Falmouth Yachtsmen Spring Sports Preview
Falmouth's spring sports teams look to cap what has been an amazing school year. Baseball welcomes a new coach and could be a sleeper capable of making a playoff run. Softball looks to post a winning mark and make noise in the postseason. Boys' lacrosse is coming off a breakthrough season and hopes to finish the job. The girls' squad has consistently contended in recent years and should be solid once again. The boys' track team is coming off a state title and returns an abundance of top athletes. The girls' squad will be formidable as well. Boys' tennis looks to return to the top of Class B and has to like its chances. The girls' team has had no peer in recent years and should once again be dominant.
Coach: Kevin Winship (first year)
2009 Record: 7-9 (no postseason)
Top returning players: Mitch Beaulieu (Senior), Sam Bonsey (Senior), Ben Burnes (Senior), E.J. Rogers (Senior), Nolan Tapley (Senior), Joe Barns (Junior), Dillon Dresser (Junior), Ben Goffin (Junior), Brett Emmertz (Junior), Matt MacDowell (Junior)
Pivotal games: May 5 (H) GREELY, May 12 (H) YORK, May 14 @ Yarmouth, May 21 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 24 @ Greely, May 26 (H) YARMOUTH
Coach's comment: “I expect us to be very competitive this year. We are working hard on being a fundamentally sound baseball team. We have a very balanced group with great senior leadership. They're working hard and getting better everyday. Our strength will be our pitching and defense. Offensively, we will look to play aggressive baseball and put pressure on opposing teams.”
The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth's five year streak of making the postseason came to an end last spring in what proved to be a tumultuous campaign. The Yachtsmen have a fresh look in 2010 with a new coach in Winship, who served for several years as an assistant with the Portland and South Portland high school programs, as well in American Legion ball. He takes over a team loaded with seniors, many of whom have enjoyed glory in other sports this school year. On the hill, Beaulieu, a reigning Western Maine Conference all-star, hopes to lead the way. He was 2-1 with four saves, 15 strikeouts and a 2.34 earned run average in 2009. Bonsey, Dresser (2-2, 29 strikeouts, 1.44 ERA last year), Goffin, Rogers and new sophomore Nick Spencer will also get an opportunity to pitch. The offense is paced by Beaulieu (.375, two home runs, 21 RBI last spring), Dresser (.350 with 14 hits last season) and MacDowell, another all-star from last year, who smacked 24 hits, while batting .470 with 12 RBI in 2009. Other players to watch include Barns (shortstop), Burnes (catcher/outfield), Tapley (outfield) and a pair of new sophomores (outfielder Jeremy Lydick and infielder Ryan MacDonald), along with freshmen Andrew Emple (first base) and Drew Proctor (middle infield). A year ago, seven of the Yachtsmen's nine losses were by one or two runs, suggesting they were very close to getting over the hump. Last week, Falmouth opened the new season with a hard-fought 4-2 loss at top contender Cape Elizabeth, but the result was encouraging as Beaulieu threw well. If the Yachtsmen can get consistent offensive production, they'll have an opportunity to be among the best teams in Western Class B. Look for last year to be an aberration as Falmouth figures to play some very good baseball in the weeks to come.
Coach: John Keyes (sixth year)
2009 Record: 8-9 (Lost 2-1 to Oak Hill in Western B preliminary round)
Top returning players: Lauren Boucher (Senior), Nicole Foley (Senior) Katie McCarthy (Senior), Emily Whitmore (Senior), Sarah Collmus (Junior), Kelsey Freedman (Junior), Jessie L'Heureux (Junior), Lauren O'Donnell (Junior), Allison Carver (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: May 3 (H) GRAY-NG, May 5 (H) GREELY, May 12 (H) YORK, May 14 @ Yarmouth, May 17 @ Fryeburg, May 21 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 24 @ Greely, May 26 (H) YARMOUTH
Coach's comment: “The kids are really excited about the season. Both Sarah and Kelsey begin their third year of pitching and both have developed into good pitchers. We'll go to Florida and play a lot of games. When we come back, we'll be ready. Our goal this year is to continue to improve both offensively and defensively and make a deep run in the playoffs.”
The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth overcame a 2-5 start last spring to make the playoffs, continuing a recent trend that's seen the Yachtsmen qualify in odd-numbered years and fall short in even-numbered campaigns. Falmouth hopes to put an end to that in 2010 and is off to a promising start after last week's season-opening 13-8 victory over Cape Elizabeth. In that one, the Yachtsmen built a 12-1 lead and went on to the win behind a 15-hit attack. Falmouth has the luxury of going with two pitchers this spring, as both Collmus (7-4, 60 strikeouts in 2009) and Freedman (1-4, 33 strikeouts last year) have been through the battles. Both saw action against the Capers. Freshman catcher/infielder Maddie Inlow could make an immediate impact. She debuted with a flourish, rapping three hits in the opener. McCarthy is another catcher who is skilled with the bat. On the infield, Carver, L'Heureux and Whitmore all have experience. New junior Addie Weller, sophomores Ashley Collins and Michaela Franco and freshman Sarah Sparks will see time as well. In the outfield, Boucher, Foley (three hits in the opener) and O'Donnell return and are joined by new sophomore Molly Nevins. The Yachtsmen aren't getting a lot of early season buzz, but they could be a factor as the season progresses. Don't be surprised if Falmouth wins more than it loses, is competitive throughout and is a factor come playoff time as it seeks to advance past the quarterfinals for the first time since winning the (Class C) state title in 1993.
Coach: Mike LeBel (fourth year)
2009 Record: 9-5 (Lost 11-7 to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class B Final)
Top returning players: Dan Hanley (Senior), Chris Janelle (Senior), Mike Kane (Senior), Kyle Lucas (Senior), Nick Bachman (Junior), Brendan McDonnell (Junior), Jack Cooleen (Sophomore), Mike Ryan (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 30 (H) YARMOUTH, May 5 @ NYA, May 8 (H) SCARBOROUGH, May 15 @ Brunswick, May 18 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 21 @ Yarmouth, May 25 @ Greely, May 28 (H) NYA
Coach's comment: “We return every point that was registered last year. I'm not sure I've seen that before. Every point scored in 2009 was by an underclassman. We have to play our best this year. Everyone will play their best against us and that's what I want. Our preseason games have given the guys some confidence. If we can stay consistent, we can play at the highest level. Kane and Hanley could be the top two middies in the state. I'd say we have as good a shot as anyone.”
The Forecaster's forecast: If Opening Night was any indication, Falmouth not only has a good shot, but might be the favorite this spring. Friday night, at perennial power Cape Elizabeth, the Yachtsmen beat the Capers for the first time, pulling away in the second half to win with relative ease, 11-4. Hanley (a first-team all-star last spring) had five goals and Bachman added three, while new sophomore goalie Cam Bell (who was at Cheverus last year) came up with 14 clutch saves. Falmouth arrived as an elite program a year ago, earning LeBel Coach of the Year honors, then graduated exactly one senior and figures to be one of, if not the team to beat in 2010. Bell is aided by a strong defense, featuring Ryan (a groundball specialist) and seniors Sam Bennett and Tom Caswell. The midfield is what sets the Yachtsmen apart. Hanley (who is headed to Bowdoin College) stole the show against Cape Elizabeth, but on any given night, the Endicott College-bound Janelle, Kane (who is going to Salisbury), Lucas, McDonnell or even freshman Willy Sipperly could step up. Newcomer Abyn Reabe-Gerwig showed great faceoff promise in the opener. Hanley and/or Kane will also handle faceoff duties at times. The attack is highlighted by Bachman and Cooleen. That's an awful lot for any opponent to deal with, even elite rivals like Cape Elizabeth and defending Class B state champion Yarmouth. After Friday's win, LeBel's biggest challenge might be reigning in his team and keeping them from getting overconfident. Falmouth has a lot of tough teams on its schedule, including a rematch with Cape Elizabeth, contests with always tough Class A contenders Brunswick and Scarborough and two showdowns each versus NYA and Yarmouth. If the Yachtsmen stay humble and healthy, this season could end very happily. Falmouth has arrived and appears as if it will have plenty of reasons to celebrate over the next eight weeks.
Coach: Robin Haley (eighth year)
2009 Record: 5-9 (Lost 12-4 to Waynflete in Western Class B semifinals)
Top returning players: Sarah Girouard (Senior), Emma Sipperly (Senior), Jess DiFillippo (Junior), Laura Fay (Junior), Jen Greene (Junior)
Pivotal games: April 29 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 4 @ NYA, May 10 (H) GREELY, May 12 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 15 @ Brunswick, May 22 @ Yarmouth
Coach's comment: “We're pretty athletic across the board. We have five seniors, but we're still pretty young. We have more skills going in and we've been competitive in games. The girls have worked hard. It's a very good group with good chemistry. We gained confidence in the preseason. Hopefully we can pick up some more wins. We hope to do better than last year.”
The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth has made it to the playoffs four years running and last spring gave eventual champion Waynflete fits for awhile in the semifinals. The Yachtsmen appear to be getting closer to elite status and hope to make the same leap the school's boys' team made a year ago. Fay (a second-team Western Maine Conference all-star in 2009) will spark the offense, not only with her scoring ability, but also with her draw acumen. Sipperly and freshman Alex Bernier will also look to score. On defense, standout athletes DiFillippo and Girouard will protect Greene, who could be one of the better goalies in the conference. Falmouth's improved skill, speed and athleticism should serve it well in the weeks to come. The Yachtsmen face some very tough opponents, but there are also several winnable games on the slate. If Falmouth takes care of business against the teams it is supposed to beat and can compete confidently against the premier teams, it will in for a very strong season. The playoffs are once again a very realistic goal and it's possible that if all goes well, that the Yachtsmen could reach the regional final for the first time. This program is only going to get better.
Coach: Danny Paul (ninth year)
(Boys) Class B state champions
(Girls) 5th @ Class B State Meet
TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:
(Boys) Reilly Bayer (Senior), Alec Dunn (Senior), Mike Gardner (Senior), Eric Hemphill (Senior), Kellen MacDonald (Senior), Mike Serunian (Senior), Charlie Swerdlow (Senior), Andrew Kowalsky (Junior), Will Wegener (Junior), Henry Briggs (Sophomore), Tom Edmonds (Sophomore), Tim Follo (Sophomore), Conor McGrory (Sophomore), Jimmy Polewaczyk (Sophomore), Reid Pryzant (Sophomore)
(Girls) Rachel Brown (Senior), Francesca D'Alfonso (Senior), Corey Morganstern (Senior), Erin Morris (Senior), Sarah Abramson (Junior), Adrianne Michalakis (Junior), Maggie Parrish (Junior), Kate Sparks (Junior), Amy Webster (Junior), Evie Perry (Sophomore), Jenna Serunian (Sophomore)
Top foes: Cape Elizabeth, Greely, York
Coach's comment: “Overall, we have good numbers which should lead to more depth and ability to cover all the events. We have 77 boys and 52 girls, our largest team ever. The boys hope to get back to the state meet and repeat as champions. We cover all the events well and have a strong, experienced group returning. With our numbers up and some promising returnees, the girls hope to move up in the big meets.”
The Forecaster's forecast: As always, the Falmouth outdoor track program is loaded with superb talent.
The boys' team won its first Class B crown last winter and even after graduating standouts Kristopher Floridino and Tommy Winger, has a great shot to repeat if it stays healthy. Returning scorers include Dunn (second in the 110 hurdles, fourth in the 300 hurdles), MacDonald (runner-up in the 300 hurdles, fifth in the 110 hurdles), Wegener (third in the 400), Swerdlow (third in the racewalk) and Follo (seventh in the mile). Gardner and Serunian scored in the relays. This year, top sprinters include Dunn, Gardner, Polewaczyk and freshman Jaco Buhelt. In the hurdles, look for Dunn, MacDonald and Pryzant to be tough. Goldstein and Swerdlow are threats in the racewalk. The distance contingent is formidable and includes Briggs, Edmonds, Follo, Hemphill, McGrory, Serunian, new junior Johnny Lake and freshman Azad Jalali. On the field side, Pryzant is a jumper to watch. Bayer is the top pole vaulter. In the throws, Kowalsky and new juniors Andrew Edwards and Jack Horton will seek to make an impact. There are a lot of potential points here, meaning the Yachtsmen should be strong throughout. It took awhile to win a first Class B title, but don't be surprised if Falmouth turns right around and captures a second in succession.
On the girls' side, the Yachtsmen are coming off a second straight top 10 state finish. This time around, Falmouth hopes to compete for the top spot. The Yachtsmen return state meet scorers Sparks (fourth in the shot put), Serunian (fifth in the shot put) and Michalakis (seventh in the 100). Brown, D'Alfonso and Morris scored in the 3,200 relay. Brown, D'Alfonso and Webster also scored in the 1,600 relay. This year, Michalakis, Perry and Sparks, along with new sophomore Hayley Mucci, will contend in the sprints. Freshman Summer Greenwood is a top hurdler. In the distance, Brown, D'Alfonso, Morris, Parrish, new sophomores Catherine Hebson and Olivia Hoch and freshman Meg Palumbo could all be heard from. Abramson (Falmouth's Winter Female Athlete of the Year) is the team's top racewalker. Morganstern and Webster will look to score in the pole vault. Serunian and Sparks are top returning throwers. Falmouth, seeking its first state title since 1991, will be a factor in virtually every event and should be a top team in the conference and at the postseason meets.
Coach: Bob McCully (39th year)
2009 Results: 12-3 (Lost 4-1 to Yarmouth in Class B Final)
Top returning players: Nick Polko (Senior), Chad Prichard (Senior), Tommy Bazarian (Junior), Connor Burfiend (Junior), Harlan Cutshall (Junior), Taylor Dimick (Junior)
Pivotal matches: April 27 @ Fryeburg, April 30 (H) GREELY, May 3 @ York, May 5 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 7 (H) YARMOUTH, May 10 @ Greely, May 12 @ Waynflete, May 19 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 24 @ Yarmouth
Coach's comment: “I graduated four of my top seven, but I had a deep team and tried to play a lot of players last year, knowing I would need them this year. I expect the league will be very tough with Waynflete dominating. This will probably significantly impact the Heal Points for Class B, which may go a long way in determining postseason success for Class B teams.”
The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth's three year run as regional champion came to an end a year ago, but the Yachtsmen remain a top contender. Falmouth has averaged 13 wins a season since 1994 and will threaten to be just as triumphant in 2010. Polko (a first-team all-star last spring) returns at first singles. Prichard is also highly touted. Bazarian, Burfiend, Cutshall and Dimick all have a chance to make their mark this time around, as will sophomores Hutch Hurwitz and Will Robinson. Freshmen Chase O'Connor, Sam Holland and Tom Wilberg figure to be household names in no time. While the Yachtsmen lack the depth and all-star names they've boasted in the past, this team will still be very strong. Falmouth will be competitive with everyone on its slate and should boast a very good record by the end of the season. If the Heal Points work out in their favor, the Yachtsmen could play a couple postseason matches at home and be in position to return to the state match.
Coach: Sandra Stone (eighth year)
2009 Results: 16-0 (Defeated Waterville 5-0 to win Class B state championship)
Top returning players: Amanda Gallagher (Senior), Emma Wilberg (Senior), Annie Criscione (Sophomore), Analise Kump (Sophomore), Steffi Rothweiler (Sophomore)
Pivotal matches: May 3 (H) YORK May 5 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 7 @ Yarmouth, May 10 (H) GREELY, May 12 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 14 (H) NYA, May 25 @ York
Coach's comment: “We have great expectations for the players we have to work with this year. We have accomplished skills and tough match experience very much in our favor. The girls have all been delightful to work with so far. The team looks very strong. It might be our best season yet.”
The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth has become a juggernaut over the past five years. In that span, the Yachtsmen have lost only seven matches and captured four Class B state championships. A year ago, Falmouth won just once by a 3-2 margin and could be even more dominant in 2010. As usual, the Yachtsmen mix solid returners with some promising newcomers. Stone (our reigning Coach of the Year) will use two sophomores and returning league all-stars (Kump and Criscione) and a freshman (Libby Voccola) in the singles spots. Another freshman, Abby Payson, joins Rothweiler at first doubles. Co-captains Gallagher and Wilberg are at second doubles, giving Falmouth enormous depth and balance throughout. Even though the Yachtsmen are nursing some minor injuries as the regular season commences, they are without question not only the favorite in Class B, but are considered the be the premier team in the state. Unless Falmouth falls victim to overconfidence, there is every reason to believe that another championship run is in the cards.