Cape Elizabeth Capers Spring Sports Preview

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Stop me if you’ve seen this before. Last spring, for the third year in a row, Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ lacrosse juggernaut captured the Class B title. There’s a good chance a similar photo will be taken again in June.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Andrew Wood (third year, 17-18 overall record)

2015 record: 13-6 (Lost, 3-1, in eight innings, to Greely in Western B Final)

Top returning players: Bryce Hewitt (Senior), Nate Ingalls (Senior), Matt Riggle (Senior), Dylan Roberts (Senior), Marshal Peterson (Junior), Brendan Tinsman (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 27 FALMOUTH, May 11 GREELY, May 20 YARMOUTH, May 27 @ Greely, May 31 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We return all our pitchers from a year ago and a Division I catcher. Overall, across the board, we’re stronger at every position. We have team speed, we can hit, pitch and play defense. We’re excited, hungry and hope to be playing our best baseball come June.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth had a tremendous season a year ago, but the Capers are still fuming over how it ended, with an agonizing extra inning loss to rival Greely in the regional final, a contest that the Capers feel should have never gotten to an eighth inning after a disputed call allowed the Rangers to tie the score. While the pain remains from that loss, this year’s team will use it as fuel as it tries to finish the job. The pieces are in place for that to happen.

Baseball success always starts on the mound and Cape Elizabeth has an ace in Peterson, who went 8-1 with a 0.63 earned run average in 52 innings last spring when he was a second-team league all-star. Hewitt (1.17 ERA) and Ingalls (2.52 ERA during a first-team all-star a season ago) are crafty southpaws who will frustrate the opposition. Tinsman (2.33 ERA) will also see some time on the hill, but for the most part, he’ll be behind the plate.

Tinsman, who has already committed to Wake Forest University, also wields a potent bat and paces the offense. Ingalls (who plays centerfield when he’s not pitching) and Roberts (a shortstop and outfielder) are other top hitters. Hewitt (first base when not pitching), Peterson (first base and outfield when not on the mound) and Riggle (catcher, third base) are other experienced hitters who will help the Capers score runs. Senior outfielder Jack O’Rourke, junior second baseman Pat MacDonald and sophomore shortstop Sean Agrodnia are new to the squad and provide depth. 

Cape Elizabeth learned how to win a year ago. This spring, they expect to be a top team in Class B South and to get to that elusive state game. The Capers last won a state title in 2004. This could be the squad that ends that drought.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Joe Henrikson (19th year, 233-90 overall record, one state championship)

2015 record: 8-9 (Lost, 15-10, to Poland in Western Class B preliminary round)

Top returning players: Tess Haller (Senior), Megan Nicholson (Senior), Anna Torre (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ York, April 27 FALMOUTH, May 6 @ Fryeburg, May 9 @ Gray-NG, May 11 GREELY, May 20 YARMOUTH, May 27 @ Greely, May 31 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “I’m anxious to see how we do. We’ll have three freshmen starting, maybe four, and one or two sophomores. We have a lot of new people. You have to have pitching, so kids aren’t under pressure for seven innings. Jessie has a good upside. I’m always optimistic.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth found itself in a lot of slugfests a year ago. This spring, the Capers are hoping for more consistent pitching and a return to a winning record.

Freshman Jessie Robicheaw will step into the breach on the mound. Henrikson feels she could develop into a special pitcher, but she’ll need time to get comfortable at the high school level. Nicholson moves behind the plate this spring. She hit .383 with 10 runs batted in last season. Haller, the erstwhile catcher and reigning first-team league all-star, replaces standout Ashley Tinsman at shortstop and will pace the offense with her booming bat. She hit .453, blasted eight doubles and a pair of home runs and had 23 RBI in 2015. Torre, the third baseman this season, and junior outfielder Kelly O’Sullivan, are other hitters to watch. The Capers lost their opener Thursday, 12-4, to visiting Wells. Robicheaw fanned nine in her debut and Haller, Nicholson and O’Sullivan all had multiple hits.

Class B South features an abundance of talented teams, so nothing will come easily for Cape Elizabeth, but this squad should steadily improve in the weeks to come, male the playoffs for the 16th time in 17 years and perhaps make a deep run if all goes well.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Ben Raymond (19th year, 232-41 overall record, 10 state championships)

2015 record: 13-2 (Beat Yarmouth, 7-5, to win third straight Class B state championship)

Top returning players: J Bottomley (Senior), Tommy Brett (Senior), Alex Narvaez (Senior), Riley Pillsbury (Senior), R.J. Sarka (Senior), Ben Ekedahl (Junior), Gavin Spidle (Junior), Connor Thoreck (Junior), Owen Thoreck (Junior), Tate Perkins (Sophomore), Finn Raymond (Sophomore), Cole Spencer (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 27 @ Yarmouth, April 30 SCARBOROUGH, May 11 FALMOUTH, May 14 @ South Portland, May 27 YARMOUTH, May 31 @ Falmouth

Coach’s comment: “We graduated some good kids, but so far, we’re looking pretty good. I have a good group of kids who worked hard in the offseason and preseason. We have a great junior class. Our skills and experience are better than they were last year at this point. We just have to pull it together. We’ll be balanced on offense. The guys embrace the expectations. They’re very focused.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth has re-solidified its status as the state’s premier power, as last year’s title made it three in a row, the first time the program managed a three-peat since 2000. The Capers lost some standouts to graduation, most notably All-American and reigning Spring Male Athlete of the Year Griffin Thoreck, All-State selection Jack Drinan and all-stars Noah Haversat and Ben Shea, but once again return a veritable juggernaut.

Owen Thoreck was a second-team all-star last spring and will be one of many scoring threats. Also looking to fill the net on a regular basis will be Bottomley, Perkins, Pillsbury, Sarka and Connor Thoreck.  Raymond and Spencer will handle faceoff duties. The defense has some holes to fill, but Brett, Ekedahl and Spidle will be up to the task and Narvaez has shown for the past couple years that he’s capable of making big saves in big games. Good luck matching up with all this talent.

A fourth straight title won’t come easily. Cape Elizabeth (which opened with an 17-8 home win over Waynflete behind four goals from Connor Thoreck and three apiece from Bottomley, Perkins, Sarka and Owen Thoreck) will be tested on several occasions during the regular season and there’s no guarantee they’ll beat out Falmouth for the top spot in Class B South. The regional title will likely come down to the Capers and Yachtsmen for the eighth year in a row. If Cape Elizabeth passes that daunting test, it will likely have to beat Yarmouth, which is even stronger this year than it was last spring, in the state final for the fourth consecutive season. The hurdles are there, but the Capers know how to win. It would be naive to think that they won’t find a way yet to triumph yet again.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Kate Spark (second year)

2015 record: 7-6 (Lost, 6-4, to Waynflete in Western B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Mo Lavallee (Senior), Hannah Bosworth (Junior), Caroline Coburn (Junior), Mariah Deschino (Junior), Kinnon McGrath (Junior), Chloe Chapin (Sophomore), Susie Graham (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 27 YARMOUTH, May 6 FALMOUTH, May 11 @ Kennebunk, May 21 YORK, May 24 @ NYA, May 28 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We lost a lot of seniors last year, so this year we’re a small and young group. My hope is to really have the girls come together and grow as a team. There is a lot of potential with such a young group and I’m excited to see how they step up.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After going to the state final in 2014, the Capers had their moments last spring, but ultimately were ousted by a familiar nemesis. Cape Elizabeth has a lot of talent back, but will miss reigning Spring Female Athlete of the Year Kate Bosworth, who graduated.

This year’s team figures to feature a lot of firepower. The offense is led by Deschino, a second-team all-star in 2015, who will also be the main draw taker. Hannah Bosworth, Chapin, Coburn and Graham will also score their share of goals. Lavallee will anchor the defense, along with junior Julia Lennon and freshman Tori McGrath. Kinnon McGrath will step in in goal and will be spelled at times by freshman Erin Foley. The Capers lost a tough one in the opener Thursday to visiting Waynflete, letting a three-goal second half lead slip away before falling in overtime, 8-7. Deschino dominated in the draw circle and Coburn scored three times in a losing effort.

The Capers might take some time to hit their stride, but the talent is undeniable. There are a lot of strong teams in Class B, but by season’s end, Cape Elizabeth could be one of the best. This will be a fun team to watch in the weeks to come.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Doug Worthley (21st year, two state championships)

2015 results:

(Boys) 12th @ Class B state meet
(Girls) 6th @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Harry Queeney (Senior), Henry Shroder (Senior), Jacob Allen (Junior), Mac Huffard (Junior), Tony Inhorn (Sophomore), Arsen Scheindel (Sophomore)

(Girls) Montana Braxton (Senior), Lily Norris (Senior), Katie Oberholtzer (Senior), Lily Bergh (Junior), Anna Friberg (Junior), Kate Ginder (Junior), Liv Palma (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “The girls hope to be in the top eight at the state meet. The boys will look to hold on to the eighth place finish at states from last season and maybe even move up a place or two.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth’s outdoor track program once again features some top-notch talent.

The boys have to replace state meet scorers Eddie Galvin and Nate Weare. This year’s team will look to Allen, Huffard, Inhorn and Scheindel to lead the distance contingent. That group should score an abundance of points. Queeney and Shroder are veteran sprinters. They’re joined by sophomores Jacob Budischewsky, Matt Concannon, Alex Glidden and Hans Kremer. On the field side, Queeney is a top jumper. Throwers to watch include junior Jack O’Kelly and sophomores Luc Houle, Ben Keller and Nate LaBrie. Look for the Capers to be very strong during the regular season and to move into the top 10 at the state meet.

On the girls’ side, Palma is the top returner. She was third in the mile last season. She was also part of a third-place 4×800 relay team. Bergh, Friberg and Ginder (part of the scoring relay team) also have experience. Freshmen Kelsey Kennedy and Alicia Lawrence had strong cross country seasons and project to be distance runners to watch. Norris is the top returning sprinter. Junior Erin Thibeault and sophomore Sophie Garland-Dore look to make their mark. Oberholtzer could be one of the conference’s top jumpers. She’s joined by seniors Montana Braxton and Taylor Connell and sophomore Kristen Penley. The girls face several tough conference foes, but should contend. This is a team that could match or better last year’s state meet finish.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Andy Strout (38th year, 16 state championships)

2015 record: 13-3 (Beat Camden Hills, 4-1, to win third straight Class B state championship)

Top returning players: Michael Mills (Senior), Jimmy Salerno (Senior)

Pivotal matches: April 29 FALMOUTH, May 4 YARMOUTH, May 13 WAYNFLETE, May 23 @ Falmouth

Coach’s comment: “We graduated five, so early season, we’ll have to see who steps up. We have a good group of juniors who are capable. If we develop as the season progresses, we could challenge for our fourth consecutive state championship.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Cape Elizabeth juggernaut rolled on last season and despite graduation losses, the Capers have to be viewed as the favorite to win Class B again.

This year’s team will be led at first singles by Mills, a first-team WMC all-star in 2015. Salerno, a doubles player last year, is in line to play singles this time around. After that, there are several promising players, including seniors Will Gibson and Wyatt Newhall, juniors Carter Brock, Mac Brucker, Pietro Frerricini, Matt Galvin, Ted Hall and Declan McCormick, who will fill spots and add depth.

There are a fair amount of question marks around this team, but by season’s end, Cape Elizabeth will be position to add yet another piece of hardware to the school’s overstuffed trophy case.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Sarah Boeckel (sixth year)

2015 record: 9-4 (Lost, 3-2, to Yarmouth in Western Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Maddie Bowe (Senior), Taylor Hansen (Senior), Sarah O’Connor (Senior), Erin Whitcomb (Senior), Liv Clifford (Junior), Katie Gilman (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 26 @ NYA, April 29 @ Falmouth, May 2 GREELY, May 4 @ Yarmouth, May 9 NYA, May 13 @ Waynflete, May 18 @ Greely, May 23 FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “I feel great about the season. We only lost one player from our top seven from last year and the six remaining are experienced players. We have great leadership that will help us in those tough matches. We had a tough loss in the quarterfinals last year and I know we don’t want to experience that this season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth could be primed to do great things in the weeks to come. Several key players return and a pair of key newcomers will help the cause. 

Clifford was a first-team all-star last year and she returns to play first singles. Gilman, a second-team all-star in 2015, is in the second singles spot. Whitcomb projects to play third singles. The first doubles team will consist of Fall and Winter Female Athlete of the Year Bowe and O’Connor. Hansen is penciled in for second doubles. Senior Carter Harvey, coming off a strong basketball season, or freshman Emelie Jarquin will likely fill the other doubles spot. This is a talented nucleus.

Class B South will be interesting this spring, as two-time defending state champion Greely has been weakened by graduation. That opens the door for a team like Cape Elizabeth and if this squad comes together as hoped, the Capers’ first state crown since 2007 could be the end result.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Senior Nate Ingalls hopes to pitch Cape Elizabeth’s baseball team back to the regional final and beyond this spring.

Junior Marshal Peterson is another dominant arm on a deep pitching staff.

Senior Dylan Roberts is another returning veteran who wants to win a championship in his final season.

Sophomore catcher Brendan Tinsman, who has already verbally committed to Wake Forest University, wields a powerful bat.

Senior J Bottomley has scored some clutch goals for the Capers. He’ll tickle the twine again regularly this spring.

Senior Alex Narvaez returns for a final season in goal. He hasn’t gotten enough credit for his steady play and contributions to the Capers’ championships.

Junior Connor Thoreck will look to join his twin brother, Owen, as a top scorer this season.

Junior Owen Thoreck has a nose for the goal and a flair for the dramatic.

Senior Riley Pillsbury is yet another talented veteran who will play an even bigger role this spring.

Senior R. J. Sarka is another potential top scorer for the Capers.

Junior Mariah Deschino is one of the best girls’ lacrosse players in the state. She’s dominant in the draw circle and unstoppable with the ball on her stick. She hopes to lead Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ lacrosse team deep into the playoffs.

Senior Hannah Bosworth is another returning star for the Capers.

Sophomore Susie Graham is a budding star.

Junior Mac Huffard is part of a deep distance contingent for Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ outdoor track team.

Sophomore Tony Inhorn is an emerging star in the distance races.

Sophomore Arsen Scheindel is another distance runner to watch.

Senior Katie Oberholtzer will be one of the conference’s top jumpers this season.

Junior Liv Palma came in third in the mile last spring and is aiming for the top spot this season.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.