Sat, Oct 25, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

Scarborough Red Storm Spring Sports Preview

Spring Sports Previews

Scarborough Red Storm Spring Sports Preview

Scarborough had a spring sports season to remember in 2011, winning three state championships, reaching both tennis state matches and having its girls' track team finish as runners-up in the state. Baseball and boys' track weren't too shabby either. The bar is set high, but it's possible that this year, the Red Storm could produce even more greatness. Both lacrosse teams are favorites to do it again. Softball is even better than it was during last year's surprise run to the top. Baseball is on the short list of top contenders. Both track squads have an abundance of great athletes. Boys' tennis has enough returning firepower to make another run into June. The girls' team welcomes a new coach and should also be very strong.

BASEBALL

Coach: Mike Coutts (second year, 11-6)

2011 Record: 11-6 (Lost 2-1, in eight innings, to South Portland in Western Class A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Joe Cronin (Senior), Conor McCann (Senior), Ben Wessel (Senior), Ben Greenberg (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 @ Portland, May 1 (H) MARSHWOOD, May 10 @ South Portland, May 12 (H) CHEVERUS, May 17 @ Deering, May 22 (H) WESTBROOK, May 29 (H) PORTLAND

Coach's comment: “It should be another competitive season in the SMAA. We've been working very hard and we're just trying to get better every day. We'll look forward to a very competitive year. Pitching should be our strength and we should be able to defend once again.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough suffered a disappointing ending to Coutts' first season, but is viewed as perhaps the best threat to dethrone Cheverus this spring. The pitching staff is formidable and enviable. Wessel and Greenberg threw back-to-back no-hitters last season. Wessel (heading for Rhode Island next year) was a first-team all-star who played in the Underclass All-Star Game. He was 4-1 with a 1.37 earned run average and struck out 46 batters a year ago. Greenberg was 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA. He made the All-Rookie team. Cronin (2-0, 0.46 ERA during a first-team all-star 2011 campaign) will also see time on the mound. He'll play at Boston College next year. McCann is the catcher. Top returning hitters include Wessel (.320 batting average, 13 RBI) and Cronin (.295, 14 runs scored, two home runs, 10 RBI). Junior infielder Nick Bagley, senior outfielder Greg Viola and junior infielder Brendan Hall will also contribute. While the schedule offers few breathers, the Red Storm appears to have it all. The pitching can match up with anyone. There are good hitters, Coutts is an established, accomplished coach who will be aggressive and the hunger is there after last year's disappointing ouster. Look for Scarborough to have one of the league's best records and to enjoy a longer postseason stay in June.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Tom Griffin (23rd year, 321-83 overall record, four state championships)

2011 Record: 19-1 (Beat Messalonskee 5-0 to win Class A state championship)

Top returning players: Dominique Burnham (Senior), Mo Hannan (Senior), Grace Farnkoff (Junior), Erin Giles (Junior), Marissa O'Toole (Junior), Megan Murrell (Sophomore), Alyssa Williamson (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 23 (H) SP, May 2 @ Thornton Academy, May 16 @ Kennebunk

Coach's comment: “We feel that we'll be one of the top teams in our league this spring. We have an abundance of quality pitching and should be an excellent defensive team with decent team speed. We also have plenty of quality hitters in our lineup and will have good depth in all positions.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough upset South Portland in last year's regional final then went on to win its third Class A championship in five seasons. One thing the Red Storm hasn't been able to do is repeat, but this team has a great shot at that accomplishment. No team in the state can match this squad's pitching skill and depth. Hannan (10-1, 0.18 earned run average and 142 strikeouts in 2011), Giles (5-0, 0.49 ERA), Williamson, Burnham and senior Chelsea Damon can all take care of business in the circle. Hannan was a first-team all-star in 2011. Giles and Williamson made the second-team. Burnham was an honorable mention. Replacing the loss of Abby Rutt behind the plate will be a challenge, but Murrell, junior Paige-Moore Haskell and senior Abby Sweatt will team up to do so. Hannan (who hit a robust .564 and scored 32 times last season), Giles (a .319 hitter in 2011), O'Toole and Williamson (who pounded the ball with abandon to the tune of a .412 average, seven home runs and 35 RBI during her freshman campaign) lead the offense. Farnkoff made some major contributions a year ago and should do so again. Juniors Sydney Litrocapes (first base/outfield) and Mary Redmond (outfield/second base), along with sophomore Brenna Kent (outfield/infield), are new to the team and make the Red Storm that much deeper and difficult to stop. Griffin's biggest challenge in the regular season might be deciding who gets the ball and getting all his pitchers some work. With a couple exceptions, Scarborough's talent completely overrides the opposition. If the Red Storm can avoid overconfidence and stay healthy, it's a heavy favorite to make it back to the state final and bring home more hardware.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Joe Hezlep (fifth year, 50-12 overall record, three state championships)

2011 Record: 14-1 (Beat Lewiston 6-4 to win second straight Class A state championship)

Top returning players: John Blaisdell (Senior), Luke Erwin (Senior), Garrett Hazelwood (Senior), Andrew Jones (Senior), Jeff Oddy (Senior), Kellen Smith (Senior), David Pearson (Junior), John Wheeler (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ South Portland, April 28 @ NYA, May 2 (H) DEERING, May 4 @ Portland, May 16 @ Kennebunk, May 18 (H) YARMOUTH, May 23 (H) MARSHWOOD, May 30 (H) TA

Coach's comment: “We have a lot of new guys stepping into new roles. We have a good nucleus back on offense, defense and in the midfield. Role players from last year will need to step into key roles this year. We lost 86 percent of our scoring from the midfield. We're extremely athletic. We can go 12 deep without much dropoff. We wear the bulls-eye with pride. It's something that's earned year after year. We work hard. The seniors will need to step up and make it their year for us to go as far as we want to.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough was almost perfect a year ago and demonstrated great balance on offense and defense en route to the pinnacle. This season, the Red Storm have all the pieces in place once again for a title run. Wheeler is the top returner on offense. The first-team all-star after a 48-goal campaign in 2011 had four goals and six assists in a season-opening 17-1 romp at Westbrook and had five goals and four assists in Monday's 12-0 victory over Biddeford, meaning he's on a 54-goal pace. Blaisdell, a three-year starter, is another top offensive threat. He had 31 goals and 29 assists last season, then produced three goals in the opener and three assists against Biddeford. New senior Nick Mercer and sophomore Austin Doody will handle faceoffs. They're joined in the midfield by captains Erwin, Oddy and Smith. Jones, (the most athletic player in the conference, according to Hezlep), intimidates as a longstick middie. He was a second-team all-star in 2011. Hazelwood also keys the defensive effort, even though Scarborough doesn't figure to be without the ball much. Pearson returns in goal. There are several other players who provide depth and will make a mark as the season progresses. There are a few potential tests on the schedule, but the Red Storm will be favored every time it takes the field. If it can stay healthy and no get too overconfident, it will be in position to win it all once again. All signs point to another Scarborough coronation.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Marcia Wood (eighth year, 80-22 overall record, three state championships)

2011 Record: 14-1 (Beat Brunswick 13-11 to win second straight Class A state championship)

Top returning players: Shauni Cowan (Senior), Kat Gadbois (Senior), Kelsey Howard (Senior), Laura Przybylowicz (Senior), Mary Scott (Senior), Maggie Smith (Senior), Meg Kirsch (Junior), Ashley Ronzo (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 28 @ Yarmouth, May 10 @ Cheverus, May 12 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 14 @ Thornton Academy, May 21 @ Marshwood, May 24 @ Kennebunk

Coach's comment: “It's a great group of girls. They're very dedicated and determined. We only graduated three starters. We have 12 seniors this year. We have a target on our back.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Like the boys' team, the Scarborough girls are hoping three-peat and also have a lineup that every other coach in the league would love to utilize. The Red Storm return All-American and first-team all-star Howard, who had 33 goals and 17 assists in 2011. Honorable mention All-American and first-team all-star Smith (37 goals) is also part of an attack that includes Scott (who was the team's leading scorer and an league honorable mention all-star last year), three-year starter Gadbois, Przybylowicz and new junior Maiti Kent. Cowan (a second-team all-star last season) and Ronzo anchor the defense in front of Kirsch, who returns for a second season in goal. Scarborough could be tested by several teams in the regular season, but it should navigate its schedule with a glowing record and will likely wind up with the top playoff seed. If the Red Storm continues to play as a team and focuses on the task at hand, it's hard to see anyone knocking it off. The third Saturday in June will likely feature another Scarborough championship celebration.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach:

(Boys) Derek Veilleux (11th year)

(Girls) Ron Kelly (40th year, nine state championships)

2011 Results:

(Boys) 8th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 2nd @ Class A state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Nick Morris (Senior), Wout Moulin (Senior), Mike Tudor (Senior), Robert Hall (Junior), Matt Hassler (Junior), Alec James (Junior), Merrick Madden (Junior), Kevin Manning (Junior), Alex Karam (Sophomore), Cameron Langlois (Sophomore), Ian Morris (Sophomore), Mike Pino (Sophomore)

(Girls) Catherine Bailey (Senior), Haela Booth-Howe (Senior), Nicole Kirk (Senior), Carly Rogers (Senior), Andrea Tolman (Senior), Emily Tolman (Senior), Courtney Alofs (Junior), Karli-An Gilbert (Junior), Meghan Lynch (Junior), Ali Pelczar (Junior), Cailley Ledue (Sophomore)

Top foes: Bonny Eagle, Cheverus, Deering, Gorham and Sanford boys; Bonny Eagle and Thornton Academy girls

Coach Veilleux's comment: “Our goal is to improve every day and perform our best in the championship meets. It's been 11 years since we've won an outdoor state title. We'd like to end that streak this year. The athletes are motivated and focused on doing the work necessary to be able to challenge for a title. We're well rounded, with top scoring threats in several events. We need to stay healthy. We have a chance to be the first team since Cheverus in 1989 to win all three titles, cross country, indoor and outdoor, in school year, which would be an impressive accomplishment..”

Coach Kelly's comment: “We'll be battling again for top honors. We need to fill holes in the 400 and 3,200 relays. We have a group of newcomers. Our strengths will be the 100, 200, 400, 800, long jump, pole vault, high jump, 300 hurdles and javelin.”

The Forecaster's forecast: The Scarborough track juggernaut rolls on.

The boys have already won cross country and indoor track championships (the latter by a single point in dramatic fashion) this school year and have enough ammunition to win one more in June. Hall, Morris and Tudor return from a state champion 3,200 relay team. Morris was also fifth in the 800 a year ago. Hall placed seventh in the mile. Those athletes will all contend in the distance, as will Hassler, Karam, Moulin and new senior Johnny Passarelli. Junior Ryan Jamison and sophomore Jordan Luong are top sprinters. Hurdlers to watch include James, Langlois and Madden. On the field side, Winter Male Athlete of the Year James looks to improve on last year's top pole vault of 11 feet, 6 inches. He could soar all the way to the top this spring. Manning was seventh in the pole vault and seventh in the javelin. He'll be a top threat in the throws. Pino also throws the shot put. Several freshmen look to make their mark as well. Jumping from eighth a year ago to the top spot this spring will be difficult, but you can never write off the Red Storm. If all goes well on that first Saturday in June, Scarborough could make history.

On the girls' side, after eight straight first, second or third place finishes at states, you know what to expect from this program. Kirk is the state record holder and two-time defending Class A state champion in the 200. She also won the 100 a year ago and was part of two state champion relays. Ledue, Andrea Tolman and freshman Kayla Griffis compete in the middle distance. Alofs, Gilbert and Winter Athlete of the Year Emily Tolman (third in the 400 and fifth in the 200 last year) are top long distance runners. Bailey is the lead hurdler (she was seventh in the 300 hurdles last season). On the field side, Andrea Tolman's coming off a runner-up performance in the pole vault. Bailey (sixth in the pole vault), Ledue and Pelczar also take part in that event. Booth-Howe (sixth in the javelin) and Rogers are top throwers. Emily Tolman (fifth in the long jump), Lynch and freshman Sarah Rinaldi compete in the jumps. The Red Storm will get plenty of competition at the conference and state level, but when all is said and done, this team's depth and skill will lead it to great things. Perhaps back to the pinnacle.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Craig McDonald (12th year, 86-64 overall record)

2011 Results: 14-2 (Lost 4-1 to Lewiston in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Joe Corbeau (Senior), Alex Henny (Senior), Zach Pelczar (Senior), Dan Slavin (Senior), Jeff Sirocki (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 27 (H) GORHAM, May 4 @ Windham, May 11 (H) DEERING

Coach's comment: “With eight seniors and five returning starters, our depth and experience should have a big impact this spring. The success of the season could be determined on who can make the transition from playing doubles to fill the vacancies at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. The strength of our team should be at No. 1 singles and doubles play.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough made history a year ago, reaching the state final match for the first time, earning McDonald his second Coach of the Year honor in the process. This year's team should again be among the top teams in the region and can set its sights on getting back to the first Saturday in June. Henny was an all-conference first-team singles player in 2011 and will go up against the best players in the league and likely hold his own in the weeks to come. Corbeau, Pelczar, Sirocki and Slavin will fill other slots. There doesn't appear to be a heavy favorite in the region this spring, so it would make sense that the defending champion would have a great shot. Look for the Red Storm to battle right to the end and possibly get another chance at the big trophy.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Steve Eddy (first year)

2011 Results: 12-4 (Lost 5-0 to Lewiston in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Rachel Webber (Senior), Maria Philbrick (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 25 @ Cheverus, May 7 (H) PORTLAND, May 16 @ McAuley

Coach's comment: “I always look forward to this time of year because it's interesting to see which teams jump out of the pack, which live up to the hype, which do not and which are surprises. It's also interesting to see which of our players respond and improve their game and roster position. Last year, we kind of snuck under the radar and played great tennis in the playoffs. My hope this year is that our opponents underestimate us because we lost five starters. I have a tremendous amount of confidence in this year's team and in the players and I feel our depth is very similar to the depth we had last year. I'm confident we can push for a high playoff seed and have fun along the way. As we proved last year, once you make the playoffs, anything is possible”

The Forecaster's forecast: After a first-ever trip to the state match, coach Lincoln MacIsaac stepped down and is replaced by Eddy, an assistant with the program for four seasons. Eddy also serves as an assistant at the University of Southern Maine and is an accomplished player at the 4.5 and 5.0 USTA levels. While Scarborough was hit hard by graduation, the cupboard isn't bare. Webber will be at No. 1 singles. Philbrick will be part of the first doubles team. Mikaela Gove, Carly Hughes, Ella Mahoney, Alice Mathews, Katie Wahrer and Grace Whelan also return and will help fill the holes. Gove and Mahoney will likely be in the second and third singles spots. Freshman Laura Henny is a player to watch. Expect big things from her in the years to come. The Red Storm has plenty of optimism as a new season dawns. The region appears open and if the newer players get up to speed, Scarborough will post another impressive record and could be ready to turn heads again in the playoffs.

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

Photo: File photo

University of Rhode Island-bound standout Ben Wessel anchors what could be a dominant Scarborough pitching staff.

Photo: File photo

Ben Greenberg threw a no-hitter last season and figures to be imposing again this spring.

Photo: File photo

Boston College-bound Joe Cronin will be a tough out for the Red Storm.

Photo: File photo

Conor McCann will play catcher and look to deliver some timely hits this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior Mo Hannan is a huge part of the deepest and most talented pitching staff in the state.

Photo: File photo

Junior John Wheeler will be one of the state's most prolific scorers.

Photo: File photo

Senior John Blaisdell is another returning scoring threat for the Red Storm.

Photo: File photo

Senior longstick middie Andrew Jones is one of the state's most athletic and imposing players.

Photo: File photo

Senior Garrett Hazelwood helps anchor the Scarborough defense.

Photo: File photo

Junior David Pearson returns in goal for the Red Storm.

Photo: File photo

Senior Kelsey Howard was an All-American in 2011.

Photo: File photo

Senior Maggie Smith was an honorable mention All-American last year.

Photo: File photo

Senior Mary Scott led the Red Storm in scoring last season.

Photo: File photo

Senior Kat Gadbois is a three-year starter for the two-time defending champion Scarborough girls.

Photo: File photo

Emily Tolman is a multi-talented leader of a Scarborough girls' outdoor track team that has its sights set on a championship.

Photo: File photo

Nicole Kirk is seeking another state title in the 200 this season.