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Cape Elizabeth Capers Spring Preview

Spring Sports Previews

Cape Elizabeth Capers Spring Preview

Cape Elizabeth's spring sports teams will be competitive across the board. Baseball was hit hard by graduation, but you can never rule out the Capers, who will likely make the playoffs again. Softball is in the mix of contenders. Boys' lacrosse is either the first or second best team (depending on who you ask) in the state. It will likely have three showdowns with Falmouth, which will tell the story. Girls' lacrosse fell a goal shy of the state game last year and under a new coach, might be the team to beat this spring. There are several good track athletes of both genders. Boys' tennis looks to topple Falmouth and get back to the pinnacle. The girls' squad looks solid as well.

BASEBALL

Coach: Chris Hayward (sixth year, 64-30 overall record)

2011 Record: 12-5 (Lost 2-1 to Falmouth in Western Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Max Gore (Senior), Will LeBlond (Senior), Matty Pierce (Senior), Seth Dobieski (Junior), Sam Kozlowski (Junior), Chris Robicheaw (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 (H) FREEPORT, April 25 @ Falmouth, April 30 @ Greely, May 7 @ Wells, May 9 (H) YARMOUTH, May 14 @ Freeport, May 18 (H) WELLS, May 21 @ Yarmouth, May 22 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach's comment: “We hope to win enough games to make the playoffs, improve throughout the season and do some damage in the playoffs.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth graduated six seniors (including four all-stars) who were a big part of keeping the program near the top of Western Class B. While this year's squad is largely inexperienced, it will continue the program's tradition. The pitching staff got a gift when junior Charlie Laprade, Waynflete's Spring 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, transferred in. Laprade was 6-2 with a 2.77 earned run average last season. He's joined by Kozlowski and LeBlond (a second-team all-star after posting a 5-2 mark a year ago), along with junior Zach Culver, who will play a bigger role this year. One of the biggest holes to fill is the catcher's spot, where Kyle Danielson excelled. This spring, the position will be in the able hands of Dobieski. LeBlond (first base when he doesn't pitch) and Robicheaw (shortstop, third base) will likely be the big bats in the order. Outfielders Gore and Pierce will also be heard from. Donald Clark, Brett Parker, Julian Pelzer, Tim Stack, Connor Maguire (outfield) and Chad Peterson (infield) will all have a chance to make their mark. Greely is clearly the team to beat this season, but the Capers have played the Rangers tougher than anyone in recent seasons. Cape Elizabeth should be competitive virtually every time out. If the newer players can step up, a fifth straight winning record is likely. The Capers could even do some damage come June.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Joe Henrikson (15th year, 177-74 overall record, one state championship)

2011 Record: 10-7 (Lost 8-4 to Oak Hill in Western Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Lexi Cantara (Senior), Emmy Ham (Senior), Ali Johnson (Senior)

Pivotal games: April 23 (H) FREEPORT, April 25 @ Falmouth, April 30 @ Greely, May 7 @ Wells, May 9 (H) YARMOUTH, May 11 (H) FRYEBURG, May 14 @ Freeport, May 18 (H) WELLS, May 21 @ Yarmouth, May 23 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach's comment: “We have one freshman and five sophomores. We'll be somewhere in the pack. You need a dominant pitcher to be at the top. We always seem to compete. It's a work in progress, but I'm looking forward to it.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth has been in the playoffs 11 of the past 12 years and that trend figures to continue this spring. After losing pitcher Ally Boyington to graduation, the Capers will turn to sophomore righty Kate Rabaska and sophomore lefty Anna Goldstein to hold the opposition at bay. Cantara, Ham and Johnson are all captains and all should contribute with the bat. Cantara (leftfielder) has been on the team all four years. Ham (second base) will help ignite the attack and Johnson (rightfield) hit .400 and led the team in hits a year ago. While defending champion Fryeburg and Greely appear to be the class of the league, Cape Elizabeth will hold its own against the rest of its schedule. If the new pitchers can come through and the veterans deliver with the bats, the Capers will once again boast an impressive record, make the playoffs and from there, anything's possible.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Ben Raymond (15th year, 179-35 overall record, seven state championships)

2011 Record: 11-3 (Lost 11-9 to Falmouth in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Thomas Bottomley (Senior), Brian Brett (Senior), Sam Donnelly (Senior), Timmy Lavallee (Senior), Ned Melanson (Senior), Alex Bornick (Junior), Adam Havarsat (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 21 (H) FALMOUTH, April 25 (H) NYA, May 5 @ Yarmouth, May 16 @ Falmouth, May 18 @ Kennebunk, May 25 @ NYA, May 30 (H) YARMOUTH

Coach's comment: “We have a lot of offensive players back. We have new defenders and a new goalie. Most of our offense will go through Timmy. We'll try to spread it around quite a bit since teams will try to stop him. We don't have to do much differently this year. If you look at us and Falmouth, we're pretty equal. It will come down to playing our best against them. They'll be very good again, but we should be really good too.”

The Forecaster's forecast: A rough second quarter in last year's regional final was enough to deny the Capers' bid at a repeat championship. Consensus holds that entering this season, Cape Elizabeth is the second best team in the state, but the No. 1 team, Falmouth, is in its region. The teams will get an early measure of each other when they square off for the first of a likely three meetings Saturday night in Cape Elizabeth. The Capers were hard hit by graduation (losing six all-stars), but this edition has the ingredients to excel once again. Offensively, the Providence College-bound Lavallee leads the way. Lavallee (a first-team all-star a year ago after scoring 25 goals and adding 32 assists) could be one of the most prolific scorers in the state, but will need help. Bornick, Bottomley (who handles faceoff duty) and Brett (call them the Killer B's) will look to do their share of goal scoring and even freshman Griffin Thoreck, son of former Cape Elizabeth star and current athletic director Jeff Thoreck, could get in on the fun. Donnelly, Havarsat and Melanson return on defense and will be bolstered by freshman Curtis Alexander. The loss of star goalie Jack Roos (an All-American in 2011) to graduation will be felt, but the Capers hope last year's backup, senior Will Goduti, can step into the void. The Capers (who opened with a 20-0 win over Lake Region last week) will be explosive and all eyes will be on the Falmouth showdowns. The goalie and defense will need to get up to speed quickly for Cape Elizabeth to get past the Yachtsmen and go where they want to end up, in the state final once again. Don't underestimate this team's chances.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Jeff Perkins (first year)

2011 Record: 10-4 (Lost 8-7 to Waynflete in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Bella Robinson (Senior), Elin Sonneson (Senior), Janessa White (Senior), Jane Coffrin (Junior), Talley Perkins (Junior), Lauren Steidl (Junior)

Pivotal games: May 4 (H) YARMOUTH, May 8 @ Greely, May 12 @ Scarborough, May 29 @ Falmouth

Coach's comment: “The team has a lot of solid players returning. We will try to break through and make the elusive championship game after narrowly missing last year. Our goal every year is to try and go further than we did the year before. Trying to fill the hole left by five graduated starters, three who started since their freshman year, will be a tall task. A strong non-conference schedule, plus tough games with Yarmouth and Falmouth will be great tests to see if we have what it takes.”

The Forecaster's forecast: The Capers came oh-so-close to making it to the state game a year ago, leading Waynflete much of the way before falling by a goal in the regional final. This season, Cape Elizabeth is primed to finish the job. Perkins, after four seasons as an assistant, replaces Kurt Chapin as head coach. He takes over a squad that boasts talent all over the field. The Capers may have the best goalie around in 2011 Spring Female Athlete of the Year Sonneson, who saved over half the shots she faced en route to becoming a first-team all-star selection last season. Coffrin, another first-team all-star, anchors the defense. Perkins and Steidl (both second-team all-stars a year ago) will handle draw controls and will also contribute plenty of offense. Last year, Perkins (who has verbally committed to Boston University) led the team in scoring with 32 goals (she had 33 as a freshman) and she had three in a season-opening 19-8 victory over Greely. Steidl (who has verbally committed to Princeton) had 22 goals and eight assists last year, but was limited to just nine games by injury. She opened with a five-goal flurry against the Rangers. Robinson and White are also on attack and are joined by sophomores Hannah Newhall and Abby McInerney. The pieces are in place, but Cape Elizabeth is in a brutal region. There's little question that the top teams in Class B this year reside in the West Region, so the Capers will have to concern themselves with not just Waynflete, but also a Falmouth team that began the season with a decisive win at defending state champion Yarmouth, and resurgent Greely. In an odd schedule quirk, Cape Elizabeth doesn't face Waynflete in the regular season, but those teams could be in for a June showdown. If the Capers stay healthy and play as expected, they'll be primed to make a playoff run. Regardless of who stands in the way.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Doug Worthley (16th year, two state championships)

2011 Results:

(Boys) No score @ Class B state meet (7th @ WMC meet)

(Girls) 12th @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Billy Brooks (Senior), Thomas Janick (Senior), Andrew Lavallee (Senior), Matt Propp (Senior), Matt Ross (Senior), Zach Hillman (Junior), Kyle Snowden (Junior), Sam Earnshaw (Sophomore), Dennis Frank (Sophomore)

(Girls) Tori Brigham (Senior), Emma Inhorn (Junior), Jenny McGlynn (Junior)

Top foes: Falmouth, Greely

Coach's comment: “We have a small team, 45 total boys and girls, but I think we'll do alright. The boys are good in the throws and sprints. My goal is to get as many people to states as I can. We should do better at states this year. The girls' distance team looks good and we have some good rookies. We have solid sprinters. We look to place in the top 10. Hopefully in the top six.
The Forecaster's forecast: Both Cape Elizabeth outdoor track teams stand to improve on last year's results.

The boys have a strong sprinting contingent, which features Brooks and Janick. Earnshaw and Frank will look to score in the distance. On the field side, Hillman, Lavallee, Propp, Ross and Snowden are all throwers of note. The Capers will be competitive in the league and should find some athletes who can score at the state meet.

On the girls' side, Brigham and Inhorn are part of a strong distance group. McGlynn will compete in the sprints and jumps, as will freshman Nicole Cloutier. While no state meet scorers return this spring, Cape Elizabeth should find some points from this group and make some noise in June.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Andy Strout (36th year, 319-58 overall record since 1987, 13 state championships)

2011 Results: 13-2 (Lost 3-2 to Falmouth in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Matt Gilman (Junior), Satchel McCarthy (Junior), Sam Sherman (Junior)

Pivotal matches:April 27 (H) FALMOUTH, April 30 @ Yarmouth, May 4 @ York, May 11 @ Falmouth, May 14 (H) YORK, May 21 (H) WAYNFLETE

Coach's comment: “Waynflete, Falmouth and York are the top competition. If we can come up with competitive doubles teams, we will be OK.”

The Forecaster's forecast: This program is always OK and will be again in 2012. The Capers return first-team all-stars Gilman and Sherman and second-teamer McCarthy. They'll hold their own against anyone in the league. Freshman Luke Gilman is a star of the future. If Cape Elizabeth can produce steady doubles play, it will once again be the top threat to defending state champion Falmouth. The Capers will again boast a great record and should be one of the last team's standing. Perhaps even the final team standing.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Sarah Sullivan (third year, 15-12)

2011 Results: 8-6 (Lost 5-0 to Falmouth in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Allie Briggs (Junior), Madeline Ciraldo (Junior), Catie MacDonald (Junior), Kisa Tabery (Junior)

Pivotal matches:April 27 @ Falmouth, May 2 @ Waynflete, May 4 (H) NYA, May 18 (H) YARMOUTH

Coach's comment: “We have no seniors this year and I have four of my top seven returning. I'm looking for good leadership and for my returning players to have even more confidence on the court. As always, we'll take one match at a time and hope to do better every year.

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth made it to the semifinals last spring and looks to go even further this season. MacDonald was a second-team all-star last year. She's part of a strong returning core, which also includes Briggs, Ciraldo and Tabery. While Falmouth appears to be in another stratosphere, the rest of the region is up for grabs. If all goes well, the Capers will be one of the last teams standing and could make it a round deeper than they did in 2011.

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

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Junior Talley Perkins, who has verbally committed to Boston University, will look to score plenty of goals and lead Cape Elizabeth to a title this season.

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Junior Jane Coffrin is a returning all-star at defense.

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Senior Ned Melanson is a top defender for the Capers.

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Providence College-bound senior Timmy Lavallee will be one of the state's most prolific offensive players.

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Senior Thomas Bottomley will do a little of everything this spring for a Cape Elizabeth boys' lacrosse team that should be among the best in the state.

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Senior captain Lexi Cantara hopes to lead the Cape Elizabeth softball team back to the playoffs.

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Senior Max Gore is a top returner for the Capers baseball team.

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Junior Emma Inhorn will be a top distance threat this season.