Falmouth Yachtsmen Spring Sports Preview

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Falmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team surprised a lot of people by winning last year’s Class B state title. This spring, the Yachtsmen are the favorites.

File photos.

More photos below.

(Ed. Note: Softball has joined Maine Girls’ Academy as a co-op team. See the MGA preview for that team’s write-up).

BASEBALL

Coach: Kevin Winship (eighth year, 99-31 overall record, one state championship)

2016 record: 19-1 (Lost, 5-0, to Bangor in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Reece Armitage (Senior), Robbie Armitage (Senior), Colin Coyne (Senior), Max Fortier (Senior), Cam Guarino (Senior), Garret Aube (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 24 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 1 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 15 @ Greely, May 19 @ Yarmouth, May 25 WELLS, May 31 GREELY

Coach’s comment: “Being the favorite is a good problem to have. We have 19 (pitching) wins coming back, but we do have some holes to fill. I hope the younger kids can jump in and contribute. I think that it’s going to be wide open. Our goal is to string together wins and get in the playoffs. We want to finish in the top four and get a bye.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Whether Winship likes it or not, Falmouth is viewed as the clear favorite by the local baseball coaches, both in the Western Maine Conference, where the Yachtsmen play regular season games, and in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association, whose teams Falmouth will battle in the playoffs before the school makes the jump to that league for good next school year. The Yachtsmen have some key pieces in place to be great, including two of the best pitchers around. Now, they just have to go out and finish what last year’s team started.

Guarino was 10-0 with an 0.52 earned run average and 51 strikeouts a year ago and is wrapping up his superb high school career before going on to play at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Reece Armitage was sensational as well last season, winning his first seven decisions before losing in the state final (Armitage had an 0.78 ERA). He’ll attend Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York next year. Those two make up a 1-2 punch that other coaches dream about. If that’s not enough, Fortier went 2-0 with an 0.42 ERA last season and will see more time on the mound this season. That’s quite a collection of pitching riches. Good luck to opposing hitters. Aube returns as catcher. The infield will feature junior Griffin Aube at first base, Coyne (who has recovered from his basketball foot injury) at second (he hit .351 with 15 runs and 12 RBI last year), the Marist-bound Robbie Armitage, a standout in his own right, who hit .464 last year with 32 hits, 23 runs scored and 22 runs batted in last year, at short and either senior Will Blum or senior Colin Lento at third base. Fortier will play rightfield when he doesn’t pitch. Reece Armitage (who batted .344 with 19 RBI in 2016) will be in center when he’s not on the mound. Junior Marcus Cady and sophomore Garrett Tracy will also see time in the outfield. Several of the aforementioned players swing potent bats as well.

Falmouth will have some tough games during the regular season, as it sees ancient rivals like Cape Elizabeth, Greely and  Yarmouth for the final time in countable games. That will give the Yachtsmen a taste of the playoff intensity they’ll face when the postseason begins and the biggest schools in this part of the state try to knock them off. Falmouth has a senior core, a ton of talent and an abundance of hunger. That’s a recipe for dominance and if all goes well, a state title for the program to take with it when it joins a new league next year.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Dave Barton (first year)

2016 record: 12-3 (Beat Yarmouth, 13-9, to win Class B state title)

Top returning players: George Fitzgerald (Senior), Devin Russell (Senior), Jack Scribner (Senior), Liam Tucker (Senior), Nate Arrants (Junior), Nick Farnham (Junior), Brendan Hickey (Junior), Lou Mainella (Junior), Spencer Pierce (Junior), Riley Reed (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 26 @ Cape Elizabeth, April 29 @ South Portland, May 3 YARMOUTH, May 20 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 26 @ Kennebunk, May 30 @ Yarmouth 

Coach’s comment: “It’s a good group of kids. I’ve worked with 80 to 90 percent of the kids already. I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity. These guys get after it. The seniors have been in big games. They’re skilled on the field and they’re better people off the field. We want to play up and down. We play a tough schedule. There are a lot of programs on the rise. The kids have high standards, but we want to enjoy the ride.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth saved its best for last a year ago, rallying to edge Kennebunk in the semifinals before stunning three-time state champion Cape Elizabeth in the regional final, handing the Capers their first-ever home playoff loss in the process, and downing Yarmouth in the state final to win its fourth title. The program then parted with Mike LeBel, who won 102 games and four championships as coach. This season, Barton takes over. Barton ran the Scarborough Youth Program for awhile and was the boys’ coach at Edward Little last season. He’s a middle school teacher in Auburn and is excited about taking over a team that is thinking state title or bust.

Scribner was named an All-American in 2016. The Bates College-bound senior will be a force to contend with on attack this spring and figures to score an abundance of goals. He’s joined by Mainella and Russell up top. The Yachtsmen will be loaded in the midfield, as Arrants (who came up big in the state game), Farnham, Fitzgerald and Pierce (a faceoff specialist) are joined by seniors MacLean Kirk (another faceoff man) and Andrew Langdon, junior Henry Farnham and freshman Tommy Fitzgerald. The defense is led by Hickey, widely viewed as one of the state’s finest, and Reed, who made the all-conference team as a freshman. Tucker returns in goal. He’s come up huge in many big spots and looks to backstop Falmouth to the championship in his final season. This team has talent galore, as evidenced in a season-opening 27-1 drubbing of York Thursday (Scribner had five goals and Arrants and sophomore Reilly Tucker four apiece).

One team likely stands between the Yachtsmen and another crown. The same team that’s always in the way, Cape Elizabeth. Watching the two juggernauts do battle will make for some fun lacrosse in the weeks to come. The first two games will largely be for bragging rights. If they meet in the regional final for the ninth straight season, that will be the contest that will mean everything. If Falmouth can stay healthy and hungry, it can attain its goals of going back-to-back. The seniors especially want nothing more than to celebrate on the Fitzpatrick Stadium turf one final time June 17.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Kait Johnson (fourth year, 28-13 overall record)

2016 record: 12-2 (Lost, 8-3, to Kennebunk in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Sydney Bell (Senior), Mary Budri (Senior), Gabby Farrell (Senior), Devon Sarazin (Senior), Olivia Stucker (Senior), Chelsey Smithwick (Junior), Natalie Birkel (Sophomore) Caitlyn Camelio (Sophomore), Christina Oakes (Sophomore), Kayla Sarazin (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 26 GREELY, May 5 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 16 YORK, May 23 KENNEBUNK, May 30 @ Waynflete, June 1 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We’re excited. The team’s looking good. The sophomores have a full year of varsity experience. We have great senior leaders and a great freshman class. We won’t take anyone for granted. We have great competition. The girls want to go all the way. That’s the goal. This could be our year, but it’ll take a lot of work.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Only Kennebunk has stood in the way of Falmouth’s quest to play in the state final the past two seasons and this spring, the Yachtsmen are the favorite to finish the job. With some hungry, standout seniors, combined with a passel of promising youngsters, this team will be difficult to stop.

Bell has been a transcendent athlete since her freshman year. She’s a goal-scoring machine, one who is more than happy to set up her teammates for easier shots. A first-team league all-star a year ago, Bell, a midfielder, is primed for a huge season. So is Devon Sarazin, another first-teamer last year. She’s the top threat on attack and is joined up top by Oakes, Smithwick and Stucker (an honorable mention choice last year). Other midfielders to watch include the speedy Camelio and Kayla Sarazin, both of whom played well as freshmen. On defense, Birkel and Farrell return. They’re joined by new seniors Lucy Mahoney and Caroline Proctor, as well as freshmen Grace Fallon and Gretchen Varney. Budri, who is bound for the Coast Guard Academy next year, returns as the goalie. She’ll be one of the best in the state. Freshman Hannah Dubinsky is the goalie of the future and will see some time as well. 

The talent and hunger are in place. Now, Falmouth just has to go out and take care of business. It won’t be easy, as the Yachtsmen are in the most challenging region in the state, one which includes defending champion Kennebunk, perennial contender Waynflete and dangerous foes like Cape Elizabeth, Greely, Lake Region and York. There won’t be many easy games, but Falmouth will be able to go into any contest confident, feeling it should win. The program’s time has come. If all goes according to plan, a coronation will be the end result.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Danny Paul (16th year, five state championships)

2016 results:

(Boys) 2nd @ Class A state meet

(Girls) Class A state champions

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Cole Anderson (Senior), Noah Gull (Senior), Ted Pierson (Senior), Matt Polewaczyk (Senior), Ben Rudnick (Senior), Jeremiah Sands (Senior), Aaron Thomas (Senior), Charlie Henning (Junior), Conner Piers (Junior), Kyle Bouchard (Sophomore), Alex Kinley (Sophomore), Ben Potter (Sophomore)

(Girls) Maddy Adams (Senior), Hannah Berzinis (Senior), Adelaide Cooke (Senior), Liz Cyr (Senior), Antoinette Lambert (Senior), Madi Tait (Senior), Sara Topalovic (Senior), Danielle Casavant (Junior), Andrea Coyne (Junior), Chelsea Zhao (Junior), Emma Harrington (Sophomore), Malaika Pasch (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “With Polewaczyk healthy again and good depth overall, (the boys) should be very competitive all the way to states.
“With the return of Adelaide and Malaika, along with overall good depth, (the girls) should have a strong season. If we really click, we can make a strong attempt to defend our state title.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth has excelled since moving up to Class A and the 2017 season should be more of the same.

The girls won a historic first Class A championship a year ago and have the pieces in place to make a run at another. Cooke was transcendent in 2016, winning the discus and shot put and also scoring in the javelin (second) and 100 hurdles (fourth). She aims to score even more than the 32 points she produced last spring. Other returning individual scorers include Pasch (second in the 800) and Zhao (fifth in the pole vault). Zhao looks to move up this year and will be joined in the pole vault by Coyne. Casavant and sophomore Sophie Marcotte will be top jumpers and Harrington, Tait and sophomore Keira O’Brien will take part in the throws. Casavant and Marcotte will sprint and will be joined by junior Stone Carmichael and sophomore Reed Carmichael. Cyr and Topalovic will run the 400. In the distance, look for Adams, Berzinis, Lambert and junior Ella Boyd to contend. There’s enough talent here for the Yachtsmen to bid adieu to the Western Maine Conference in victorious fashion and to be a powerhouse at the state meet again.

On the boys’ side, Falmouth hopes to dethrone Scarborough. The Yachtsmen will be led by Polewaczyk, who was runner-up in the 100 and came in third in the 200 last year. He’ll be one of the top sprinters in the conference and state. Other sprinters of note include Bouchard, Gull, Rudnick, Thomas, senior Vlad Polak and freshmen Ethan Ali and Adrian Freedman. Sands (third in the mile and fourth in the two-mile last season) returns to lead the distance crew. Henning, Kinley, Piers, Polak and Potter will also be heard from and freshman Angus Christie shows promise. Gull will take part in the hurdles. On the field side, Thomas is coming off a fourth-place showing in the pole vault and hopes to move up. Rudnick will also take part in the pole vault. Anderson, Piers, sophomore Charlie Goodell and freshman Josh Bradford are throwers to watch. The Yachtsmen’s final season in the WMC will be triumphant and they will be on the short list of title favorites when all is said and done.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Bob McCully (46th year, nine state championships)

2016 record: 14-1 (Lost, 3-2, to eventual state champion Thornton Academy in Class A South Final)

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

Coach’s comment: “We have the same lineup as last year. This is our last year in the Western Maine Conference and we anticipate tough matches. We’re a very strong team that aspires to win a state championship.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth won its first 14 matches a year ago, but dreams of another title were dashed by Thornton Academy in the regional final. This is a year of transition for the Yachtsmen, who will join the Southwestern Maine Activities Association next school year, meaning this spring is the last time they’ll face ancient rivals like Cape Elizabeth, Greely and Yarmouth in the regular season. Whoever Falmouth goes up against, it will be favored to beat due to its terrific roster.

Forester, Kelmperer and Stegemann were all first-team singles all-stars in 2016 and this season, they’ll look to make more magic as they’ll handle the three singles positions in that order. Between Adamowicz, Bruce, Cohen and Fallon (all of whom were doubles all-stars last season) and Spencer, McCully has a lot of options with doubles teams. In truth, the Yachtsmen could use any of a half dozen or more players at singles and not miss a beat, but instead, those players will make the doubles teams close to unbeatable.

Falmouth doesn’t like and isn’t accustomed to falling short. Last year’s agony will be channeled into hunger this time around. It’s likely the Yachtsmen will boast a gaudy record again, although tough regular season foes await, but Falmouth cares most what happens in June. This group has what it takes to finish what last year’s team started and win its third Class A title in four seasons.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Bill Goodspeed (second year)

2016 record: 16-0 (Defeated Lewiston, 5-0, to win third straight Class A title and ninth straight overall state championship)

Top returning players: Mary Hyland (Senior), Kate Kelley (Senior), Amanda Watson (Senior), Grace Dimick (Junior), Maddy Joyce (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “Though we lost three starting seniors, including the state singles champion and another high seed, we have five returning players, a strong new freshman and a transfer from Houston. There will be strong teams in our league. Our goal is to keep improving as players and people, while consistently showing good sportsmanship and having fun.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth has enjoyed non-stop fun for nearly a decade, winning a mind-boggling 141 straight matches and nine successive state titles. Both streaks figure to continue this spring as the Yachtsmen are again the favorite.

Julia Brogan, the reigning state singles champion, and Caroline Ray have departed, but as always, Falmouth reloads. This spring, Kelley, a second-team singles all-star in 2016, leads the way. She’s joined by reigning doubles all-stars Hyland and Watson. Dimick and Joyce look to play bigger roles this spring. Freshman Meredith Kelley, Kate’s sister, is the program’s latest wunderkind who will step right in and made an impact. Junior Alston Armstrong came to Falmouth from Houston and she’ll also be heard from in the weeks to come. Look for Sara Fallon, Daisy Parker and Sydney Pearl to battle for match time as the season progresses.

While the Yachtsmen will be tested by the likes of defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth, Greely, Kennebunk and Waynflete, this group has no intention of letting either marathon streak come to a close. All good things must end, but Falmouth’s dominance isn’t one of them. Look for the Yachtsmen to keep the good times rolling right through the second weekend of June. Again.

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

From baby-faced assassin to a future member of the University of New Haven, senior Cam Guarino has been almost unhittable during his high school career. This spring, Guarino hopes to lead Falmouth’s baseball team to the state championship.

Senior Reece Armitage is Falmouth’s other ace. He went 7-1 last year with an 0.78 earned run average.

Senior Robbie Armitage anchors Falmouth’s defense at shortstop and has a potent bat as well.

Senior Colin Coyne has recovered from his basketball foot injury and will be a factor on the basepaths, at the plate and at second base.

Junior Garret Aube returns at catcher for the Yachtsmen.

Senior Jack Scribner is looking to produce another championship before taking his talents to Bates College.

Look for junior Nate Arrants to be one of the Yachtsmen’s top scorers.

Junior Brendan Hickey is widely viewed as the top defender around.

Senior Devin Russell will be a scoring threat from his attack position.

Senior Liam Tucker returns in goal for the Yachtsmen. He’s made some big saves in big games.

Sydney Bell has been a key contributor to Falmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team since her freshman season. Now, as a senior, Bell’s multi-talents could be enough to lead the Yachtsmen to their elusive first state championship.

Senior Mary Budri, who is bound for the Coast Guard Academy next month, will be Falmouth’s last line of defense in goal.

Devon Sarazin is another key returning veteran who will score some big goals in the weeks to come.

Kayla Sarazin is coming off a strong freshman season and will play a big role on this year’s squad.

Senior Olivia Stucker is another top returning scoring threat for the Yachtsmen.

Senior Matt Polewaczyk hopes to be a top scorer in the sprints this spring for a Falmouth boys’ outdoor track team which was second in Class A a year ago.

Senior Jeremiah Sands scored in both the mile and two-mile last season.

Senior Adelaide Cooke scored 32 individual points at last year’s Class A girls’ outdoor track state meet, helping Falmouth win the title at that level for the first time. Cooke is primed for an outstanding encore.

Nick Forester is coming off a strong freshman season for Falmouth’s boys’ tennis team. Forester will play first singles this spring.

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