Freeport Falcons Spring Sports Preview

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Senior Chandler Vincent will be a top distance threat for a Freeport boys’ outdoor track team that has high numbers and reason for optimism.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Bill Ridge (third year, 15-19 overall record)

2015 record: 8-9 (Lost, 1-0, in nine innings, to Gray-New Gloucester in Western B preliminary round)

Top returning players: Jack Davenport (Senior), Caleb Rice (Senior), Caiden Shea (Senior), Colby Wagner (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ Yarmouth, April 27 YORK, April 29 @ Falmouth, May 4 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 13 GREELY, May 23 @ York

Coach’s comment: “We open with a very tough schedule, four Class B playoff teams and two Class A playoff teams. If we can get through those games with our heads above water, we can put ourselves in a position to make a good run. Two years ago, we played in a preliminary round game, last year we hosted a prelim. The goal this year is obviously to move past that round and go deeper in the tournament.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is heading in the right direction and it’s likely the Falcons should continue to improve this spring.

Freeport boasts one of the region’s best pitchers in Davenport, a first-team and Underclass all-star, as well as the school’s Spring Male Athlete of the Year last season, who went 4-3 with a 2.39 earned run average and 40 strikeouts. He made quite a splash in Thursday’s opener, blanking Lake Region, 2-0, working out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh and striking out a whopping 15 batters. Rice (3.23 ERA last year) and sophomore Josh Burke will also see key innings. 

Davenport wields a potent bat too. He hit a robust .510 with 26 hits, 12 runs batted in, 18 runs scored and also stole nine bases in 2015. He’s a great building block. Wagner (who hit .333 with 15 hits and nine RBI as a freshman) is behind the plate. Shea will also see time at catcher and in the outfield. Rice (.320 average last spring) will anchor the infield. Sophomore Jack Sawicki will see time at shortstop and third base. Several other players look to contribute as well.

The Falcons could have a tough first half of the season, but if they can generate some offense, Davenport will keep them in games and give them a chance to win. If Freeport can earn some early victories, its confidence will soar and it will be very dangerous by the time the playoffs roll around. The Falcons last won a playoff game in 1985. It’s time for that drought to end.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Jason Daniel (second year)

2015 record: 2-14 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Bailey Karnes (Senior), Morgan Karnes (Senior), Elizabeth Wiest (Senior), Brianna Bellefleur (Junior), Megan Cormier (Sophomore), Brianna Welch (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ Yarmouth, April 29 @ Falmouth, May 4 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 13 GREELY

Coach’s comment: “We’re looking forward to the season. In the first part of last season, we had some confidence problems and a few health problems. As the season moved forward, we had a couple wins and really started playing ball. We were competitive with (eventual Class B champion Yarmouth) and Poland, which gave the girls a lot of heart. I’m really looking forward to my seniors having a great seasons and the young players following suit.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport started to put it together in the second half of last season and looks to build on that momentum this spring as the program continues its return to competitiveness.

Bailey Karnes, a shortstop, was a second-team league all-star as a sophomore after hitting .400. She also will see a lot of time on the mound. Bellefleur will see her share of innings as well, while Cormier and freshman Alexa Koenig will also be in the pitching mix. Morgan Karnes can play several positions. She batted over .300 last season and will be a top hitter. Wiest missed part of last season with a concussion, then returned and turned heads. She’ll be on the infield. Cormier will be at first base when she doesn’t pitch and should collect her share of hits. Welch steps in to the centerfield position and will anchor the outfield. Koenig can also play third base. She brings a strong arm to the field and flashes the leather as well. Freshman Abby Koenig will play in leftfield and also boasts a strong arm. Freeport rallied for four seventh inning runs to stun Lake Region, 8-7, in Thursday’s opener. Alexa Koenig had the game-winning RBI.

The Falcons are in the process of building their way back to the point where they make a run at a winning record and a playoff spot. For Freeport to reach the postseason for the first time since 2002, a lot of players will have to take it to the next level, but that’s realistic. Look for more wins from this group. The future is bright.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Geoff Arris (eighth year, 40-52 overall record)

2015 record: 6-7 (Lost, 12-6, to Gardiner in Eastern B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Eli Fox (Senior), Brady LaFrance (Senior), Ed Lefebvre (Senior), Zach Owen (Senior), Jake Todd (Senior), Zac Wogan (Senior), Perrin Davidson (Junior), Evan Donald (Junior), Connor Dostie (Junior), Nate Thomas (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 30 @ Morse, May 7 YORK, May 10 WAYNFLETE, May 17 @ Kennebunk, May 19 @ Greely, June 1 @ Waynflete

Coach’s comment: “I have really high hopes for this season. This team has grown really close together already. We really want to improve on last year. As always, it is our hope to make it to the tournament, but realistically, I want to compete and go deep. We have phenomenal leadership from our three captains. The three have really created a team chemistry that Freeport hasn’t seen in many seasons. I’m very proud already on how they conduct themselves. I’m really looking forward to what the young guys bring to the table. We’ve had three scrimmages and have improved drastically during each one. The young guys all got to get in quite a bit of shifts and I was really pleased with what I saw.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport has made the playoffs the past three seasons and appears to have a very strong roster again, suggesting another postseason trip, and perhaps a longer stay, looms.

Wogan played in the Underclass All-Star Game last June after making 232 saves, denying 65 percent of the shots he saw. He’s emerged as one of the best goalies around and should be in for a solid senior season. He makes his teammates look good with his ability to make key stops. Defensively, Lefebvre, Owen and Todd have experience. The offense starts with faceoff wins and Davidson, Donald and Thomas will all seek to earn possession. The Falcons should have plenty of balance on offense. Fox (15 goals last spring) is top returning scorer. He’s joined by Dostie (9 goals, 12 assists), Davidson (7 goals, 6 assists), LaFrance (7 goals, 6 assists), Donald and Thomas on the offensive end. Freshmen Kaleb Barrett, Evan Owen and Eriksen Shea also help the cause. Freeport lost its opener, 19-6, to Falmouth, despite three goals from Dostie.

While Freeport isn’t yet at the level of the elite, traditional powers, there’s no reason why the Falcons can’t be one of the teams looking to battle Yarmouth in the regional final. This could turn out to be a memorable season if all goes as expected.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Marcia Wood (second year)

2015 record: 8-7 (Lost, 15-7, to Yarmouth in Eastern B Final)

Top returning players: Courtney Broderick (Senior), Lily Johnston (Senior), Sam Jordan (Senior), Brooklyn Washburn (Senior), Olivia Greuel (Junior), Chloe Davidson (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ Falmouth, April 30 MORSE, May 4 @ Yarmouth, May 7 WAYNFLETE, May 17 KENNEBUNK, May 19 GREELY, June 1 @ York

Coach’s comment: “We have very good numbers this spring. A lot of girls who are new. We want to build off of what we did last year. I hope this year we get excited and pick up where we left off. I expect good things if we can stay healthy.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport has reached the regional final three times in the last four years and cemented itself as the top threat to Yarmouth. This spring, the Falcons will be chasing the two-time defending Class B champion Clippers again and should enjoy another successful campaign.

While reigning Spring Female Athlete of the Year Emily Johnson will be missed, Broderick, a tri-captain, was a second-team all-star last season and will pace the offense, along with tri-captain Johnston (Freeport’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year) and Davidson, who will take draws. Defensively, Greuel and Washburn have experience in front of Jordan, who is back in goal. 

Freeport is accustomed to being one of the better teams in Class B. Just how far this team will go will be determined by the Falcons’ growth in the weeks to come. Don’t be surprised to see Freeport back in the regional final.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Matthew Greear (third year)

2015 results:

(Boys) Tie-16th @ Class B state meet
(Girls) 24th @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Erik Brobst (Senior), Chandler Vincent (Senior), Henry Jaques (Junior)

(Girls) Hannah Schnyder (Senior), Maddie Squibb (Senior), Amber Smith (Junior), Johanna Bogue-Marlow (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “This is one of the largest teams we’ve had since we have had an outdoor team. Team depth should make our relays very competitive in conference and at states. We have a great group of senior leadership that will help lead the way for the 35 underclassmen on the team.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport has reason for optimism this spring, as the roster features quantity and quality.

The boys have some of the best distance runners around. Vincent, Freeport’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, was third in the two-mile last spring, while Jaques, Freeport’s Winter Male Athlete of the Year, placed fourth in the two-mile. Brobst is another top returner who will vie for a top finish in the mile. They’re joined by junior Yacob Olins, sophomores Joe Ashby and Tom Doyle and freshman John Giddens. Sophomore Griffin Agnese and freshman Nick Mitch look to score in the sprints. The Falcons have what it takes to hold their own against the bigger, traditional powers in the league and to make a leap up the standings at the championship meets.

On the girls’ side, the top returning scorer is Schnyder, who was fifth in the long jump last season. She also scored in the 4×400 relay, as did Bogue-Marlow and Squibb. Schnyder will also compete in the 800. Bogue-Marlow and Squibb will be top contenders in the 400. Smith (triple jump) is the other veteran. A group of newcomers will add depth and make the team even stronger. That list includes sophomore sprinters Diamond Morris and Patricia Dupere, freshman distance runners Lilly Horne, Abbi King and Katie Morrisey and freshman sprinter Sophie Height. The girls, like the boys, have a lot to look forward to in the weeks to come.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Jay Harper (16th year)

2015 record: 1-11 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Nate Smail (Senior), John Smail (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 28 @ NYA, May 3 GREELY, May 6 @ Greely, May 9 YORK, May 11 YARMOUTH, May 18 @ Kennebunk, May 23 @ Yarmouth, May 25 @ York

Coach’s comment: “We’re very inexperienced. We have 10 new players. Five freshmen, three sophomores and three juniors. We’ll have freshmen and juniors vying for the number three singles spot and will be looking to fill in the double spots.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is facing a lot of question marks as the season commences and hopes to hold its own against several of the teams on its schedule. 

Nate Smail is back for his fourth season at the number one singles spot. John Smail, a doubles player in the past, projects to play second singles. Juniors Jordan Grotz and Emmett Smith and Liam Gould and Sullivan Smith are in the mix for singles spots as well. Senior Painter Soule, who missed his junior season due to participating in a student exchange program, and sophomore Evan McKittrick will be in the hunt for doubles spots.

While the Falcons don’t have the firepower to match up against the top teams in the conference (which are also the best in the state), they’ll hope to win some matches as the season progresses and position themselves for more success down the road.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Soph Lundeberg (first year)

2015 record: 1-11 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Caleigh Breton (Senior), Lindsey Dealaman (Senior), Leah Harrison (Senior)

Pivotal matches: April 26 @ Waynflete, April 28 NYA, May 4 WAYNFLETE, May 11 @ Yarmouth, May 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 23 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We have a strong singles team and our doubles is shaping up pretty quickly with players who have never played tournaments or high school before improving. We have a good chance to be strong in our league. We have a lot of tough teams in our league schedule who are going to prepare us for the B regionals. We have a very high turnout this year”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport has a lot to look forward to this spring, as ample talent is on the roster. The Falcons have a new coach this season, as Lundeberg replaces Chris Nordenson. Lundeberg is coaching a high school team for the first team.

Charlotte Eisele, an exchange student from Germany, will be in the first singles role. Breton, Dealaman and Harrison will also play key roles. Several other girls hope to fill the other spots and make Freeport competitive.

It won’t be easy, as the Falcons’ schedule is daunting, but don’t be surprised if they make a nice surge up the standings and qualify for the playoffs.

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

Senior Courtney Broderick is a reigning league all-star and is hoping to lead Freeport’s girls’ lacrosse team deep into the playoffs once more.

Chloe Davidson impressed as a freshman and will spend a lot of time in the draw circle in the weeks to come.

Senior Lily Johnston is a tri-captain and leader on the field.

Senior Sam Jordan returns in goal for the Falcons.

Erik Brobst will vie for greatness in the mile.

Henry Jaques was named Freeport’s Winter Male Athlete of the Year after a strong indoor season. He’ll be a top distance runner outdoors this spring.

Senior Maddie Squibb hopes to excel in the 400 this season for a potentially very strong Freeport girls’ outdoor track squad.

Senior Hannah Schnyder scored in the long jump last spring.

Junior Amber Smith is another experienced jumper.

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