May 10, 2007.
That was the last time the Deering of Portland baseball team lost a game, a 3-2 regular-season decision at Biddeford.
Since then the Rams have won 49 straight — and are now just one more win away from a third consecutive Class A state championship.
Deering is one of four Western Maine champs who will compete for state titles at three different venues Saturday.
The Rams, coached by Mike Coutts, will square off against Cony of Augusta in a 2 p.m. start at Morton Field in Augusta.
Greely of Cumberland Center will play for its second Class B crown in three years when it faces defending state champion Gardiner at 5 p.m. from Mahaney Diamond on the campus of Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.
Saint Dominic of Auburn will challenge George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill in the Class C final beginning at 2 p.m. at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
And Richmond will take on a Deer Isle-Stonington squad seeking its third Class D championship in five years beginning at noon at Saint Joseph’s.
Despite a coaching change last summer involving the resignation of Mike D’Andrea and the subsequent hiring of Coutts, a former University of Maine player and assistant coach, DEERING has maintained its status atop the Class A baseball world.
The Rams not only have won two state titles in a row — including last June’s dramatic 8-7, eight-inning survival of Brewer — but have won seven championships in the last 10 years.
Among Deering’s top players is pitcher-first baseman Regan Flaherty, who has accepted a scholarship to Vanderbilt and also was drafted in the 28th round of Major League Baseball’s recent amateur draft by the Seattle Mariners.
Flaherty is one of eight seniors on the roster and one of seven different Deering players to earn first- or second-team all-Southern Maine Activities Association honors this spring.
Flaherty was a first-team choice, along with senior catcher-infielder Marc Ouimet, senior infielder-DH Jack Heary, senior pitcher-catcher Taylor Candage and sophomore center fielder Sam Balzano.
Senior shortstop Matt Powers and sophomore third baseman Jake Nichols were second-team honorees for the 19-0 Rams, while Luke Hammond, a transfer from 2008 Class D state champion Rangeley, is 6-0 on the mound this spring.
GREELY (15-4) knocked off Lincoln Academy of Newcastle 15-8 in the regional final, but had its toughest test to date in postseason play with a 1-0, 10-inning victory over defending WM champion and top-ranked Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals.
Coach Derek Soule’s Rangers, fourth-seeded entering postseason play, feature three quality pitchers in Sam Strauber — who has tied a school record with nine victories this season — along with Pat Copp and freshman Mike Leeman.
Nate Martin, a senior center fielder, sets the tone for the Greely offense, having established a career record for stolen bases. Other offensive leaders during the postseason have included sophomore Matt Labbe and senior Kevin Hart, one of several players on the roster who played for the Rangers’ Class B state championship hockey team.
SAINT DOMINIC won its fifth Western C crown in the last six years by edging Hall-Dale of Farmingdale 5-4 in Wednesday’s regional final.
Coach Bob Blackman’s club won state titles in 2005 and 2007, edging George Stevens 2-1 in 2005 after losing to the Eagles 12-2 in the state final a year earlier.
The Saints (18-1) feature a balanced pitching staff featuring righthanders Aaron Allen and Greg LaBonte and lefty Chris Bryant, with only LaBonte not eligible to pitch Saturday after getting the win in the regional final.
LaBonte, Allen, Richard Paradis, and Casey Parker all have been productive hitters during Saint Dominic’s playoff run.
RICHMOND last played in a state final in 2006, when the Bobcats were shut out 4-0 by Lee Academy.
Coach Ryan Gardner’s club (15-3) is in search of its first state championship since 1996, and likely will rely on its team speed both on defense and on the basepaths in an effort to get past Deer Isle-Stonington.
Top hitters include junior first baseman-catcher Bruce Carver, who has four home runs in his last six at-bats, along with senior outfielder Tim Bradford.
Junior lefthander Nick Woods, who earned the win in relief as Richmond edged Rangeley 7-6 in eight innings to win the WM title, is a potential starter against the Mariners, as is senior righthander Mike King.