Cape Elizabeth Capers Spring Sports Preview

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Senior Liv Clifford helped lead Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ tennis team to a state title last spring. As the No. 1 singles player this season, Clifford will be one of the best players around.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Andrew Wood (fourth year, 30-24 overall record)

2016 record: 13-6 (Lost, 3-1, to Freeport in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Patrick Macdonald (Senior), Marshall Peterson (Senior), Sean Agrodnia (Junior), Finn Bowe (Junior), Brendan Tinsman (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 21 @ Greely, April 24 FALMOUTH, May 1 @ Falmouth, May 3 WELLS, May 10 @ Freeport, May 12 YORK, May 22 GREELY, May 26 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We’ve finished first (in the Heal Points) the past two years, but lost five core players from last year. We do return a D1 catcher. You can’t steal off him. You have to go station to station. I think our lineup 1 through 9 is very good. Defensively, we’re probably the best team. We want to get over the hump this year. I like our chances.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth is tired of being the bridesmaid and while there are some holes to fill this spring, the Capers are bound and determined to finish the job and win the program’s first championship since 2004.

Peterson and Tinsman were both second-team league all-stars in 2016 and will lead the squad this season. Peterson will hit cleanup and will help out on the mound as well, but he won’t see much time there until later in the year. Tinsman is the catcher with tremendous pop in his bat. He shuts down opposing team’s running games and paces his own offense. He’s verbally committed to playing at Wake Forest University. Early in the year, the pitching staff will feature Agrodnia, Macdonald and junior Ryan Weare, who is new to the varsity team and throws in the low 80s. Agrodnia will also play third base and Macdonald will be at second when he’s not pitching. Bowe, fully recovered from his basketball leg injury, will be at shortstop. Senior Bretton McAllister, who was sidelined by a broken ankle last season, is back in action and will be in centerfield.

The best team in the conference, Falmouth, won’t be a playoff obstacle, as it moves up to Class A for the postseason. That means Cape Elizabeth, along with Greely, has to like its chances to be the best team. The Capers will have their hands full against top-notch pitchers like Greely’s Ryan Twitchell and York’s Trevor LaBonte, but they believe they can find a way to prevail, especially if Peterson can return to the hill later this season. After a couple frustrating trips to the regional final, don’t be surprised if Cape Elizabeth takes the final step this time around.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Joe Henrikson (20th year, 244-97 overall record, one state championship)

2016 record: 11-7 (Lost, 3-1, to Oak Hill in Class B South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Kelly O’Sullivan (Senior), Anna Torre (Junior), Maddie Culkin (Sophomore), Jessie Robicheaw (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 21 @ Greely, April 28 FRYEBURG, May 3 WELLS, May 15 @ Fryeburg, May 17 @ Gray-NG, May 22 GREELY, May 26 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “I’ve got some good players, but I don’t have a lot of depth. I have three sophomores, two who will start. I have JV kids forced to play varsity. I just want for us to improve. Pitching will keep us in it. Jessie will be one of the top pitchers in the league. We usually seem to find a way to squeeze into the playoffs. I’d be surprised if we don’t make it this year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth’s been to the playoffs each of the past six seasons and while there are some question marks around the program this spring, the Capers expect to be one of the better teams in Class B South again.

Replacing the production of 2016 league all-stars Tess Haller and Megan Nicholson will be difficult, so Cape Elizabeth will turn to Robicheaw to hold the opposition at bay. Robicheaw was very effective as a freshman (eight wins, 81 strikeouts) and should be one of the finest pitchers in the league this season. She can also swing the bat (.393 average with 15 runs batted in last season) Offensively, Culkin (second base), O’Sullivan (centerfield) and Torre (third base) will lead the way until other hitters can hopefully emerge later in the season.

The Capers will need Robicheaw to be consistent on the mound, they’ll need to play solid defense and will need to be potent on offense. If that happens, Cape Elizabeth will again enjoy a successful season and could make an even deeper playoff run than a year ago.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Ben Raymond (20th year, 245-42 overall record, 10 state championships)

2016 record: 13-1 (Lost, 7-5, to eventual state champion Falmouth in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Jeb Boechenstein (Senior), Ben Ekedahl (Senior), Gavin Spidle (Senior), Connor Thoreck (Senior), Owen Thoreck (Senior), Ethan Avantaggio (Junior), Ben Carroll (Junior), Tate Perkins (Junior), Finn Raymond (Junior), Cole Spencer (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 26 FALMOUTH, April 29 @ Scarborough, May 3 @ Kennebunk, May 10 @ Yarmouth, May 12 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 20 @ Falmouth, June 1 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “It’s a really good group that’s played together for a long time. I think that it’s us and Falmouth and no one else is really close. It’ll be interesting when we play them. The first time won’t matter that much, the second will be for homefield, then the third will be for a trip to the state final. The guys will have no trouble getting fired up for them.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: It’s understandable that Cape Elizabeth has Falmouth on its mind. The teams have met in the regional final the past eight years and last spring, with the Capers’ fourth straight state championship and an undefeated season close enough to taste, they suffered their first ever home playoff loss to the Yachtsmen in a stunning regional final. Falmouth has a ton of talent back this spring and Cape Elizabeth does as well, but before the teams can meet in what Raymond feels will be the de facto state final June 14, the Capers will face several tough foes in the regular season.

Cape Elizabeth boasts an extremely potent offense once again. Owen Thoreck was a first-team league all-star and an All-American a year ago. He’ll draw the opposing team’s top defender every time out, but he’ll still score his share of goals and will be able to set up his teammates with easy looks. Thoreck is joined on attack by Perkins, who came on strong late last year, senior Noah Bates, junior Jacob Brydson and sophomore Phil Tarling. Connor Thoreck was a second-teamer a year ago. He’ll anchor the midfield with help from Boechenstein, Carroll, Raymond and Spencer (who will take the majority of faceoffs). Senior Connor Flaherty will also be heard from. Defensively, Ekedahl was a first-team all-star a year ago and is as an imposing a defender as you’ll find. Spidle also has experience on defense, as does long-stick middie Avantaggio. Bolstering that unit is the return from Exeter of senior Peyton Weatherbie. Senior Sam Price served as a backup to all-star goalie Alex Narvaez and is now ready to be the man in the cage.

The Capers don’t have many breathers on their schedule and might stumble a time or two. This team will ultimately measure itself on what it does in June, however. It would be stunning if the Class B South Final isn’t Cape Elizabeth versus Falmouth. After stewing for a year and likely reaching the height of their powers, you have to believe that the Capers will be clicking on all cylinders on that big stage. It will be fascinating to see how the rivalry plays out in the weeks to come. It could end with another Cape Elizabeth celebration.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Alex Spark (third year, 10-15 overall record)

2016 record: 3-9 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Caroline Coburn (Senior), Mariah Deschino (Senior), Julia Lennon (Senior), Chloe Chapin (Junior), Susie Graham (Junior), Erin Foley (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 26 @ Yarmouth, May 5 @ Falmouth, May 12 @ Massabesic, May 16 @ Greely, May 24 @ Waynflete, May 30 KENNEBUNK

Coach’s comment: “I’m very excited for this season. We only graduated one senior and we have a lot of talented freshmen to add to this group that worked very hard last year. We have a little more experience behind us and we want to make it to the postseason and represent our school well.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Last spring, the Capers fielded a young team and faced arguably the state’s toughest schedule and as a result, fell just short of a playoff berth for the first time since 2000. That will be an aberration, rest assured, and Cape Elizabeth should be right back in the hunt in a very challenging region.

Deschino will make the offense go in her final season. The midfielder was a first-team league all-star in 2016 and will draw plenty of defensive attention. She’ll score her share of goals and set up others on a regular basis. She’s joined in the midfield by Chapin (who will take draws), Coburn and freshman Karli Chapin. On attack, look for Graham (an honorable mention all-star last year) to score her share of goals. The defensive effort will be led by Lennon. Sophomore Brooke Harvey is new to the varsity team and will help out on that side of the field. Foley, who saw playing time as a freshman, is back in goal. There’s a lot of talent on this roster and this group will only get better in the weeks to come.

While the Capers still have a daunting slate, it’s not quite as overwhelming as a year ago and they’re better equipped to do battle with the traditional powers. Look for this group to gain confidence in the early portion of the season and to be in the mix in the deep and talented Class B South when June rolls around. Cape Elizabeth will be a squad that no one wants to face with their season on the line.

OUTDOOR TRACK

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

2016 results:

(Boys) No score @ Class B state meet

(Girls) No score @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Jacob Allen (Senior), Mac Huffard (Senior), Matt Concannon (Junior), Hans Kremer (Junior), Tanner Carpenter (Sophomore), Matt Conley (Sophomore), Brian Ellsmore (Sophomore), Sean O’Sullivan (Sophomore)

(Girls) Liv Palma (Senior), Emma Shedd (Senior), Kristen Penley (Junior), Annika Demeter (Sophomore), Camilla Grosso (Sophomore), Kelsey Kennedy (Sophomore), Alicia Lawrence (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “Both teams hope to be in the top 10 at states this season. With the addition of newcomers in the field events, as well as sprints, this fairly young boys’ team looks to take advantage of a strong offseason and move into scoring position.
“The girls are a small but quality team with probable state meet . Hopefully the injuries that plagued the team late last spring will not appear this year. If we can stay healthy, we should be a factor in the state meet.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Cape Elizabeth track teams will be in the hunt this regular season and should be able to score some points at the state meet.

The boys are led by veteran distance runners Allen and Huffard. They’re joined by freshman Jack Bassett. Concannon, Ellsmore, Kremer and O’Sullivan are sprinters to watch. The Capers will be tough on field side too, as Carpenter and Houle return in the throws and Conley will be a jumper to keep an eye on. Look for this group to steadily improve and to be at its best in June.

The girls will be strong in the distance events, behind Grosso, Kennedy, Palma and Shedd. Lawrence, Penley and freshmen Darcy Cochran (who had a terrific indoor season), Jaya McClure and Kaitlin Norrad will be top sprinters. Cochran, Demeter and Norrad will compete in the hurdles. On the field side, Lawrence and McClure will look to score in the jumps. The Capers have some athletes who will finish near of the top of the standings. As a team, Cape Elizabeth will be formidable throughout.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Andy Strout (39th year, 16 state championships)

2016 record: 13-3 (Lost, 3-2, to Camden Hills in Class B state final)

Top returning players: Carter Brock (Senior), Matt Galvin (Senior), Teddy Hall (Senior), Declan McCormick (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “We have some returning experience, but we will need to turn doubles players into singles players and rebuild two solid doubles teams. Our goal will be to get deep into the tournament.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Capers always go deep into the tournament and last year was no exception. While Cape Elizabeth’s three-year stranglehold on Class B ended in narrow fashion, this spring, the Capers are gearing up to get back to the pinnacle and you have to like their chances.

Hall was an all-conference selection at second singles a year ago. He’ll be at singles again. Brock, Galvin and McCormick (an all-conference selection last year) were all doubles players in 2016. They’ll look to join the singles rotation, along with senior Mac Brucker, who was injured last spring. As always, Cape Elizabeth boasts an abundance of depth and juniors Sam Berman and Dan Howard and freshmen Matt Clarke, Alex Hanson and Maximo Kesselhaut will all look to play a role in the team’s success.

Once again, the Capers will have to navigate the likes of Falmouth and Waynflete in the regular season, but when the tournament rolls around, it’s likely Cape Elizabeth will once again be the team to beat. After last year’s heartbreak, this group has a single purpose, get back to the state match and reclaim the crown that this program feels is rightfully theirs.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Sarah Boeckel (seventh year, one state championship)

2016 record: 13-3 (Beat Camden Hills, 4-1, to win Class B state championship)

Top returning players: Liv Clifford (Senior), Katie Gilman (Junior), Emelie Jarquin (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We’re coming off a great season and a state championship. We had a great team last year and we lost some tough players, but we have some good athletes to fill their spots. We’re looking to solidify our doubles teams. We have the same goal of winning another state championship. We’ll take every practice and match one at a time and keep building.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth is coming off a banner season, winning the program’s first championship in nine years. While the Capers graduated some key members, they’ll reload and make another run at the top spot.

Clifford was a first-team league all-star in 2016 and will be in the first singles spot. Gilman, who made the second-team last season, will play second singles. Jarquin could move into the third singles spot, or could move from second to first doubles. Senior Ellie Garfield and juniors Bridget Brett, Abby Caswell, Sammi Guerette and Erin O’Rourke are vying for other spots.

Cape Elizabeth will be tested by a difficult schedule and will lose some matches, but by the time the playoffs roll around, look for the Capers to again have a high seed and be in position to garner more hardware and headlines.

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

Senior Marshall Peterson will work his way into the rotation this season and will be a big part of the offense throughout for Cape Elizabeth’s baseball team as it seeks to get back to the regional final and this time, advance.

Junior Brendan Tinsman is well known for his ability to crush the baseball and play superb defense from his catcher’s position.

Cape Elizabeth senior Patrick Macdonald will play second base and pitch.

Junior Finn Bowe is recovered from his basketball injury and will anchor the infield at shortstop.

Senior Kelly O’Sullivan will be a top hitter and centerfielder for Cape Elizabeth’s softball team this spring.

Junior Anna Torre returns at third base.

Senior Owen Thoreck was an All-American last season. This spring, he’ll spark Cape Elizabeth’s powerhouse boys’ lacrosse team as it looks to return to championship status.

Senior Connor Thoreck will be one of the state’s top midfielders.

No one in their right mind wants to cross paths with Cape Elizabeth senior Ben Ekedahl.

Junior Susie Graham was an honorable mention all-star last year and will be a top scoring threat for an ascendant Cape Elizabeth girls’ lacrosse team this spring.

Senior Matt Concannon will lead a strong sprinting contingent for Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ outdoor track team.

Senior Mac Huffard is a top distance threat for the Capers.

Sophomore Camilla Grosso will score her share of distance points for Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ outdoor track team.

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