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Greely Rangers Spring Sports Previews

Sports

Greely Rangers Spring Sports Previews

Look for several Greely spring teams to surge into championship contention this season. Baseball is hoping a recent odd-year trend continues and that it can bring home more hardware. Softball welcomes a new coach and should be very formidable. Boys' lacrosse has its eye on competing with the region's big boys. The girls' team says goodbye to a longtime coach and welcomes home a former star as his replacement. On the track, both the boys and girls will be as deep and talented as anyone. Boys' tennis should show improvement, while the girls' team also says hello to a new coach.

BASEBALL

Coach: Derek Soule (12th year)

2010 Record: 11-7 (Lost 4-3, in eight innings, to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class B semifnals)

Top returning players: Matt Labbe (Senior), Ben Shain (Senior), Mike Leeman (Junior), Brad McKenney (Junior), Pete Stauber (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 21 (H) GRAY-NG, May 2 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 4 (H) FALMOUTH, May 11 @ Gray-NG, May 16 @ Yarmouth, May 23 @ Falmouth, May 27 (H) YARMOUTH, June 1 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach's comment: “We lost nine starters, but we have a lot of potential. We could improve in every aspect. We have pitching, defense and experience up the middle. We're more athletic this year. We have a good group of newcomers. It's a strong league this year. We're playoff caliber.”

The Forecaster's forecast: The Rangers are always playoff caliber and if their recent odd-year good fortune continues, they'll be state champions in June, following on the heels of the 2007 and 2009 clubs. It won't come easily, as the likes of Yarmouth and Cape Elizabeth, among others, are standing in the way, but Greely has the pieces in place to contend. This program always has top-notch pitching and 2011 figures to be no different. Shain was stellar a year ago, fanning 33 in 23 innings, while compiling a 1.22 earned run average. He can also swing the bat (.375 with 12 runs batted in last season). Leeman, despite being hampered by injury last spring, went 2-1 and had an ERA of 2.28. Sophomore Jonah Normandeau and freshman Bailey Train (a 6-foot-4-inch hard thrower) will play key roles on the mound as well. Stauber's the catcher and leadoff hitter. He had a team-high 13 RBI and eight steals in 2010. Labbe (.286 and 12 RBI last spring) and McKenney (eight RBI) are key returning bats and will anchor the middle of the infield. Junior Liam Maker will play third base and junior Luke Saffian will step in at first base. Normandeau, Train and junior Jimmie Whitaker make up the outfield. As always, the Rangers figure to be fundamentally strong, especially up the middle. The pitching should be solid and if the bats produce, Greely can beat anyone. This team will have to work hard to play deep into June, but the Rangers appear up for the challenge. If all goes well, don't be shocked if Greely makes it to the playoffs for the 23rd straight season and if history repeats itself on June 18.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Kelsey Bryant (first year)

2010 Record: 15-3 (Lost 7-3 to Maranacook in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Michaela Finnegan (Senior), Edith Aromando (Junior), Caroline Hamilton (Junior), Katie Whittum (Junior), Danielle Cimino (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: May 2 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 4 (H) FALMOUTH, May 9 (H) FRYEBURG, May 16 @ Yarmouth, May 18 (H) WELLS, May 23 @ Falmouth, May 26 (H) YARMOUTH, June 1 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach's comment: “With eight returning varsity players, I feel we have the experience, talent and desire to be a top team this year. All my players have the discipline and passion individually and also will unite together as a team to make it as far as they want to this year.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely has a new look this spring as Bryant (with assistance from swim coach and longtime softball assistant Rob Hale) takes over the program. Bryant played at South Portland High School and Curry College and was an assistant with the last spring. She takes over a squad that projects to be one of the best in Western Class B. One that's capable of qualifying for the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season. Finnegan and Cimino will be the main hurlers.. Both wield powerful bats as well. Finnegan hit .354 and Cimino..410 last spring. Aromando is the catcher. She hit .340 in 2010. Other hitters to watch include reigning first-team Western Maine Conference all-star shortstop Hamilton (.449) and centerfielder Whittum (.397). Freshman third baseman Mykaela Twitchell has some pop and could soon become a household name. Greely will have to scramble to pull it together after a last-minute coaching change, but the talent should win out. The Rangers will be able to score runs consistently and have enough pitching to hang tough with even the top contenders. June triumph isn't out of the question for this group.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Casey Abbott (fourth year)

2010 Record: 6-7 (Lost 22-5 to Falmouth in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Matti Oberg (Senior), Austin Spencer (Senior), Cooper Allen (Junior), Griffin Demick (Junior), Paul Witte (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 27 @ NYA, May 10 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 18 (H) FREEPORT, May 25 @ Falmouth, June 1 (H) YARMOUTH

Coach's comment: “We have a lot more seniors this year. The preseason has gone well. The guys are more comfortable with the offense and defense. We have a positive outlook. I like our schedule. We'll build some confidence. We have a strong starting line defense. We have midfield depth, which is something we haven't had. A lot of these guys have started since freshman year. They're juniors and seniors now. We're finding our cohesiveness. We look to have a solid performance and do better than last year.”

The Forecaster's forecast: After a pair of .500 seasons, Greely appears ready to become one of the better teams in the area this spring. Unfortunately, for the Rangers, they're in the same region as defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth and powerhouse Falmouth. Greely has firepower in Spencer (22 goals in 2010), Witte (17 goals, 44 assists during a WMC honorable mention all-star season a year ago), Allen and sophomore Brendan Trelegan. Junior Nick Robinson, who returns to Greely after spending last year at NYA, is the faceoff guy. Oberg anchors the defense in front of Demick in goal. The Rangers have solid players all over the field. They'll be able to finish on offense, shut down the opposition and rely on a tested goalie. If Greely can get off to a good start, look out. The Rangers might not be at the top tier level, but a winning season and another playoff trip appears likely. This could be a squad that no one wants to face in June.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Sara Dimick (first year)

2010 Record: 1-11 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Kelly Burrell (Senior), Catherine Ferguson (Senior), Alicia Rost (Senior), Audrey Parolin (Junior), Etta Copenhagen (Sophomore), Jordan Ouellette (Sophomore), Paige Tuller (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: May 3 (H) NYA, May 11 @ Waynflete, May 14 @ Kennebunk, May 27 (H) YARMOUTH, May 31 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach's comment: “It's a younger team. We have a lot of good skills. We're just trying to bring it together. After we get more experience, the team should jell a little bit more. We definitely have good athletes. It feels really nice to be back at Greely. I really hope they can work on fundamentals and set reasonable goals for themselves and work to their personal potential. I try to get them to look at the positive side of every situation and move on become better athletes.”

The Forecaster's forecast: It's a new era of girls' lacrosse at Greely after longtime coach Peter Wiles stepped down after 16 seasons and over 130 victories. He's replaced by a former Rangers standout, Sara Dimick, Greely's 2003 Spring Female Athlete of the Year. Dimick played field hockey and lacrosse at Wheaton College and has served as an assistant coach at Freeport and Greely. She takes over a young team, one that's only going to get better. The Rangers lost their opener Thursday, 16-7, at Falmouth, but after spotting the Yachtsmen the game's first eight goals, Greely played much better and got strong performances from Burrell off the bench (three goals), Copenhagen (two goals), Parolin and Julia Mitiguy. That group figures to do its share of goal scoring in the weeks to come, with help from Ferguson, junior Rachel Kurland, speedy Cameron Keefe, Teal Otley and Whitney Williams. On defense, Ouellette, Rost and newcomer Sarah Piwowarski protect goalie Catherine Fellows. Greely's schedule isn't as daunting as last year's and the Rangers have some opportunities to earn some wins after vacation. Getting confidence will be key. Dimick will soon put her stamp on this team and the Rangers figure to be much more competitive by the end of the season. While they're not in the class of the elite teams, Greely should have no trouble surpassing last year's win total and setting the stage for future success.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: John Folan (17th year)

2010 Results:

(Boys) 2nd @ Class B State Meet

(Girls) 3rd @ Class B State Meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Mike Burgess (Senior), Matt Davis (Senior), Jack Fellows (Senior), Jon Higgins (Senior), Caleb King (Senior), Alex Parenteau (Senior), Connor Regan (Senior), Tanner Storey (Senior), Ethan Wyman (Senior), Jeff Aalberg (Junior), James Currie (Junior), Isaac Emery (Junior), Stefan Sandreuter (Junior), Nestor Taylor (Junior), Nathan Madeira (Sophomore)

(Girls) Emily Christensen (Senior), Meaghan Crowley (Senior), Katherine Harrington (Senior), Stella Keck (Senior), Dee Little (Senior), Elizabeth Morrone (Senior), Anna Whitaker (Senior), Deanna Barry (Junior), Abby Bonnevie (Junior), Maggie Bradley (Junior), Emily Curato (Junior), Allie Day (Junior), Shannon Fitzpatrick (Junior), Melissa Jacques (Junior), Julia Maine (Junior), Sara Schad (Junior), Sarah Fitch (Sophomore), Molly Fitzpatrick (Sophomore), Sarah Ingraham (Sophomore), Cora Lyden (Sophomore), Nina Oberg (Sophomore), Kelsey Saunders (Sophomore), Gwen Sawyer (Sophomore), Kaley Sawyer (Sophomore), Cassidy Storey (Sophomore), Jessica Wilson (Sophomore)

Top foes: Falmouth and York

Coach's comment: “The boys have a good-sized team. Potential abounds. We have lots of quality field event scorers. The distance kids make up a solid crew. Other events remain to be seen. Big improvement is hoped for. The girls have a solid distance crew. We have experienced field event athletes. Jumps and throws are covered. We have a good mixture of young and experienced athletes..”

The Forecaster's forecast: Both Greely outdoor track teams appear loaded for bear.

The boys return state champions Burgess (discus), Higgins (javelin) and Storey (high jump). Burgess and Higgins are joined in the throws by Fellows, King and Parenteau. Storey's the lead jumper. Aalberg will compete in the pole vault. On the track, Wyman is a sprinter to watch, while Currie, Madeira, Regan, Sandreuter and Taylor compete in the longer races. Emery's the top hurdler. After finishing runner-up a year ago, the Rangers hope to ride their field event excellence to greatness this time around. If enough track points are produced, Greely could make a run at the top spot in the conference and state.

On the girls' side, several state scorers are back. Fitch, Jacques, Schad and Wilson combined to win the 3,200 last year. Harrington is the reigning champion in the discus. Whitaker and Crowley (long jump) and Bonnevie and Curato (pole vault) also scored last spring. This season, distance will be a strength as Day, Fitch, Shannon Fitzpatrick, Jacques, Little, Maine, Schad, Wilson and freshman Kirstin Sandreuter lead the way. The sprints feature Christensen, Morrone and Whitaker. Keck's a top hurdler. On the field side, Harrington and Storey hope to excel in the throws. Bradley, Crowley, Molly Fitzpatrick, Ingraham, Saunders, Gwen Sawyer and Kaley Sawyer can all contend in the jumps. Barry, Bonnevie, Curato, Lyden and Oberg are pole vaulters. Plenty of points are here to be had. The Rangers, who have finished top four or better at states every season dating back to 1991, should be in good shape to keep that streak going. This could be the best team in the conference and while Waterville's a heavy state meet favorite, Greely should turn plenty of heads in June.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Bert Kendall (sixth year)

2010 Results: 4-8 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Peter Balinson (Senior), Bobby Dorr (Senior), Sam Mason (Senior), Tucker Vogel (Senior), Patrick Riley (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 29 (H) FALMOUTH, May 4 (H) YARMOUTH, May 9 @ Falmouth, May 16 @ Waynflete, May 18 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach's comment: “Five returnees will form the bulk of our team. I'm fortunate to have a great group of young men that it's a pleasure to coach. Winning in Maine in the spring often requires toughing it out and playing in cold and windy conditions, so I'm hoping my newcomers and younger players get some match play experience in a hurry.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Look for Greely to show improvement this spring and get back to the playoffs after falling short last year, which ended a 10-year postseason run. Last year's top doubles team, Bailinson and Mason, will play singles this spring. Mason will be in the first spot with Bailinson playing No. 2. Riley projects to be in the No. 3 slot. Dorr and Vogel make up the top doubles squad. Junior Gavin Collins, a transfer student, and freshman Liam Dougherty are also in the mix. The Rangers hope to quickly come together this year, despite the new faces in new spots. Greely should be able to hold its own against most foes, save defending champion Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth and perhaps Yarmouth. By season's end, the Rangers hope for an above-.500 record and a return to the postseason. This group appears to have what it takes to accomplish those goals.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Charles Pine (first year)

2010 Results: 4-8 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Chelsea Pine (Senior), Marina Goding (Junior), Libby Thomas (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 25 @ NYA, April 29 (H) FALMOUTH, May 4 (H) YARMOUTH, May 9 @ Falmouth, May 16 @ Waynflete, May 18 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach's comment: “We'll be middle of the pack. We have talent, but we're battling injuries right now. We hope to get more than five wins..”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely has a new coach this year in Pine, who replaces  longtime coach Devi Maganti. Pine was the program's assistant the past three seasons He's played for 35 years and is a teaching pro. This year, he'll lean on his daughter, Chelsea, a four-year starter, at first singles. Freshman Allie Eaton moves into the second spot. Goding will be in the third position. Thomas and sophomore Haleigh Roach are at first doubles. Seniors Isobel Fresne and Melanie Richardson and junior Emily Fisher are battling for a berth on the second doubles team. The Rangers have been a traditionally strong program, but have fallen short of the playoffs the past two seasons. If Greely can get accustomed to the new positions and newer players can step in over the next several weeks, it could get back to the postseason.

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Senior Ben Shain will be an anchor of the Greely pitching staff this season.

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Senior Matt Labbe is a steady middle-infielder and also has some pop in his bat.

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Catherine Ferguson will be a scoring threat for the rebuilding Greely girls' lacrosse team.

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Cameron Keefe brings skill and speed to the Greely attack.

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Paige Tuller is a mainstay in the midfield.

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Senior Alex Parenteau is a top thrower for the Rangers.

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Senior Tanner Storey seeks to produce big points in the jumps this season.

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Junior Abby Bonnevie is one of the conference's top pole vaulters.

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Senior Meaghan Crowley hopes to be one of the top jumpers around this spring.

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Senior Chelsea Pine will be Greely's top singles player this spring.