South Portland Red Riots Spring Athletes of the Year

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Hasson

Mehlhorn

Rende

Male (s):

RILEY HASSON, Senior-Baseball

* SMAA all-star, first-team

* Senior All-Star

* USA Today Maine all-star

* Captain

&

COOPER MEHLHORN, Junior-Lacrosse

  • All-American

  • SMAA all-star, first-team

  • Underclass all-star 

  • Captain

Hasson and Mehlhorn each dominated this spring and each are honored for what they brought to their teams.

Hasson brought boundless energy, as well as a potent bat and solid glove to a team which won the regular season league title.

Hasson grew up in a family best known for its basketball prowess, but he enjoyed baseball the best.

“It’s a mental game and you think at all times,” said Hasson. “It’s a lot of fun. Coach (Mike) Owens did a great job teaching the mental side of the game. My family helped me get where I am. We were always competitive with each other. I took that into every game and I always want to win.”

Hasson, who also played goalie in soccer for four years, joined the baseball varsity team as a sophomore, when he played the outfield. Hasson moved to shortstop as a junior, earning all-star mention, and saw time on the mound as well this spring.

Hasson hit .483 with six doubles and three triples, drove in 16 runs and scored 15. Hasson also pitched 8.2 innings without giving up a run. He allowed just three singles and went 4-for-4 in save situations.

The Red Riots won their final 11 regular season games to earn the top seed in Class A South before being upset by Falmouth in the quarterfinals.

“It was an unfortunate ending,” Hasson said. “We had good team chemistry.”

Hasson will play soccer and/or baseball at Southern Maine Community College next year.

Baseball coach Mike Owens’ comment: “Riley was our leader in every sense. He’s one of the best all-around players I’ve had at South Portland. He came through time and again in the biggest situations. He was our defensive leader at shortstop, controlling pickoffs and all of our bunt defense. He was new to the mound this year, but we put him in the toughest situations and he came through every time. I was very proud to have him representing our program.”

Mehlhorn, meanwhile, was one of the state’s top scorers and was honored as one of the finest lacrosse players anywhere in Maine.

Mehlhorn started playing lacrosse in the second grade and while he also played soccer and basketball, lacrosse has been his top sport.

“I love how fast it is and the skill you need to play,” said Mehlhorn, whose father, David, played at the University of Massachusetts and professionally with the Boston Blazers. “I hate to lose. It takes me a couple days to recover from a loss.”

Mehlhorn stepped right in and made an impact with the Red Riots varsity as a freshman, scoring 43 goals and adding 28 assists. As a sophomore, he put up 44 goals and 40 assists and was named to the SMAA second-team. This spring, Mehlhorn eclipsed 100 goals for his career, as he scored 35 times, added 27 assists and collected 46 ground balls.

South Portland got off to a fast start this spring, but faltered late and lost to eventual champion Thornton Academy in the Class A South semifinals.

Mehlhorn makes an impact off the field as well, as he belongs to ‘Guys and Pies,’ which helps fight domestic abuse, and SoPo Unite, where athletes keep others aware of drug prevention. Mehlhorn figures to have one more year of high school dominance before he’ll likely take his talented act to the next level.

Lacrosse coach Tom Fiorini’s comment: “Cooper drew the best pole of every team with quick doubles and very early slides, but despite that, he still was the field general out there. He led the team in goals. He spends a lot of time helping the younger guys get better and understand our concepts. He’s such a great asset. His knowledge of the game is better than most adults’.”

Previous winners:

2017 Steven Smith (track)

2016 Sam Troiano (baseball)

2015 Henry Curran (baseball)

2014 Duncan Preston (lacrosse)

2013 Duncan Preston (lacrosse)

2012 Brendan Horton (baseball)

2011 Adrian Reid (track)

2010 Adam Burpee (lacrosse)

2009 Ben Linscott (lacrosse)

2008 Will Furbush (baseball)

2007 Eugene Arsenault (lacrosse)

2006 Thomas McCoubrey (track)

2005 Justin Collett (baseball)

2004 Scott Guillerault (baseball)

2003 Anthony Dambrie (track)

2002 Greg Norton (baseball)

Female:

GRACE RENDE, Junior-Softball

  •  SMAA all-star, first-team

  • Class of 2019 all-star

Rende made the Red Riots go in the batting order and in the outfield and she led them back to the playoffs with the promise of bigger things to come.

Rende started playing softball at a young age.

“I fell in love with softball in high school,” Rende said. “I like the mental aspect of it. You have to work at it to succeed.”

Rende has also played volleyball and basketball in high school, but softball is where she has shined the most.

Rende played third base as a freshman and sophomore, making the all-star team as an honorable mention in 2017. This spring, Rende moved to centerfield, where she stabilized the defense, and at the plate, she hit .371, had a .435 on-base percentage and a .645 slugging percentage. Rende led the team in runs (22), RBI (20) and stolen bases (five).

The Red Riots got to the playoffs before losing to Portland in the Class A South preliminary round.

Rende also plays with the Thunder travel program, belongs to SoPo Unite (talking to middle schoolers about substance abuse) and wants to play softball in college.

First, she has one more high school season to lead South Portland back into the upper echelon. Grace Rende, South Portland’s Spring Female Athlete of the Year, possesses all the tools and is only getting better.

Coach Ralph Aceto’s comment: “I know that Grace played third base last year and hit in the middle of the order, but we decided early on that we needed a catalyst at the top of the order and she fit the bill. Close to the start of the regular season, I asked if she’d mind moving to the outfield to take advantage of her speed and strong throwing arm. She agreed to make the change without hesitation. As the season went along, I realized her high softball IQ and used it to our advantage at-bat and on the bases. Being the first year back, I was extremely pleased with her lead-by-example attitude. She certainly made my job easier and I’m looking forward to coaching her again next year.”

Previous winners:

2017 Juliana Selser (track)

2016 Mary Cronin (lacrosse)

2015 Laurine German (softball)

2014 Shannon Conley (track)

2013 Danica Gleason (softball)

2012 Erin Bogdanovich (softball)

2011 Alexis Bogdanovich (softball)

2010 Katlin Norton (softball)

2009 Danielle DiBiase (softball)

2008 Julie DiMatteo (softball)

2007 Christina Aceto (softball)

2006 Kristin Kill (softball)

2005 Krystal Shannon (softball)

2004 Lindsay Coit (lacrosse)

2003 Nichole Cousins (softball)

2002 Morgan O’Donnell (softball)

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

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Riley Hasson

Cooper Mehlhorn

Grace Rende

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