Scarborough Red Storm Spring Sports Preview

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Scarborough’s boys’ lacrosse team returned to the Class A pinnacle last spring for the first time since 2013. The Red Storm have the pieces in place to win it again.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Mike D’Andrea (second year)

2016 record: 14-4 (Lost, 8-5, to South Portland in Class A South semifinals)

Top returning players: Tim Carion (Senior), Morgan Pratt (Junior), Cam Seymour (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 DEERING, April 27 @ Portland, May 2 @ Gorham, May 13 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 20 GORHAM, May 25 @ Cheverus

Coach’s comment: “We’ve got to rebuild. We lost a lot. I have zero varsity pitching experience and lost five or six bats, but the unknown is exciting. We’ll see how the guys react. We’ve got a lot to figure out. We’ll play one game at a time. I think we’ll compete well. Making the playoffs is the goal.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough exceeded all expectations in D’Andrea’s first year, winning more games than anyone could have imagined and getting to the regional semifinals. The Red Storm then lost most of the key contributors from that team, including all-stars Josh Reed, Mitchell Wedge and Bayley Welsh, meaning there’s going to be a big learning curve this spring.

Pratt was a second-team league all-star in 2016 and is a top returner. He’ll play shortstop and projects to be a top hitter. Carion is a solid defensive centerfielder who can also hit. Seymour will catch and pitch. The rotation will also include juniors Zach Dequattro and Zoltan Panyi, sophomore Jack Clark and freshmen Zack Alofs and Dominic Seina. Sophomores Noah Frank (second base) and Nolan Lamontagne (outfield) bring a lot of speed. Sophomore Wyatt Plummer will see time at third base.

No one will take it easy on a Mike D’Andrea-coached team and D’Andrea in turn is certain to get the very most out of his charges. While last year’s team exceeded expectations in a big way, it featured a lot of veterans. This season, the Red Storm will have to learn along the way, which could lead to more losses, but by the time the regular season comes to an end, expect this group to playing well. If Scarborough can get back to the playoffs, it will be a team that everyone wants to avoid.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Tom Griffin (28th year, 412-88 overall record, five state championships)

2016 record: 18-1 (Lost, 9-7, to Biddeford in Class A South Final)

Top returning players: Abbie Murrell (Senior), Hannah Ricker (Senior), Lilly Volk (Senior), Chloe Griffin (Junior), Lindsey Kelley (Junior), Laura Powell (Junior)

Pivotal games: May 1 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 2 PORTLAND, May 5 @ Windham, May 10 @ South Portland, May 15 NOBLE, May 19 @ Thornton Academy, May 24 MASSABESIC, May 26 @ Biddeford

Coach’s comment: “It’s an older group, mostly juniors and seniors, and they’re hard workers. I like these kids a lot. It’s probably the deepest team I’ve ever had. I have some very talented kids who won’t start. That’s just the way it is. Everyone can hit. We’ll get offense from everyone. We’ll have more power this year. We have good athletes at all positions. Replacing our infield will be our biggest challenge, but we’re so versatile. We just have to be consistent. The girls are extremely motivated to accomplish what they want. I’m feeling pretty good.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough remains the gold standard in Class A South, even when it isn’t winning state titles. The Red Storm have won a minimum of 17 contests in each of the past 10 years and although last season ended in agony, Scarborough has reloaded and is ready to make another run at the pinnacle. Don’t bet against this group, which is primed to unleash havoc on the opposition.

Most teams would be happy with one ace, but the Red Storm boast three. Volk is bound for the University of Maine and threw six perfect innings against Portland in last year’s quarterfinals. She’ll see key innings and will stymie the opposition while also being one of the team’s best hitters (.429 with four home runs last spring). Speaking of powerful pitching/hitting combinations, Murrell, who will play at St. Anselm in New Hampshire, can get the job done with the ball or a bat in her hands. Griffin is another dominant arm, who could be in the leadoff role. Ricker is back for another season behind the plate. She has pop in her bat (hitting .516 in 2016). The offensive onslaught continues with Kelley (third base/outfield) and Powell (shortstop, centerfield). That’s just the beginning. Several players who saw limited time in 2016 are ready to step into starring roles this spring. That group includes a stellar collection of juniors, Sam Carreiro (outfield), Ivy DiBiase (outfield), Hunter Greenleaf (catcher, first base), Emily Jefferds (third base/outfield) and Felicia O’Reilly (first base/outfield). Look for sophomore Courtney Brochu (second base/outfield) and freshman Bella Dickinson (shortstop/outfield/ace of the future) to also play key roles.

Coach Griffin, who won his 400th career game last spring, will have more of challenge getting all of his talented players on the field than winning games for much of the season. Scarborough is bound for another dominant campaign, but after falling short the past three seasons, this group is going to measure itself simply by whether or not it can win a championship in June. While several other talented teams loom, the Red Storm’s time is now. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Joe Hezlep (10th year, 109-26 overall record, six state championships)

2016 record: 12-3 (Beat Brunswick, 18-10, to win Class A state title)

Top returning players: Marc Guerette (Senior), Dominic Joy (Senior), Eric Murray (Senior), Sam Neugebauer (Senior), Cam Thibault (Senior), Reece Lagerquist (Junior), Marco Manfra (Junior), Eric Quirk (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 21 @ South Portland, April 29 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 2 @ Thornton Academy, May 13 @ Yarmouth, May 15 CHEVERUS, May 19 @ Windham

Coach’s comment: “We’ve got quite a bit back. A lot of experience. If we can figure out our roles we have a chance to be pretty good. Offensively, we have to pay as a unit. Our biggest challenge will be on defense. We have a tough schedule again, so our focus is going to be on getting better daily.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After an interminable (by its standards) drought of two years without a state title, Scarborough returned to the pinnacle last spring, as it saved its best for last. The Red Storm lost all-stars Colin Hayward and Cam Nigro, but return a lot of talent and will be wearing the bulls-eye again. They’ll wear it well.

Scarborough has the luxury of returning its goalie, Joy, who played a big part in the Red Storm’s title run last season. He’s aided defensively by first-team SMAA all-star Lagerquist, Quirk, Murray (a Travis Roy Award finalist from hockey) and senior Aren Dickman, a football player and wrestler who is new to the team. On offense, junior Brandon Wasser and sophomore Andrew Granzier will see time on faceoffs. Neugebauer, a first-team all-star last year, will lead the way when it comes to putting the ball in the cage (he had seven goals in Saturday’s season-opening 15-9 victory at Gorham). Guerette, Manfra (three goals in the opener) and Thibault will also score their share of goals. Several other talented players are waiting in the wings.

Scarborough will meet several of its top regional foes to start the season and it has a daunting schedule throughout, so there could be a few stumbles, but the Red Storm will only get better and as always, will be ready to shine in June. If this team comes together as it has so many times in the past, yet another shiny piece of hardware could be the end result.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coaches: Stephanie Belanger and Michaela Wipfler (second year)

2016 record: 4-9 (Lost, 15-4, to Massabesic in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Elizabeth Callahan (Senior), Lily Nygren (Senior), Sydney Rusak (Senior), Maegon Neelon (Junior), Ellie Smith (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 29 WAYNFLETE, May 4 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 9 @ Gorham, May 13 @ Yarmouth, May 16 @ Massabesic, May 18 MARSHWOOD, May 23 CHEVERUS

Coach Belanger’s comment: “We’ve established some consistency. We’re pretty excited. I think we’ll have a strong season. I have a strong group of seniors and a great group of hardworking freshmen. We want to make it into the postseason. I forsee us having a better record this year. We just want to have fun.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough started and ended its 2016 regular season with a pair of victories, but in-between, the Red Storm lost eight straight. This year’s team seeks more consistency and has the requisite talent to be a contender in Class A South.

Neelon made the SMAA All-Rookie team last spring and will help jump-start the offense by taking draws and running the midfield. Sophomore Erin Stolz will also get time in the draw circle and will play midfield. Nygren, Rusak and Smith, who is coming off a terrific sophomore season, will be the top scoring threats. On defense, Callahan returns and that unit will be bolstered by the return of senior captain Maddie York, who was injured last year. Junior Bethany Smel replaces standout goalie Sami Shoebottom and has shown promise in the preseason.

Scarborough is in a very challenging region, which includes reigning regional champion Massaabesic, 2015 state champion Marshwood and contenders like Biddeford, Gorham and South Portland. The Red Storm also have some tough crossover games, so again, wins will be tough to come by, but this year’s team is up for the challenge. Look for Scarborough to return to its accustomed form as a top contender and be a postseason factor.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coaches:

(Boys) Derek Veilleux (14th year, two state championships)

(Girls) Ron Kelly (45th year, 10 state championships)

2016 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions

(Girls) 6th @ Class A state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Ben Batoosingh (Senior), Alex Dionne (Senior), Connor Langlois (Senior), Shamus Malia (Senior), Sebastian Osborne (Senior), Sam Rusak (Senior), Drew Gardener (Junior)

(Girls) Marisa Carbone (Senior), Edie Christian (Senior), Erin Ryan (Senior), Ellen Shaw (Senior), Kirsten Dennen (Junior), Marina Horner (Junior), Caitlin McCaffery (Junior), Gaby Panagakos (Junior), Samantha Saraceno (Junior), Bethany Sholl (Junior), Sydney Bloom (Sophomore)

Coach Veilleux’s comment: “We will have another strong team this spring, but need to stay healthy to reach our potential. Sam Rusak will be out for a month as he recovers from an injury, so the rest of the team will need to step up in his absence. We have a strong freshman class that expects to make an immediate impact and we have an experienced group back from last year’s championship team. Our goal will be to progress each week and compete at the highest level during the championship meets. I have confidence in this group that we will compete at a high level.”

Coach Kelly’s comment: “We have some new faces. Relays and field events will be the key for us to contend this year. Cheverus is the team to beat.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Look for more excellence from both Scarborough track teams this spring.

The boys are title contenders regardless of the season and come into the campaign defending a championship. Rusak may not be ready to go in April, but in June, he’ll be primed to dominate again just like he did last spring when he won Class A titles in the 110 hurdles, the 200, high jump and pole vault. Don’t be surprised if he pulls off an encore and shines in the sprints, hurdles, jumps and pole vault this season. Dionne (tie for fourth in the pole vault last season), Gardener (pole vault) and Osborne (shot put) are other field athletes of note. On the track, Scarborough will be led by Batoosingh (fifth in last year’s 300 hurdles) and Langlois (seventh in the 300 hurdles last spring) in the sprints and hurdles and Malia in the distance races. There’s an influx of new talent too which will only serve to give opposing coaches nightmares. Freshman Jarrett Flaker is coming off a triumphant indoor season and will look to score in the sprints, jumps and hurdles. Classmates Connor Coffin (two-mile), Tristram Coffin (two-mile) and Ben Hatch (sprints and jumps) ensure that this program will remain a power for years. Senior Andrew Goodwin (800), junior Erik Larkin (800) and sophomore Anthony Clavette (hurdles and jumps) guarantee that the defending champions will have enough talent to score in every event. While the Red Storm will get pushed by Deering, Thornton Academy and Westbrook in the league and by others at states, if this group is healthy and performing at its best in June, it’s likely that more hardware will be in store.

On the girls’ side, Scarborough has several top returners, as well as some freshmen who will step right in and make their presence felt. Sholl is the reigning champion in the two-mile and will also vie for the top spot in the mile. Shaw (third in the 100 hurdles last year) leads the hurdling contingent. Panagakos (third in the 400 last spring) could make a run at first place in that event. Sholl will be joined in the distance races by Bloom, Carbone, Saraceno and freshman Jillian Cote. Freshman Rachel Peterson joins Panagakos in the 400. Freshman Emily Labbe is an up-and-coming sprinter and hurdler. On the field side, Christian, Dennan and freshman Anna Gardner are top vaulters. Horner will throw the javelin and Ryan will compete in the discus and shot put. McCaffrey will be strong in the relays. The Red Storm will be among the best teams in the regular season and should be in line for a top five finish at states.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Craig McDonald (17th year)

2016 results: 9-4 (Lost, 4-1, to Portland in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Ryan Barr (Senior), Alex Giles (Senior), Jack McCloskey (Senior), Cam Smith (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “We return five seniors, four who started a year ago. The strength of our team will be at singles and how far we go in the playoffs will be determined on the ability of each doubles team to jell and play as a unit.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough has posted a winning record 10 years running and has been to the playoffs each of the past dozen seasons and this spring, the Red Storm have the pieces in place to continue those streaks.

McCloskey was an SMAA first-team singles all-star in 2016. He’s back as a singles player and is joined by Giles and either Barr or new senior Skylar Pettingill. Smith anchors the doubles effort and will be helped by new juniors Aidan Cohen and Josh Harder.

Scarborough will be pushed by the likes of Portland and defending champion Thornton Academy in the league and of course, Falmouth looms come playoff time. This year’s Red Storm team should again post an impressive record and be in position to make some noise in June.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Lincoln MacIsaac (first year)

2016 results: 14-1 (Lost, 4-1, to eventual champion Falmouth in Class A South Final)

Top returning players: Maureen DeGrinney (Senior), Ashley Levesque (Senior), Bella Ingream (Junior), Amelia Hardy (Sophomore), Sarah McNally (Sophomore), Claire Merrill (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We’re young, but we have tons of ability and athleticism. Our players are improving daily, but we need to put the time in to get better. We hope to be competitive and earn a spot in the postseason and see what can happen from there.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough was easily the best girls’ team in the SMAA a year ago, winning all 12 regular season matches and passing a pair of playoff tests before it finally met its match in unbeatable Falmouth, which went on to win the state title for the ninth year in a row. This spring, the Red Storm are going back to the future, as Steve Eddy is replaced by MacIsaac, who went 45-12 in four years as Scarborough’s coach between 2008-11, then served as Eddy’s assistant. MacIsaac takes over a team that once again should be very strong.

The Red Storm return Merrill, who was an all-star a year ago, along with veterans DeGrinney, Hardy, Ingream, Levesque and McNally. That experienced core is joined by new senior Kacey Foerster, junior Caelyn Sheil and freshmen Grace DeGrinney, Abby Ricker and Ashley Sabatino to make up a deep and talented squad.

Scarborough will have its share of tests in league play in the weeks to come, but should again be one of the strongest teams in the region. This group is looking to again make noise in the playoffs and has the pieces in place to go on another deep run.

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

Senior Tim Carion can get the job done in the field and at the plate. He’s one of a few returners for a Scarborough baseball team which hopes to contend this spring.

Junior Morgan Pratt was a league all-star in 2016 and is another key returner for the Red Storm.

Senior Lilly Volk is back as the ace for Scarborough’s softball team before taking her powerful arm to the University of Maine.

Senior Abbie Murrell will pitch as well and also wields a powerful bat. She’ll play at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire next year.

Junior Chloe Griffin will likely be the leadoff hitter and can also pitch.

Junior Laura Powell can swing the bat and play multiple positions.

Senior catcher Hannah Ricker will be a force behind the plate and at the plate.

Senior Sam Neugebauer’s scoring touch will keep Scarborough’s boys’ lacrosse team in the title hunt all season.

Junior Marco Manfra is another top scoring threat.

Senior Dominic Joy returns in goal for the Red Storm.

Senior Eric Murray is coming off a decorated hockey season. He’ll be one of the top players on the lacrosse field too.

Senior Cam Thibault is another key returner for the Red Storm.

Junior Ellie Smith will be a top scoring threat for Scarborough’s girls’ lacrosse team.

Junior Maegon Neelon made the SMAA All-Rookie team last year and is line for another big season.

Sophomore Erin Stolz is a budding star in the midfield.

Senior Sam Rusak is back for one final season to dominate in boys’ outdoor track before he takes his talents to the University of Connecticut.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.