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Greely Rangers Spring Sports Preview

Spring Sports Previews

Greely Rangers Spring Sports Preview

The spring sports season holds great promise at Greely. Baseball fell one run shy of a state title last year and has the ingredients to finish the job this time around. Softball welcomes a new coach who just happens to be a program legend. Boys' lacrosse looks to close the gap between it and the top teams in the region. Girls' lacrosse made tremendous strides in 2011 and hopes to continue its climb to the top. Outdoor track features an abundance of great athletes of both genders. Boys' tennis is looking to get to the playoffs, while the girls' team welcomes a new coach and hopes to improve as well.

BASEBALL

Coach: Derek Soule (13th year, 171-54-1 overall record, two state championships)

2011 Record: 16-4 (Lost 1-0 to Waterville in Class B state championship game)

Top returning players: Mike Leeman (Senior), Liam Maker (Senior), Brad McKenney (Senior), Pete Stauber (Senior), Jonah Normandeau (Junior), Bailey Train (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 30 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 2 @ Wells, May 4 @ Falmouth, May 11 (H) YARMOUTH, May 16 @ Yarmouth, May 21 (H) WELLS

Coach's comment: “The guys have talked a lot about the state game loss. They want to get back there, but it's one step at a time. Our pitching has the potential to be dominant. We have three of the hardest throwers in the league. We have more experience than most. On paper, we look strong. We have our top three pitchers back and six guys in the lineup from last year's Western Maine champion. We should be in the hunt.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely has the potential to be a juggernaut this spring after getting to the state final perhaps a year sooner than expected. The Rangers pitching staff doesn't allow the opposition to get comfortable. The ace is Leeman, who was 7-2 with a 1.35 earned run average during his all-star and Spring Male Athlete of the Year campaign in 2011. Normandeau went 4-1 last season and was named second-team all-conference. He can also hit, to the tune of .320 last season. Train made quite a splash as a freshman, posting a 4-0 mark, batting .350 and taking part in the Underclassmen All-Star Game (along with Leeman and Normandeau). Sophomore Sam Porter will be in a relief role. He was 5-0 at the junior varsity level last season. Senior Will McAdoo and junior Drew Hodge might also see some time on the hill. Stauber, another league and Underclassmen all-star after hitting .450, scoring 24 runs and driving in 21 in 2011, is likely the best catcher in the league. He'll hit in the No. 3 spot. The infield includes senior Luke Saffian at first base, McKenney, a three-year starter who hit .310 last season, at second, McAdoo at short and Maker (yet another all-star) at third (he hit .430 last year). Senior Jimmy Whitaker anchors the outfield. He'll be joined by Leeman, Normandeau and Train when they don't pitch. Greely has it all, depth, pitching, speed, smarts, hitting and defense. Hunger won't be an issue thanks to the sting of last June. If the Rangers can stay healthy and consistent, they'll have no peer in the conference or in the state. Signs point to a Greely coronation June 16.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Sarah Bennis Jamo (first year)

2011 Record: 10-8 (Lost 4-3 to Fryeburg in Western Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Edith Aromando (Senior), Lindsey Arsenault (Senior), Caroline Hamilton (Senior), Emma Seymour (Senior), Katie Whittum (Senior), Danielle Cimino (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ Fryeburg, April 30 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 4 @ Falmouth, May 11 (H) YARMOUTH, May 16 @ Yarmouth, May 30 (H) FRYEBURG

Coach's comment: “We have strong senior leadership. I'm really impressed. We have a lot of speed. It will come down to hitting the ball. I think we have enough threats. I'm really excited. We want to play as long as we can. We want to be playing June 16.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Ten years ago, in the spring of 2002, the Greely softball program won its lone Class B state championship behind one of the most dominant pitching performances you'll ever see. Sarah Bennis, after throwing several no-hitters and perfect games in the regular season, won five straight 1-0 playoff decisions to lead the Rangers to the Promised Land. Fast forward to 2012. After Bennis went on to pitch at the University of Maine, was a pitching coach at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, got married and now goes by the last name of Jamo, she makes her return to a program that's close to championship caliber and who could be better to put Greely over the top? Cimino is the current ace. She was a second-team all-star in 2011 and looks to lead the Rangers to great things. Aromando is a premier catcher and she wields a potent bat. Whittum, a first-team all-star last season, will be the leadoff hitter. She'll steal her share of bases and will also be a force in centerfield. Senior Jenna Brink (leftfield) and sophomore Jordynne Copp (rightfield) are the other outfielders. First baseman Arsenault's a tough out. Shortstop Hamilton (another first-team all-star from last year) is solid fundamentally, can hit (a robust. 462 average last spring) run (22 stolen bases in 2011) and might even pitch on occasion. Seymour, Greely's Winter Female Athlete of the Year, looks to culminate her storybook senior season by playing a key role at second base. Sophomore Mykaela Twitchell is at third. Expect this team to be confident and steady both with the bats and the gloves. Fryeburg projects to be the Rangers' toughest competition and that's who Greely opens with on Monday. The Rangers also finish the regular season against the Raiders. There's a good chance the rivals will meet again in the postseason. By then, Greely could be primed to go all the way. They have the right coach in place to show them how.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Mike Storey (first year)

2011 Record: 8-5 (Lost 15-3 to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Cooper Allen (Senior), Colby Allred (Senior), Griffin Demick (Senior), Christian Pisini (Senior), Sam Reed (Senior), Matt Ricker (Senior), Nick Robinson (Senior), Eric Storey (Senior), Paul Witte (Senior), Brooks Belisle (Junior), Fred Bower (Junior), Svenn Jacobson (Junior), Tim Storey (Junior), Brendan Trelegan (Junior), Matt Crowley (Sophomore), Jack Rotondi (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ Falmouth, April 25 @ Waynflete, May 8 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 11 (H) KENNEBUNK, May 19 @ Deering, May 25 (H) WAYNFLETE

Coach's comment: “With a new coaching staff and system comes a lot of change for the players. The expectation is that the players adapt and grow, while increasing their knowledge of the game. As a team, we need to develop trust in the process of preparing for the season, while building trust in teammates. Working off existing high level talent while introducing new talent, it is our hope to be one of the top contenders in the conference.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely made some nice strides a year ago, improving its win total by two and beating perennial powerhouse Yarmouth for the first time since 2003. Casey Abbott has been replaced as coach by Mike Storey, who played for the Rangers in 1996 (when the program won its lone championship) and 1997. He also played at New England College and has assisted at New England College and Greely Middle School prior to inheriting this promising team. Storey is assisted by Michael Mullin, Ted Rasch, Colton Thumac and Nick Witte. The Rangers' attack will be paced by Paul Witte, a first-team all-star, who scored 16 goals and assisted on 36 others last season, Allen (21 goals, seven assists), Ricker (17 goals, six assists), Trelegan (12 goals, five assists), Crowley and Robinson (six goals, 10 assists), who also handles faceoff duty, are others who will do their share of scoring. The midfield is solid behind the likes of Belisle, Bower, Rotondi, Eric Storey and freshmen Gabe Belisle and Sam Doolittle. The defense features Allred, football standout Jacobson, Pisini, Tim Storey and freshman Harrison Shane in front of Reed, who returns in goal. Greely opened the regular season last week with an impressive 9-2 home victory over Freeport as Witte had four goals and Crowley and Brooks Belisle both tickled the twine twice. The Rangers will likely be looking up at defending Class B state champion Falmouth and perennial power Cape Elizabeth, but so will everyone else. Greely will begin to close the gap this year and will be capable of beating just about anyone. This will be a squad that's enjoyable to watch and one that no one will want to face in the playoffs.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Sara Dimick (second year, 6-7 overall record)

2011 Record: 6-7 (Lost 12-11 to Waynflete in Western B semifinals)

Top returning players: Audrey Parolin (Senior), Etta Copenhagen (Junior), Meg Finlay (Junior), Julia Mitiguy (Junior), Paige Tuller (Junior), Teal Otley (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 20 @ Falmouth, May 8 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 10 @ Waynflete,, May 18 (H) NYA

Coach's comment: “We have a talented group of young athletes who are still figuring out how to best support each other on the field as a team. We're extremely determined and have the potential to be a strong contender. We're looking forward to an exciting lacrosse season.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely enjoyed a resurgence last year under former star player Dimick, who earned Coach of the Year honors. The Rangers improved from one win to six and after losing 22-11 to Waynflete in the regular season, gave the eventual regional champion Flyers a battle to the finish in the playoff encounter, which left everyone in admiration of Greely's effort. This time around, the Rangers won't be able to sneak up on anyone and will have some expectations to compete in a brutally tough Western Class B. Parolin, a second-team all-star in 2011 who is the ideal team leader for this squad, will look to get the offense started in the draw circle. Mitiguy and Otley will also get an opportunity. Finlay, Mitiguy and Parolin are the top scoring threats. Copenhagen anchors the defense. Krystyna Rybka will be in goal. The regular season opened last week with a 19-8 loss at a talented Cape Elizabeth squad (Parolin, Mitiguy and sophomore Cameron Keefe all had two goals), but that isn't cause for alarm. Last season, Greely opened with a nine-goal loss at Falmouth and quickly got up to speed. Look for that to happen again. The Rangers have great athletes who are eager to measure themselves against the top teams in the state. By June, Greely should once again be formidable and perhaps even capable of a deeper postseason run.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: John Folan (18th year, six state championships)

2011 Results:

(Boys) 3rd @ Class B State Meet

(Girls) 4th @ Class B State Meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Jamie Currie (Senior), Isaac Emery (Senior), Greg Ferland (Senior), Stefan Sandreuter (Senior), Nestor Taylor (Senior), James Wetzel (Senior), Ian Byron (Junior), Liam Campbell (Junior), Ben Giffard (Junior), Nathan Madeira (Junior), James Ferrar (Sophomore)

(Girls) Deanna Barry (Senior), Abby Bonnevie (Senior), Emily Curato (Senior), Allie Day (Senior), Anna Dedon (Senior), Shannon Fitzpatrick (Senior), Melissa Jacques (Senior), Julia Maine (Senior), Helena McMonagle (Senior), Sara Schad (Senior), Emily Domingo (Junior), Sarah Fitch (Junior), Lila Hall (Junior), Sarah Ingraham (Junior), Cora Lyden (Junior), Kathleen McKersie (Junior), Nina Oberg (Junior), Kelsey Saunders (Junior), Gwen Sawyer (Junior), Kaley Sawyer (Junior), Cassidy Storey (Junior), Jessica Wilson (Junior), Natalie Dedon (Sophomore), Genny Dyer (Sophomore), Kirstin Sandreuter (Sophomore)

Top foes: Falmouth, York

Coach's comment: “The girls are a large team and well balanced. We should be very representative and competitive in the league and at the state level. There are lots of untested newcomers in a team of 55. The boys will be very strong in the distance races with an improving, but untested cast of characters added in.”

The Forecaster's forecast: The Greely outdoor track program is bursting with talent.

The boys, despite graduating a lot of points, project to be a top team in the conference. Campbell (sixth in the mile) and Madeira (sixth in the two-mile, seventh in the mile) were both state meet scorers in 2011. They're joined in the distance races by Byron, Currie, Ferland, Sandreuter and Taylor. The top sprinter could be new junior Jacob Isaacson. Emery can compete in several events. The Rangers lost a lot of points on the field side to graduation. This year, Ferrar and Wetzel will throw. Giffard leads the jumping contingent. Greely's strength is in the distance races, where several runners will dominate. If some other scorers in other events can emerge, the Rangers will enjoy their fifth straight top five state finish.

On the girls' side, Jacques, Sandreuter, Schad and Wilson return from a state champion 3,200 relay team. Wilson was also third in the 800 and Sandreuter placed third in the two-mile and fourth in the mile a year ago. They'll be joined in the distance races this spring by Day, Domingo, Fitch, Hall, Maine, McMonagle and freshmen Eva Bates and Emily Mason. Anna Dedon, McKersie and new senior Libby Thomas are sprinters to watch. Dyer, Fitzpatrick, junior Robyn Estes and freshman Hannah Keisman will compete in the hurdles. On the field side, Storey was runner-up to former teammate Katherine Harrington in the discus last year and has her eye on the top spot. Other throwers of note include Gwen Sawyer and senior Catherine Fellows. In the jumps, Ingraham is coming off a third-place long jump state finish. Natalie Dedon, Saunders, Kaley Sawyer and freshman Emily Saunders also compete in the jumps. Greely has several vaulters, including Barry, Bonnevie (fourth in the pole vault last year), Curato, Lyden and Oberg. The Rangers have finished in the top four at the state meet for 21 straight years. After showing the Western Maine Conference how it's done, look for Greely to once again make a serious run at the top spot. Waterville stands in the way, but you can't write this team off.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Bert Kendall (seventh year, 38-41 overall record)

2011 Results: 4-8 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Mitchell Berube (Junior), Devin Carr (Junior), Alex Dorr (Junior), Philip Hodgkins (Junior), John Donahoe (Sophomore), Liam Dougherty (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 27 (H) YARMOUTH, April 30 (H) NYA, May 7 @ Freeport, May 9 @ NYA

Coach's comment: “We have five new players who give us a good nucleus. We have our three best doubles players from last year and they continue to improve. As a coach, I want to make sure the boys improve their skills and enjoy themselves even when competing with some of the powerhouses. My hope this year is to have fun with the kids and compete hard in every match. Having only one senior gives me hope for next year and I am particularly happy with the freshmen who are playing well and should be a force later this season and certainly thereafter.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely has missed the playoffs each of the past two years, but that drought could come to an end this spring as this appears to be a team on the rise. Dougherty, a No. 1 doubles player as a freshman, will move into the top singles spot. Dorr and Hodgkins will also play singles. Berube, Carr and Donahoe all project to play doubles. Senior Ben Hackett, last seen as a member of the boys' hockey state championship team, will also be in the doubles mix. Sophomore Pete Hurley and freshmen Mitchell Day, Chris Goding, Jack Pacent and Nick Piacentini provide depth and promise for the future. The Rangers have reason for optimism as they should be competitive against all but the three untouchables (defending Class B champion Falmouth, reigning Class C champ Waynflete and perennial powerhouse Cape Elizabeth). If Greely holds it own against the rest of its schedule, it could wind up with a winning record and a trip to the postseason.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Walter Perry (first year)

2011 Results: 6-7 (Lost 3-2 to Yarmouth in Western Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Marina Goding (Senior), Haleigh Roach (Junior), Allie Eaton (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 24 @ Cape Elizabeth, April 27 @ Yarmouth, May 30 @ NYA, May 9 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 11 (H) FALMOUTH, May 16 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach's comment: “My goal is to inspire our girls to play hard and have all of our opponents challenged. I want to smash expectations of what Greely girls' tennis is capable of. We have a great group of girls who inspire each other to get better each practice.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely was able to snap a two-year playoff drought last season and looks to remain competitive this spring under new coach Perry, who coached previously at Sanford and Oxford Hills. This year's squad is paced by Eaton, who is in the No. 1 singles spot. Goding and Roach have experience. Freshmen Anna Collins and Mia Lambert will also be heard from. The Rangers figure to show improvement as the season progresses and should find themselves in the playoff hunt. If Greely can get to the postseason, it might create some problems.

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

Photo:

Senior second baseman Brad McKenney is a top hitter for the Rangers.

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Senior Pete Stauber is a great team leader and outstanding catcher.

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Senior Jimmy Whitaker is a superb defender in centerfield.

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Senior Liam Maker is another returning All-Conference player for the Rangers.

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Bailey Train had a solid freshman season and will be one of Greely's top pitchers as a sophomore.

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Junior Danielle Cimino is the Greely softball team's ace and should help lead the Rangers deep into the playoffs.

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Senior Katie Whittum is Greely's leadoff hitter, a stolen base threat and covers plenty of ground in centerfield.

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Junior Meg Finlay will be a top scoring threat for a Greely girls' lacrosse team which made great strides a year ago.

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Junior Etta Copenhagen is coming off a championship season in hockey and hopes to help the girls' lacrosse team make a playoff run.

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Junior PaigeTuller is another strong returning player for the Rangers.

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Junior Liam Campbell is one of many strong distance runners for the Greely boys' outdoor track team.

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Senoir Abby Bonnevie is one of the top pole vaulters in the league.

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Junior Sarah Ingraham will be a top competitor in the jumps this spring.

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Sophomore Kirstin Sandreuter will vie for top honors in distance races this season.