Scarborough Red Storm Spring Sports Preview

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After several seasons of near-misses, Scarborough’s softball team celebrated an undefeated Class A state title last spring. The Red Storm are loaded again this season and will make a run at another crown.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Mike D’Andrea (third year, 24-12 overall record)

2017 record: 10-8 (Lost, 9-2, to Falmouth in Class A South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Zoltan Panyi (Senior), Morgan Pratt (Senior), Jack Clark (Junior), Nolan Lamontagne (Junior), Zach Alofs (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 28 @ Deering, May 3 @ South Portland, May 8 PORTLAND, May 12 FALMOUTH, May 17 THORNTON ACADEMY, May 24 CHEVERUS

Coach’s comment: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The kids have come back bigger and stronger. We have a deep pitching staff. That’s a major improvement for us. We have holes to fill, but the pieces are there and we’ll put a competitive team on the field. Making the playoffs again is the goal.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough is coming off another successful campaign and in year three under D’Andrea, could make a run at a regional title if all goes well.

The Red Storm’s hopes took a hit when standout catcher Cam Seymour transferred to Thornton Academy, but there are many other key contributors returning. On the mound, look for Clark, Panyi (the football standout), Pratt (who led the boys’ basketball team to its first state final), sophomores Brian Austin and Nick Thompson and freshman Sam Clark to see time as well. Pratt (who plays shortstop when he doesn’t pitch) and outfielders Alofs (last year’s team leader in hitting and a reigning second-team league all-star) and Lamontagne will help pace the offense. Clark will be on the infield when he isn’t pitching. Panyi can play anywhere. Austin will be an outfielder when he’s not called upon to throw. Other than figuring out who can replace Seymour behind the plate, Scarborough appears to have things in order as the new season dawns.

While teams like Portland, South Portland and Thornton Academy are garnering the lions’ share of the preseason buzz, it’s never wise to overlook D’Andrea and his Red Storm. Scarborough will give its all for seven innings (or more) every time out and will likely post another winning record. This is a squad that no one will want to face in the playoffs. The Red Storm could be one of the feel-good stories of the spring.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Tom Griffin (29th year, 432-88 overall record, six state championships)

2017 record: 20-0 (Beat Skowhegan, 3-0, to win Class A state title)

Top returning players: Sam Carriero (Senior), Ivy DiBiase (Senior), Hunter Greenleaf (Senior), Chloe Griffin (Senior), Emily Jefferds (Senior), Lindsey Kelley (Senior), Felicia O’Reilly (Senior), Laura Powell (Senior), Courtney Brochu (Junior), Bella Dickinson (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: May 2 NOBLE, May 4 @ Massabesic, May 9 @ Portland, May 11 @ South Portland, May 17 THORNTON ACADEMY, May 21 @ Biddeford, May 23 WINDHAM

Coach’s comment: “We lost three great kids who were a big part of our program and they’ll be missed, but fortunately, we bring a lot of kids back. We’re loaded with seniors this year. This is the biggest senior class I’ve ever had. We’re very talented offensively. There’s not an easy out in our lineup. Scoring runs shouldn’t be a problem. Chloe on the mound is as talented as anyone in the state. We’re hopeful we’ll have another strong season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After several near-misses, the 2017 Red Storm got back to the pinnacle last spring in perfect fashion, extending their regular season win streak to 73 games in the process. While graduation took its toll and Abbie Murrell, Hannah Ricker and Lilly Volk will be missed, Scarborough once again stands alone, heading into the season at least, and will be the squad by which all others measure themselves.

Replacing the dominant Volk on the mound will be Griffin, who could be poised to dominate the competition. Griffin was a first-team league all-star a year ago and she’ll be one of the team’s strongest hitters as well. Dickinson, an honorable mention all-star as a freshman, will be the number two pitcher and is also a standout at shortstop. Junior Mia Kelley and freshman Molly Verreault will see some innings as well. Replacing Ricker behind the plate will be Greenleaf, who will bat cleanup. Carriero will see some time behind the plate as well and will also play the outfield. The rest of the infield features O’Reilly at first, Brochu at second and Jefferds or Lindsey Kelley at third. Powell, who boasts another booming bat, will play shortstop and centerfield. DiBiase can play different positions. Freshman Sylvia Foley is a newcomer to watch. She’ll catch and play third base.

Even though Scarborough gets the opposition’s best effort every time it takes the field, the Red Storm have lived up to the challenge year after year. This spring, expect more of the same. Scarborough has a standout pitcher, solid defense all over the field, a batting order that is second to none and a coaching staff that knows who to put where and how to put pressure on the other team’s defense. Scarborough might not run the table this spring, but a trip to the regional final is a veritable certainty and another state title wouldn’t surprise anyone.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Zach Barrett (first year)

2017 record: 12-3 (Lost, 18-17, in overtime, to Brunswick in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Drew Cusson (Senior), Reece Lagerquist (Senior), Marco Manfra (Senior), Eric Quirk (Senior), Andrew Granzier (Junior), Nick Quartararo (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 13 CHEVERUS, April 23 @ Brunswick, April 25 FALMOUTH, May 2 @ South Portland, May 9 THORNTON ACADEMY, May 11 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 15 @ Gorham, May 30 SOUTH PORTLAND, June 2 @ Falmouth

Coach’s comment: “So far, so good. We need to replace some talent, but we have a lot of young guys. We only have six guys back who saw varsity minutes last year. We have a really tough schedule. There won’t be any blowout games. We have to show up every day. We hope to get into the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: One measly overtime goal was all that stood between Scarborough and a repeat Class A title a year ago. That state game also marked the end of the very successful Joe Hezlep coaching era. Hezlep is replaced this spring by Barrett, who played for Scarborough back in the early days (graduating in 1999) before serving as a longtime assistant with his alma mater. He takes over a program that is in transition, but one that figures to be a squad to be reckoned with by season’s end.

Lagerquist is a returning league all-star and is widely viewed as one of the top defenders in the state. Quirk is right there with him and that tandem will help ease the transition for a pair of new goalies, senior Ben Hughes and sophomore Austin Brown. Quartararo (an Underclass All-Star in 2017) has emerged as a top faceoff guy and he’ll look to spark the offense. Cusson is another midfielder to watch. Up top, Manfra, who was explosive last postseason, will get the majority of attention from opposing teams, while Granzier (another Underclass All-Star last season) and senior Josh DaRosa also loom as threats.

While the Red Storm might not boast as many big names as in year’s past, this is still an elite program from a town that has a fantastic feeder system. Yes, there will be a transition with the new coach and it will take some time for new players to get up to varsity speed, but the guess here is that Scarborough will be a very dangerous squad by June and even though Class A South is as daunting as ever with the addition of Cape Elizabeth and Kennebunk, the Red Storm have the potential to embark on another deep run.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Emily Hopkins (first year)

2017 record: 3-10 (Lost, 13-3, to eventual state champion Massabesic in Class A South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Meagan Neelon (Senior), Ellie Smith (Senior), Erin Stolz (Junior), Madison Marinko (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 WAYNFLETE, May 1 @ Thornton Academy, May 3 MARSHWOOD, May 7 @ Cheverus, May 9 FALMOUTH, May 15 @ Massabesic, May 18 @ Greely, May 29 KENNEBUNK

Coach’s comment: “I’m really excited and optimistic about our outlook this year. I have an incredibly strong sophomore class. This group of girls is talented and driven. I know the competition is tough, but I’m excited to work hard with this group of athletes and see how far we can go.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough looks to return to its accustomed spot near the top of Class A this spring. The Red Storm welcome a new coach in Hopkins, who formerly coached at Northampton High School in Massachusetts. Hopkins, who teaches English at Scarborough, inherits a team that looks to contend in a deep and balanced Class A South.

Smith was a second-team league all-star in 2017. She’ll be a top midfielder and will take a lot of the Red Storm’s draws. Stolz, who also takes draws, is another key returning midfielder. Neelon leads the attack. On defense, Marinko, an honorable mention all-star last season, will make life miserable for opposing attacks. Senior Bethany Smel and freshman Kathleen Murphy will share time in goal. The experienced players will be bolstered by the arrival of several new girls who will provide depth and make the squad stronger.

Scarborough has an incredibly daunting schedule, starting with perennial powerhouse Waynflete and including most of the top teams in Class A South. Despite the challenge, don’t be surprised if the Red Storm make a run at a winning record and make some noise in the playoffs.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coaches:

(Boys) Derek Veilleux (15th year, three state championships)

(Girls) Ron Kelly (46th year, 10 state championships)

2017 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions

(Girls) 4th @ Class A state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Drew Gardner (Senior), Erik Larkin (Senior), Charlie Piper (Senior), Anthony Clavette (Junior), Noah Drapeau (Junior), Brian Farino (Junior), Connor Oliver (Junior), Harrison Osborne (Junior), Connor Coffin (Sophomore), Tristram Coffin (Sophomore), Jarett Flaker (Sophomore), Ben Hatch (Sophomore)

(Girls) Marina Horner (Senior), Gaby Panagakos (Senior), Samantha Saraceno (Senior), Bethany Sholl (Senior), Leah Dickman (Junior), Ryanne Cox (Sophomore), Anna Gardner (Sophomore), Nina Greeley (Sophomore), Emily Labbe (Sophomore), Rachel Peterson (Sophomore)

Coach Veilleux’s comment: “We have a large team this spring, but we have a lot of new faces, so it will be a work in progress. We graduated a great group of athletes and leaders last year. Those who ran indoors stepped up to the plate and hopefully we see that again outdoors. The goal will be to stay healthy and progress to the championship meets ready to perform at our highest level. We have the top end talent to be able to compete with the top teams in the state.”

Coach Kelly’s comment: “Improvement in field events will be a key to our success. Cheverus and Thornton are the top teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After sweeping the Class A state titles during the indoor season, Scarborough’s outdoor program is ready to dominate again this spring.

The boys’ squad graduated superstar Sam Rusak, as well as reigning 400 champion Ben Batoosingh, but there is ample talent in reserve. Let’s start with Flaker, who this school year alone, has led Scarborough’s football team to its first Class A state title and in February, set state records in winning the Class A 55 and 200 and also placing first in the 400 to help the Red Storm to another championship. This spring, Flaker looks to improve on last year’s showing in the 100 (second) and the 300 hurdles (third). Flaker, who was part of a pair of champion relays as a freshman, will set the tone in the sprints and hurdles. He’ll by joined by Hatch in the sprints and Clavette in the hurdles. Connor Coffin, Tristram Coffin, Drapeau, Farino and Osborne are top distance threats. Freshman Erik Losacco will be heard from as well. Look for Larkin and Piper to help out in the relays. On the field side, Clavette (fourth in the high jump last spring) will compete in the jumps along with junior Alex Austin. Oliver and sophomore Nathan Mars are top threats in the throws and Gardner will pole vault. While the Red Storm will be pushed by the likes of Deering, new-to-SMAA Falmouth and Thornton Academy, they have enough talent and depth to hold their own throughout the season. If Scarborough is at its best in June, an eighth title in 10 years wouldn’t come as a surprise.

On the girls’ side, Scarborough returns several top scorers from a year ago. Panagakos was runner-up in the 400, fourth in the 100 and seventh in the 200 last spring. Panagakos will play soccer at the University of Maine next year, but in her final high school track season, look for her to be among the state’s best sprinters. Labbe and freshman Abbie Drapeau are other sprinters to watch. Labbe is also a top hurdler. In the distance events, look for Sholl (seventh in last year’s two-mile), Cox, Peterson, Saraceno and freshman Elaina Panagakos to contend. On the field side, Gardner was second in the state last year in the pole vault. She’ll look for the top spot this season. Greeley is a threat in the jumps. Throwers to watch include Dickman and Horner. There’s a lot of depth after that, so the Red Storm will again hold their own with everyone in the SMAA and should be in line for another top five state meet showing.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Craig McDonald (18th year)

2017 results: 10-4 (Lost, 5-0, to Thornton Academy in Class A South semifinal)

Top returning players: Aidan Cohen (Senior), Josh Harder (Senior), Ethan Boardman (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “The team returns three starters and five others that played at the junior varsity level in 2017. I see us hopefully in the middle of the pack by the end of the season. The goal for this year is to improve each week, peak at the right time, and make a strong run come playoff time.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Coming off its 13th straight postseason trip, Scarborough expects to once again be a contender in Class A South this spring.

The Red Storm will be led by Boardman, Cohen and Harder, who will move into singles spots this season. Senior Ibrahim Chand, juniors Aidan Bradley and Clay Rainsford and freshman Preston Rainsford will likely make up the doubles squads.

Scarborough will have some growing pains, but rest assured that MacDonald will put together a strong team by the postseason. The Red Storm could be in line for a playoff run if all goes well.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Lincoln MacIsaac (10th year)

2017 results: 11-3 (Lost, 3-2 to  Thornton Academy in Class A South semifinal)

Top returning players: Caelyn Sheil (Senior), Amelia Hardy (Junior), Grace DeGrinney (Sophomore), Abby Ricker (Sophomore), Ashley Sabatino (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “This group is a really fun to coach. They work hard, enjoy being around each other and are super-competitive. The returning players have shown real leadership. We have a few open slots in our starting lineup, but we have a lot of returning players and new talent, so we feel like we can be competitive in every match. We hope to get to the playoffs and then see what we can do from there. ”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough has a robust roster (21 players), has enjoyed plenty of success in recent years (reaching at least the semifinal round for nine straight seasons) and while there are no shortage of talented squads in the region, the Red Storm have the pieces in place to make another deep run.

Scarborough features a nice mix of talented returners and promising new additions. DeGrinney and Ricker are locked into singles spots. Hardy, Sabatino and Sheil will likely be in the doubles mix. Senior Sophie Glidden, the basketball standout, sophomore Caroline Timpson and freshmen Mayne Gwyer and Madison Scammell will also be key contributors.

The Red Storm have to deal with the likes of Gorham, Kennebunk and Thornton Academy and this spring, Falmouth is a member of the SMAA as well. There will be some hurdles to clear, but by season’s end, look for Scarborough to again boast a good record and a top seed. Playing well into June will be the end result.

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

Senior Morgan Pratt is a top returner for a Scarborough baseball team seeking a deep playoff run.

Senior Zoltan Panyi’s right arm led Scarborough’s football team to a state title last fall. He hopes to pitch the Red Storm baseball team to big things this spring.

Junior Nolan Lamontagne is another strong returning hitter for the Red Storm.

Senior Chloe Griffin will lead Scarborough a long way this spring with her bat and her arm.

Senior Laura Powell boasts the kind of home run power that gets her teammates fired up.

Senior Lindsey Kelley makes good things happen on the basepaths and at the plate.

Bella Dickinson turned heads as a freshman and is one of the league’s best shortstops.

Senior Marco Manfra can score goals in abundance for the defending Class A South champion Scarborough boys’ lacrosse team.

Senior Eric Quirk is a defensive stalwart for the Red Storm.

Junior Andrew Granzier is one of the league’s top faceoff specialists.

Senior Ellie Smith hopes to lead the Scarborough girls’ lacrosse team to the playoffs.

The incomparable Jarett Flaker returns for his sophomore outdoor track season this spring. Flaker will again be a premier sprinter in the state.

Junior Harrison Osborne will be a top distance runner for the Red Storm.

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