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Cape Elizabeth Capers Spring Sports Preview

Sports

Cape Elizabeth Capers Spring Sports Preview

Cape Elizabeth is always in the mix for glory in the spring and this year will be no different. Baseball welcomes a new coach and should be in the hunt for a playoff spot. Softball came oh-so-close last season and might just be the last team standing this time around. Boys' lacrosse was one of two Capers teams to reach the pinnacle last year. Even after some key graduation losses, they like their chances to repeat. The girls' team has been loudly knocking on the door and this could be the year Cape Elizabeth gets past nemesis Waynflete and kicks it down. Both track teams have solid runners, jumpers and throwers. Boys' tennis is defending a title and no longer has to deal with its longtime rival in the postseason. Girls' tennis is hoping to get back to the regional final and keep on going.

BASEBALL

Coach: Andrew Wood (first year)

2013 record: 10-7 (Lost 16-0, in five innings, to Oak Hill in Western B prelim)

Top returning players: Nick Moulton (Senior), Tim Brigham (Junior), Aaron Dobieski (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 28 YARMOUTH, April 30 FALMOUTH, May 2 @ York, May 14 @ Greely, May 16 @ Kennebunk, May 27 KENNEBUNK, May 28 @ Falmouth, June 2 GREELY

Coach's comment: “We'll be young with a core group of sophomores and juniors. After losing some key players to graduation, we're looking to develop a new pitching staff and catcher. It will be interesting to see who develops into those key roles as the season progresses. We look forward to flying under the radar and to getting better each game. We want to play our best baseball come June and hopefully make a run in the playoffs.”

The Forecaster's forecast: The Capers went through a season of transition last year, as a last-second coaching change set the tone. This time around, the program is better equipped to compete. Taking over the head coaching position is Wood, who played at South Portland High School and St. Joseph's College. He assisted at Southern Maine Community College, St. Joe's, with the Maine Lightning AAU squad and with the Capers. Wood inherits a team with some strong returners and several newcomers who promise to make a mark. The infield core is experienced, as Brigham (shortstop), Dobieski (second base) and Moulton (third base) have been through the battles. Cape Elizabeth will rely on sophomore Nate Ingalls as its lead pitcher. He lost the opener to Yarmouth Friday, 5-1, despite allowing just four hits in seven innings. Brigham and junior Matt Denison will also loom large on the mound. Sophomore Matt Riggle replaces all-star Seth Dobieski behind the plate. Sophomore Bryce Hewitt will play first base and sophomore Dylan Roberts is another newcomer to watch, in centerfield. Brigham, Hewitt, Ingalls and Roberts project to be top hitters. The Capers should show steady improvement in the weeks to come. As is so often the case, no one will want to face Cape Elizabeth if it's able to extend its postseason streak to 14 years.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Joe Henrikson (17th year, 207-80 overall record, one state championship)

2013 record: 16-2 (Lost, 2-1, to Gray-New Gloucester in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Elise Flathers (Senior), Anna Goldstein (Senior), Emma O'Rourke (Senior), Mary Perkins (Senior), Katie Rabasca (Senior), Ashley Tinsman (Junior), Tess Haller (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 30 FALMOUTH, May 3 FRYEBURG, May 12 GRAY-NG, May 14 @ Greely, May 21 POLAND, May 28 @ Falmouth, May 30 @ Wells, June 2 GREELY

Coach's comment: “We have a lot back this year. We scored 9.9 runs per game last year. All my kids hit. No one hit under .300 last year. The only thing that stopped us was being anxious at the plate and swinging at bad pitches. There are a lot of good teams this year, but I think if the kids come to play, we'll be tough to beat.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth could be a special team this season. The Capers felt they were capable of playing for a title a year ago, but were upset by Gray-New Gloucester. Unlike many teams, Cape Elizabeth boasts a pair of talented pitchers. Rabasca, a second-team league all-star in 2013, was very effective in a season-opening 6-3 win over Yarmouth Thursday. She also drove in a pair of runs with a potent bat. Rabasca will share pitching time with Goldstein. Haller is behind the plate and also is a capable hitter. The offense is led by reigning Western Maine Conference Class B Player of the Year Tinsman, a captain and shortstop, who will eventually play at the University of Maine, but first will make life a nightmare for opposing pitchers. O'Rourke, another captain and a first-team all-star last year, is another top hitter and plays third base. The right side of the infield features Flathers (last year's catcher and a captain) at first base and sophomore Meg Nicholson at second. The fourth captain, Perkins, best remembered for her epic save in the penalty kick phase of the Class B state soccer championship game back in November, will anchor the outfield. She was a second-team all-star in 2013. Several other girls will ably fill roles. The Capers will pitch as well as anyone and will likely outhit the opposition. This group has winning experience and hunger. It all spells what should be a special season. One which could culminate in the program's first title since 2007.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Ben Raymond (17th year, 204-39 overall record, eight state championships)

2013 record: 13-2 (Beat Yarmouth, 7-4, to win Class B state championship)

Topreturningplayers: Danny Brett (Senior), Jack Drinan (Senior), Tom Feenstra (Senior), Trevor Gale (Senior), Caelan Houle (Senior), Gabe McGinn (Senior), Noah Haversat (Junior), Ben Shea (Junior), Griffin Thoreck (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 29 @ Yarmouth, May 3 KENNEBUNK, May 10 @ Scarborough, May 13 FALMOUTH, May 16 BRUNSWICK, May 20 @ Greely, May 27 NYA, May 31 YARMOUTH, June 6 @ Falmouth

Coach's comment: “We have a good mix. It's a good bunch of guys. We lost some key players, a bunch of athletes and really good defensemen, but we've got a lot of good kids coming back, including some really good freshmen. We should be good. Everyone else lost just as much as we did..”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth is always good. It's just a question of whether or not the Capers can wind up being the very best. While Cape Elizabeth has won a ton of games over the past decade, one thing the program hasn't been able to do since 2002 and 2003 is repeat as state champion. That could change this spring. While the program lost several key players, including reigning Spring Male Athlete of the Year Adam Haversat, and clutch goal scorers, Alex Bornick and Cam Wilson, to graduation, the next generation of stars has arrived. This year's offense will be led by Thoreck, who scored four times in a season-opening 15-1 home win over Waynflete. Thoreck can strike from all over and has one of the fastest and most potent shots around. Shea could be a star in the making. He played a bit role a year ago, but debuted with four goals against the Flyers. Freshman Owen Thoreck will step right in and make a mark on offense. Sophomores Riley Pillsbury and R.J. Sarka showed promise in the opener. Brett, Noah Haversat, junior Andrew Kelly and three freshmen, Jeb Boeschenstein, Ben Ekedahl and Connor Thoreck, are midfielders to watch. Drinan and senior James Monroe-Chausse will take faceoffs. Even though perception holds that the Capers defense will be more vulnerable this season, Feenstra (who moved back from attack), Gale (a second-team all-star last year) and Houle would argue otherwise. Freshmen Gavin Spidle and Peyton Weatherbie will work their way into the defensive rotation as well. McGinn was the goalie last year, but he's battling injury at the outset. Sophomore Alex Narvaez played well against Waynflete and will earn some time. Sophomore Drew Mitchell and freshman Drew Price will also get a chance to play. While Cape Elizabeth doesn't project to be the dominant team it was a year ago, it will still win plenty. It's quite likely that for the sixth year in a row, the Capers will find Falmouth standing in their way in the regional final. That battle promises to be epic. Raymond will put the pieces together between now and then and Cape Elizabeth will make plenty of noise in June. Count on it.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Jeff Perkins (third year, 23-5 overall record)

2013 record: 10-4 (Lost, 16-9, to Waynflete in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Sarah Flaherty (Senior), Abby McInerney (Senior), Hannah Newhall (Senior), Liz Robinson (Senior), Kate Bosworth (Junior), Rhoen Fiutak (Junior), Kirsten Rudberg (Junior), Melissa Rudberg (Junior), Maisie Perkins (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 30 FALMOUTH, May 2 @ Kennebunk, May 13 @ Waynflete, May 20 YARMOUTH, May 28 @ Greely, May 31 @ Falmouth, June 2 MARSHWOOD, June 6 WAYNFLETE

Coach's comment: “I'm pleased where we are. Our challenge is to find all the goals that graduated. Abby and Hannah will be looked upon to score. Our defense has looked good so far. I think there will be a little more parity than in the past. We'll beat up on each other. I think you'll see more teams go 9-3 than 11-1 or 12-0. We need to stay confident and fill the offensive void. I think the girls are ready.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth graduated two of the best players in program history: Talley Perkins (now playing at Boston University) and Lauren Steidl (now playing at Princeton), but anyone overlooking this Capers edition will find themselves wondering why they're way behind on the scoreboard. This program has established itself as an annual contender, but still hasn't found a way to solve the state's flagship program, Waynflete, with a trip to the state final at stake in June. The biggest challenge for this year's team will be replacing Perkins and Steidl's offensive production. That figures to be done largely by tri-captains McInerney, Newhall and Robinson. Newhall, one of the fastest players around, was a second-team league all-star in 2013. Maisie Perkins should play a bigger role this spring after seeing limited time as a freshman. Kirsten Rudberg and junior Emma Landes could also do some scoring. The defense will miss graduated all-star Jane Coffrin, but Melissa Rudberg (a two-year starter and second-team all-star), Fiutak and Flaherty (an Academic All-American last season) are able to fill the void. Junior Monica Dell'Aquila is another defender to watch. Bosworth returns in goal and is one of the league's best. She'll serve as a solid last line of defense. Cape Elizabeth opened with a 21-2 home win over Fryeburg (Landes and McInerney each scored four times, while Kirsten Rudberg tickled the twine on three occasions), but most games will be very challenging. This squad has the athleticism, skill and hunger to go all the way. The Capers know what they have to do. Waynflete has ousted them three years running and six times in seven seasons, but the Flyers can be beaten. Cape Elizabeth just has to have the confidence to go out and do it. Eventually this program is going to break through. This is as good a year as any.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Doug Worthley (18th year, two state championships)

2013 results:

(Boys) 24th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 20th @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Will Britton (Senior), Trevor Ewald (Senior), Julian Pelzer (Senior), Deven Roberts (Senior), Liam Simpson (Senior), Eddie Galvin (Junior), Kyle Kennedy (Junior), Mitch Morris (Junior), Harry Queeney (Sophomore)

(Girls) Hailey Petsinger (Senior), Hayley Doss (Junior), Anni Ball (Sophomore), Montana Braxton (Sophomore), Caroline Lengyel (Sophomore), Lily Norris (Sophomore) Katie Oberholtzer (Sophomore)

Top foes: Falmouth, Greely, York

Coach's comment: “The boys' team looks strong in the distance events. They also look strong in the jumps. The boys look to be in the state top 10 with a chance to edge into the top six. The girls look to be strong in the middle distances. A good look should be paid to a young, but talented sprint team. The girls will certainly place in the top 10 in the state and perhaps move into the top six.”
The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth has several exciting athletes to watch this spring.

The boys' team returns just one state meet scorer, Galvin, who was seventh in the long jump. Galvin, Cape Elizabeth's Winter Male Athlete of the Year will join Queeney and Roberts in the jumps this season. Simpson won the mile at the conference meet last season and will be part of what could be a dominant group of distance runners, which also includes Britton, Kennedy, Morris and Pelzer. Ewald is the top sprinter. If all goes well, the Capers will be one of the better teams in the conference and could make a big leap up the standings at the state meet.

On the girls' side, Petsinger is the top returner. She placed fifth in the 800 a year ago and will be a top middle distance contender again. Braxton is a top-notch athlete and Doss is another runner to watch. The sprints feature Lengyel and Norris, along with freshmen Rose Baillie, Emma Schoonover and Erin Thibeault. Oberholtzer could score in the jumps, while Ball will also contend. Cape Elizabeth last placed in the top 10 in the state in 2010. This group could get back there and might be one of the biggest movers around.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Andy Strout (36th year, 347-61 overall record since 1987, 14 state championships)

2013 record: 16-0 (Beat MDI, 5-0, to win Class B state championship))

Top returning players: Eli Breed (Senior), Luke Gilman (Junior):

Pivotal matches: April 29 WAYNFLETE, April 30 @ NYA, May 2 @ Falmouth, May 7 KENNEBUNK, May 13 FALMOUTH, May 16 @ Waynflete, May 23 @ Yarmouth

Coach's comment: “It's a rebuilding year for us with the loss of five players from last year's team. Three to graduation, one used up his eligibility and one isn't playing high school tennis this season.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth got back to the pinnacle last spring for just the second time in nine years, but its hopes of going back-to-back for the first time since winning every year between 2002-04 will be compromised by the loss of several key players. Regardless, the Capers won't have to contend with powerhouse rival Falmouth come playoff time and might just have the pieces in place to go all the way again. Breed and Gilman return and will play singles. They were both all-stars at doubles in 2013. Gabe Torres, a foreign exchange student from Brazil, will probably garner the other singles spot. Seniors Jake Hall, Kevin Hare and Jack Tierney look to see time at doubles, giving Cape Elizabeth depth and experience at those critical positions. The word rebuilding usually suggests that trouble is in store. For this program, it hints at maybe losing a match or two before reaffirming its dominance in the playoffs. The Capers might just be the last team standing once more.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Sarah Boeckel (fifth year, 34-21 overall record)

2013 record: 12-3 (Lost, 5-0, to Falmouth in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Kate Miklavic (Senior)

Pivotal matches: April 29 @ Waynflete, April 30 NYA, May 2 FALMOUTH, May 3 @ Greely, May 5 FRYEBURG, May 13 @ Falmouth

Coach's comment: “I'm really looking forward to this year. We're a young team. I have six new players in the top seven and have a freshman at first singles. I have great leadership from Kate and I'm looking forward to seeing who else steps into a leadership role. Every match will be a learning experience. Hopefully we're playing our best mental and physical tennis when we need to.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth was the second best team in Western B a year ago and hopes to be number one by June, but the Capers do have to fill a lot of holes. Miklavic is the only returner. She was a doubles player and league all-star in 2013 and will move into the No. 2 singles spot. Freshman Olivia Clifford will be first singles and sophomore Erin Whitcomb will be in the No. 3 role. Seniors Audrey Grey and Sarah Stacki, junior Hannah Sawyer and sophomores Maddie Bowe and Taylor Hansen were vying for doubles spots as of press time. This group will take some time to hit its stride, but the potential to be great is there. Falmouth, the invincible, six-time Class B champion, is now in Class A for the postseason due to increased enrollment numbers, so there will be a rush to fill the vacuum. Cape Elizabeth could be the team to fill the void.

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

Photo: Michael Strout

Junior Ashley Tinsman is one of the state's premier softball players. She and her Cape Elizabeth teammates are hoping to win it all this season.

Photo: Michael Strout

Sophomore catcher Tess Haller is an imposing sight at the plate.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior captain Emma O'Rourke is another top hitter for Cape Elizabeth's potent offense.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Katie Rabasca will be one of two pitching aces for the Capers this season.

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Junior Griffin Thoreck will pace the Capers offense this season.

Photo: Michael Strout

The specter of senior defenseman Caelan Houle looms large this season.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Jack Drinan will take faceoffs for the Capers this spring.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Gabe McGinn is back in goal for the Capers.

Photo: Michael Strout

Junior Noah Haversat will be in the middle of the action in the weeks to come.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Tom Feenstra was a key offensive player for the Capers last season, but he'll turn to shutting down the opposition this time around as Cape Elizabeth seeks another championship.

Photo: Michael Strout

Junior Noah Wolfinger will play a bigger role this spring.

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Senior Hannah Newhall will be one of the standouts who make the powerhouse Cape Elizabeth girls' lacrosse team go this spring.

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Senior Abby McInerney will score plenty of goals for the Capers this spring.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Liz Robinson is another key returner for the Capers.

Photo: Michael Strout

Junior Melissa Rudberg returns as one of Cape Elizabeth's key defenders.

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Junior Eddie Galvin is the boys' outdoor track team's lone returning scorer and a top jumper.

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Senior Liam Simpson will be a top distance runner this spring.

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Senior Trevor Ewald will be Cape Elizabeth's top sprinter this spring.

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Sophomore Katie Oberholtzer will be one of the Western Maine Conference's top jumpers this season.

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Senior Hailey Petsinger came in fifth in the 800 at last year's state meet and hopes to move up this season.