Freeport Falcons Spring Sports Preview

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This spring could see several Freeport teams make their move and contend. Baseball has struggled with youth in recent seasons, but the Falcons began to turn the corner last year. Expect the team’s growth to continue. Softball is viewed as a darkhorse by some. The playoffs are a realistic goal. Boys’ lacrosse has quietly become a solid contender over the past several seasons. This year’s group has an opportunity to make a serious run at a couple of longtime nemeses. Both track teams have serious potential. Boys’ and girls’ tennis will look to hold their own against a very challenging schedule.

BASEBALL

Coach: Hank Ogilby (12th year)

2010 Record: 4-12 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Spencer Egan (Senior), Chris Libby (Senior), Conner Ritchie (Senior), Chris Farley (Junior), Kaleb Farmer (Junior), Zach Greene (Junior), Jared Knighton (Junior), Luke LaMagna (Junior), Josh Weirich (Junior), Sawyer Williams (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ Gray-NG, April 27 @ Falmouth, April 29 @ Yarmouth, May 5 (H) GREELY, May 16 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 20 (H) YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We graduated only one senior, thus the roster is essentially the same as last year. As opposed to the previous three seasons, where the lack of upperclassmen has really challenged our ability to compete, our greatest strength may be simply greater numbers, experience and depth. Our strong junior class has played together for many years, during both the school and summer season and they’re ready to carry the team to a much more competitive season. Our defense should be better as well. Pitching should be solid. We’ll be able to compete with everyone this year. After four challenging years, this should be the year we turn the corner. While it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll pile up a lot more wins, it does mean we’ll be a much more competitive team. We’ll be a solid club this year and I expect a fun and exciting season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Although it hasn’t posted a winning record or made the playoffs since 2004, Freeport could be a team to watch this season. The Falcons have come through a difficult rebuilding process and are still young, but this year’s team has enough pieces in place to vie with even the best teams in the region. Freeport dropped its opener, 4-2, in eight innings, to visiting York, but even in the setback, there were encouraging signs as Egan, the staff ace, and Weirich both pitched very well. Farmer (a knuckleballer), Williams and sophomores Dan Burke, Nick Cartmell and Conner Dietrich will all see time on the hill. Knighton, Greene and junior Pat LaFlamme will serve as catcher. Dietrich (a .347 hitter as a freshman and Burke are a steady up-the-middle infield combination. Knighton (.289 a year ago) leads off. Weirich, Farmer, Egan and Libby make up a formidable middle of the lineup. LaMagna anchors the outfield. Ritchie has poise and will also play in the outfield. Farley and sophomore Cole Harrison are other players to watch. The Falcons need to learn to believe in themselves and be able to close out games. They should be competitive most of the year. The playoffs might be a longshot, but aren’t an impossibility. Ogilby has done a great job returning this program to respectability. Hopefully, the Falcons will turn those close losses of the past into wins as the season progresses. If so, look out, Freeport will be a team to watch.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Victor DiSilvestro (fourth year)

2010 Record: 6-10 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Mikaela Gillis (Senior), Dani Perry (Junior), Helen Humphrey (Sophomore), Leigh Wyman (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ Gray-NG, April 27 @ Falmouth, April 29 @ Yarmouth, May 2 (H) FRYEBURG, May 5 (H) GREELY, May 16 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 20 (H) YARMOUTH, May 25 (H) WELLS

Coach’s comment: “We’re a very young team with only one starting senior. Of course, the playoffs are the goal. This may be the year. We’ve improved in wins each season over the last three years, so I don’t think making the playoffs is out of reach.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport’s softball team has high aspirations and could deliver despite facing a brutal schedule. At least one opposing coach feels the Falcons are a potential darkhorse. The season opened in grand style Thursday when Wyman threw a no hitter in a 7-0 home win over York. Wyman (a second-team Western Maine Conference all-star in 2010) picked up where she left off last season, fanning 11 (she had over 100 Ks last spring). Her talent on the mound figures to carry the Falcons far. She’ll be spelled on occasion by freshman Vanessa Ley. Offensively, if Freeport can produce on a regular basis, it will move into the upper half of contenders. Gillis (second base) and Wyman both hit over .400 last year. Humphrey, Perry and freshman catcher Jess Perry and first baseman Lexi Dietrich hope to make some noise as well. While the Falcons will have to overcome their youth and inexperience, the talent level’s as good as it’s been in quite some time. If the team can ride the momentum from its opening win, continue to get solid pitching from Wyman and produce steady offense, it could post a winning mark for the first time since 2001 and make its first playoff trip since 2002.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Geoff Arris (third year)

2010 Record: 8-5 (Lost 14-13, in OT, to St. Dom’s in Eastern B semifinals)

Top returning players: Joe Loeman (Senior), Hans Pope (Senior), Bennett Wade (Senior), Dylan Arris (Junior), Evan Hench (Junior), Alex Sturtevant (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 27 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 10 (H) NYA, May 18 @ Greely, May 25 @ Yarmouth, May 31 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We’re looking pretty solid. We graduated a lot of talent, but I think we have the players to fill those positions. There are a lot of new players who fit right in to our program and I look forward to watching them perform. We have a lot of hardworking, dedicated players who have bought into our team philosophy and I truly think they’ll all get something positive from our season. The leadership on our team is excellent. We know what games we’ll have to step it up. I look forward to the challenge.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: While stuck in the shadow of accomplished rivals North Yarmouth Academy and Yarmouth, the Freeport program has been very consistent and competitive for several years and this could be the season that sees the Falcons take the next step. They’re dangerous. Freeport made an emphatic statement in its opener, rolling past visiting Lake Region, 14-4. In that one, Hench (who had 20 goals, 11 assists and 37 ground balls last spring) went off for six goals and four assists, while Spring 2010 Male Athlete of the Year Pope (who scored 15 goals, had 10 assists and 78 ground balls a year ago) added four goals and a pair of helpers. Those two will set the pace on offense, with help from Arris, new senior Jordan Cyr, sophomore Griffin Breer and freshman Isaak Drearden. Defensively, Loeman, Wade and freshman Mark Donahue will try to clamp down in front of Sturtevant, who made 158 saves last year, while stopping 62 percent of the shots he faced. After vacation week, the Falcons have the daunting challenge of going to defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth. Tests with Falmouth, Greely, NYA and Yarmouth also dot the schedule. If Freeport is able to beat the teams it’s supposed to defeat and find a way to win a game or two versus the elite squads, a winning record is a certainty and the Falcons would be a team that no one will want to face in the postseason. After 10 playoff appearances in the past 11 seasons, this program’s now at the level where it has to be taken seriously. Even by those aforementioned powerhouses.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Karin Kurry (third year)

2010 Record: 4-8 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Lauren Easler (Senior), Ally Fuehrer (Senior), Jess Hench (Junior), Becca Lane (Junior), Alex Mitch (Junior), Katie Turner (Junior), Jocelyn Davee (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: May 3 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 11 @ Yarmouth, May 19 @ Greely, May 21 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We’re young, but our numbers are up. We look good. I only have two seniors, but my junior group is pretty good. We have our returning defensive core, except for our goalie. I lost most of my offense. We hope to qualify for the playoffs. We were bummed we didn’t make it last year. I hope to play the good teams well.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport features some good experience and talent this spring. The Falcons opened with a 14-4 loss at North Yarmouth Academy, but got encouraging performances from several sources, most notably Davee, Easler and Hench. Those three, along with Lane, Mitch, Turner and freshman Meredith Broderick will pace the offense. Hench handles draw controls. Defensively, Fuehrer leads the way in front of freshman goalie Molly Lane. Accomplished athletes sophomore Aubrey Pennell and freshman Eli Pier are also on the roster. Freeport has several winnable games on the slate. If the Falcons can stay strong defensively, develop a balanced scoring attack and believe that they can compete if they play their best lacrosse, they could be in for a strong season. Freeport made the playoffs in 2007, 2008 and 2009 before falling short last year. This team has what it takes to get back to the postseason and boast a winning mark for the first time since 2003.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Brian Berkemeyer (third year)

2010 Results:

(BOYS) tie-29th @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 29th @ Class C state meet

Top returning athletes:

(BOYS) Miles Boucher (Senior), Ryan Collet (Senior), Charlie Lehmer (Senior), Charlie Baker (Junior), Will Larkins (Junior), Taylor Saucier (Junior)

(GIRLS) Kelly Edwards (Senior), Brie Roy (Senior), Abby Roney (Junior), Ellie Soule (Junior), Ceira Wentworth (Sophomore)

Top foes: NYA, Sacopee, Waynflete, Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We have a very young team and we are up to 40 kids. Most of our indoor track state meet participants are back and Ryan is back sprinting. As always, we hope to get as many people qualified for the state meet as possible. Our distance relays also look to contend. We should be strongest on the track.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport’s numbers are strong this spring and it’s possible that both teams could move up.

The boys have state meet scorers returning in Baker, Boucher and Saucier, who were part of a fifth-place 3,200 relay team. They’ll be solid middle distance threats this year along with freshman Harrison Stiver. The distance contingent features sophomores Ian McGhie, Victor Skoropa and Vinnie Zolla and freshman Ethan Roney. The sprints are led by Winter Male Athlete of the Year Collet and freshman Braden Marstaller. Sophomore Riley Werner hopes to score in the hurdles. On the field side, Lehmer’s a strong jumper, while Larkins takes part in the shot put. The Falcons will hold their own in the regular season and are capable of moving up at states.

On the girls’ side, Wentworth is the lone returning scorer. She came in sixth in the 200 as a freshman. She’s joined in the sprints this year by Roney (who’s also a hurdler) and freshmen Heather Margerison and Ashley Richardson. Edwards, sophomore Caroline Rowell, Roy and Soule are the top distance runners. While the Falcons don’t have the firepower to approach the fourth-place state finish of the 2009 team, they are capable of improving on last year’s results.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Jay Harper (11th year)

2010 Results: 3-9 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Ben Forester (Senior), Scott Ross (Senior), Sam Skold (Senior), Josh Soley (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 25 (H) FALMOUTH, April 27 @ Waynflete, May 3 @ Cape, May 9 (H) NYA, May 11 @ Greely, May 18 @ Yarmouth, May 24 (H) WAYNFLETE

Coach’s comment: “We lost our No. 1 and 2 singles from last year. We’re searching to fill those spots. We have a lot of depth, so that should help our doubles. We have a lot of good sophomores who love tennis. The schedule is difficult as always. The teams we may beat offer little Heal Points and all the teams from the other conferences get several playoff spots, so playoffs are a long shot.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport’s boys’ tennis program will look to compete as best it can against several of the top teams in the state. Forester will be in the No. 1 singles spot, drawing not only the best players in the conference, but many of the finest in the whole state. Ross, Skold and Soley bring experience. Sophomores Abrim Berkemeyer, Connor McLellan, Tucker Troast and Chris West also have been on the team in the past. They’re joined by new senior Zack Grant and sophomore Landon Easler. The Falcons have holes to fill and will take awhile to hit their stride, but they should be able to compete with all but the elite programs. Matching or surpassing last year’s win total is doable.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Heath MacVane (fourth year)

2010 Results: 2-10 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Erin Hall (Senior), Maggie Stavros (Senior), Sarah West (Senior)

Pivotal matches: April 25 @ Falmouth, April 27 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 3 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 9 @ NYA, May 11 (H) GREELY, May 19 (H) YARMOUTH, May 20 (H) FALMOUTH, May 24 @ Waynflete

Coach’s comment: “I have a large group this year with quite a few freshman players. We have the largest team since I began coaching and it’s been fun introducing the game to new players.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Freeport girls have several new players looking to fill spots. Hall will be the first singles player. West will go No. 2, while Stavros will be in the third spot. Sophomore Sophie Smith and freshman Katie McClellan project to be the first doubles squad. Senior Michelle Huang and sophomores Kayley Johnson and Lindsey Wold are vying for the other doubles positions. The young Falcons will have a tough time against a daunting schedule, but they’ll look to improve dramatically between now and the end of the season and earn as many victories as possible. Going forward, Freeport should be in good shape.

                  Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at                   mhoffer@theforecaster.net and followed on Twitter @foresports

Sidebar Elements


Sophomore Leigh Wyman threw a no-hitter in the season opener and hopes to lead Freeport’s softball team to the playoffs this spring.

Junior Kaleb Farmer will help Freeport win on the mound and with his bat this season.

Freeport Spring Sports Schedules

(For updated times, visit fhs.rsu5.org/node/530)

BASEBALL

Mon., April 25 @ Gray-NG

Wed., April 27 @ Falmouth

Fri., April 29 @ Yarmouth

Mon., May 2 H FRYEBURG

Thurs., May 5 H GREELY

Mon., May 9 @ Lake Region

Wed., May 11 H POLAND

Fri., May 13 @ Wells

Mon., May 16 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Wed., May 18 @ Sacopee

Fri., May 20 H YARMOUTH

Mon., May 23 @ York

Wed,. May 25 H WELLS

Fri., May 27 @ OOB

Wed., June 1 H TRAIP

SOFTBALL

Mon., April 25 @ Gray-NG

Wed., April 27 @ Falmouth

Fri., April 29 @ Yarmouth

Mon., May 2 H FRYEBURG

Wed., May 4 @ Sacopee

Thurs., May 5 H GREELY

Mon., May 9 @ Lake Region

Wed., May 11 H POLAND

Mon., May 16 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Wed., .May 18 @ Sacopee

Fri., May 20 H YARMOUTH

Mon., May 23 @ York

Wed., May 25 H WELLS

Fri., May 27 @ OOB

Wed., June 1 H TRAIP

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Wed., April 27 @ Cape Elizabeth

Sat., April 30 @ EL

Wed., May 4 H WELLS

Sat., May 7 H FRYEBURG

Tues., May 10 H NYA

Thurs., May 12 @ Fryeburg

Sat., May 14 H LINCOLN

Wed., May 18 @ Greely

Wed., May 25 @ Yarmouth

Fri., May 27 @ Lake Region

Tues., May 31 H FALMOUTH

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Tues., April 26 H FRYEBURG

Sat., April 30 H CAMDEN

Tues., May 3 H WAYNFLETE

Thurs., May 5 @ Fryeburg

Wed., May 11 @ Yarmouth

Sat., May 14 @ Lincoln

Tues., May 17 H WELLS

Thurs., May 19 @ Greely

Sat., May 21 H FALMOUTH

Tues., May 24 H YORK

Tues., May 31 @ Wells

OUTDOOR TRACK

Fri., April 29 @ Lake Region

Tues., May 3 @ Wells

Fri., May 6 @ Falmouth

Fri., May 13 @ Cape Elizabeth (Wayn, Wells)

Fri., May 20 @ Poland

Sat., May 28 @ WMC championships

Sat., June 4 CLASS B STATES

BOYS’ TENNIS

Mon., April 25 H FALMOUTH

Wed., April 27 @ Waynflete

Fri., April 29 H LAKE REGION

Tues., May 3 @ Cape Elizabeth

Wed., May 4 H YORK

Mon., May 9 H NYA

Wed., May 11 @ Greely

Mon., May 16 H FRYEBURG

Wed., May 18 @ Yarmouth

Fri., May 20 @ Lake Region

Mon., May 23 @ Fryeburg

Tues., May 24 H WAYNFLETE

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Mon., April 25 @ Falmouth

Wed., April 27 H WAYNFLETE

Fri., April 29 @ Lake Region

Tues., May 3 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Wed., May 4 @ York

Fri., May 6 H OOB

Mon., May 9 @ NYA

Wed., May 11 H GREELY

Mon., May 16 @ Fryeburg

Thurs., May 19 H YARMOUTH

Fri., May 20 H FALMOUTH

Tues., May 24 @ Waynflete

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