Spring sports season once again sensational for Northern schools
The 2009 spring sports season featured the old and the new.
While many new faces had their moment in the spotlight, perennial champions once again did their thing and after a warm start, Mother Nature delivered a rainy payback in spades.
Ultimately, the lingering moments from the past two months will be the transcendent effort and triumph of local athletes as they once more gave us plenty to cheer.
Greely's baseball team won it all for the second time in three seasons, while Falmouth, Freeport, NYA and Yarmouth all had their moments.
Falmouth and Greely's softball teams made it to the playoffs.
There were no shortage of memories for lacrosse fans. Yarmouth's boys' team won Class B for the second year in a row, third time in four seasons and the fourth time since 2004 and did so undefeated for just the second time in program history. Falmouth enjoyed its best year to date. Freeport, Greely and NYA also made the playoffs.
On the girls' side, NYA got back to the Class B state game, but once again was denied by nemesis Waynflete. Yarmouth had another dominant campaign, while Falmouth, Freeport and Greely also reached the postseason.
Local runners, jumpers and throwers continued their brilliance as the Falmouth and NYA boys won state crowns.
Tennis provided some special moments as well, as Falmouth's girls took Class C again, NYA's girls won Class C for a third successive spring, while Yarmouth's boys captured their first-ever Class B title.
Here's one final look back at the spring of 2009 before we (hopefully) turn our attention to summer.
Michael's top five stories
5) Greely baseball beats the odds, wins Class B championship
Two years ago, the Greely baseball team rode an inspirational victory in the semifinals to a Class B title. This spring, the Rangers were one of the finest teams in the region, but came up short twice against rival and defending Western B champion Cape Elizabeth. After downing York in the quarterfinals, Greely got another crack at the host Capers in the semifinals and the third time proved to be a charm as the Rangers overcame superb Cape Elizabeth pitching and finally pushed a run across in the top of the 10th inning to win, 1-0. Greely then outslugged Lincoln Academy, 15-8, to win the regional championship game, and got a gem from senior Sam Stauber in a 2-0 victory over Gardiner to win it all.
4) Track produces multiple champions
The Class B and C outdoor track and field meets were showcases for Forecaster Country athletes. Falmouth won its first Class B boys' title, while NYA made it four straight in Class C. The Yachtsmen had two standouts win a total of three events. The Panthers rode five wins from two athletes to their repeat. If that wasn't enough, Greely and Yarmouth also produced event-winners, and Freeport's young program continued to make great strides.
3) Three local tennis teams take state honors
The Falmouth and NYA girls' tennis teams have grown accustomed to winning state titles. This spring, they had company in a Yarmouth boys' squad that finally found a way to beat Falmouth for the first time this decade, in the regional final, no less. The Clippers went on to win their first-ever Class B crown. The Yachtsmen girls had virtually no competition all spring and were one of the most dominant champions ever. The Panthers quietly chugged along and once again, sparkled brightest in June.
2) Falmouth boys' lacrosse steals the headlines
"Next year" arrived this spring for the Falmouth boys' lacrosse team. The up-and-coming Yachtsmen arrived and produced a ton of headlines, crushing perennial contenders Kennebunk and North Yarmouth Academy, while putting scares into defending Class A champion Scarborough, eventual Class A champion Portland and defending Western B champ Cape Elizabeth. Falmouth finished 8-4, avenged a pair of agonizing playoff losses from the past two years with a 17-5 victory over Greely in the semifinals, then battled Cape Elizabeth in the regional final before finally getting eliminated. The Yachtsmen will return almost everyone in 2010, however, and will have to deal with some pretty large expectations. They've earned them.
1) Yarmouth hosts and wins two best lacrosse games of the year
In a nine-day span in May, Yarmouth High School played host to two of the best regular season games of this or any other year. The fun began May 18, when the Clippers boys' squad, riding a 60-game home winning streak that dated back to 2002, hosted powerhouse Portland. Yarmouth raced to an early lead, then saw the Bulldogs rally in the second half to go ahead. The Clippers wouldn't be denied on their homefield, however, and took the lead for good before adding a cosmetic goal as time expired in an 11-9 victory. Both teams went on to win their respective state championships and fans could only fantasize about a rematch. On May 27, the Yarmouth girls welcomed fierce rival NYA, in a game that would essentially determine homefield advantage for the playoffs. The Clippers led virtually the whole way, but the Panthers never went away and forced overtime with a goal in the waning seconds. In overtime, NYA briefly took its one and only lead, but Yarmouth answered with two to put itself on the verge of victory again, but again, the Panthers tied the score late and it was on to a third "sudden victory' overtime session. There, the Clippers finally settled matters when senior Lanier Bolmer scored for a 12-11 triumph. Three weeks later, NYA would get a measure of revenge when it went to Yarmouth and won the Eastern B Final.