Friday, March 7, 2014
The Maranacook/Winthrop lacrosse team would love nothing more than another shot at knocking off rival Gardiner.
Twice, the Hawks lost overtime heartbreakers to the Tigers this season — including Saturday in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title game.
The teams are on a collision course to meet in the Eastern B semifinals. First, however, they must survive their quarterfinal games Wednesday.
No. 4 Maranacook/Winthrop (10-2) will host No. 5 Morse (9-3) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Top-seeded Gardiner (12-0) will host No. 8 Freeport (3-9) on Wednesday at 4 as well.
“We are not looking past Morse at all, but the ability for us to get another crack at Gardiner is really pushing our kids,” Maranacook/Winthrop coach Zach Stewart said. “Gardiner is a great team. Their defense is awesome and they have a great supporting cast. We’d love to see them again.”
The baseball, softball and lacrosse playoffs open this week. Tournament brackets will be finalized today, although several teams were preparing for their respective showdowns.
Maranacook/Winthrop edged Morse 11-8 in the regular season, and Stewart expects another close game Wednesday.
“It’s a great matchup,” Stewart added. “We are very evenly matched.”
Gardiner and Freeport didn’t meet in the regular season.
“We’re going to have to work hard,” Gardiner coach KC Johnson said. “Freeport plays a very tough schedule. We’ll see what they have.”
The No. 8 Erskine softball team will host No. 9 Lawrence in an Eastern A prelim game Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. The teams met in the regular season finale last week, with the Eagles (8-8) rallying for a 3-2 victory.
“We’re really excited,” Erskine coach Holly Tripp said. “Lawrence is a good draw for us. The girls are appropriately confident. They are excited and cautious. We’re confident because we came though with a win against them but we felt we didn’t play our best softball.”
Erskine scored runs in the sixth and seventh innings to pull out the victory. The Eagles are 2-3 in one-run games this season, and Tripp said she expects another close one Tuesday.
“It should be just like the last one,” she said.
The winner will face No. 1 Brewer (15-1) in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Cony (15-1), meanwhile, will host No. 7 Bangor (10-6) in a quarterfinal game Thursday at 4 p.m.
The teams didn’t meet in the regular season.
“We expect a tough game,” Cony coach Rocky Gaslin said. “If we’re ready to play we can beat anybody. We have a strong defense and strong pitching. Our hitting is also coming around.”
Cony, the defending Class A state champs, hit 15 home runs in 16 regular season games. Sonja Morse led the way with six blasts. She’s hitting .586 with 32 hits in 16 games. Morse is also 11-0 with a 1.00 ERA. She’ll start Thursday.
In Class C softball action, Madison will go in as the No. 1 seed after cruising to a 16-0 mark in the regular season.
The Bulldogs, led by Emily McKenney, will face either Sacopee Valley or Mt. Abram in a quarterfinal game Thursday.
"We’ve played very consistently throughout the whole year,” Madison coach Al Veneziano said. “We want to finish on a strong note.”
McKenney has a 1.08 ERA and has 148 strikeouts in 108 innings.
The Winslow baseball team earned the No. 2 seed in the Eastern B playoffs, giving it a bye to the quarterfinals and a chance to scout opponents in a prelim game Tuesday.
That’s the good news.
The bad news?
“The prelim game is in Washington,” Winslow coach Jesse LaCasse said. “That’s three hours away. But I do plan on driving to it. It’s two teams I never see. Scouting is pretty huge. It’s a big advantage.”
No. 2 Winslow (13-3) will play the winner of No. 7 Washington Academy, of East Machias, and No. 10 Old Town on Thursday afternoon.
Washington (10-6) hosts Old Town (7-9) on Tuesday.
“We’re pretty pumped,” LaCasse said. “This is my second year coaching varsity and we made it to the second round last year. I’m very excited going into this. We have a confident team, a good hitting team. Overall, we have enough guys with playoff experience. We’re prepared.”