire’s call after Cape Elizabeth catcher Jimmy Hollowell tagged him out for the final out of the bottom of the second inning.

The Capers then broke through, with a little help, in the top of the third.

Harmon laid down a perfect, unexpected first pitch bunt down the third base line for a leadoff single. Choi then crushed the ball to deep right, over the head of Almy for a double, putting runners at second and third. Inman flew out to shallow right with the runners holding, but the throw back to the infield got past both Soucie and Vogt backing up and as a result, Harmon was able to score the game’s first run. Hayward bounced out to first and Bryant watched strike three, but the Rangers faced a deficit.


Not for long.

Soucie started the uprising in the bottom of the third by going the other way and lining a single to left. Axelsen then pounded the ball to deep left-center. Soucie got to third, but Axelsen had to hold with a single. Bryant recovered and fanned Simpson on an off-speed pitch, but with Piper at the plate, Bryant picked Axelsen off first only to have Axelsen stay in a rundown long enough for Soucie to race home to tie the score. Piper then got hit with a pitch on the batting helmet, but he was unfazed. Piper promptly stole second, then scored when Kyles singled through the hole. Kyles tried to move up to second on the throw and was thrown out Hollowell-to-Harmon, but Greely was on top to stay, 2-1.

“I just saw a fastball and I kind of stuck the bat out there and luckily it got through the gap and I scored the run,” Kyles said.

“One of our big goals this year was to be able to get to a point where we could produce against high-quality pitchers in our league and Jameson is a first-team, All-Conference pitcher,” Derek Soule said. “He was a big challenge for us today. He did a nice job, throwing a lot of breaking balls. He kept us off-balance early, but we adjusted and kept grinding.”

In the top of the fourth, Vogt got Hollowell to hit a slow roller to third leading off where Axelsen raced in and made a nice play to throw Hollowell out. Mello watched strike three, but Grela beat out an infield single up the middle before Johnson flew out foul to right.

Bryant had his best inning in the bottom half, getting Almy to ground out to short on a full count pitch, catching Kyle Soule looking at strike three, then fanning Robeck.


Cape Elizabeth had a golden opportunity to pull even or even go in front in the top of the fifth, but ultimately came up empty.

Harmon lined a single up the middle on the first pitch. With Choi at the plate, Soucie tried to throw to first to pick Harmon off, but instead, the ball glanced off the batter and rolled away, allowing Harmon to race all the way to third. Choi then drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch and promptly stole second. Inman made solid contact on a 2-1 pitch, but he lined out to a sprawling Axelsen. Hayward then hit a sharp grounder to the right side where Piper knocked it down, grabbed the ball, held Harmon and threw to first for the second out. Vogt then escaped the jam by fanning Bryant on a 3-2 pitch, preserving the one-run advantage.

In the bottom half, Bryant caught Leding looking at strike three, got Soucie to pop out to short, then fanned Axelsen.

Greely produced a tremendous defensive inning in the top of the sixth to stay on top.

Hollowell led off with a grounder to the hole, but Soule got to the ball, then delivered a dart across the diamond for the first out. Mello then hit the ball sharply to first, but Kyles made a nice stab going to his right, recovered and raced over to touch the bag. Grela then grounded the ball up the middle, but again Soule showed his range, this time getting to the ball on the run before throwing to first to retire the side.

“We had some really good defensive plays,” said Derek Soule. “We made some errors, but we had some good plays that kept Keeler’s pitch count down.”


The Rangers opened it up in the bottom half and as it turned out, they needed all three runs they pushed across.

Simpson drew a walk leading off and senior Dan Ferrelli came on to run. Piper laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to put Ferrelli in scoring position.

Harmon then came on to replace Bryant and he was greeted by Kyles, who ripped an RBI double down the rightfield line.

“I was sitting fastball,” Kyles said. “It was high in the zone and I just turned on it, barrel on ball.”

“Ben’s had a tremendous year,” Derek Soule said. “A lot of clutch hits, including both playoff games.”

Almy then reached on an error, putting runners at the corners. With Kyle Soule at the plate, Almy stole second, then Soule walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Junior pinch-hitter Owen Piesik struck out swinging, but Leding came through in the clutch, lining the first pitch the other way into left-center, for a two-run single, scoring both Kyles and Almy for a 5-1 lead.


“I like to think of myself as the 1a hitter, not the number nine hitter,” Leding said. “I was just went up there with the mindset to put the ball in play and it worked out.”

“Once again, a big game, the bottom of the order produced,” said Derek Soule. “It’s been 1 through 9 all year. This is the most solid lineup 1 through 9 we’ve had in a few years.”

Leding stole second, but Soucie grounded out to second to finally end the inning.

The Capers then came up in the top of the seventh needing four runs to extend their season.

They’d get three.

Senior Brenden Guthrie pinch-hit to lead off and Vogt struck him out, but Harmon followed with a single just past Axelsen’s glove and that ended Vogt’s outing.


“Keeler was pushing 100 pitches and consuming a lot of energy in a high-intensity game and he looked spent to me,” Derek Soule said.

That brought in Simpson, who was greeted by Choi, who lined a 3-1 pitch through the hole for a single to put runners at first and third. Inman followed by drawing a walk to load the bases, bringing up Hayward. Hayward would ground to first, scoring Harmon. Kyles stepped on the bag for the second out, but tried to throw out the runner at home and in the process, threw the ball away, allowing Choi to also score with Inman taking third. Simpson got within a strike of ending the game against Bryant, but Bryant managed to ground the ball to third and when the throw was off target, with Bryant running into Kyles in the process, the error scored Inman as well.

“I just said before the seventh inning, ‘We have to continue to fight’ and we did,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Donny Dutton.

Suddenly, it was a one-run game and junior Trevor Brame came on to run. As Hollowell took strike one, Soucie threw to first and nearly picked Brame off to end the game, but he was ruled safe. With Brame on the move, Hollowell then grounded the ball to second, where Piesik, who had come on for defensive purposes, scooped up the ball and easily threw out the batter to end the game and give Greely a 5-4 victory.

“Playing Cape in a game like this was super-fun,” said Leding. “It was pretty nervewracking at the end. Your chest gets a little tight, but I knew we’d pull through. That celebration was awesome.”

“It was definitely tough to watch at the end, but I knew Ryder would come through,” Vogt said.


“It was such a relief to get that out and win the game,” said Kyles. “It’s never over when we play Cape. They’re a great hitting team. We played great defense today and we capitalized. I think we wanted it more than them. We had more energy today.”

“It feels awesome,” added Derek Soule. “I know how hard these guys have worked in the offseason and during the season. A lot of guys spend time after practice, getting extra reps.

“We talk about the importance of insurance runs and you saw it. We tagged on three insurance runs and we needed every single one of them. That last out was a big sigh of relief.”

Greely got two hits and two RBI apiece from Kyles and Leding.

Almy, Ferrelli, Kyles, Piper and Soucie all scored one run.

The Rangers stole four bases and left five runners on.


Vogt earned the victory, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits in 6.1 innings. Vogt walked two and struck out eight.

“I felt great,” said Vogt. “It’s always a pleasure to go out and represent my team. Especially being playoffs and all the seniors possibly being their last game. I think location was really important. I tried to keep the ball where we needed it to be on good hitters, especially Gabe Harmon. My defense had my back all day.”

“(Keeler) had a great outing,” Kyles said. “I love to see him be confident. When he’s confident, nobody can hit him. His location is amazing.”

Simpson had some anxious moments, but closed it out by allowing two unearned runs on one hit in two-thirds of an inning. He walked one.

“Ryder pitched well,” Derek Soule said. “If we made plays, it would have been a lot easier for him.”

Capers pride


Cape Elizabeth got three hits and two runs scored from Harmon in his swan song. Harmon will play at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts next year.

“I’ve known Gabe since he was a young kid,” Dutton said. “I can’t say enough about him as a player and leader of our team. I think he’ll do really well at the next level.”

Choi added two hits and scored a run. Inman also touched home plate, while Hayward had the Capers’ lone RBI.

Cape Elizabeth left eight runners on base.

Bryant took the loss, giving up three earned runs on four hits in 5.1 innings. He walked four, hit a batter and fanned seven.

Harmon went two-thirds of an inning in relief, giving up two unearned runs on two hits, walking one and striking out a batter.


“I’m extremely proud of the effort,” Dutton said. “That was a hell of a baseball game. Tip your cap to those guys, they just made one more play than we did. That’s just baseball sometimes. You can’t give a good team three runs late in a ballgame. We chipped away, but fell just a little short. We had great at-bats. We did things to get us close. We put balls in play and made them make mistakes.

“I still believe our group is a really good group of players. It’s a good season. I think this group was better than the group we had last year. I believe in all 21 of those dudes over there (in our dugout). I have nothing but respect for them.”

Cape Elizabeth graduates six seniors, with Harmon the most notable departure, but the returning players saw a lot of high pressure innings and will be primed to keep the Capers near the top of the heap in 2025.

“I want the seniors to be successful, not just in baseball, but in life,” Dutton said. “This loss is only going to motivate the younger guys as we rebound for next year. It was a blessing in disguise to deal with the adversity we had to deal with. Getting the younger guys quality varsity innings, we were fortunate.”


Yarmouth was the only team to beat Greely this spring and the Clippers did so twice, 1-0 May 1 in Cumberland and 2-1 (in eight-innings) two weeks later at home.


In fact, Yarmouth has beaten the Rangers five consecutive times over the past two seasons, including last year’s semifinals (6-1), which cut Greely’s lead to 5-3 in the teams’ all-time playoff series.

The Rangers are playing much better in all facets now, however, and they like their chances behind Almy, who is expected to get the ball.

“I know Sammy will go throw a gem and we’ll hit the ball hard,” said Vogt. “I’m excited for it.”

“We want it all,” Kyles said. “I think we just need to lock in at the plate. Once we get bats rolling early, it’s over for any team we play.”

“We’re all working for the same goal,” Leding said. “We’re ready for Yarmouth. It’s the third time seeing them. We want to win it.”

“We’re certainly capable of playing better than we did in those two (losses),” added Derek Soule. “We’re swinging the bats better now. Yarmouth’s a good team. We’ll have to grind out at-bats, produce some runs and at the same time, pitch and play good defense. It’s good to be back in that game, but it’s been nine years since we’ve won one, so it’s time.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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