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Scarborough Red Storm Spring Sports Preview

Sports

Scarborough Red Storm Spring Sports Preview

Scarborough has multiple championships to defend this spring and should be in line for even more hardware. Softball has long been the state's flagship program and this year has to be viewed as the favorite again. Boys' lacrosse has won four successive championships and while it could be pushed, a fifth could certainly be in the cards. Boys' track is coming off its first championship season and has no shortage of stars who will push for a repeat. Baseball stumbled in the playoffs a year ago, but still had a strong season. Behind arguably the best pitcher in the state, the Red Storm will be in the mix all season. Last spring, girls' lacrosse fell short of a title for the first time in four years, but this season, Scarborough is looking to get back to the top. Girls' track should be one of the best teams in the conference. Both tennis teams figure to be among the top contenders as well.

BASEBALL

Coach: Ryan Jones (second year, 14-3 overall record)

2013 record: 14-3 (Lost 5-4, to Portland in Western A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Ben Greenberg (Senior), Matt Hartl (Senior), Zach Carreiro (Junior), Nate Wessel (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 29 MARSHWOOD, May 6 @ Cheverus, May 10 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 17 PORTLAND, May 24 @ Westbrook, May 27 @ TA, June 2 @ Marshwood

Coach's comment: “We will be a relatively inexperienced team coming in, but look to compete. We look to improve daily, individually and collectively. We strive to make every rep count and put all the pieces of the puzzle together as we approach playoffs.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough appeared to be the favorite to win the regional title a year ago, but was stunned by Portland in the quarterfinals. Then, graduation took its toll, leaving only Greenberg as a returner with ample playing time. Luckily for the Red Storm, he's a pretty amazing building block. Greenberg, Maine's reigning Gatorade Player of the Year, SMAA Player and Pitcher of the Year and league all-star, who will play at Fordham University in New York next year, was a dazzling 6-0 with an 0.54 earned run average in 2013, striking out 46 batters while walking only five. He'll have a hard time producing an encore. Hartl made five appearances last season and went 1-0 with a 3.94 ERA. Carreiro went 2-0 in two appearances with a 3.50 ERA and Wessel was 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA. Those three will all be relied upon to play much bigger roles this season. All are multiple sport athletes who should be up for the challenge. Junior Ben Irish and sophomore Bayley Walsh will see time behind the plate. Greenberg and Hartl both play the infield when they don't pitch and they'll be joined by new sophomore shortstop Nick Lorello and senior Nick Suchecki, who can play a bevy of positions. The offense will be paced by Greenberg (last year's leading hitter at .415 with 15 runs scored, three doubles, five triples, two home runs a team-high 17 RBI). Hartl should do some damage with the bat as well. Luckily for the Red Storm, it can come of age against a league that doesn't have a super team. Parity will reign supreme this season. While Scarborough will struggle at times, it should improve steadily. Greenberg's starts will be events and he will put on a show with his arm and his bat. By playoff time, the Red Storm will be ready to make some noise. After being upset a year ago, Scarborough could make a run as more of a dark-horse this time around. As strange as it sounds, when the dust settles, this unheralded squad is likely to have a longer postseason stay than last year's juggernaut.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Tom Griffin (25h year, 356-85 overall record, five state championships)

2013 record: 19-1 (Beat Skowhegan, 9-3, to win Class A state championship)

Top returning players: Brenna Kent (Senior), Megan Murrell (Senior), Alyssa Williamson (Senior), Sophia Burnham (Junior), Ashley Gleason (Junior), Chloe Gorey (Sophomore), Maggie Murphy (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 23 BONNY EAGLE, April 25 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 5 @ TA, May 7 NOBLE, May 9 @ Sanford, May 30 BIDDEFORD, June 4 @ South Portland

Coach's comment: “The kids are working hard and we're off to a good start. We lost six from last year, but we return a lot and have some good young kids too. We've revamped our infield. We have a lot of speed and athleticism. We have a nice balance of grades. Experience and young talent. Four quality pitchers. Excellent team chemistry. My biggest challenge might be who plays and when. We have to have to have a little luck along the way, but I really like my team.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Griffin has a lot to like as one again, he's absolutely loaded to the gills with talent. Since joining Class A full-time for the 2004 season, the Red Storm has averaged almost 18 victories per season, four times won state titles and on five other occasions, lost in the regional final. This is just an absolute juggernaut. This edition is primed to add to the legacy and do the one thing the program has failed to do, win a repeat championship. Scarborough features an ace in Williamson, who went 14-0 with a 0.70 earned run average a year ago. Williamson, a first-team all-star in 2013 who is bound to play at Drexel University in Philadelphia, also wields a fearsome bat. She hit .422 last season and homered six times. Even more impressive, Williamson hasn't struck out since her freshman year. Burnham and freshmen Abbie Murrell and Lily Volk will also see time on the mound. Megan Murrell, an honorable mention all-star last season, returns behind the plate. She hit .350 last year and plans to play at Saint Anselm (N.H.) next season. The infield features Kent at first base, Gleason at second, Gorey at shortstop and Murphy at third base. Gorey and Murphy both move to the infield after playing in the outfield last season. Burnham will be joined in the outfield by junior Dani Plummer and sophomores Tori Hale and Kaleigh Scoville. Junior Brittany Plowman can play anywhere and will fill different roles. While Western A does contain several competitive teams, Scarborough will wear the bulls-eye for good reason. This team can do it all. By June, the Red Storm will probably be the top seed again. While one bad game can spell doom, it's hard to see this group falling short. A first-ever back-to-back crown appears likely.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Joe Hezlep (seventh year, 78-14 overall record, five state championships)

2013 record: 14-1 (Beat Cheverus, 15-4, to win fourth straight Class A state championship)

Top returning players: Luke Bernard (Senior), Chris Cyr (Senior), Austin Doody (Senior), Andrew Farrington (Senior), Cam Loiselle (Senior), Matt Murphy (Senior), Christian Neelon (Senior), Brendon Smith (Senior), Nate Howard (Junior), Anthony Quintiliani (Junior), Sam Ware (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 28 TA, May 10 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 14 @ Cheverus, May 17 @ Falmouth, June 5 SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach's comment: “We'll be more balanced on offense this year. We can't just throw it to John Wheeler anymore and get out of the way. Other guys are stepping up. We have eight or nine who can put the ball in the net. I feel good. I look at our depth chart and it has 25 kids, including almost 20 seniors. A lot of them were held back from playing time the past couple years and are really looking forward to it.”

The Forecaster's forecast: This is the season that many will be tempted to look at the Red Storm and proclaim the four-time champions vulnerable. Don't. While some big names, including All-American and reigning Spring Male Athlete of the Year John Wheeler, and clutch goalie extraordinaire David Pearson, have departed, this program, like all the great ones, simply reloads. Replacing Wheeler's production will not come easily, but Doody has scored with abandon in the early going, while Farrington, Loiselle, Murphy, Neelon and Ware all figure to tickle the twine on multiple occasions in the weeks to come. A freshman with a familiar last name, Sam Neugebauer, will also be heard from. Howard will make the offense go as the lead faceoff man. He'll be joined in the midfield by Cyr (an SMAA second-team all-star in 2013). On defense, Smith, a first-team all-star last season, returns and will get plenty of help from Bernard and Quintiliani. Pearson will be replaced by senior Jordan Flannery, who has seen limited time in the cage in the past and gives his teammates confidence. Many of these names aren't of the household variety, but they're the blue collar workers who have helped the Red Storm have no peer in Class A. Additional playing time will spell an opportunity for more notoriety and several of these kids will step up and become the latest in the long line of program stars. Scarborough does have a foil this spring in rival South Portland, which could be just as good as the Red Storm, if not even better, but Scarborough holds the upper hand due to its pedigree. Until the Red Riots knock the champs off the mountaintop, everything else is talk. The Red Storm will benefit from playing two excellent Class B programs, defending champion Cape Elizabeth and 2011 and 2012 champion Falmouth, in crossovers. It won't always be pretty or easy, but by season's end, Class A boys' lacrosse figures to boast a familiar red hue as its champion. Scarborough has the ability to become the first program in the Maine Principals Association-sanctioned era ever to win five titles in succession. The Red Storm, which doesn't defend its trophies since no one is taking them away, is itching to add another. The rest of the state has been warned. Overlook Scarborough at your peril.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Marcia Wood (10th year, 103-28 overall record, four state championships)

2013 record: 9-5 (Lost, 9-7, to Kennebunk in Western A semifinals)

Top returning players: Ainsley Jamieson (Senior), Rachael Wallace (Senior), Hadlee Yescott (Senior), Kaitlin Prince (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 26 YARMOUTH, May 10 @ Waynflete, May 15 @ TA, May 20 @ Marshwood, May 22 MASSABESIC, May 27 @ Cheverus

Coach's comment: “We graduated a lot. We're working on depth. Training a new goalie is our focus. We've been getting scoring from all over in scrimmages. The girls were left with the understanding last year that they can lose. It's not always going to be handed to us. Several girls worked hard all winter to perfect their games. They want to prove themselves.”

The Forecaster's forecast: After three seasons of dominating Class A, Scarborough finally proved mortal a year ago. This year's team is starting from scratch in several positions, including goalie, where sophomores Jenna Block and Reegan Mars will replace departed league all-star Meg Kirsch. The offense will feature Jamieson, a second-team all-star last season, and Prince, who will also take draws. She could be in for a breakout season. Sophomores Abby Corbin and Emma Smith will also be involved. On defense, Wallace and Yescott, accomplished multiple sport athletes, will protect the new goalies. The Red Storm will be tested by a very difficult schedule, which begins with a visit from Class B favorite Yarmouth. Wood is an old hand at getting her team to reach its potential by June, so in the playoffs, Scarborough will likely be a favorite once more. Whether or not this team has the firepower to go all the way will be determined, but any discussion of title hopefuls has to include the Red Storm. Again.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach:

(Boys) Derek Veilleux (13th year, one state championship)

(Girls) Ron Kelly (42nd year, 10 state championships)

2013 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions

(Girls) 23rd @ Class A state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Alex Karam (Senior), Cam Langlois (Senior), Mike Pino (Senior), Maxim Doiron (Junior), Edward James (Junior), Colin Jones (Junior), Jerry Kenney (Junior), Hugh McSorley (Junior), Jacob Terry (Junior)

(Girls) Natalie Foster (Senior), Cailley Ledue (Senior), Jenna Douglas (Junior), Sarah Rinaldi (Junior), Grace Bailer (Sophomore), Elizabeth Gentile (Sophomore), Emma Koukos (Sophomore), Laura Volan (Sophomore)

Top foes: Cheverus, Deering, South Portland, TA boys; Bonny Eagle, South Portland, TA girls

Coach Veilleux's comment: “We have several athletes back who scored or competed at states a year ago, so we have the experience. We're not as deep this season, so staying healthy will be very important, as it is for any team. We have the talent and ability to run with the best in the state. Our goal is to progress throughout the season and compete a high level during the championship season.”

Coach Kelly's comment: “It's a young team. Our strengths will be the mile, high jump, relays, pole vault and discus. We're looking to improve throughout the season as the younger athletes gain experience.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough will once again be among the top teams in the SMAA and in Class A.

The boys won their first Class A crown last season, but lost several state meet scorers to graduation. Regardless, this program is at the point where it can compete every year. Top returners include McSorley, who was fourth in the shot put and seventh in the discus last spring, Pino, seventh in last year's shot put, Karam, fourth in the 800 last June, Kenney, fifth in last year's 400, and Langlois, who was sixth in both the 110 and 300 hurdles a season ago. McSorley and Pino will again be the top throwers. Freshman Sam Rusak is a threat to the high jump and the pole vault. Edward James is another vaulter to watch. On the track side, look for Langlois and Doiron to do very well in the hurdles. The middle distance races feature Jones, Karam and Kenney. Terry is a top distance contender. Scarborough might not have enough front-end firepower to win another title, but it will be very strong in the league and another top five finish at states is likely.

On the girls' side, Foster is the top individual returner. She scored in the high jump last year and should do so again. Rinaldi is another top jumper. Freshman Ellen Shaw will look to score as well. Ledue could contend in the pole vault. Gentile is the lead thrower. On the track side, Douglas and Koukos both scored as part of a 3,200 relay team last season and hope to do well in the 800. Bailer, Volan and freshman Marisa Carbone are the top distance threats. Freshman Edie Christian will test her luck in the middle distance. Shaw competes in the hurdles. Kacey Forester hopes to become a force in the sprints. The Red Storm should have no trouble moving up big time this June.

BOYS'TENNIS

Coach: Craig McDonald (14th year, 105-73 overall record)

2013 record: 8-6 (Lost, 5-0, to Gorham in Western A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Kane Corbeau (Senior), Max Ornstein (Senior), Colby Whitaker (Senior), Roy Garland (Junior), Andrew Talbot (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: May 5 DEERING, May 16 CHEVERUS

Coach'scomment: “We return six starters from a year ago and a freshman will take over as our number one singles player. We have a good mixture of youth and experience and that should lend itself to a successful season.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough has been in the middle of the Western A title hunt since 2007 and will once again be in the mix in a league that doesn't have a favorite. This year's team will feature freshman Ogden Timpson at number one singles. He'll be joined at singles by Garland and Corbeau. The doubles contingent includes Ornstein, Talbot and Whitaker. This group knows what it takes to compete. By the postseason, the Red Storm will likely have one of the top seeds and should be in line to do a lot of damage.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Steve Eddy (third year, 23-6 overall record)

2013 record: 13-2 (Lost, 4-1, to Portland in Western A Final)

Top returning players: Laura Henny (Junior), Megan Nathanson (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: May 5 @ Deering, May 7 @ Portland, May 16 @ Cheverus, May 21 @ McAuley

Coach's comment: “We graduated seven seniors and six starters from last year's Western Maine finalist, but I think we'll surprise some people. We have no seniors and some very talented juniors, sophomores and freshmen, so we'll be competitive for the next several years. I'm hoping we can make a run in the playoffs and show improvement from practice to practice and match to match. We're off to a good start. I'm encouraged by the effort and possibilities.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Scarborough had just one team it couldn't solve a year ago, Portland. This year's team probably won't win with as much regularity, but like the 2013 edition, this group could enjoy a deep playoff run when all is said and done. Henny and Nathanson stand to play the top two singles positions. Juniors Jenny Herrman, Alyssa Hulst and Hayley Lawsure and sophomores Bryce Nitchman and Sophia Zidow are in line for the other positions. This group will come along nicely in the weeks to come. While six-time Class B champion Falmouth is going to crash the Class A party this season (due to increased enrollment figures) and is viewed as the heavy favorite to win the title, there's no reason why Scarborough can't be one of the better squads from the region. Look for the Red Storm to make it eight straight trips to the playoffs and post a winning record for the seventh year in a row. If all goes well, Scarborough might find itself on the big stage once more.

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

Photo: Michael Strout

Fordham University-bound ace Ben Greenberg is set to dominate the opposition this spring.

Photo: Michael Strout

Before going to play at Division I Drexel University in Philadelphia, senior Alyssa Williamson looks to pitch and hit Scarborough to another state title.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Brenna Kent returns as a valuable infielder, outfielder and hitter for the Red Storm.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Maggie Murphy moves from centerfield to third base this season.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Austin Doody has been lighting it up in the preseason and will likely pace Scarborough's offense this spring.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Andrew Farrington is another player who projects to score a lot of goals this season.

Photo: Jason Veilleux

Senior Brendan Smith will anchor the Scarborough defense this season.

Photo: Michael Strout

After serving as a backup to standout David Pearson, senior Jordan Flannery gets his chance to shine in goal.

Photo: Michael Strout

Junior Anthony Quintiliani will be one of the Red Storm's key defenders this season.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Ainsley Jamieson is a returning league all-star for a Scarborough girls' lacrosse team eager to bounce back after last year's playoff ouster.

Photo:

Senior Rachael Wallace, fresh off a championship in girls' hockey, will be a key defender for the Red Storm girls' lacrosse team.

Photo: Michael Strout

Junior Kaitlin Prince is primed for a breakout season this spring.

Photo: Michael Strout

After a strong freshman season, sophomore Abby Corbin hopes to play an even bigger role this spring.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Cam Langlois is a top returning hurdler for Scarborough's defending Class A champion boys' outdoor track team.