Sat, Dec 20, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

Scarborough Red Storm Spring Previews

Sports

Scarborough Red Storm Spring Previews

Another season, another abundance of championship-caliber teams at Scarborough High School. Last year's loot was awe-inspiring: three state titles, a regional title and another team which got to a regional final. Don't be surprised if we're talking about similar accomplishments in June. Baseball made a memorable run to the Class A Final for the first time a year ago. While it lost that game and subsequently lost its coach, the Red Storm will be among the top teams in the region again. Softball is an absolute juggernaut and after the sour taste left by last year's playoff loss, won't settle for anything shy of a crown. Both lacrosse teams have won three straight Class A titles. The boys are heavy favorites to make it a fourth, while the girls hope to fill some holes and go on a run of their own. Speaking of running, the girls' outdoor track team is aiming for another top finish. The boys' team should be very strong as well. Boys' tennis is in a bit of a rebuilding mode, but can't be overlooked, while the girls' squad will be among the last teams standing.

BASEBALL

Coach: Ryan Jones (first year)

2012 Record: 17-3 (Lost 6-3, to Messalonskee in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Nick Bagley (Senior), Brendan Hall (Senior), Jayme Lappin (Senior), Greg Viola (Senior), Sam Wessel (Senior), Ben Greenberg (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ Westbrook, May 2 @ South Portland, May 16 @ Portland, May 23 @ Cheverus, May 28 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach's comment: “We return nine players. They all started last year. After making it to the state championship game last year, we have high hopes and expectations. We look to make it back there again this year, but change the outcome. We have great experience defensively. We look to improve on hitting, although we were still successful last year. Our pitching needs to be consistent and not have a 'strikeout' mentality. We have a great defense. Our pitchers understand that and will let the defense play behind them.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough experienced the ups-and-downs of this sport in a five-day span last June, exulting after Joe Cronin's home run stunned defending champion Cheverus in the regional final, then tasting the depths of despair after a series of errors led to the loss to Messalonskee in the state game. Coach Mike Coutts stepped down after the season, but the program is still in good shape as Jones, an assistant last year, takes over. He played at Bangor High, where he captained the Rams to the 2006 Class A title, then played at the University of Southern Maine. Jones also coaches at the AAU baseball and ASA softball levels and works at The Edge Academy. While the departure of Cronin, along with 2011 and 2012 Scarborough Spring Male Athlete of the Year Ben Wessel to graduation hurts, there is plenty of experience and talent in reserve. On the mound, the Red Storm starts with an ace, Greenberg, who has a no-hitter to his credit. He was 3-1 with 28 strikeouts and a 3.73 earned run average last spring. All-Rookie team member Lappin (2-0, 0.41 ERA in 17 innings last year) and All-Defensive team selection Sam Wessel are other hurlers to watch. Helping to fill the void from Cronin and Ben Wessel's departure at the plate will be shortstop Bagley (.360, 15 runs batted in last year), All-Defensive and All-Rookie selection Viola (.333, 10 RBI), utilityman and All-Rookie team selection Hall (.292, 13 RBI) and Greenberg, who plays third base when not on the mound. Scarborough enters the season confident, but feeling as if it has unfinished business. The Red Storm should remain very strong in all phases of the game and even in a league with several other formidable teams, will be in the hunt from start to finish. This large senior class is hoping to finish what last year's squad started. It's not wise to bet against them.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Tom Griffin (24th year, 339-84 overall record, four state championships)

2012 Record: 18-1 (Lost, 5-1, to South Portland in Western A Final)

Top returning players: Grace Farnkoff (Senior), Erin Giles (Senior), Sydney Litrocapes (Senior), Paige Moore-Haskell (Senior), Marisa O'Toole (Senior), Mary Redmond (Senior), Brenna Kent (Junior), Megan Murrell (Junior), Alyssa Williamson (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 22 @ South Portland, May 1 (H) TA, May 3 @ Noble, May 20 (H) CHEVERUS, May 28 @ Biddeford

Coach's comment: “We have high hopes to again be very competitive this year and challenge for a state title. We're loaded with experienced juniors and seniors at every position. We expect to be a very good defensive team with many offensive contributors scattered throughout the lineup. Our pitching staff is outstanding, as we have two quality pitchers. We're working hard to get ready for the season as there are many strong teams in the SMAA this year.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough has been consistently excellent for most of Griffin's long tenure. This year's team is primed to continue that trend and enters the new season as the favorite once again. As always, the Red Storm features an abundance of stellar pitching, with first-team league all-stars Giles (7-0, 1.05 earned run average in 2012) and Williamson poised to see most of the duty. Sophomores Sophia Burnham, Sierra Muchie and Dani Plummer will also see some time on the hill. Moore-Haskell and Murrell will split time catching, while sophomore Brittany Plowman should also earn some innings. The lineup is loaded from top to bottom. Williamson (who plays first base when she doesn't pitch) posted video game-like numbers a year ago (.536 average, three home runs, 29 RBI and 26 runs scored, without a single strikeout). She might not get that many good pitches to hit over the course of the season, but those she sees, she'll crush. Giles (who plays third base when not pitching) is almost as formidable, hitting .451 with four dingers last spring. The middle infield is strong, featuring second baseman O'Toole (a second-team all-star last season) and shortstop Farnkoff. Murrell (an honorable mention all-star in 2012) will play third. In the outfield, Kent, Litrocapes and Redmond figure to see the majority of innings. Sophomore Ashley Gleason (shortstop/outfield) and freshmen Chloe Gorey (second base/outfield) and Maggie Murphy (third base/outfield) will also factor into the mix. There's a little more competition in the league this spring, but South Portland is still the team Scarborough will have to most worry about. The teams meet in the first week of the season, which should give us an early glimpse as to who's the favorite. Of course, that means little because as we've observed in recent years, the lower seed of the rivals tends to come out on top in the game that matters most. The Red Storm will shut down the opposition with its dominant pitching, will make life difficult for opposing defenses with its aggressive style and should hit the cover off the ball. Scarborough's the favorite once again. If the Red Storm take care of business in June, a fourth Class A title awaits.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Joe Hezlep (sixth year, 64-13 overall record, four state championships)

2012 Record: 14-1 (Beat Cheverus, 9-4, to win third straight Class A state championship)

Top returning players: Dalton Finley (Senior), Nate McClellan (Senior), David Pearson (Senior), John Wheeler (Senior), Brendon Smith (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 24 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND, April 27 (H) NYA, May 1 @ Deering, May 4 (H) PORTLAND, May 15 (H) KENNEBUNK, May 18 @ Yarmouth, May 28 @ TA

Coach's comment: “Things are going very well. Our numbers are very healthy. The kids are very eager for playing time. A lot of seniors played a lot of minutes last year. Now it's these kids' turn. We have kids who play key roles in other sports. That combined with playing extra games the past few years is our biggest strength.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough has been a model of consistency and excellence since Hezlep took over in 2008. This year, the Red Storm can do something that only Cape Elizabeth has done before, win four consecutive championships. You have to like its chances. For starters, the team returns an All-American in Wheeler, who was also a first-team SMAA all-star last season and is one of the most potent scorers in the state, one which a penchant for the big moment. When teams try to slow him down, several players who are seeking to play a bigger role this spring will look to score. That group includes juniors Chris Cyr, Austin Doody (who will handle faceoff duty), Cam Loiselle and Christian Neelon. If players other than Wheeler can come through consistently, it will be lights out. The defense appears solid behind Finley (a second-team all-star last year), Smith and McLellan. Perhaps Scarborough's biggest strength is its returning goalie, Pearson, who enters his third season as the starter. The Red Storm made a powerful statement in the opener, punishing Westbrook, 17-3, behind two goals apiece from Doody, Neelon, Wheeler (who also had five assists), Andrew Farrington, Nathan Howard, Matt Murphy and David Thurston. While Scarborough will be tested in a few games, lopsided results will likely be more the rule than the exception. Several seniors are looking to bow out with four crowns. They'll be very tough to stop. Another title celebration appears likely.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Marcia Wood (ninth year, 95-23 overall record, three state championships)

2012 Record: 15-1 (Beat Brunswick, 11-9, to win third straight Class A state championship)

Top returning players: Maiti Kent (Senior), Meg Kirsch (Senior), Sarah Martens (Senior), Jess Meader (Senior), Avery Pietras (Senior), Ashley Ronzo (Senior)

Pivotal games: April 27 (H) YARMOUTH, May 9 (H) CHEVERUS, May 10 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 21 (H) MARSHWOOD, May 24 (H) KENNEBUNK

Coach's comment: “We lost 12 kids and 140 goals to graduation. We have a good mix this year. Eight seniors, seven juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen. It's going to take awhile for us to get used to each other. I know I have talented and competitive girls. I have to get them to play together. My seniors have been waiting patiently for their spot. If we peak at the right time, we could be dangerous. We're making some mistakes, but we're getting there. It's a work in progress.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough rode a talented and experienced core to another title a year ago and while it appears that the big loss of production to graduation (including All-American honorable mentions Kelsey Howard and Mary Scott and league all-stars Shauni Cowan, Laura Przybylowicz and Maggie Smith) will set the Red Storm back, don't be misled, there is still plenty of talent of the roster. It just has to take on bigger roles. Scarborough will ride its big-game goalie, Kirsch, entering her third year as starter. She'll help this group develop by holding the opposition at bay. Ronzo helps pace the defense. She'll be aided by Meader and Martens, who's had an amazing senior year which has featured being named Scarborough's Fall Female Athlete of the Year after scoring the winning goal in the soccer state final and being part of a girls' hockey squad which lost in overtime of the state game. The offense figures to come largely from Kent, Meader, Pietras and sophomore Kaitlyn Prince, who might just step in and make a big impact. Replacing 140 goals and a whole lot of triumph won't come easily, but this group has been biding its time and now has the opportunity to shine. Scarborough might not roll through its schedule quite as emphatically as it has in the past, but by June, it will be in great position to go on another title run and if all goes well, dance in celebration on the Fitzpatrick Trophy turf once more.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coaches:
(Boys) Derek Veilleux (12th year)
(Girls) Ron Kelly (41st year, 10 state championships)

2012 Results:
(Boys) 6th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) Class A state champions

Top returning athletes:
(Boys) Jake Alofs (Senior), Robert Hall (Senior), Ryan Jamison (Senior), Merrick Madden (Senior), Kevin Manning (Senior), Anthony Verzoni (Senior), Alex Karam (Junior), Cameron Langlois (Junior), Mike Pino (Junior)
(Girls) Krysten Burns (Senior), Karli-An Gilbert (Senior), Meghan Lynch (Senior), Marisa Agger (Junior), Natalie Foster (Junior), Paige Greeley (Junior), Cailley Ledue (Junior)

Top foes: Cheverus, Thornton Academy

Coach Veilleux's comment: “We've got another strong team this spring. We need to stay healthy to be at our best. We've got a good mix of experience and youth this year and we'll cover all of the events. This group of seniors has been very successful, the only thing missing is an outdoor state title. As always, we will focus our efforts on getting ready to run our best in the championship meets.”

Coach Kelly's comment: “We have a young team this year. Our strengths will be the high jump, relays, 800 and the discus. We'll be rebuilding for the next few years.”

The Forecaster's forecast: The Scarborough outdoor track juggernaut reloads for what should be another very strong season.

The boys are seeking their first top finish since 2001 and have no shortage of talent. Returning state meet scorers include Manning (the Class A pole vault champion), Langlois (third in the 110 hurdles) and Jamison (sixth in the 200). Manning will have company in the vault this year from sophomore Edward James. In the jumps, junior Kenny Adams, sophomore Mike Granzier and freshmen Griffin Madden, Andrew Porada and Elliot Youth hope to make an impact. Manning will also throw. He's joined by Pino, Verzoni and sophomore Hugh McSorley. On the track side, Alofs and Jamison are top returning sprinters. Adams, Porada, Youth and sophomore Jerry Kenney provide depth. Langlois, Griffin Madden and Merrick Madden will compete in the hurdles. The Red Storm has no shortage of distance talent, featuring Hall, Karam, sophomores Jacob Bloom, Will Fowler, Colin Jones, Sean McGovern and Jacob Terry and freshmen Connor Doherty, Andrew Sholl and Colin Tardiff. Sophomore Drew Wells is the top racewalker. There's a lot of athleticism and depth on this team which should allow Scarborough to handle its business during the conference season and score some points in the postseason. The Red Storm will be a team to be reckoned with come June.

On the girls' side, the loss of 2011 and 2012 Spring Female Athlete of the Year Nicole Kirk (the state record setter in the 100 and champion of the 200), will certainly hurt, but while another run at a title is unlikely, Scarborough won't fall off the map. Agger and Gilbert are top returners. They were part of a first-place 1,600 relay team at last year's state meet. They'll lead the distance contingent, which also includes Lynch and freshmen Emma Koukos and Laura Volan. Freshman Aly Atherton could be a sprinter to keep an eye on. Burns competes in the racewalk. On the field side, Rinaldi (fifth in the high jump last year) is the top jumper. Foster and Greeley also jump. Ledue will look to continue the Red Storm's recent pole vault success. Scarborough won't be at its accustomed level this season, but will still turn some heads. Several individuals should make some noise at the big meets and it won't be long until this program's back on top.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Craig McDonald (13th year, 97-67 overall record)

2012 Results: 11-3 (Lost 3-2, to Gorham in Class A semifinals)

Top returning players: Jeff Sirocki (Senior)

Pivotal matches: April 24 @ Cheverus, April 26 @ Gorham, May 3 (H) WINDHAM, May 10 @ Deering

Coach's comment: “This should be a rebuilding year after graduating eight seniors and six starters from last year's squad. There are several questions still to be answered on who will play singles and doubles. Jeff, the only senior and returning starter on the team, looks to lead us to the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season."

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough has come close to the pinnacle in recent years, but graduation has caught up to the program and it might take awhile for this year's squad to get up to speed. The Red Storm will get there, however. Sirocki played second singles last season and will play a major role again. Juniors Kane Corbeau and Colby Whitaker and sophomore Roy Garland will be relied upon to step in and make an impact. Scarborough will have to rely on several players in new positions and roles, but this program has showed it can get the job done. The Red Storm should be able to keep that postseason streak going and might even turn some heads along the way.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Steve Eddy (second year, 10-4 overall record)

2012 Results: 10-4 (Lost, 3-2, to McAuley in Western Class A semifinals)

Top returning players: Mikaela Gove (Senior), Carly Hughes (Senior), Ella Mahoney (Senior), Maria Philbrick (Senior), Katie Wahrer (Senior), Grace Whelan (Senior)

Pivotal matches: April 24 (H) CHEVERUS, April 26 (H) GORHAM, April 29 @ Sanford, May 6 @ Portland, May 15 (H) MCAULEY

Coach's comment: “With six returning starters, plus a seventh who saw match time last year, and a great freshman class, this is the deepest we have ever been. Few picked us to succeed last year, because even though we were coming off the Western Maine championship in 2011, we lost five starters. Last year, in our 'rebuilding' year, we were two points away from upsetting an undefeated McAuley team in the semifinals and each of our players is one year better. We are hoping to build on that success. We have high expectations and the girls all know what it will take to reach our goals. The senior captains have all been with the program three or four years and are phenomenal leaders with great chemistry, which is evident from the first two weeks of practice. Add in a freshman class with tremendous potential and I wouldn't trade this group for anyone.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough has been a powerhouse the past two years and will likely be one of the top teams in the region again this spring. There's a lot of talent back and some new players will be waiting in the wings, eager for their turn in the spotlight. Gove and Mahoney played singles last spring. They could be joined by freshman Megan Nathanson. League all-stars Philbrick and Wahrer return at doubles, as do Hughes and Whelan. Sophomore Laura Henny and senior Alice Matthews are also in the hunt for a spot in the top seven. There are several top contenders in the region, but the Red Storm could be as good as anybody by season's end. Look for this team to make another run to the playoffs and to win a round or two. Two years ago, Scarborough got through the region and made it to states. This squad, if all goes well, could do the same.

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

Photo: File photo

Junior Ben Greenberg will be the Scarborough ace this spring.

Photo: File photo

Senior shortstop Nick Bagley returns at shortstop and will spark the offense and defense.

Photo: File photo

Senior Erin Giles is one of several top pitchers for the Red Storm this season.

Photo: File photo

Junior Alyssa Williamson is another top returning pitcher. Oh by the way, she wields a pretty potent bat too.

Photo: File photo

Senior Marisa O'Toole returns with her flashy glove.

Photo: File photo

Junior Brenna Kent will play a key role at bat and in the field this spring.

Photo: File photo

Senior Grace Farnkoff is a top fielder for Scarborough.

Photo: File photo

Senior Mary Redmond is one of many Red Storm players who make things happen on the base paths.

Photo: File photo

Senior John Wheeler is one of the state's premier players and hopes to graduate having won four championships.

Photo: File photo

Junior Austin Doody will handle faceoff duty for the Red Storm this spring.

Photo: File photo

Junior Brendon Smith is a key returner for the Red Storm.

Photo: File photo

Senior Avery Pietras will be a top scorer for Scarborough this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior Ashley Ronzo will help anchor the Red Storm defense.

Photo: File photo

Senior Sarah Martens hopes to cap her dazzling senior year with another title.

Photo: File photo

Senior Jess Meader will play a key role this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior Maiti Kent brings experience to the team this year.

Photo: File photo

The return of senior Meg Kirsch in goal, for a third year, will help Scarborough in its quest for another championship.

Photo: File photo

Senior Merrick Madden will be one of the league's best hurdlers.

Scarborough Spring Schedules

BASEBALL

Fri., April 19 H TA

Mon., April 22 H MASSABESIC

Thurs., April 25 @ Westbrook

Sat., April 27 @ Bonny Eagle

Thurs., May 2 @ SP

Sat., May 4 H BIDDEFORD

Tues., May 7 H NOBLE

Thurs., May 9 @ Kennebunk

Sat., May 11 @ Sanford

Tues., May 14 H DEERING

Thurs., May 16 @ Portland

Sat., May 18 H WINDHAM

Tues., May 21 H GORHAM

Thurs, May 23 @ Cheverus

Sat., May 25 @ Marshwood

Tues., May 28 H SP

SOFTBALL

Sat., April 20 H PORTLAND

Mon., April 22 @ SP

Wed., April 24 H GORHAM

Fri., April 26 @ Bonny Eagle

Wed., May 1 H TA

Fri., May 3 @ Noble

Mon., May 6 H SANFORD

Wed., May 8 @ Massabesic

Fri., May 10 H DEERING

Mon., May 13 @ McAuley

Wed., May 15 H KENNEBUNK

Fri., May 17 @ Marshwood

Mon., May 20 H CHEVERUS

Wed., May 22 @ Windham

Fri., May 24 H WESTBROOK

Tues., May 28 @ Biddeford

BOYS' LACROSSE

Sat., April 20 @ Biddeford

Wed., April 24 H SP

Sat., April 27 H NYA

Wed., May 1 @ Deering

Sat., May 4 H PORTLAND

Tues., May 7 @ Gorham

Wed., May 15 H KENNEBUNK

Sat., May 18 @ Yarmouth

Wed., May 22 @ Marshwood

Tues., May 28 @ TA

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Tues., April 23 @ McAuley

Thurs., April 25 @ Bonny Eagle

Sat., April 27 H YARMOUTH

Wed., May 1 H SP

Tues., May 7 @ Massabesic

Thurs., May 9 H CHEVERUS

Fri., May 10 @ Cape Elizabeth

Tues., May 14 H TA

Thurs., May 16 @ Gorham

Tues., May 21 H MARSHWOOD

Fri., May 24 H KENNEBUNK

Wed., May 29 @ Windham

BOYS' TENNIS

Mon., April 22 H MARSHWOOD

Wed., April 24 @ Cheverus

Fri., April 26 @ Gorham

Mon., April 29 H SANFORD

Wed., May 1 @ Massabesic

Fri., May 3 H WINDHAM

Mon., May 6 H PORTLAND

Wed., May 8 @ Bonny Eagle

Fri., May 10 @ Deering

Mon., May 13 H TA

Fri., May 17 H WESTBROOK

Mon., May 20 @ SP

GIRLS' TENNIS

Mon., April 22 @ Marshwood

Wed., April 24 H CHEVERUS

Fri., April 26 H GORHAM

Mon., April 29 @ Sanford

Wed., May 1 H MASSABESIC

Fri., May 3 @ Windham

Mon., May 6 @ Portland

Wed., May 8 H BONNY EAGLE

Mon., May 13 @ TA

Wed., May 15 H MCAULEY

Fri., May 17 @ Westbrook

Mon., May 20 H SP