Freeport Falcons Spring Sports Preview

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Senior Jacob Tomm scored in the long jump a year ago and hopes for big things this spring.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Bill Ridge (fifth year, 35-36-1 overall record)

2017 record: 6-10-1 (Lost, 13-8, to Spruce Mountain in Class B South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Colby Wagner (Senior), Toby Holt (Junior), Shea Wagner (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 30 @ Wells, May 2 @ Greely, May 4 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 5 @ York, May 7 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 16 YARMOUTH, May 28 @ Yarmouth 

Coach’s comment: “We’re young this season. We return only four seniors, one who is recovering from a knee injury. Shea is the only returning player with any varsity innings pitched. So far, we’ve been happy with the effort and focus from the players. We’ll likely go as far as our seniors can carry us. Luckily we’re blessed with four seniors who can be great leaders on and off the field. Each year, the goal is to get through the regular season healthy and earn a bid to the tournament. At that point, we believe anything can happen.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport demonstrated that anything was possible two years ago when it made a spirited, historic run to the Class B state final, but last spring, the Falcons came back to the pack. Regardless, Freeport qualified for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. If all goes well, the Falcons will enjoy a season more akin to 2016 than 2017.

This year’s squad boasts the booming bat of Colby Wagner, a second-team all-star a year ago. Wagner, the catcher, hit .396, had an on-base percentage of .500 and even stole seven bases. Shea Wagner was also a second-team all-star in 2017, going 3-3 on the mound with an 1.57 earned run average. He also hit .314. Holt hit .340 in limited action before having a terrific basketball season this winter. Holt will play first base and see some time on the mound. Josh Burke (who is working his way back from injury), Caleb Salter and Jack Sawicki are senior leaders. Newcomers of note include sophomores Heath Cockburn (infield) and Gabe Wagner (outfield).

Freeport won’t have many easy games, but this group figures to get more and more competitive in the weeks to come. If the Falcons can get healthy and develop consistent pitching behind Shea Wagner, they’ll be in every game. This squad hopes to save its best for last. If that happens, look for Freeport to steal more June headlines.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Jason Daniel (fourth year, 7-41 overall record)

2017 record: 2-14 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Megan Cormier (Senior), Callie Toothaker (Senior), Brianna Welch (Senior), Abbye Koenig (Junior), Alexa Koenig (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 30 @ Wells, May 9 OOB, May 16 YARMOUTH, May 25 GRAY-NG, May 28 @  Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “I’m feeling really good. We only graduated one. We’re hitting well so far in the cage. We only have three seniors, so we’re still a young team. Hopefully our sophomores step up. If we can be a .500 team, I’d love it. Last year, we were right there in many games, then we’d have a bad inning. This year, everyone is enthused and is working hard. Making the playoffs would be great.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: There is a lot of excitement in the air at Freeport this spring. The Falcons have a new turf field, several squads have had made a mark this school year and the softball team has reason for optimism as well that it could make a run at its first playoff berth since 2002.

Alexa Koenig, Freeport’s Spring Female Athlete of the Year and a second-team all-star after hitting .400 a year ago, has been one of the league’s top third basemen. This season, as a captain, Koenig will see some time on the mound as well, as will Cormier and sophomore Alexys Langley. Cormier, who is coming off a run to the basketball regional final, will play first base when she’s not on the hill. Langley can play the infield or the outfield. Toothaker, a captain, is the catcher and will play a key role in the offense. Abbye Koenig, another captain, is coming off a season which saw her hit .355. Daniel expects Koenig to have a strong year with the bat and she’ll see time in the infield and outfield. Sophomore Annika Thomas is the other captain. She’ll be at shortstop. Junior Brooke Toothaker will also see time in the infield. Welch has experience in centerfield. She’s joined by sophomore Abbie Brier. There are a lot of girls on this roster who can play multiple roles.

While Freeport figures to be improved, wins won’t come easily as once again, Class B South appears balanced. This team just needs to gain some early confidence and if it does, the sky is the limit. The Falcons will hit the ball. If the pitching is able to hold the opposition down, a memorable season could be in store.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Geoff Arris (10th year, 46-70 overall record)

2017 record: 3-9 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Nate Thomas (Senior), Garrison Thompson (Senior), Kaleb Barrett (Junior), Evan Owen (Junior), Steel Crawford (Sophomore), Deven Hannan (Sophomore), Sam Larochelle (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 NYA, May 3 WAYNFLETE, May 9 @ Wells, May 22 GREELY, June 1 YORK

Coach’s comment: “The Western Maine Conference is very competitive this year. I think playing a competitive regular season schedule will better prepare us for the Class C playoffs. I think a new class is extremely beneficial and I think we’ll see some success. We’re eagerly looking forward to playing in the tournament again. We’re low on numbers, so the young guys are going to have to step up and I think that will make our program stronger in the end.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is looking to get back to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus and has the talent to turn some heads in the weeks to come as it looks to make a run at the inaugural Class C state title.

Thomas played in the Underclass All-Star Game a year ago. He’s a captain and will anchor the midfield. Larochelle and Owen also have midfield experience. Freshman Ben Gormley will see some time as well. Senior Jacob Tomm, the track standout, and sophomore Sam Tourigny will take faceoffs for the Falcons. Up top, look for Barrett and Crawford to do their share of scoring. Seniors Griffin Agnese and Harrison Johnson return to the program this spring and they’ll also be in the scoring mix. Defensively, Hannan is a veteran and a captain. He’ll be joined by freshmen Justin Cogswell and Brett Holden in front of Thompson, who returns in goal a year after stopping 57 percent of the shots he faced. 

Freeport has a great opportunity to do something special this year, but it will have to navigate its tough schedule with enough victories to get to the playoffs. If the Falcons get there, they’ll be on the short list of favorites and could wind up producing one of the most memorable seasons in program history when all is said and done.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Marcia Wood (fourth year, 17-24 overall)

2017 record: 4-9 (Lost, 10-9, in overtime, to Morse in Class B North quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Chloe Davidson (Senior), Taylor Dostie (Senior), Jessie Driscoll (Senior), Taylor Rinaldi (Senior), Margaret Perrotta (Junior), Margaret Ryan (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 24 YARMOUTH, May 2 @ York, May 16 GREELY, May 23 WAYNFLETE, June 2 ST. DOM’S

Coach’s comment: “We’re looking pretty good. What a difference our new turf makes. We lost most of our defense, but the veterans are helping the new kids pick it up. Most of our goal scoring is back. It will be interesting. I hope our basketball success carries over and helps the team. We still have a competitive schedule. We have a chance to go deep in the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport made its sixth straight playoff trip a year ago, but the season ended in disappointment. This season, the Falcons, who have a brand new turf field to play on, project to be one of the top contenders in the newly-formed Class C.

Davidson, Dostie and Rinaldi will all take draws and project to be top scorers. Perrotta will also score her share of goals. Defensively, Driscoll, an honorable mention all-star last spring, and Ryan will look to make the transition as easy as possible for senior Cameron Pasquali or sophomore Piper Sherbert, who look to replace Jordan Randall in goal.

Freeport is one of several longtime programs that joins newer and smaller teams in Class C. The Falcons have a great opportunity to steal headlines in the first year of the new class. A tough regular season slate will get this squad up to speed and by June, look for Freeport to be a very tough out.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Matthew Greear (fifth year)

2017 results:

(Boys) 15th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 28th @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Griffin Agnese (Senior), Joe Ashby (Senior), Jacob Tomm (Senior), Alex Les (Junior), Nick Mitch (Junior), 

(Girls) Johanna Bogue Marlow (Senior), Patricia Dupere (Senior), Edie Hayden-Hunt (Junior), Lily Horne (Junior), Tara Migliaccio (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “ We’re looking to build on prior successes. We’re excited to finally have a home track. As the team grows, we should challenge to win more meets and score more points at the state meet.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport once again has a strong team and should be a force in the league and in the championship meets.

The boys’ team will miss graduated distance standout Henry Jacques, but there is talent in reserve. Agnese and Ashby were part of a scoring relay team a year ago. Agnese is a top hurdler. Ashby is a threat in the 800 (he placed second indoors). Les is another middle-distance runner to watch. Junior Paul Biberstein, sophomore Adam Ulrickson and freshman Martin Horne are new to the team and will run distance. Mitch (400) also has experience. On the field side, Tomm is coming off a sixth-place showing in the long jump last season. He’ll look to move up this season. Freshman Alex Helie is a thower to watch. The Falcons could be at their best at the end of the season.

On the girls’ side, Horne returns in the distance races (she was seventh last spring in the mile). She’s joined by senior Maya Bradbury, sophomores Catriona Gould and Hannah Spaulding and freshman Jane Dawson.  Migliaccio will be a top sprinter. She’s joined by freshman Shaina Curry. Bogue Marlow, coming off a terrific basketball season, will compete in the 400. Dupere competes in the hurdles and Hayden-Hunt is a thrower. Curry takes part in the jump. Freeport has the pieces in place for a memorable campaign.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Jay Harper (18th year)

2017 record: 5-8 (Lost, 5-0, to Cape Elizabeth in Class B South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Wes Goodwin (Junior), Liam Gould (Junior), Sullivan Smith (Junior), Clay Canterbury (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We have 15 players out for the team and we are still a young team overall, but we have talent with a fair amount of experience. We need to figure out our doubles. I’m excited and expect a deeper run in playoffs this year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is coming off its fifth playoff trip in six seasons and could be primed to become a top contender this spring.

Canterbury will be in the top singles spot. He was 6-6 as a freshman and was named a second-team league all-star. Goodwin will be in the second singles spot. Gould, who played singles as a freshman and doubles as a sophomore, will likely be in the No. 3 singles position. The doubles teams will include some combination of Sullivan, seniors Ben Berry, Evan McKittrick and Ethan Sclar (who has had a terrific school year playing golf and basketball), junior Aaron Rusiecki and freshmen Liam Hornschild-Bear and T.J. Whelan.

The Falcons last made the regional final in 2001 and have reached the semifinal round just twice since then. They have a unique opportunity to make a deep run this year because Cape Elizabeth appears mortal and several other contenders either have new coaches or have been hard-hit by graduation. Freeport should be formidable in singles play. If the doubles teams come along, look out, this squad could be one of the best in Class B South come June.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Mike Lawson (second year)

2017 record: 3-9 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Maya Dowling-Wolfe (Junior), Rebecca Pierce (Junior), Lindsay Galletta (Sophomore), Emily Perilla (Sophomore), Charlotte Soule (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “With the amount of young and returning players, our team looks to build on the experiences and work from last season. Many athletes are now playing during the offseason and with that confidence and potential leadership, we hope to improve on our record from last year. We see this year as a chance to build strength, skill, confidence and execution moving forward.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport fell short of the playoffs last spring, but the Falcons could make the jump and qualify this time around.

Dowling-Wolfe and Pierce are the veterans. Galletta, Perilla and Soule were part of the program as well last season. That core is joined by three promising newcomers, junior Lucy Wing and sophomores Sadie Baker-Southall and Anjolie Giraud. 

While defending state champion Greely is once again looking strong and perennial contenders Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth also loom, look for Freeport to be competitive in its matches and if all goes well, an improvement on last year’s win total will spell a trip to the postseason.

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

Senior Josh Burke is working his way back from injury, but once he takes the mound, he’ll help Freeport’s baseball team’s quest to reach the playoffs.

Senior Colby Wagner has a booming bat and is a reigning league all-star.

Senior Taylor Dostie, last seen helping Freeport’s girls’ basketball team reach the regional final for the first time in 42 years, is a top returner for the Falcons girls’ lacrosse team, which has its eye on winning the inaugural Class C state title.

Senior Taylor Rinaldi, another key contributor to the basketball team’s success, will be in the middle of the action on the lacrosse field.

Junior Alex Les hopes to score in the middle distance races this spring.

Junior Lily Horne will be a top distance runner for Freeport’s girls’ outdoor track team.

Senior Johanna Bogue Marlow is another top returner for the Falcons.

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