Yarmouth wins 4th straight downing Lake Region 4-0

Yarmouth brought plenty of pressure to the Lake Region end

Parker Harnett had a goal and an assist for the Clippers

(Naples ME) The scoreboard wasn’t working and senior captain Olivia Feeley was away looking at colleges.

Didn’t matter to Yarmouth as they won their fourth straight defeating Lake Region 4-0 on Thursday afternoon.

“Obviously, Yarmouth is a very good team,” said LR coach David Jaeger afterwards.  “When we made mistakes, they made us pay for them.”

The Clippers (4-2) scored only four goals but they had a ton of glittering chances beyond those goals.  Credit LR goalie Maddie Rock and the cool, but not too cool, weather.

Maddie kept the score down by surviving some point-blankers in the first half and some dangerous corner kicks in the second half.

The cooler weather kept a very busy LR defense from getting too tired over the constant pressure YHS brought.

Laker goalie Maddie Rock above the crowd

The two-time defending Class B champs were patient and opportunistic.  They connected with teammates whether those teammates were ahead or behind.  Their passes ahead often led to scoring chances.

“We controlled the game from start to finish,” said YHS coach Chris Coleman.

The Clippers had two goals in each half.

The Lakers (1-4-1) had very few chances to dent Yarmouth GK Hope Olson.  Neva Leavitt had several runs for the home team.

“We had some decent possessions, but we just couldn’t find the last pass,” said Coach Jaeger.

Abi Hincks (6) chased by Brianna Sargent (21)

Sophomore Parker Harnett converted a break-in to open the YHS scoring.  “It was a great finish” – Coach Coleman.

The Clippers’ second first-half goal was off a corner kick.  No surprise to me.  Why?  The Clippers had all sorts of CK formations and their kickers put the ball where goals could happen.

Twenty-two minutes into the first half Abi Hincks floated a CK far enough out from Lakers’ goalie Maddie Rock that she couldn’t come out to get it.  Teammate Ehryn Groothoff rushed into open space in the middle and one-timed a shot past Maddie Rock.

“It was a set piece,” said Coach Coleman.  “It is something we work on and nice to get rewarded.”

Sophomore Parker Harnett added an assist in the second half to her first-half goal.  Parker found space from the right side and drilled a shot that GK Maddie Rock deflected.  Audrey Goessling was quick to knock in the rebound sixteen minutes into the second half giving YHS a 3-0 edge.

Audrey Goessling (17) scored the 3rd Yarmouth goal assisted by Parker Harnett.

Adriana Whitlock tallied the final Clippers goal eleven minutes later.  The ball came into the middle and Adriana was able to lift the ball over a LR defender as well as GK Maddie Rock.

The Clippers were without WMCA All-Star Olivia Feeley.  “We have a lot more depth than what people think,” explained Coach Coleman.  “Not having her wasn’t ideal but we have other players to rotate in.”

Yarmouth started the 2018 season with losses to York and Cape Elizabeth.  Coach Coleman: “We had the ball the majority of the time against York (1-0 loss) and hit the bar twice.  Against Cape Elizabeth (double OT loss) we missed several one-on-one’s and hit the post.”

The Clippers play both teams again next week.  “We’ll be ready,” promised Coach Coleman.

Coach Chris Coleman and the referee discuss jewelry

One thing Coach Coleman and his team weren’t ready for was the enforcement of the “jewelry” rule.  Three different times, by my count, Yarmouth players were sent to the sidelines.  The game was not rough in any way, so I wondered what was going on at first.  It turned out that the sidelined girls had jewelry on.  In at least one case, Laker folks in the crowd brought the infraction to the referees attention.  “I don’t want to get into that ruling,” said Coach Coleman.  “This is the first time this has happened to us.”

Coach Jaeger regarding goalie Maddie Rock: “She was outstanding, but we’re used to it.  She kept the game closer than it might have been.”

The Lakers tied Fryeburg Academy (2-2) earlier in the season.  This week Yarmouth buried the Raiders, 9-1.  I thought LR would be in serious trouble today vs Yarmouth as a result.  Wrong assumption, as it turned out.

(All of the pictures above and below should enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Parker Harnett congratulated by Ehryn Groothoff after first goal

Parker Harnett (27) scored the first Yarmouth goal

Neva Leavitt

Mindy Miller (20) and Maddie Rock (17) meet Ehryn Groothoff pre-game

Maddie Rock up for a corner kick

Loose ball

Isabella Wears

Hannah Dwyer

Ehryn Groothoff

Ashlyn Feeley (1) and Ella Caruso (15)

Adriana Whitlock lifts a shot over Bella Russo (10)

Addison Hounchell (41) and Brianna Sargent (21)

Abi Hincks gets in on GK Maddie Rock

Struggle for the ball

Parker Harnett set to fire

 

 

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Fryeburg Academy overwhelms Mt. Ararat 49-7

Fryeburg’s Isaak McKenney with blocker Reese Kneissler

Cal Southwick (20) sacks Mt. Ararat quarterback Nolan Blessington in the first quarter

(Fryeburg ME) Anytime a team causes the adjusted timing rule to kick in, they’re having a good day.

And that was the way it was for Fryeburg Academy as they overwhelmed Mt. Ararat, 49-7, on a sunny/warm Saturday afternoon.

“Any time you can have balance like we did today, it puts defenses in a difficult situation,” said Coach Dave Turner afterwards.

The 1-2 Eagles struggled on both sides of the ball. Blame it on the 70-0 trouncing by Kennebunk last week?  “There was no carryover from that loss,” according to Co-Head Coach Matt Haskell.  “We had a good week of practice.”

The Class C South Raiders (2-1) did almost everything right all afternoon. Very noticeable was their hole-opening and pass protecting.

Nate Knapp escapes the final Eagles tackler

That protection gave FA quarterback Oscar Saunders time to beat Mt. Ararat defenders deep twice in the first quarter.  Senior Nate Knapp was on the receiving end of both scores.

In the second quarter that good blocking keyed a persistent ground game that led to rushing scores by Cal Southwick and QB Oscar Saunders.

A wonderful half of offense and shut-down defense gave the home team a 27-0 halftime advantage.

“They had two big plays over the top at the beginning,” recalled Coach Haskell.  “We were in a zone and they had time to get behind our defenders.”

The Class B South Eagles didn’t make it any easier on themselves by contributing two first-half turnovers.  Raiders Dawson Jones (interception) and Jack Campbell (fumble recovery) capitalized for Fryeburg.

Quarterback Oscar Saunders had plenty of time behind blockers Kempton Maillett (55) and Josh Frye (73)

“We were after a certain matchup on the two passing touchdowns and we got them,” remembered Coach Turner.  “We had very good pass protection on both plays.”

The adjusted timing rule was activated late in the third quarter.  It goes into effect when a team gets down by 35 points in the second half.  The clock only stops thereafter on timeouts, injuries, penalties, and scores.

A two-yard plunge (Cal Southwick) and extra point (Eddie Thurston) made it 34-0.  Later in the 3rd period Liam Harriman intercepted a Nolan Blessington pass and then he was rewarded with a two-yard carry to the end zone.

Austin Damon tallied the Eagles touchdown in the final quarter

Now up, 41-0, the timing rule was activated.  Believe me, things started moving a lot faster for the rest of that quarter.

However, in the first minute of the final quarter Mt. Ararat QB Nolan Blessington connected with senior Austin Damon and suddenly the score was 41-7.  That deactivated the timing rule.

Next series senior Liam Chisari zigged and zagged his way past would-be Eagles tacklers to boost FA back to the timing rule range, 49-7, with 9 ½ minutes left.  That turned out to be the final score.

Coach Matt Haskell: “Fryeburg really limited our offense.  They absolutely shut down the outside.  They applied good pressure on defense.  They changed the looks of where they were coming from and even when we had time their coverage was good.”

Liam Chisari dodged several Eagles on his way to a score

I asked Coach Haskell about how the Co-Head Coach thing had come about and how it was working.  “The head coach resigned the second week of preseason.  On an interim basis, the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator are running the team together.  I think it’s working out okay.”

The team from Topsham was 5-11 over the past two seasons.

Some sort of serious situation on Route 302 today.  Coming from Bridgton on that route I was detoured into Lovell at Shawnee Peak.  Later, during the end of the football game, two Fryeburg rescue vehicles went by the football field with sirens on.  Life isn’t all fun and games!

Sophomore Eddie Thurston kicked four extra points.  His first try was blocked by Austin Damon.

Nice crowd on hand.  Plenty of sun for everyone!

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Nate Knapp beats Hunter Lohr for the first FA touchdown

Liam Chisari scores with Kyle Graffam hanging on

Relaxed atmosphere along the FA sidelines

Eddie Thurston (65) kicked four extra points

Dawson Jones returns an interception

Junior Cal Southwick

Cal Southwick uses a block by Dawson Jones

Cal Southwick scored twice

Cal Southwick (20) escapes Austin Damon (34)

Tucker Buzzell (50)led an excellent Raiders defense today.

Reese Kneissler (51) is part of the pressure on QB Nolan Blessington

Oscar Saunders grabs a face mask.

Oscar Saunders (11) find a huge hole

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Will Dieterich hat trick leads Oxford Hills past Skowhegan 7-0

Skowhegan keeper  Zach Carrier faces a free-and-clear Will Dieterich of Oxford Hills

Tomas Mendieta (10) defended by Shawn Hewitt (8)

(South Paris ME) The tough season for Skowhegan continues.

The winless Indians (0-4) were routed by Oxford Hills, 7-0, on a sunny Thursday afternoon.

“It’s frustrating,” said SHS coach Jordan Hale afterwards.  “We went back to old habits that don’t work.  It looked like a U10 game the way we chased the ball.  Like a school of fish.”

Lousy game for the visitors but one to remember for the Vikings (3-2).

Oxford Hills has now won three straight.

Spencer Strong (4) gets the Vikings first goal

“We took care of business,” said Vikings coach Matt Dieterich.  “We came out strong.”

That’s for sure.  Less than two minutes in, Tomas Mendieta cut in from the left and fired a shot at Skowhegan GK Zach Carrier.  Before the shot got to Zach, senior Spencer Strong intercepted it and scored.

The Indians held their deficit to one for the next twenty minutes.  Sophomore Keegan Mantor cleared a loose ball from the goal line to keep SHS close.

The bottom fell out, however, over the last twenty minutes of the first half.  Spencer Strong started it by setting up junior Andrew Binette with a nice pass in front.

Will Dieterich (13) sends a header, off a corner kick, toward the Skowhegan goal

Then Will Dieterich took over.  The OH senior tallied twice in thirty seconds and then completed the 3-goal half with another goal in the last two minutes.  That 5-0 deficit at halftime took most of the mystery out of what the final outcome would be.

“That was my first hat trick,” Will told me afterwards. He now has seven goals on the season.

“I thought we played well,” Will added.  “We controlled the ball and after we got up by a few goals we didn’t get goal hungry.  We still played the right kind of soccer.”

In the second half, Spencer Strong collected his second goal.  Later teammate Colby Ventresca posted the Vikings seventh goal of the afternoon.

Matush Prokop (17) and Will Dieterich (13) chase the ball

The OH passing was impressive.  They kept the ball on the ground and trusted teammates.

The OH finesse made Skowhegan’s lack of same stand out more than it might have.  “Every first touch was up in the air and every pass was ten feet in front.  It was a mess,” explained Coach Hale.  “There were no positives.”

“Our defense was great,” said Will Dieterich.  “Our keeper (Sam Morton) didn’t have much action but he was good as usual.”

Fight for the ball

Will credited teammate Andrew Merrill for a good screen on the Skowhegan goalie on his first goal.  That goal was set up on Will’s header after a corner kick by Daniel Paine.

The Vikings are coming off a 2-10-2 2017 season.  “That was disappointing,” recalled Will.  “This year we have ten seniors and are in a win-now mode.”

Through four games Skowhegan has given up twenty-six goals and scored only one.

I was within hearing range of the players most of the time.  I was impressed with the Indians leaders on the field.  I heard nothing but instruction and encouragement from the players despite the lopsided score.

Spencer Strong (two goals) dribbles between two Indians

Will told me that his dream for next year would be to get into an Ivy League school.  “I expect to play club soccer or intramurals soccer in college.”

I asked Will about being coached by his father.  “It can be frustrating at times because more is expected of me, but it has really been a great thing to have him around as my coach for the past three years.  By him coaching, I know he cares.”

Nice crowd on hand for a sunburn kind of afternoon.

Both teams are in Class A North.

Both schools helped me by emailing their rosters to me.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Action in front

Freshman Aiden Clark

Andrew Ireland (16) saves a goal in the first half

Colby Ventresca (11) lines up a goal shot

Mike Rowe

OH goalie Sam Morton sees a shot

Spencer Strong (4) shoots on GK Zach Carrier

Tommy Bancroft

Tommy Bancroft and Abas Al Amiri

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Freeport wears down Lake Region 9-0 in Class B soccer

Will Winter face-to-face with Laker goalie CJ Ferguson

Jesse Bennell with open space

(Naples ME) “Freeport is a great team,” said Lake Region coach Ryan Harlow after watching his team defeated 9-0 by the Falcons on Saturday morning.

Who could argue?  The visitors put on a passing clinic on all parts of the field.

Many of the Falcons’ goals were at the end of unselfish setups.  Eight different players scored.

“It’s their touches,” added Coach Harlow.  “As soon as they touch the ball they know where they’re going.  They are two players ahead on where the ball is going to go.”

Logan Parsons (9) and Eriksen Shea (3)

Credit the Lakers for hanging in.  Coming off a 2-12 2017 season and a tough 2-1 loss Thursday to Poland, the home team trailed just 2-0 after thirty minutes of the first half.  Unfortunately for the Lakers (1-2), in those final ten minutes Freeport cashed four times.

With a six-goal cushion the Falcons (2-1) could play the second half differently.

“We wanted to give everyone minutes,” explained FHS coach Bob Strong.  “I was able to put players in different positions to see how they’d do.  Some who were usually in the back got to play in the front.”

No matter where the Falcons were positioned their passing was terrific.  “We moved the ball around well,” added Coach Strong.  “We want to limit our touches and play quick.”

Junior Will Winter paced the Falcons with two goals and two assists.

Jake Dumont (penalty kick), Eriksen Shea, Cam Strong, Griffin Johnson, Gabe Wagner, Jesse Bennell, and Liam Grogan had goals.

CJ Ferguson catches a high Freeport shot

The busiest person in Naples from 10AM-11:30AM?  Easily it was Lakers goalie CJ Ferguson.  The LR goalie faced 33 shots and few were slow rollers.

The Falcons did score one PK but, with their passing in the box, several times teammates were set up for PK-type scoring chances.

Defender Caleb Arsenault had an assist for Freeport.  “We played well in the back,” he told me afterwards.  “We got the ball to midfield and the offense connected on passes.”  Caleb is looking to attend Unity next year.  “I would try to walk on to their soccer team.”

Nice cool weather with morning sun.  Good traveling crowd from Freeport.

Caleb Arsenault

Coach Harlow: “Our defense is young.  We’re trying to build it.  Our sophomore class is very good.  We hope to compete with teams like Freeport in the future.  We just had a youth clinic earlier this morning for 150 kids so there is an interest in soccer.”

Coach Strong: “We have some horses this year, but we have to execute.  We play Yarmouth (defending Class B champs) on Tuesday.  That will be a test for us.  No one expects us to win (FHS was 9-7 last year) and that’s the position we like to be in right now.”

The scoreboard on the lower field showed the time but not the score.

Covering program-less games is always a challenge.  To accurately identify pictures, you must have names and numbers.  Today I got some help but as I looked through my pictures I found numbers from both teams that aren’t on the lists I left with.  How helpful it would be if each coach brought several up-to-date rosters with numbers, names, and graduating class to each game.

(All the pictures above and below should enlarge if you click on them.)

Gabe Wagner

Griffin Johnson (13)

Jack (Tom Kolofsky) and The Baker (Matt Mayo)

Ethan Prescott and Jason Harlow

Jake Dumond lines up a shot

Jesse Bennell and Jonas Edwards

Jesse Bennell shoots as Matt Mayo defends

Jesse Bennell

Owen Patrick

Will Winter (2 goals) break through

Action aplenty in front of the LR goal on a corner kick

Bill Antoine fires

Cam Strong (20) finishes

 

 

 

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Lisbon holds off Fryeburg Academy 36-14

Isaiah Thompson (28) scored three times for Lisbon

Lisbon, led by QB Lucas Francis, had a three-touchdown lead early in the second half

(Fryeburg ME) Momentum can change.

And it sure did on a sunny afternoon/evening of Friday high school football.

The visiting Lisbon Greyhounds had, what appeared to be, a comfortable 22-0 lead over the home Fryeburg Academy Raiders two minutes into the second half.

“The kids played hard the whole game,” recalled FA coach Dave Turner afterwards.

It was his team’s defense that put the brakes on the Lisbon domination.  In two straight second-half possessions the Raiders’ defense created fumbles by Lisbon quarterback Lucas Francis.  Those cough-ups led directly and then indirectly to Fryeburg scores.

Tucker Buzzell (50) returned a fumble for a touchdown

It was an ugly three minutes of football for the visitors, as the D3 South Raiders were now only down, 22-14, with 1:40 left in the third quarter.

Momentum, however, is a funny thing.  It can come, and it can go.  And that’s what happened.

“They got some momentum in the second half,” said Lisbon coach Chris Kates, “but we were able to get it back.”

On the Greyhounds next possession, after consecutive FA scores, senior Isaiah Thompson (3 touchdowns) struck from midfield.  Isaiah started right and then cut back into the middle.  He found a ton of daylight and scored as he looked around for FA pursuit.

The D4 South team from Lisbon Falls had a two-touchdown lead back (28-14) early in the final quarter and finished strong.

Lucas Francis threw for a touchdown and ran for another one.

Quarterback Lucas Francis (Sun Journal Player-of-Year last season) added a touchdown and a 2-point rush to close the scoring.

“I think that our conditioning helped,” said Lucas after the game.  “We didn’t take any days off. (Some schools cancelled practices because of the heat.) We were in full pads every day.”

Coach Kates also referenced his team’s conditioning: “Out conditioning enabled us to be physical up front against a strong FA defensive front.  We opened some big holes for our backs.”  (Several of my pictures reveal the size of the running room that Lucas and Isaiah found on occasion.)

Fryeburg coach Dave Turner faulted his team’s execution for the loss.  “We made way too many mistakes.  We missed open guys and we had a lot of turnovers.”

Isaiah Thompson finds an open field ahead

Coach Turner said that the Lisbon secondary played a key role in the loss. “We had receivers open, but their defensive backs were very fast to the ball.”

That poor execution Coach Turner referred to bit FA early.  In the middle of a scoreless first quarter, Raiders wide receiver Nathan Knapp got behind the Lisbon defense.  Quarterback Oscar Saunders hit the senior in stride and in Nathan went for a touchdown.  Not so fast!  Nathan had lined up incorrectly and instead of six points the Raiders were assessed a five-yard penalty.

Nathan Knapp turned defender three minutes into the second quarter and intercepted a pass intended for Isaac Burnell on the FA 5.

Robbie Dick holds up an interception.

Unable to get anywhere, FA was forced to punt, and a nice Daytona McIver runback set up Lisbon on the FA 29.  Several plays later Isaiah Thompson tore off right tackle 20 yards to the end zone.  QB Lucas Francis rushed right for 2-points.

On Fryeburg’s next possession, tall and talented Hunter Job intercepted a pass.  An immediate strike by Lisbon followed.  Junior Robbie Dick ran under a beautifully thrown pass by Lucas to score.  Fittingly the 2-point conversion was another connection between Lucas and Robbie.  The visitors had vaulted to a 16-0 lead in the first half.

The Lisbon momentum carried into the second half.  Another interception (Colin Houle) set the Greyhounds up in Fryeburg territory.  Isaiah quickly followed strong blocking for a 36-yard score.  The rush failed but Lisbon was in charge, 22-0, two minutes into the second half.

Calvin Southwick tackled by Lucas Francis

However, two Lisbon fumbles later, FA was back in the game.  Linebacker Tucker Buzzell picked up a fumble and went fifty yards to the EZ.  Later it was teammate Jack Campbell making a recovery that led eventually to QB Oscar Saunders’ 3-yard score.  Eddie Thurston kicked both extra points.  We now had ourselves a ballgame!  But not for long.

Isaiah Thompson took Lisbon’s next possession in for a score to break the momentum.  The Lisbon defense, especially the secondary, kept the home team contained.

A final TD by Lucas Francis finished off the Raiders.

This was the opener for both teams.

Lucas Francis swarmed by the FA defense

Lisbon was 7-2 last season.  “This was the first time we’ve played a Class C team since we moved to Class D,” explained Lucas.  “It feels good to take down a contender from that division.”

Coach Turner was disappointed with the loss but was also optimistic about the future: “We executed poorly but we played hard.  The execution can be remedied with practice.  When we play well, we’re a pretty good team.”

FA captain Tucker Buzzell was impressive.  Coach Turner called him, “relentless.”  Tucker ran a fumble back for a touchdown to turn the momentum FA’s way.  In the second half, he kicked off and then made a touchdown-preventing tackle on that play.

Jaycob Lindgren (11) returns a kickoff

I always imagine high school games being quick.  No TV timeouts and the other delays we tolerate with televised games.  This, however, turned into a long game time-wise.  Halftime was twenty minutes long.  There were “water break” timeouts and there were plenty of clock-stopping passes.  It took as long as an NFL game!  But I whine!

Good crowd considering the 3-day weekend ahead.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering why a game held on Friday doesn’t get coverage until Monday night.  One of my problems was the pictures I took.  I had all sorts of trouble getting them set up for a blog entry.  Days and hours later I think I’ve figured things out.  I also like to wait until someone with actual stats does a story so that I can use some numbers to back things up.  Google revealed nothing but the score.  The Bridgton News story won’t be out until Thursday.

(All of the pictures above and below should enlarge if you click on them.)

Battle in the trenches

Cam Bourget (33) and Nathan Knapp (3)

Daytona McIver catches in front of Nathan Knapp

Hunter Job blocks a pass

Hunter Job

Isaiah Thompson (28) celebrates with teammates

Isaiah Thompson

Isaiah Thompson (28) finds a hole

Lucas Francis (5) finds an opening

Lucas Francis

Oscar Saunders (11) and Riley Quatrano (8) chase a pass

 

 

 

 

 

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Eduardo Rodriguez and Christian Vazquez rehab in Portland

Eduardo Rodrriguez

Christian Vazquez

(Portland ME) The stars were out Monday night at Hadlock Field.

How often do you see a major leaguer at an Eastern League (AA) game?

Not often.  Well, on this night the Red Sox had TWO players rehabbing there……..catcher Christian Vazquez and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.

I was familiar close-up with both Boston players.  I had seen Christian a few years ago working his way up via Portland.  Eduardo had done a rehab at Portland earlier this season and I was on hand.

Bo Bichette looks back after striking out against ERod

You not only had the major leaguers, but you also had the first-place New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the house.  I had already been to Manchester (NH) a couple of times this season to see that talented team.

There was a very large Monday night crowd in the park.  You knew why the “extra’s” had come when loud ovations greeted announcements regarding Christian and Eduardo.  The normal reaction to players?  None.

The setting was coolish at 7PM after a hot day.

There were celebrations pregame for women in sports.  One of those honored was Kate Hall of Casco (ME).  There was a story about her in the Bridgton News several weeks ago.  She is a national track star hoping to make it to the next Olympics.  I heard the name, connected the dots and got a picture of her….I hope!.

Bobby Dalbec

The Fisher Cats have clinched the playoffs while the Sea Dogs have clinched the basement.  On this night it was as if the roles were reversed as Portland hit early and often on their way to a 12-6 win.

Christian drove in three runs while Eduardo pitched four scoreless innings.  Eduardo had hoped to go six innings but too many long counts prevented it.  (He said as much afterwards, according to the newspaper coverage.)  I probably could have been in that news conference if I had chased it.

Extra cameramen were at the park.  I knew that with lessening light I would forfeit action shots.  My goal was close-up shots and dugout shots.

I shifted to the New Hampshire side after several innings and found a good spot although I was sitting instead of standing.  A ground ball did come my way and was close.  You roll the dice when you put yourself (intentionally) in the line of fire.

I got more pictures of Bo Bichette.  Last year he excelled in A ball (top hitter in the minors) and this year, as a 20-year-old, has continued to star.  The New Hampshire shortstop leads the EL in hits, doubles, and several other categories.  He starts for Toronto next year or the year after, in my opinion.

Cavan Biggio

Harold Ramirez

Two other top talents at NH are Harold Ramirez (top EL batting average) and Cavan Biggio ( EL home run leader).  It interested me that Cavan (normally a 2nd baseman) was in right field for this one.

I also took more pictures of Bobby Dalbec.  He is one of Boston’s top prospects.  He has been at three levels this season and is tied for the lead in the minors in homers.

There always will be a Slugger section in my coverage of Sea Dogs’ games.  The big guy was out of uniform.  I can’t describe what he was wearing and why but at one point he was dancing with an umpire!  Needless to imagine, Slugger was outrun by yet another youngster.  Slugger got into a great starting stance, but it didn’t help.  His opponent was fast and knew what he was doing.  By the time second was crossed, Slugger was destined for second and that was where he finished.

Slugger in a solid starting stance

Another day for me at a great park.  Portland’s home season ends Thursday.  Where did the spring/summer go?

New Hampshire has qualified for the EL playoffs.  I might venture to New Hampshire for one of those games.

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for letting me into Hadlock and onto the field.  I greatly enjoy my time there.

(All of the pictures above and below should enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Prospects Bobby Dalbec and Bo Bichette

Bo Bichette near second

Bo Bichette rounds third

Bo Bichette finishing DP

Christian and Eduardo arrive pre-game

Slugger comes in second

Christian scores

Christian eyes bat

Danny Mars

Eduardo sets to pitch

Pitcher Jon Harris

Kate Hall

Play at second

 

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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs

Bubba Pollard: As good as advertised

Bubba Pollard all smiles after winning 45th OPS 250 on Sunday night

Joey Polewarczyk finished 2nd

(Oxford ME) “Bubba is just good,” said second-place finisher Joey Polewarczyk after the race.  “He’s the best in the country at super late models.”

Bubba Pollard came to Oxford Plains for the first time on Friday and walked away on Sunday night with the title in the 45th annual Oxford 250.

Bubba, from Senoia, Georgia had won at least sixty SLM races coming in.  Sunday night he took the lead for good with 31 laps left.

“This was one of the toughest races, I’ve ever run,” he said post-race.  “I didn’t realize how big this race was until the day of the race.  The crowd was amazing.”

The weather was terrific.  There was sun, but the clouds kept the temperatures lower than they could have been.  There was also a breeze.

OPS 250 is the only race of its kind at the Oxford Plains Track.  All the crews are set up in the infield so there are no wild dashes behind the grandstand to pit row and back when repairs are needed.

Reid Lanpher (59) earned a top position at the start

The length of the race necessitates pitting and that is where the outcome is often determined.  Cautions are the best time to get in and get out, but who knows when a caution will happen?  There were ten in this race.

Reid Lanpher (Manchester ME) finished second last year and third this year.  It was a pit stop that cost him dearly this year.

“I really messed up,” he told me.  “I stalled it in the backstretch before we came into the pit.  I sat there for a moment.  We came into the pits last as a result after being 2nd or 3rd on the track.  That really threw us back.”

Bubba Pollard gets the win

After that?  “Once we got that second set of tires on we were really good.  Coming from where we were (last) to where we ended up (third) was fun, that’s for sure.”

The pit stops for 2nd place finisher Joey Polewarczyk gave him a chance to win the race.

“We started 21st and took a gamble getting four tires early,” he recalled.  “Our goal in doing that was to get track position.  I didn’t think we’d grab the lead and run away with it like we did.”  Joey was one of five leaders during the race.

“Then we had that yellow with like 50 laps to go and since we had two new right’s in the pits I said that we had to at least take those two.  We did and it worked out.”

Joey chased Bubba Pollard over the final 30 laps for the lead.  “I felt like I was catching him a little at the end and if I had a little bit more….”

Bubba and Joey afterwards

But not on this evening and the first driver in six years not from Maine and New Hampshire took the top prize.

I enjoyed the race.  I started in the pit area and was very uncomfortable there.  If you recall, last year Rowley’s Eddie MacDonald backed into me during one of the heats.  There are so many cars coming and going.  Some are setting up for the next race while others are coming in for quick repairs.  A guy said to me, “It’s a wonder no one gets killed here!”  That “encouraged” me to get around to the pressbox side of the stadium.

The beauty of the pressbox is that there are seats.  No chairs in the pit area although someone gave me one after I was hit last year!  There also is less race-car noise.

I saw the Last Chance race from up there.  Curtis Gerry, last year’s winner, couldn’t even race in the heats because of mechanical problems.  Earlier I had seen all the frantic work going on with his car.  Curtis was in Last Chance race and won it.  He would later get into a wreck in the latter part of the main event.  Pre-race he was the top favorite.

Heavy repairs done on Curtis Gerry’s car pre-race

I was also a year wiser getting pictures.  The lights at OPS are minimal.  No need to dream of an action shot as darkness sets in.

I also have had trouble getting onto the track afterwards to get early celebration shots in the past.  This time I got down the 50+ steps from the pressbox with twenty laps left so I was in position to get onto the track faster.  You still have pitiful light to work with even if you get there but at least I was in position to get shots that I could photoshop later.

Something I need to do next year: I must get numbers to go with cars.  My plan was to shoot drivers pre-race and then use those pictures later.  Couldn’t really do that since I didn’t know numbers.  It doesn’t help that some cars have the SAME number.  Both Travis Benjamin and Curtis Perry (former winners) drive #7.  You also must know the color!  If I looked up the drivers online I’m sure I could have had some of the information I wanted.

Thanks to the OPS folks for enabling my visit to happen.  I enjoyed it.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

15-year-old Gabe Brown

Mike Rowe interviewed

Crowd taking their chances on pit row

Car on fire on the track

Pre-race lineup

Bubba after taking a victory lap

Bubba on top of his car

Bubba Pollard interviewed

Bubba with trophy and flag

Bubba with Mac

Bubba with Mac and Erin

 

 

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