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Yarmouth Clippers Spring Sports Previews

Sports

Yarmouth Clippers Spring Sports Previews

Spring is always a fine season at Yarmouth High School and this one should produce plenty of triumph. Baseball has been among the best teams in the region the past few years and this time around, might just be the best of the bunch. Softball welcomes a new coach, who will bring plenty of excitement to a program that could contend. Boys' lacrosse fell one goal shy of the state game last spring and looks to get over the hump this time around. The girls' team also just missed out on a trip to states and has the pieces in place to make a title run. The track team just keeps getting bigger and better. Boys' tennis hopes to be one of the top teams in the region and the girls' squad, despite a big graduation hit, will also be heard from.

BASEBALL

Coach: Marc Halsted (seventh year, 73-37 overall record)

2012 Record: 11-7 (Lost, 7-1, in 10 innings, to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Calvin Cooper (Senior), Kevin Haley (Senior), Matt Highland (Senior), Chester Jacobs (Senior), Nick Lainey (Senior), Thomas Sullivan (Senior), Caleb Uhl (Senior),

Pivotal games: May 8 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 10 (H) GREELY, May 13 @ Falmouth, May 15 @ Greely, May 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 22 @ Freeport, May 24 (H) FALMOUTH, May 29 @ York

Coach's comment: “We're excited for the season. We have 12 seniors who've worked hard for four years as high school and American Legion players. Obviously, Falmouth, Greely and York have big names, but we're going to be a scrappy, tough group who competes every day. Our goal, as always, is to win 10-plus games, make the playoffs and rely on our veteran group to lead us as far as we can go.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Yarmouth has been the model of consistency under Halsted and after back-to-back trips to the regional final, the Clippers were denied in agonizing fashion by the Capers last spring in the semifinal round. This year's team could get back to that point and even take it all the way to the state game for the first time in Class B. It won't be easy in a league that features defending champion Falmouth, perennial powerhouse Greely and several other tough squads, but Yarmouth has the ingredients to get the job done. On the mound, Jacobs (5-2, 1.75 earned run average last season), Lainey (3-1, 2.63 ERA) and sophomores Jordan Brown and Ethan Perrier give the Clippers talent and depth. The lineup features speed and pop. Uhl, a second-team all-star last year, is the leadoff guy and plays centerfield. He hit .298 with 17 hits and 25 runs scored a year ago. Cooper (.422, 19 hits, nine RBI), the catcher, could emerge as one of the top players in the region. He'll look to drive in runs, along with first-baseman-when-he-doesn't-pitch Lainey (.267, 12 hits), shortstop Sullivan (.328, 16 RBI) and Perrier (first base). Haley (second base) and Highland (third base) will spark the bottom half of the order. Senior catcher/third baseman Ian Grover will also contribute. Yarmouth has a lot of tough foes on the schedule, but is seasoned when it comes to big games. The Clippers will continue their style of putting pressure on the opposing defense and relying on its defense, pitching and timely hitting to get the job done. There are a lot of quality teams in Western B, but there's every reason to believe that Yarmouth can be the best of the bunch. The Clippers will be heard from plenty in the weeks to come.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Amy McMullin (first year)

2012 Record: 5-11 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Mckenzie Gray (Senior), Monica Austin (Junior), Melissa Levinson (Junior), Alexa Sullivan (Junior), Kallie Hutchinson (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 29 @ Gray-NG, May 6 (H) FRYEBURG, May 8 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 10 (H) GREELY, May 13 @ Falmouth, May 15 @ Greely, May 17 (H) GRAY-NG, May 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 24 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach's comment: “We will look for Mckenzie, Alexa, Kallie, Monica and Mel to be the core of our lineup. Mckenzie, Alexa and Libby will get the majority of innings on the mound. We're very excited about this group of girls. They've responded well to a new style of coaching and seem to be off to a great start. We have a lot of cover in small amount of time, but we're hopeful and optimistic. We have young talent who will be thrown into the mix and we really need to come together as a team if we want to reach our goals. We have to continue to work hard both physically and mentally, so we're playing our best softball late in the season.”

The Forecaster's forecast: After eight years and 68 victories, Jim Senecal stepped down as coach. Yarmouth landed a first-rate replacement in McMullin, a field hockey, basketball and softball standout at Messalonskee, who went on to play field hockey and basketball at Franklin Pierce University. She's made her name coaching the Cheverus field hockey team to great things and spent the past two winters as an assistant with the Yarmouth girls' basketball squad. McMullin, who is utilizing Cheverus girls' basketball varsity coach Richie Ashley as an assistant, takes over a team used to contending and eager to get back to the playoffs after falling short last year. The Clippers have the luxury of fielding two strong pitchers. Gray (a first-team all-star last spring) was superb in a season-opening 5-1 win at Freeport. Sullivan will see time on the hill as well. Freshmen Mari Cooper, Libby King and Cat Thompson also pitch and will be developed to help the program going forward. Fall Female Athlete of the Year Austin (who plays shortstop and third base) looks like a top hitter. She had a two-run double in the opener. Sophomore Katie Brown drove in a pair of runs as well, while senior Carlene Shaw had one RBI. Other top hitters project to be Gray, Hutchinson (a second-team all-star in 2012), Levinson and Sullivan (who plays shortstop when she's not pitching). Cooper (outfield), King (second base) and Thompson (third base) hope to produce some key base knocks as well. The program has a new jolt with its dynamic new coach and there is enough talent in place for the Clippers to make a run. Fryeburg is once again the favorite and there are some other solid teams, but Yarmouth should be in just about every game. Early success should snowball. Let's not forget that in 2011, the Clippers won 14 times. The girls know how to get the job done. This year's team is primed to make a leap back to contention and to perhaps steal some thunder in June.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: David Pearl (second year, 9-6 overall record)

2012 Record: 9-6 (Lost 8-7, to NYA in Eastern Class B Final)

Top returning players: Ethan Cyr (Senior), Ian Edgecomb (Senior), Drew Grout (Senior), Quinn Hathcock (Senior), Christian Henry (Senior), Nick Ronan (Senior), Thomas Lord (Junior), Brady Neujahr (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 20 @ NYA, April 24 (H) FALMOUTH, May 4 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 15 (H) NYA, May 18 (H) SCARBOROUGH, May 24 @ Falmouth, May 30 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach's comment: “Things are looking very positive. We have great captains and hardworking guys. Good senior leadership. It's nice to have a senior goalie who has worked so hard. I'm excited to have our defense returning. We've got a balanced attack. You'll see more assisted goals this year. Last year, we had a lot of one-on-ones and dodges. Last year's (regional final loss) was really hard. It felt like we left business unfinished. We hope to make amends. I'm pretty excited about this group.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Yarmouth has now gone what for it must feel like an eternity of two seasons without playing for a state title (something which last happened over a decade ago). The Clippers came oh-so-close a year ago, but were vanquished by their fiercest rival, so it's fair to say this year's team is coming in with a chip on its shoulder. Yarmouth will not only make life difficult for NYA, but for all the top teams as there is a lot of talent on the roster. The offense will be paced this year by Edgecomb, Hathcock, captains Henry and Cyr, senior Nick Ronan, who returns, and junior Brady Neujahr. Grout was a first-team defensive all-star in 2012. He'll team with Lord, a three-year starter, to shut down the opposition. Replacing all-star goalie Alex Kurtz won't be easy, but Pearl believes senior Sam Landry is up to the task. The Clippers have a lot of tough tests on the schedule, starting with a revenge game at NYA Saturday. Yarmouth won't be content to merely make the playoffs this spring. It wants to return to the glory years of 2004-09 and that means a glowing record and a trip to the state final. This squad has the pieces in place to accomplish those goals.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Dorothy Holt (ninth year, 90-26 overall record, three state championships)

2012 Record: 7-7 (Lost, 12-11, in overtime, to Freeport in East Region Final)

Top returning players: Olivia Conrad (Senior), Julie Kameisha (Senior), Claire King (Senior), Alex Lucas (Senior), Ali Merrill (Senior), Sydney Pellerin (Senior), Jordan Brown (Junior), Grace O'Donnell (Junior), Julia Primeau (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 (H) WAYNFLETE, April 27 @ Scarborough, May 1 (H) FALMOUTH, May 3 (H) NYA, May 9 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 22 @ Waynflete, May 30 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach's comment: “We have a lot to work on. I call it repowering. We're pretty young, but it's an amazing group of girls. We have incredible senior leadership. We've come to play. The loss in the regional final left a bad taste in our mouth. The girls have fire in their belly. It should be an interesting season. You can't count us out.”

The Forecaster's forecast: After winning the 2011 Class B championship in epic fashion, last year's team started 0-5, but the Clippers rose off the deck and salvaged their season, making it all the way to the regional final for the 10th year in a row before letting a late lead slip away in a stunning overtime loss to Freeport. That setback will drive Yarmouth, which feels it is the team to beat in Eastern Class B this season, even though there is some work to do. The Clippers opened with a 16-7 loss at Falmouth, but the game was tight until the second half. Yarmouth will feature balance on offense as Conrad (a captain, who had two goals in the opener), Kameisha (two goals, three assists), Lucas (one goal) and O'Donnell (who takes most of the draws and scored once against the Yachtsmen) will set the tone. That's just the beginning. Primeau, Merrill (a captain), senior Sara Costello (who scored in the opener), speedy sophomore Lane Simsarian (the younger sister of former  Clippers standout Devin Simsarian, who also takes her share of draws), classmate Emma Torres (the younger sister of 2010 and 2011 YHS Spring Female Athlete of the Year Danielle Torres) and junior Molly Maguire add offensive depth. Defense is still a work in progress as all-stars Caitlin Crawford and Jeanna Lowery graduated. Pellerin is the most seasoned returner. She's joined by King (a captain and second-team all-star a year ago, who is currently nursing a knee injury), junior Abby Belisle-Haley (Yarmouth's Winter Female Athlete of the Year) and senior Gage Thurston. Brown returns in goal and is recognized as one of the best around. She made nine saves against Falmouth. The Clippers are spending vacation week in Florida, working on their game, which should pay dividends upon their return. The schedule remains brutal, but this year's team is better equipped from the start to handle the challenge. Yarmouth should show steady improvement and by June, will likely be the team to beat in the region. The Clippers have no intention of falling short of the state final again.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Hank Richards (second year)

2012 Results:
(Boys) Tie-15th @ Class B state meet
(Girls) Tie-21st @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:
(Boys) Tom Robichaud (Senior), Wes Crawford (Junior), Ben Decker (Junior), Travis Hamre (Junior), Darren Shi (Sophomore)
(Girls)  Emma Pidden (Senior), Gina Robertson (Senior), Megan Smith (Senior), Sydney Sperber (Senior), Abby Vogel (Senior), Katie Overhaug (Junior)

Top foes: Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Greely, Sacopee, York

Coach's comment: “We have some talent. The kids are working hard. Our numbers are good. We have 52. That's the largest team since I've been here. Our distance and middle-distance will carry us. We'll have some highlights in the sprints. With our numbers and our athletes, we're getting there. I can't emphasize enough how much help I get from my assistant coaches, John Rogers, Mike Griffin and Adam Smith."

The Forecaster's forecast: The Yarmouth program continues to improve and has another infusion of new talent this spring.

The boys' squad graduated throwing standout Chris Knaub, but there are some athletes who could score at the conference and state meets. Decker was fourth at states a year ago in the two-mile and should be an elite distance runner again. Crawford, Robichaud and sophomores Sam Gerken and Ben Vigue and freshman Ian Murrin also look to score in the longer races. Hamre could be elite in the sprints.  He's joined by juniors David Clemmer, Michael Salvesen and Chandler Smith. On the field side, Shi is a top thrower, while Robichaud hopes to soar in the pole vault. The Clippers will be competitive in the regular season and could improve on last year's showing at the big meets. Look for good things from several familiar names.

On the girls' side, Smith (tied for fourth in the pole vault) and Robertson (sixth in the javelin) are returning scorers. Vogel (throws), Overhaug (throws), junior Chapin Dorsett (throws) and freshman Emma Egan (jumps) are other field athletes to watch. On the track side, Pidden could be a top hurdler, Dorsett and Egan will contend in the sprints and hurdles and Sperber and sophomore Simone Laverierre will lead the pack in the distance events. This group also expects to hang tough during the regular year, then have some individuals impress at the WMC and state meets.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Mark Marstaller (15th year, 110-81 overall record, one state championship)

2012 Results: 5-9 (Lost, 5-0, to Falmouth in Western Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Sam Beaulieu (Senior), Jackson Hall (Senior), Braden Becker (Junior), Alex Caroi (Junior), Jake Inger (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 22 @ Falmouth, April 23 (H) NYA, April 24 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 7 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 8 @ NYA, May 13 (H) FALMOUTH May 17 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach's comment: “Cape, Falmouth and probably Waynflete will give us a hard time, but I hope we're about even with York. I expect we'll make the playoffs and play until we face Falmouth or Cape. After this year, we'll have a perennial goal of the Western Maine finals.”

The Forecaster's forecast: After a two-year drought, Yarmouth returned to the playoffs last season and could be even stronger this spring. Coroi (a second-team all-star last season), Becker and Beaulieu were first, second and third singles last year and all three of them will likely be in singles spots again. Hall and Inger project to play doubles. Freshman Bryce Workman will make an immediate splash and might even play singles, depending on the challenge matches. While defending champion Falmouth and perennial power Cape Elizabeth are viewed as the favorites in Class B, this team can't be overlooked. The Clippers should continue their climb back toward the top. Success this spring is likely. Even more awaits in years to come.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Ann Harradon (17th year, 163-69 overall record, four state championships)

2012 Results: 12-3 (Lost, 5-0, to eventual champion Falmouth in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Hannah Elrick (Junior), Sarah Oberink (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 22 (H) FALMOUTH, April 23 @ NYA, April 24 @ Waynflete, April 26 @ Greely, May 8 (H) NYA, May 13 @ Falmouth, May 17 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach's comment: “We graduated almost everybody from last year. We only have one varsity player returning who saw a lot of time. We only have one senior this year. Four juniors, one sophomore and 12 freshmen. It's a very inexperienced team. Down the road, I'll have good players. I hope we can become a middle-of-the-road team as the season progresses. I hope, as always, to make the playoffs. The future's bright.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Yarmouth has been the second best team in Western B for much of Falmouth's reign of seven titles in the past eight seasons, but this year, the Clippers have some rebuilding to do as several key players departed, including league all-star Lindsey Robinson and 2012 Spring Female Athlete of the Year Hannah Potter. Don't bet against this club, however, as the talent hasn't exactly dried up. Elrick moves up from the second doubles team to the first singles spot this spring. Oberink, who battled an ankle injury last season, projects to play second singles. Junior Olivia Shay is expected to step in and help the first doubles team. Beyond that, Harradon wasn't sure at press time, as there were still a lot of questions to answer. One thing that's for certain is that Yarmouth does produce ample tennis talent. It might just take some time to get up to speed. The Clippers should be able to extend their streak of qualifying for the postseason to 26 years and once there, depending on their matchup, they could prove to be very difficult to send home.

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

Photo: File photo

Senior Chester Jacobs is a top returning pitcher for the Clippers.

Photo: File photo

Senior Nick Lainey is a top pitcher and a key offensive cog for the Clippers.

Photo: File photo

Senior catcher Calvin Cooper is Yarmouth's top returning hitter.

Photo: File photo

Senior Thomas Sullivan is another top returning hitter and the anchor of the infield at shortstop.

Photo: File photo

Senior Mckenzie Gray figures to be an ace in her final season with the Clippers.

Photo: File photo

Senior captain Ethan Cyr returns at midfield for the Clippers.

Photo: File photo

Senior captain Ali Merrill and her teammates hope to get Yarmouth back to the Class B pinnacle this season.

Photo: File photo

Junior Julia Primeau will help Yarmouth's offense this year.

Photo: File photo

Senior captain Claire King will help Yarmouth's defense shut down the opposition.

Photo: File photo

Senior Sydney Pellerin is an experienced returning defender.

Photo: File photo

Junior Jordan Brown is back in goal for the Clippers this spring.

Yarmouth Spring Schedules

BASEBALL

Mon., April 22 H WELLS

Wed., April 24 @ Lake Region

Fri., April 26 H OOB

Mon., April 29 @ GNG

Wed., May 1 @ Poland

Mon., May 6 H FRYEBURG

Wed., May 8 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Fri., May 10 H GREELY

Mon., May 13 @ Falmouth

Wed., May 15 @ Greely

Fri., May 17 H GNG

Mon., May 20 @ Cape Elizabeth

Wed., May 22 @ Freeport

Fri., May 24 H FALMOUTH

Wed., May 29 @ York

SOFTBALL

Mon., April 22 H WELLS

Wed., April 24 @ Lake Region

Fri., April 26 H OOB

Mon., April 29 @ GNG

Wed., May 1 @ Poland

Mon., May 6 H FRYEBURG

Wed., May 8 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Fri., May 10 H GREELY

Mon., May 13 @ Falmouth

Wed., May 15 @ Greely

Fri., May 17 H GNG

Mon., May 20 @ Cape Elizabeth

Wed., May 22 @ Freeport

Fri., May 24 H FALMOUTH

Wed., May 29 @ York

BOYS' LACROSSE

Sat., April 20 @ NYA

Wed., April 24 H FALMOUTH

Sat., April 27 @ SP

Sat., May 4 @ Cape Elizabeth

Tues., May 7 @ Freeport

Thurs., May 9 H LAKE REGION

Sat., May 11 @ Portland

Mon., May 13 H FRYEBURG

Wed., May 15 H NYA

Sat., May 18 H SCARBOROUGH

Fri., May 24 @ Falmouth

Thurs., May 30 H CAPE ELIZABETH

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Tues., April 23 H WAYNFLETE

Sat., April 27 @ Scarborough

Wed., May 1 H FALMOUTH

Fri., May 3 H NYA

Tues. May 7 @ Wells

Thurs., May 9 @ Cape Elizabeth

Sat., May 11 H GORHAM

Tues., May 14 @ Fryeburg

Thurs., May 16 H YORK

Wed., May 22 @ Waynflete

Thurs., May 30 H CAPE ELIZABETH

BOYS' TENNIS

Mon., April 22 @ Falmouth

Tues. April 23 H NYA

Wed., April 24 H WAYNFLETE

Fri., April 26 H GREELY

Mon., April 29 @ York

Wed., May 1 @ Freeport

Fri., May 3 H FRYEBURG

Tues., May 7 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Wed., May 8 @ NYA

Mon., May 13 H FALMOUTH

Wed., May 15 @ Lake Region

Fri., May 17 @ Cape Elizabeth

GIRLS' TENNIS

Mon., April 22 H FALMOUTH

Tues., April 23 @ NYA

Wed., April 24 @ Waynflete

Fri., April 26 @ Greely

Mon., April 29 H YORK

Wed., May 1 H FREEPORT

Fri., May 3 @ Fryeburg

Wed., May 8 H NYA

Mon., May 13 @ Falmouth

Wed., May 15 H LAKE REGION

Fri., May 17 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Mon., May 20 @ OOB