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Freeport Falcons Spring Sports Preview

Sports

Freeport Falcons Spring Sports Preview

Look for several Freeport spring sports teams to improve this year. Baseball enjoyed a couple of long-awaited victories last year and should add to that total this year. Softball didn't miss the playoffs by much last season. A couple more wins this time around would do the job. Boys' and girls' lacrosse both made the playoffs a year ago and have the goods to make noise again. Track will turn heads thanks to some strong runners, jumpers and throwers, while both tennis teams look to be competitive.

BASEBALL

Coach: Hank Ogilby (11th year)

2009 Record: 2-14 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Kyle Moore (Senior), Spencer Egan (Junior), Kaleb Farmer (Sophomore), Jared Knighton (Sophomore), Luke LaMagna (Sophomore), Josh Weirich (Sophomore), Sawyer Williams (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 28 (H) FALMOUTH, May 1 (H) YARMOUTH, May 6 @ Greely, May 17 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 21 @ Yarmouth

Coach's comment: “We're still very young, but we're moving in the right direction. Our numbers have been quite low the last few years and we've had four classes in a row with very few ballplayers, but our sophomore and freshmen classes are great. The numbers and talent levels are up and our team will be much more competitive this year and for the next few years. The current sophomores were thrown into the fire last year and know what to expect. We're that much more experienced and developed this year and that bodes well, but compared to other teams in the league, we don't have mature varsity depth. Our pitching lacks varsity experience and it will be a challenge for us to score runs in bunches. The attitudes have been good and players are working hard. We hope to keep learning, getting better and to improve in every facet of the game.”

The Forecaster's forecast: The Freeport program is heading in the right direction and certainly got a dose of optimism after getting in the win column last spring. This year, the Falcons remain one of the younger teams in Western Class B, but they have reason to believe that can be competitive. In the opener, a 10-5 loss at York, Freeport's bats came to life late, but it wasn't enough. On the mound, Egan, a lefthander, leads the way. Farmer and Weirich will also look to make an impact. Offensively, Moore hit .340 a year ago and will replace Jon Klages at shortstop. Knighton (catcher) and LaMagna (centerfield) and Williams (third base/outfield) also have experience. Three sophomores will have a chance to step in and produce. That group includes Chris Farley (second base/outfield), Zach Greene (catcher/third base) and Pat LaFlamme (utility), a transfer from Brunswick. Connor Dietrich is the team's lone freshman this spring. He'll play second base. The rest of the team consists of juniors Chris Libby, Evan LaMarre, Connor Ritchie and Manny Carlista and sophomore Sean Martens. The Falcons should be in most games this season and will have a chance to better last year's win total, possibly by a lot. While a first winning record and playoff berth since 2004 are still a long shot, it won't be long until Freeport is one of the better squads in the league.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Victor DiSilvestro (third year)

2009 Record: 6-10 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Kayla Bibeau (Senior), Whitney Bibeau (Senior), Stephanie Pottle (Senior), Jessica Kane (Junior), Dani Perry (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 26 (H) GRAY-NG, April 28 (H) FALMOUTH, May 1 (H) YARMOUTH, May 6 @ Greely, May 17 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 21 @ Yarmouth, May 24 (H) YORK

Coach's comment: “It's a pretty young team. Our numbers are about the same as last year. We have a good group of freshmen. We won four games my first year and last year we won six. We hope to keep improving and maybe sneak into the playoffs. Leigh has been a pleasant surprise for us.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Freeport fell in its opener, 4-1, against York, but figures to improve as the season progresses. The Falcons' six wins a year ago were the program's best since 2003. This team features a promising new pitcher, freshman Leigh Wyman, who will also be one of the squad's best hitters. Kayla Bibeau returns as catcher. The infield includes Pottle at first, freshman Hannah Chase at second, Whitney Bibeau at shortstop and Kane (who is expected to produce with the bat) at third. The outfield features Perry, the leadoff hitter, and freshman Helen Humphrey. Offense will be the key for Freeport. Last year, the Falcons mustered just seven total runs in their 10 losses. If they can consistently put pressure on opposing defenses, they'll contend. Wyman will only get better with time and the same can be said for this group. By year's end, Freeport figures to be a tough foe.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Geoff Arris (second year)

2009 Record: 6-8 (Lost 14-9 to NYA in Eastern B semifinals)

Top returning players: Jackson Dodge (Senior), Thomas Dorsey (Senior), Josh Sturtevant (Senior), Hans Pope (Junior), Dylan Arris (Sophomore), Evan Hench (Sophomore), Alex Sturtevant (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 @ Waynflete, April 27 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 11 @ NYA, May 18 (H) GREELY, May 26 (H) YARMOUTH, June 1 @ Falmouth

Coach's comment: “We have huge numbers compared to last year. I think defensively, we're very strong. The offense is getting fine-tuned. It could be devastating once we click. We have a tough schedule again, but our goal is definitely to make the playoffs.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Freeport has been very competitive in recent seasons and last year made noise again, upsetting second-ranked Mt. Blue in the quarterfinals before giving perennial powerhouse North Yarmouth Academy a scare in the semis. This season, the Falcons believe that a winning record and another playoff trip is in the cards. Alex Sturtevant had a very good freshman season in goal, stopping 80 percent of the shots he faced. He returns more seasoned and confident. In front of him, Josh Sturtevant leads the defense. Pope handles the faceoffs and is one of several capable midfielders. That group also includes Arris and Dodge, who will be one of the team's top scorers. Dorsey will score his share of goals as well, while Hench and new senior Christo Milholland look to get in on the fun. Freeport has the heavy hitters on its schedule, but also has several winnable games. Getting off to a good start this spring is paramount. In 2009, the Falcons were 0-5 before they knew it and dug a 1- 7 hole before rebounding to make the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 years. This time around, Freeport looks to be at its best throughout and that should be good enough to beat or scare most of the teams on the schedule. By June, the Falcons will once again be a very dangerous foe.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Karin Kurry (second year)

2009 Record: 7-7 (Lost 16-3 to Yarmouth in Eastern Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Shelby Colvin (Senior), Lucy Whitacre (Senior), Ally Fuehrer (Junior), Jess Hench (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: May 4 @ Waynflete, May 11 (H) YARMOUTH, May 20 (H) FALMOUTH, May 24 @ Greely

Coach's comment: “We're ahead of where we were last year. Our numbers are up. We have a lot of field sense and we're very smart. We can catch and throw much better than we did last year. We hope to qualify for the playoffs. Last year, we were .500. We hope to do that again or be a little better.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Freeport has made it to the Eastern B semifinals three years running and might have its best team in years in 2010. The Falcons opened last week in encouraging fashion, hanging tough with defending regional champion NYA until falling, 11-4. Several returning and new players made a mark in that one. This year, the offense figures to be led by the powerhouse Whitacre (two goals in the opener), Hench (who will handle draws) and Colvin (one goal versus NYA). Keep an eye also on senior Hannah Schuchert, sophomores Becca Lane and Mia Thomas and athletic freshmen Jocelyn Davee and Jo Moore. Defensively, Fuehrer is formidable and packs a scoring punch of her own (she had a goal in the first game). She's joined by sophomore Kayla Thurlow in front of the goalie, who will be either senior Hannah Goodenow or senior Shrada Miller. It's clear that Freeport's skills are much further along than they were a year ago. The schedule has a few big-time challenges, but for the most part, the Falcons will have a great shot to win most of their games. If this team develops as expected, a winning record is a likelihood. If Freeport returns to the playoffs, no one will want to meet the Falcons with the season on the line.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Brian Berkemeyer (second year)

2009 Results:

(BOYS) 14th @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 4th @ Class C state meet

Top returning athletes:

(BOYS) Chris Anthony (Senior), Henry Loughlin (Senior), Miles Boucher (Junior), Ryan Collet (Junior), Taylor Saucier (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Bryn Gallagher (Senior), Lauren Parker (Senior), Abby Roney (Sophomore)

Top foes: NYA, Waynflete

Coach's comment: “We focus on individuals getting to the state meet. We're a very young team with 36 kids.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Freeport is small compared to its powerhouse neighbors, but should be able to contend, thanks to some promising athletes.

The boys' team is led by Loughlin, who came in fifth in the both the mile and two-mile at last year's Class C state meet. Anthony and Collet (Freeport's Winter Male Athlete of the Year) are top sprinters. Boucher and Saucier will compete in the middle distance. The Falcons don't have a lot of depth, but will make the most of their front-line talent to hold their own in the regular season and score some points in the postseason.

On the girls' side, all of last year's individual points from the state meet are gone, but there is hope nonetheless. Parker will be a threat in the sprints. Gallagher and Roney will compete in the hurdles. Freshman Ciera Wentworth, coming off a trip to the state meet indoors, is another sprinter to watch. While it's unlikely Freeport will approach last year's best-ever state finish, the Falcons will produce some memories between now and June.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Jay Harper (10th year)

2009 Results: 2-10 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Jake Albright (Senior), Ian Connolly (Senior), Ben Forster (Junior), Scott Ross (Junior), Sam Skold (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 26 @ Falmouth, April 28 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 3 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 7 @ Waynflete, May 10 @ NYA, May 12 (H) GREELY, May 19 (H) YARMOUTH

Coach's comment: “We have 14 kids. We're young. We don't have a lot of experience, but we'll try to have fun. We have eight new players out who have improved. We have enthusiasm and good attitudes. I'm hoping my seniors have a good, solid season.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Freeport has missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, but should be in line for an improvement in 2010. The Falcons have some promising athletes ready to make a mark. Connelly will be in the first singles spot this spring. Albright will be in the second spot, while Forster will play No. 3. The first doubles team projects to include Ross and Skold. Freshmen Connor McClellan and Chris West could play second doubles. They could become household names in no time. Sophomore Seth Crean and freshman Abrin Berkemeyer are two other newcomers who provide depth. Freeport will hold its own against the non-traditional powers and should be able to surpass last year's win total. If the breaks go their way, the Falcons could contend for the playoffs, but even if they don't, the program appears to be on an upswing.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Heath MacVane (third year)

2009 Results: 6-7 (Lost 4-1 to Oak Hill in Western B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Marissa Lewis (Senior), Erin Hall (Junior), Maggie Stavros (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 26 (H) FALMOUTH, April 28 @ Waynflete, May 3 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 5 (H) YORK, May 10 (H) NYA, May 12 @ Greely, May 19 @ Yarmouth, May 21 @ Falmouth, May 25 (H) WAYNFLETE

Coach's comment: “It'll be an interesting season. It's a growing year for us. We lost some singles players. I hope to get some wins. We made it to the tournament last year. It would be nice to do that again, but we have a tough schedule.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Freeport is coming off its first playoff appearance in five years, but faces an uphill climb in 2010. The Falcons faced some uncertainty on the doubles side as the season commenced, but should be in good shape singles-wise. Lewis will play in the first spot, facing some of the best talent in the state. Hall will be second singles and Stavros projects to play third. Junior Katee Poulin joins the team and will be in the doubles mix. Freeport has a lot of top teams on its schedule and will take its lumps at times, but should improve as the season progresses and be a tough opponent down the stretch.