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Cape Elizabeth Capers Spring Sports Previews

Sports

Cape Elizabeth Capers Spring Sports Previews

After falling just short in several sports a year ago, Cape Elizabeth is looking to go all the way this spring. Baseball just missed a trip to the state game in 2012 and while it enters the new year surrounded by uncertainty, will remain competitive. Softball could be one of the last teams standing in Western B. Boys' lacrosse appears poised to reclaim what it feels is its rightful place, the Class B throne. Girls' lacrosse seeks to atone for last year's gutwrenching ouster and win its final game. Both track teams boast talented athletes. Boys' tennis projects to be defending champion Falmouth's top threat. The girls' squad should go deep in the playoffs as well.

BASEBALL

Coach: Vacant

2012 Record: 11-9 (Lost, 1-0, in eight innings to Falmouth in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Zach Culver (Senior), Seth Dobieski (Senior), Sam Kozlowski (Senior), Chad Peterson (Senior), Chris Robicheaw (Senior)

Pivotal games: April 22 @ Freeport, April 24 (H) FALMOUTH, May 1 @ York, May 8 @ Yarmouth, May 13 (H) FREEPORT, May 20 (H) YARMOUTH, May 22 @ Falmouth, May 24 (H) GREELY

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth was the feel-good story of Western B last spring as it won playoff games at Freeport, top-ranked Greely and Yarmouth (in a marathon) to reach the regional final, where, despite a no-hitter from Kozlowski, the dream ended on a passed ball. The program hasn't been as fortunate since, as five seniors graduated (including league all-star Max Gore and reigning Spring Male Athlete of the Year Will LeBlond), others decided not to play (Charlie Laprade left for lacrosse and Connor Maguire for track) and at the dawn of the new season, Chris Hayward, our Coach of the Year last spring, resigned, leaving the team in limbo. At press time, a replacement coach hadn't been named. Life goes on and the Capers hinted at their resiliency when they edged Old Orchard Beach, 4-3, in 12 innings in the season opener last week. Not surprisingly, Kozlowski played a big part in the victory, throwing eight strong innings, then driving home Robicheaw with the winning run. Kozlowski will anchor the staff again, while Robicheaw (who hit. 310 last year) is a top bat (he'll also serve as a closer). Other key returners are senior veterans Culver, Dobieski and Peterson. Cape Elizabeth is behind the eight ball to start the season and its schedule is quite daunting, but you can't write this group of kids off. They've already proved much with their on-the-field tenacity. Now, when most will count them out, don't be surprised if the seniors (and some newer players) come through again. A 13th straight playoff berth for the program might be a stretch, but it certainly isn't out of reach. Whatever this group does accomplish merits plenty of praise.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Joe Henrikson (16th year, 191-78 overall record, one state championship)

2012 Record: 14-4 (Lost, 6-0, to Greely in Western Class B quarterfinals)

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

Pivotal games: April 26 @ Gray-NG, May 6 (H) WELLS, May 10 @ Fryeburg, May 17 @ Wells, May 24 (H) GREELY, May 28 (H) POLAND

Coach's comment: “I really like what I'm seeing so far. I think we're going to be tough. The kids have matured a lot. We have decent hitting and defense and slightly above average pitching.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Henrikson is usually cautious in his preseason remarks, so his optimism suggests it's likely this squad could be very good in 2013. The Capers will feature a two-headed pitching monster in Goldstein and Rabasca. Both saw time in 2012. In the opener, a 14-0, five inning win over Old Orchard Beach, the two combined for a one hitter with 11 strikeouts. Offensively, Cape Elizabeth projects to have a very strong lineup. Leading the way will be Tinsman, a first-team all-star last year, who had two doubles and a triple in the opener. The catcher/shortstop could wind up being one of the elite players in the league, if not the state. Other dangerous bats include first baseman Nicholson (a captain, who had three hits against OOB), catcher/first baseman Flathers (two hits in the first game), third baseman O'Rourke (two RBI in the opener) and centerfielder Perkins. Best, the other captain, also returns on the infield (at third base). Four newcomers bolster the roster. Junior rightfielder Mollie Thibodeau comes back to Cape Elizabeth from Cheverus. Sophomore Hannah Satherly will play outfield and will also be the designated hitter. Freshman middle infielder Tess Haller could be a hitter to watch. She doubled and had two RBI against OOB. Classmate Meg Nicholson (second base/outfield) will also make an impact. Fryeburg remains the league favorite and there are several other tough teams standing in the way, but the Capers have the ingredients to play everyone tough. This is a team that started strong and will only get better. Expect a lot of triumph and perhaps even a deep playoff run before all is said and done.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Ben Raymond (16th year, 191-37 overall record, seven state championships)

2012 Record: 12-2 (Lost, 10-9, to Falmouth in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Max Barber (Senior), Alex Bornick (Senior), Justin Cary (Senior), Adam Haversat (Senior), Brandon Negele (Senior), Cam Wilson (Senior), Danny Brett (Junior), Curtis Alexander (Sophomore), Griffin Thoreck (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 @ NYA, April 29 @ Falmouth, May 4 (H) YARMOUTH, May 7 @ Greely, May 10 @ Cheverus, May 15 (H) FALMOUTH, May 17 (H) KENNEBUNK, May 24 (H) NYA, May 30 @ Yarmouth

Coach's comment: “We've got a lot of kids back. We have young guys who are playing really well. We should be very good. We're moving the ball better this year. More team offense. Defensively, I think we're better. We're probably about the same at midfield. We're asking them to do a lot. The guys are aiming for the big prize. They're still upset about last year. They're very motivated.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth has that championship look again. After gutwrenching losses to eventual champion Falmouth in the past two regional finals, the 2013 Capers come into the year as the favorite. They're talented and hungry and will be very tough to beat. Even after graduating four league all-stars, including All-American Tim Lavallee, Cape Elizabeth's roster is loaded. This year's offense will be sparked by Bornick, a second-team all-star last year, who could be in for a prolific season, Cary (six goals in a season-opening 19-0 romp over Lake Region), Thoreck and Wilson (who will see some time in the faceoff circle). Sophomore Ben Shea (three goals in the opener) is a player on the rise. Other midfielders to watch include Barber, Brett and a trio of newcomers, seniors Charlie Laprade (the erstwhile baseball ace) and James Yokabaskas (who played as a freshman) and sophomore Jack Drinan. The defense features a couple of reigning second-team all-stars, Haversat (who will also handle faceoffs) and Negele. Alexander also returns in that position. The Capers welcome junior Gabe McGinn as goalie. He was a backup to Will Goduti a year ago. It's hard to find much in the way of weaknesses with this group. For the first time in a long time (maybe a decade), Cape Elizabeth enters as the prohibitive favorite. Now, the Capers just have to go out and take care of business. While they'll be tested on multiple occasions, including twice by Falmouth in the regular season, all the pieces are in place for a return to greatness and if all goes well, a championship coronation.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Jeff Perkins (second year, 13-1 overall record)

2012 Record: 13-1 (Lost, 11-10, in triple OT, to Waynflete in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Jane Coffrin (Senior), Talley Perkins (Senior), Lauren Steidl (Senior), Jenna Wallace (Senior), Abby McInerney (Junior), Hannah Newhall (Junior), Liz Robinson (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ Falmouth, May 9 (H) YARMOUTH, May 10 (H) SCARBOROUGH, May 13 @ Waynflete, May 17 (H) GREELY, May 28 (H) FALMOUTH, May 30 @ Yarmouth

Coach's comment: “It's a great atmosphere. Loose and fun, but hardworking. We're excited to be the kind of program where teams circle our name on the schedule. I'm pleased with where we are right now. We have to get the new varsity players up to speed. The core group is chomping at the bit to get going. The seniors want to take that next step. That's what's driving them. They're very focused. We have a very hard schedule, which is great. It's not about going undefeated. It's about winning the last game.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Going undefeated last regular season was something the Capers could be proud of, but ultimately, they were left with a sour taste when they couldn't hold a late lead and suffered an agonizing loss to eventual champion Waynflete in an epic regional final. A year older and wiser, Cape Elizabeth faces a tougher schedule this spring with the knowledge that it needs to be at its best in June. There's every reason to believe that will be the case. For starters, the Capers are the only program around who can boast two players who have committed to playing at the Division I college level. Perkins, a midfielder, first-team all-conference selection and scoring machine, will attend Boston University. Steidl, who plays attack, was a first-teamer, an All-American and Cape Elizabeth's Spring Female Athlete of the Year in 2012. Her next stop is Princeton University. The two standouts, who are both captains, project to score a lot of goals and will help control the ball as Steidl handles draws. Newhall, one of the fastest players around, will also take some draws and will figure into the scoring column, as should McInerney and Robinson. Defensively, another captain, Coffrin, a second-team all-star last spring, leads the way. She's joined by Wallace, who also has experience. The big question mark for the Capers comes in goal after all-star Elin Sonesson graduated. Sophomore Kate Bosworth will step in between the pipes. She played on the junior varsity team a year ago. Cape Elizabeth won't be able to sneak up on anyone this spring, but it doesn't need to. After last year's success, there is plenty of confidence mixed with hunger, as the seniors know it's now or never. Waynflete and Falmouth are still serious obstacles and if anything, the Flyers have gotten better. The Capers haven't beaten them in 11 years and 19 tries and after the teams' mutual opener last week was postponed, they'll have to wait a little longer. Cape Elizabeth will probably stumble a time or two in the regular season, but by year's end, the squad will likely be better prepared for the crucible of the postseason. This senior core isn't going to be content with anything shy of winning the school's first championship in the Maine Principals' Association-sanctioned era. There's a good chance their last game will end with smiles instead of tears this time around.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Doug Worthley (17th year, two state championships)

2012 Results:
(Boys) 23rd @ Class B state meet
(Girls) No score @ Class B state meet (8th @ WMC meet)

Top returning athletes:
(Boys) Trevor Ewald (Senior), Will Britton (Junior), Deven Roberts (Junior), Liam Simpson (Junior), Robert MacKay (Sophomore)
(Girls) Emma Inhorn (Senior), Christina Kouros (Senior), Alissa Mitchell (Senior), Maria Tremblay (Senior), Hayley Doss (Sophomore)

Top foes: Falmouth, Greely, York

Coach's comment: “The boys have a lot of incoming freshmen and rookies who should add a lot of depth. We hope to be competitive throughout the season. We're hoping to have some rookies and freshmen fill in some gaps and to round out the girls' team. We have some great performers and are looking for depth. The team should be competitive.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Both Cape Elizabeth outdoor teams are excited about their prospects in 2013.

The boys graduated last year's top scorers, but have a lot of athletes and some new additions who will help the cause. Ewald, MacKay and Roberts are top sprinters. Britton and Simpson lead the distance brigade. Senior Connor Maguire comes over from baseball and could be a top jumper and sprinter. Roberts will score points in the jumps. The Capers will be competitive with most teams in a very deep league and hope to match or better last year's postseason showing.

On the girls' side, middle-distance and distance appears to be the team's strengths as Doss, Inhorn and Tremblay will all be heard from. Lilly Norris is the lead sprinter. Kouros, a league all-star last year, caps her high school career and should add another inspirational chapter in the wheelchair mile. Mitchell is the top field athlete, as she competes in the throws. After failing to score at states a year ago for the first time, Cape Elizabeth is primed to return to prominence. Look for steady improvement from this group.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Andy Strout (35th year, 331-61 overall record since 1987, 13 state championships)

2012 Results: 12-3 (Lost, 4-1, to Falmouth in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Harper Chalet (Senior), Matt Gilman (Senior), Satchel McCarthy (Senior), Sam Sherman (Senior), Rohit Srungaravapu (Senior), Eli Breed (Junior), Gavin Cottrell (Junior), Jack Hall (Junior), Luke Gilman (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 26 @ Falmouth, May 1 @ Waynflete

Coach's comment: “Everyone is returning. On paper, we should compete with the best of them. With senior leadership and experience, we hope to be there at the end.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth is always there at the end and this year, the Capers are the team once again best equipped to deny Falmouth a title. The Capers return three singles all-stars from a year ago, Matt Gilman and McCarthy from the first-team and Sherman from the second, so they'll be as strong as anyone there. Several other players are in the mix for doubles, including returners Breed (a doubles all-star in 2012), Chalet, Cottrell, Luke Gilman (a doubles all-star last spring), Hall and Srungaravapu, new junior Peter Higgins and freshman Michael Mills. Cape Elizabeth only sees Falmouth once in the regular season and also can measure itself against five-time defending Class C champion Waynlfete, but for the most part, much of the regular season will be tuning up for the playoffs. Ultimately, the Capers will have to solve the Yachtsmen. If they can, a state title likely awaits.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Sarah Sullivan (fourth year, 22-18 overall record)

2012 Results: 7-6 (Lost, 3-2, to Greely in Western Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Sarah Bosworth (Senior), Allie Briggs (Senior), Madeline Ciraldo (Senior), Catie MacDonald (Senior), Kisa Tabery (Senior), Emily Tall (Senior)

Pivotal matches:April 24 (H) GREELY, April 26 (H) FALMOUTH, May 1 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 3 @ NYA, May 15 @ Greely, May 17 @ Yarmouth

Coach's comment: “I have a great group of young players who are doing a great job and will make a big impact next year. I'm really looking forward to this season, I have a few players that have been working hard in the offseason, which helps push everyone else. I hope to win the tight matches that we lost last year and I think we can do that with the talent and experience we have.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Cape Elizabeth could be the team most likely to make a run at the Falmouth juggernaut this spring. The Capers have a lot of returning talent, including reigning all-stars Briggs and MacDonald, as well as Ciraldo, at singles. Bosworth, Tabery (coming off a terrific basketball season) and Tall all return for doubles play. Cape Elizabeth has been competitive the past few seasons, but hasn't been able to embark on a deep playoff run. This could be the year that changes. A trip to a first regional final since 2008 is certainly possible. Even likely.

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

Photo: File photo

Senior ace Sam Kozlowski is in line for another strong season.

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Senior Seth Dobieski is back behind the plate for the Capers this spring.

Photo: File photo

Senior Zach Culver is another top returner on the diamond.

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Junior Anna Goldstein is back for another season on the hill. She'll be joined by classmate Katie Rabasca.

Photo: File photo

Junior Mary Perkins is a standout in the field and at the plate.

Photo: File photo

Sophomore Ashley Tinsman is on the verge of being recognized as one of the area's best players.

Photo: File photo

Senior Alex Bornick could be one of the state's top scorers this spring.

Photo: File photo

Senior Adam Haversat returns to anchor the Cape Elizabeth defense.

Photo: File photo

Senior Cam Wilson is another member of Cape Elizabeth's potent offense.

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Senior Talley Perkins will pace the Capers offense this season before taking her game to Boston University next year.

Photo: File photo

Speedy junior Hannah Newhall will be a force all over the field for the Capers.

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Junior Abby McInerney is another key returner for the Capers.

Photo: File photo

Senior Jenna Wallace will be a top defender this spring.

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Junior Deven Roberts is a top jumping threat for Cape Elizabeth this year.

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Senior Christina Kouros caps her inspirational high school track career this spring.

Photo: contributed photo

Senior Emma Inhorn helps pace the Cape Elizabeth distance team this spring.

Photo: File photo

Senior Alissa Mitchell will be a top thrower for the Capers.

Cape Elizabeth Spring Schedules

BASEBALL

Mon., April 22 @ Freeport

Wed., April 24 H FALMOUTH

Fri., April 26 @ Gray-NG

Wed., May 1 @ York

Fri., May 3 @ Traip

Mon., May 6 H WELLS

Wed., May 8 @ Yarmouth

Fri., May 10 @ Fryeburg

Mon., May 13 H FREEPORT

Wed., May 15 H LAKE REGION

Fri., May 17 @ Wells

Mon., May 20 H YARMOUTH

Wed., May 22 @ Falmouth

Fri., May 24 H GREELY

Tues., May 28 H POLAND

SOFTBALL

Mon., April 22 @ Freeport

Wed., April 24 H FALMOUTH

Fri., April 26 @ Gray-NG

Wed., May 1 @ York

Fri., May 3 @ Traip

Mon., May 6 H WELLS

Wed., May 8 @ Yarmouth

Fri., May 10 @ Fryeburg

Mon., May 13 H FREEPORT

Wed., May 15 H LAKE REGION

Fri., May 17 @ Wells

Mon., May 20 H YARMOUTH

Wed., May 22 @ Falmouth

Fri., May 24 H GREELY

Tues., May 28 H POLAND

BOYS' LACROSSE

Wed., April 24 @ NYA

Mon., April 29 @ Falmouth

Wed., May 1 H WAYNFLETE

Sat., May 4 H YARMOUTH

Tues., May 7 @ Greely

Fri., May 10 @ Cheverus

Wed., May 15 H FALMOUTH

Fri., May 17 H KENNEBUNK

Tues., May 21 @ Fryeburg

Fri., May 24 H NYA

Thurs., May 30 @ Yarmouth

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Tues., April 23 @ Falmouth

Thurs., April 25 H FREEPORT

Sat., April 27 @ Gorham

Fri., May 3 @ Wells

Thurs., May 9 H YARMOUTH

Fri., May 10 H SCARBOROUGH

Mon., May 13 @ Waynflete

Fri., May 17 H GREELY

Tues. May 21 @ Fryeburg

Tues., May 28 H FALMOUTH

Thurs., May 30 @ Yarmouth

BOYS' TENNIS

Wed., April 24 @ Greely

Fri., April 26 @ Falmouth

Mon., April 29 H FREEPORT

Wed., May 1 @ Waynflete

Fri., May 3 H NYA

Mon., May 6 @ York

Tues., May 7 @ Yarmouth

Wed., May 8 H LAKE REGION

Fri., May 10 H FRYEBURG

Wed., May 15 H GREELY

Fri., May 17 H YARMOUTH

Mon., May 20 @ Fryeburg

GIRLS' TENNIS

Tues., April 23 H OOB

Wed., April 24 H GREELY

Fri., April 26 H FALMOUTH

Mon., April 29 @ Freeport

Wed., May 1 H WAYNFLETE

Fri., May 3 @ NYA

Mon., May 6 H YORK

Wed., May 8 @ Lake Region

Fri., May 10 @ Fryeburg

Wed., May 15 @ Greely

Fri., May 17 @ Yarmouth

Mon., May 20 H FRYEBURG