Falmouth Yachtsmen Spring Sports Preview

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Sydney Bell and her Falmouth girls’ lacrosse teammates produced the finest season in program history a year ago. This spring, the Yachtsmen look to get to the state game and win it all for the first time.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Kevin Winship (seventh year, 80-30 overall record, one state championship)

2015 record: 11-7 (Lost, 4-0, to Portland in Western A semifinals)

Top returning players: Connor Aube (Senior), Tyler Gee (Senior), Reece Armitage (Junior), Robbie Armitage (Junior), Chris Camelio (Junior), Colin Coyne (Junior), Cam Guarino (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 27 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 6 GREELY, May 18 @ Yarmouth, May 20 @ Greely, May 23 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “I think we have a lot of talented players. We lost some senior leadership, but we return a lot of experience. We have talent and depth. Baseball’s a funny game. You need luck and you need to stay healthy. We’ll have to put it all together. Anything can happen this year. There’s no real front-runner. We want to get into the playoffs, finish in the top four to get a bye, then see what happens. I’m looking forward to it.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth had another solid season in 2015, but couldn’t muster up any offense in its playoff loss. This spring, the Yachtsmen are viewed by many coaches as the favorite in the region.

That’s due in large part to two excellent left-handed pitchers. Guarino followed up his stellar freshman season with a dynamic sophomore campaign, going 7-2 with a minuscule 0.57 earned run average en route to being named a first-team league all-star. Guarino also struck out 52 batters last spring. Reece Armitage wasn’t 100 percent much of 2015 due to an elbow issue, but he still managed to finish 3-1 with a 2.47 ERA and 27 strikeouts. Those two will make life miserable on the opposition. Also seeing time on the mound this season will be Coyne, seniors Jesse Melchiskey (who was injured last spring) and Hogan Tracy, junior Max Fortier and sophomore Griffin Aube. Camelio is being groomed as the closer. The loss of standout catcher Connor MacDowell presents a challenge, but senior Alex Whitmore and sophomore Garrett Aube were vying for the spot at press time.

Offensively, Falmouth features several potent bats. Connor Aube, who had a transcendent football season, will gear up for his stint at the University of Tennessee-Martin by pacing the offense. Aube hit .412 during a first-team all-star season last year. He had 21 hits, scored 20 runs and stole 13 bases. Aube will play centerfield. Robbie Armitage made the second-team a year ago after hitting .361 with 22 hits, three triples and 20 runs batted in. He’s the shortstop and along with Coyne (15 hits, 10 runs scored in 2015), makes up arguably the best middle infield around. Gee (.273, 12 hits, 11 runs last season) is another hitter to watch. He’ll be in leftfield. There’s a lot of talent and depth on this roster.

Falmouth is in Class A for the playoffs, but the Yachtsmen, other than in preseason scrimmages, won’t see teams from the Southwestern Maine Activities Association until the playoffs in June. In the meantime, they’ll be seriously tested by top-notch traditional rivals from the Western Maine Conference and those games will only make the team more battle tested. In its third season at that level, Falmouth is ready to ascend to the top of Class A. With arms, bats and gloves like these, it’s easy to understand why the Yachtsmen are so highly touted.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Ray Fox (fourth year, 29-23 overall record)

2015 record: 10-8 (Lost, 8-6, to Thornton Academy in Western A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Emily Beaulieu (Senior), Jessica Collins (Senior), Erica D’Alberto (Senior), Julia Treadwell (Senior), Allison Murphy (Junior), Maddie Rouhana (Junior), Shannon Birks (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 27 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 2 @ Fryeburg, May 4 @ Gray-NG, May 6 GREELY, May 16 @ Yarmouth, May 18 YORK, May 20 @ Greely, May 23 YARMOUTH, June 1 GRAY-NG

Coach’s comment: “I’m hopeful we can compete on a regular basis and get better as the season goes on, resulting in enough wins to qualify for the playoffs. Team defense will go a long way in determining our success, as Julia will pitch well enough to put us in position to win games.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Last spring, Falmouth earned a playoff victory for the first time since 2007 and for the first time ever in Class A. The Yachtsmen have small numbers (no junior varsity team) this spring, so the margin for error is slim, but this team has the pitching and hitting necessary to compete in the challenging Western Maine Conference.

Treadwell is back on the mound. A first-team league all-star a year ago, Treadwell posted a 9-6 record with a 2.31 earned run average. She struck out 117 batters and walked just 41 in 103 innings pitched. She’ll throw to Collins, who returns as the catcher, and freshman Liberty Ladd, who shows a great deal of promise. Offensively, Falmouth will miss first-team all-star Liz Walker, who graduated, but Treadwell (.446 batting average with a pair of home runs and 20 runs batted in) and reigning second-team all-star Rouhana (.441 with six doubles, three home runs and 15 RBI) will lead the way. Rouhana (shortstop) and Murphy (third base) join Beaulieu and Birks in the infield. D’Alberto will see time in the infield and outfield.

Falmouth is in Class A for the playoffs, but to get there, it will have to find a way to earn some pivotal wins against the likes of defending Class B champion Yarmouth and contenders like Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg Academy, Gray-New Gloucester, Greely and York. If Falmouth can make it back to the postseason, it could once again make some noise.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Mike LeBel (10th year, 89-37 overall record, two state championships)

2015 record: 10-4 (Lost, 12-4, to eventual champion Cape Elizabeth in Western B Final)

Top returning players: George Gilbert (Senior), Henry Norris (Junior), Devin Russell (Junior), Jack Scribner (Junior), Liam Tucker (Junior), Brendan Hickey (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 27 KENNEBUNK, April 30 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 5 @ Yarmouth, May 11 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 27 @ Kennebunk, May 31 CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach’s comment: “The kids are smart and have been working really hard. We probably have more depth than we’ve ever had here. I can play six defensemen, two good longstick middies, four attackmen who are solid and two really good goalies. We’re trying to be balanced on offense. Our defense will be very good. We definitely have a chance this year.  As good a shot as anyone else.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth has an excellent shot this year. After losing to Cape Elizabeth in the regional final three straight years, the Yachtsmen are ready to retake control of the region and Class B. It won’t come easily, but this squad could be the last one standing if the pieces come together.

While Spring Male Athlete of the Year and All-American Bryce Kuhn has departed, there is ample firepower coming back. Gilbert, a first-team league all-star in 2015, is a top returning scoring threat. He’s joined by Norris, Scribner, who had a breakout sophomore campaign, and Russell. The offense could have been even more potent, were it not for a knee injury senior Austin Wheeler suffered during football season. Junior Bryce Henson will take the faceoffs. Sophomores Henry Farnham and Nick Farnham, who transferred from North Yarmouth Academy, add depth in the midfield. LeBel is excited about the addition of freshman longstick middie Riley Reed, who could make an immediate impact. Hickey made the Underclass All-Star Game as a freshman and is another key defender. Tucker, another Underclass All-Star, will see most of the time in goal, but he’s injured as the season begins, so sophomore Ethan Chapman will step in. The Yachtsmen opened with a 19-6 win over Freeport, behind six goals apiece from Russell and Scribner and three more from Nick Farnham.

Falmouth has won a lot of games over the past seven years (at press time, LeBel is 10 victories shy of the 100 mark) and has arguably been the second-best team in Class B the past three seasons, but hasn’t been able to get to the big stage. That could change this spring. Cape Elizabeth remains strong, but is slightly more mortal than the past few years. If the Yachtsmen can steadily improve between now and June, they might just be the last team standing.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Kait Johnson (third year, 16-11 overall record)

2015 record: 12-2 (Lost, 9-7, to Kennebunk in Western B Final)

Top returning players: London Bernier (Senior), Nicole Budri (Senior), Sydney Bell (Junior), Mary Budri (Junior), Gabby Farrell (Junior), Devon Sarazin (Junior), Olivia Stucker (Junior), Chelsey Smithwick (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 28 WAYNFLETE, April 30 @ Thornton Academy, May 6 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 26 KENNEBUNK, June 1 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We’re a very small and young team, however, we have high hopes for this year. We graduated seven starters, but everyone is working hard. Staying healthy and building team chemistry will be important. We have some great leaders. I feel like everyone will be competitive this year. The girls are definitely fired up.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth is coming off the finest season in program annals, one which started with an impressive win at defending state champion Yarmouth. The Yachtsmen stumbled just once in the regular season and earned the top seed in the playoffs, but after beating Waynflete for the first time ever in the postseason in the semifinals, the fairy tale run ended with a heartbreaking loss to Kennebunk in the regional final. While several key contributors graduated, Falmouth has some terrific talent in reserve and will look to finish what last year’s group started.

Bell was a first-team league all-star as a sophomore and is only getting better, a scary proposition for the opposition. She’ll be a scoring threat, along with Bernier (a captain and second-team all-star last season), Sarazin and Stucker. Mix in Smithwick and newcomers like freshmen Caitlin Camelio, Christina Oakes and Kayla Sarazin, and opposing defenses will be overwhelmed at times. Defensively, Nicole Budri (a captain) and Farrell have experience. Freshmen Natalie Birkel and Summer Spiegel will step in and help that side of the ball in front of Mary Budri in goal.

The Yachtsmen have a brutal schedule and considering they’re a work in progress, they might not match last year’s win total, but they will get to measure themselves against the defending regional champions, Kennebunk and Yarmouth, to end the year and they’ll have a pretty good idea of where they stand in the pecking order. Last spring, Falmouth fell just short. This time, don’t be the least bit surprised if the Yachtsmen avenge their loss to Kennebunk and go on to end Yarmouth’s two-year run as champion.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Danny Paul (15th year, four state championships)

2015 results:

(Boys) 4th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 5th @ Class A state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Nigel Dunn (Senior), Noah Martin (Senior), Nick Sanzari (Senior), Josh Simensky (Senior), Sean Soucy (Senior), Tony St. Angelo (Senior), Cole Anderson (Junior), Ted Pierson (Junior), Matt Polewaczyk (Junior), Ben Rudnick (Junior), Jeremiah Sands (Junior), Aaron Thomas (Junior), Conner Piers (Sophomore)

(Girls) Liz Cyr (Senior), Emma England (Senior), Lydia Farmer (Senior), Marcy Kittredge (Senior), Vishva Nalamalapu (Sophomore), Gina Pardi (Senior), Kailiegh Wimert (Senior), Hannah Berzinis (Junior), Adelaide Cooke (Junior), Meg Dye (Junior), Madi Tait (Junior), Sara Topalovic (Junior), Mira Wyman (Junior), Andrea Coyne (Sophomore), Antoinette Lambert (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The boys have some very strong returnees, but not as much depth as we would like. We will be competitive all the way to states. The girls’ team is deep and strong. We should be just as competitive as the boys, as we pick up some key people who didn’t run indoors.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After years of excellence at the Class B level, Falmouth’s outdoor track program made its mark in Class A last spring, as both genders finished in the top five. Don’t be surprised if that happens again.

The boys’ team lost some points to graduation, but as always, features a lot of depth and talent. Dunn came in fourth in the 300 hurdles last spring and will look to move up. The sprints are led by Polewaczyk (fifth in the 200 last year), Dunn, Martin, Rudnick, Sanzari and St. Angelo. Junior Noah Gull is new to the team and will also sprint. The Yachtsmen will also be strong in the distance races, behind Piers, Sands, Simensky, Soucy and freshmen John Auer, Doug Cooke and Matt Moreau. The field side features plenty of potential points as well. Thomas returns in the pole vault, hoping to move up from last year’s fifth-place state meet finish. Gull also plans to compete in the pole vault. St. Angelo (fifth in the long jump last spring) and Cooke are top threats to score in the jumps. Anderson, Pierson and sophomore Hunter Arbo lead the way in the throws. Falmouth will be very tough to beat in regular season action and will give the best teams in Class A a battle at states. Moving up from last year’s finish is a distinct possibility.

On the girls’ side, Dye, Pardi and Wyman return from a state champion 4×800 relay team and will lead the distance contingent this time around, with help from the veteran Berzinis, Lambert, Nalamalapu and Wimert and new seniors Hannah Donovan, Krysia Lesniak and Emilie Saulter and new junior Hannah Michaud. Freshman Malaika Pasch can run everything from the 400 to the mile. Sprinters include Cyr, England, Farmer, Kittredge, Topalovic, senior Tyler Spence and freshmen Delaney Goodell and Sydney Williams. On the field side, Cooke returns after scoring in three events at last year’s state meet. She placed third in the discus, fourth in the shot put and fourth in the javelin. She’ll be a top thrower again and she also competes in the hurdles. Michaud, Tait and freshman Emma Harrington are also in the throwing mix. Farmer (third in last year’s long jump), sophomore Danielle Casavant and freshman Abbie Farmer look to score in the jumps. Coyne, Goodell and sophomore Chelsea Zhao compete in the pole vault. Falmouth will be tested by the likes of Greely and York during the league season, but should hold its own. At the championship meets, look for the Yachtsmen to get contributions from several sources and enjoy another high finish.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Bob McCully (45th year, nine state championships)

2015 record: 15-1 (Beat Mt. Ararat, 4-1, to win second consecutive Class A state title)

Top returning players: Jordan Bruce (Junior), Greyson Cohen (Junior), Trey Fallon (Junior), Peter Stegemann (Junior), Matt Adamowicz (Sophomore), Alex Klemperer (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 29 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 6 WAYNFLETE, May 13 @ Yarmouth, May 18 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We return all our starters except for our number one singles player from last year. We have some promising freshmen who will contribute to our strong lineup. We should make a very strong showing this season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth is in great shape to make a run at another state championship.

Last year’s number one singles player, Aidan McGrory, a first-team WMC all-star, has departed, but everyone else returns and a promising freshman, Nick Forester, is primed to step into the top singles role. Klemperer and Stegemann will fill the other two singles spots. Bruce and Fallon project to be the top doubles team. Adamowicz and Cohen are also in the doubles mix. Freshman Jake Leavitt and Calvin Spenser are also vying for playing time.

The Yachtsmen will be pushed during the regular season by the likes of defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth, rival Yarmouth and reigning Class C champion Waynflete, but Falmouth should post another solid record and will be primed for greatness when the Class A playoffs commence. There, the Yachtsmen will remind everyone that they’re always at their best when the calendar flips to June.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Bill Goodspeed (first year)

2015 record: 16-0 (Defeated Lewiston, 5-0, to win second straight Class A title and eighth straight overall state championship)

Top returning players:Julia Brogan (Senior), Caroline Ray (Senior), Mary Hyland (Junior), Kate Kelley (Junior), Amanda Watson (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 29 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 6 @ Waynflete, May 9 GREELY, May 13 YARMOUTH, May 18 @ Yarmouth, May 20 NYA

Coach’s comment: “We want to keep building our team and our character at all levels for the sake of the student-athletes. The prospects are good and if we play hard and stay healthy, we should have a good season. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth continued to set the bar stratospherically high last spring, extending its mindboggling match win streak to 125 and winning an eighth consecutive state championship (six in Class B and now two in Class A) After creating the state’s premier girls’ tennis dynasty, Sandra Stone stepped down after 13 seasons, 187 victories and 10 championships and was replaced by Goodspeed, who was the assistant last year. Goodspeed, an accomplished high school player in Michigan and at Dartmouth College, also served as an assistant with the Waynflete boys’ team, another dynasty. The Yachtsmen had to part with three-time state singles champion and Spring Female Athlete of the Year Olivia Leavitt, but it’s likely the team won’t miss a beat.

This spring, Falmouth will be led by Brogan and Ray, who were both first-team all-stars in 2016. Brogan was undefeated in match play last season and reached the singles semifinals. Ray also was undefeated and fell in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. Hyland, Kelley and Watson, doubles players in 2016, were vying for the third singles spot at press time. Kelley and Watson were all-stars last season. Senior Annie Gott, who played as a sophomore, is in the doubles mix along with the girls who don’t get the third singles spot. Several other players are looking for their chance, emphasizing that there is still an abundance of talent on this roster.

The Yachtsmen will be tested at times during the regular season and the win streak, like all good things, must come to an end eventually, but this group is bound and determined to stay perfect. By the time the playoffs roll around, Falmouth should be in prime position to ascend to the pinnacle once more.

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

Senior Connor Aube looks to lead Falmouth’s baseball team to a state title before taking his act to the University of Tennessee-Martin.

Junior Reece Armitage is healthy this spring and that’s bad news for opposing hitters.

After playing a key role in Falmouth’s boys’ basketball title, junior Colin Coyne will do whatever it takes to lead the baseball team to glory.

Junior Cam Guarino has been a star since his freshman season and figures to make life miserable for opposing hitters once again this spring.

Junior Robbie Armitage is another potent hitter and he’s solid in the field as well.

Senior Tyler Gee is back for his final season.

Junior Max Fortier will see some key innings this spring.

Ace Julia Treadwell is back for her final season on the mound for Falmouth’s softball team, which should be a contender this spring.

Junior shortstop Maddie Rouhana is a returning all-star and one of the league’s best hitters.

Junior Alison Murphy will play third base for the Yachtsmen.

Senior Emily Beaulieu is another key returner.

Senior George Gilbert looks to lead the Falmouth boys’ lacrosse team deep into the playoffs once more.

Junior Henry Norris is another scoring threat for the Yachtsmen.

Junior Jack Scribner had a breakout season a year ago and will fill the net with regularity again.

Brendan Hickey made an impression on defense as a freshman and could be even more imposing this spring.

Junior Liam Tucker is one of the state’s best goalies.

Senior London Bernier was an all-star a year ago and is in line for a big season.

Look for big things as well from junior Olivia Stucker.

The parade of returning talent continues with junior Devon Sarazin.

Senior captain Nicole Budri anchors the Falmouth defense.

Junior Mary Budri will be the last line of defense in goal.

Senior Tony St. Angelo returns as a top jumper as Falmouth makes a run at a Class A crown.

You have to look pretty high in the sky to find pole vaulter extraordinaire Aaron Thomas.

Josh Simensky returns for a final season as a top distance runner.

Senior Lydia Farmer is an elite sprinter and jumper for Falmouth’s girls’ outdoor track team and she’ll take her skills to the University of New Hampshire next year.

Junior Sara Toplavic looks to score in the sprints.

Whether it’s Class A or B, Falmouth’s girls’ tennis team has had no peer for eight years running. The Yachtsmen enter 2016 on a 125-match win streak and there’s no end in sight to their dominance.

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