Southern edition Spring Coaches of the Year

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Boys’ team:

Mike D’Andrea, Scarborough baseball

Mike D’Andrea turning Scarborough’s baseball team into a winner overnight didn’t come as a surprise. 

That’s because D’Andrea has long been recognized as the state’s premier coach and after a long stint away from high school baseball, he returned with a vengeance, improving Scarborough’s win total from seven to 13, leading the Red Storm to Class A South semifinals and in light of those accomplishments, The Forecaster is naming Mike D’Andrea our Southern edition Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.

D’Andrea has enjoyed the Midas touch on the diamond since he first picked up a glove. He starred at Portland High and the University of Maine (he still holds the program record for victories, 27), then was a member of the Atlanta Braves minor league organization until arm injuries derailed his major league dreams.

D’Andrea then took to coaching and created a dynasty at Deering, leading the Rams to seven Class A state titles and also helping Nova Seafoods win the American Legion World Series in 2004. D’Andrea sent several standout players on to college and one, Ryan Flaherty, to the major leagues.

D’Andrea, who also enjoyed a highly successful run as Deering’s girls’ basketball coach, leading the Rams to two state titles in that sport, stepped down after the 2008 season and spent several years working for Edge Academy, helping match elite high school players with college programs.

This spring, D’Andrea returned to the high school ranks and inherited a Scarborough squad which went 7-9 and barely missed the playoffs in 2015. This year’s Red Storm team didn’t have a lot of established talent, but to no one’s surprise, D’Andrea quickly made Scarborough into a winner.

“If you have a team that was going to go 8-8, Mike automatically makes them at least 12-4,” said Portland coach Mike Rutherford. “He’s worth at least four more wins than you’d expect.”

D’Andrea was actually worth six more wins this season.

Scarborough started 5-0 and never looked back, as the Red Storm bought into D’Andrea’s daring style of play and gained confidence every time they took the field. D’Andrea’s return to Hadlock Field resulted in a win over Deering and Scarborough wound up 13-3, losing only to Bonny Eagle, South Portland and Marshwood.

As the No. 3 seed in Class A South, the Red Storm earned a bye into the quarterfinals, where they ousted Gorham, 4-0. The magical ride finally came to an end in the semifinals with an 8-5 loss to defending regional champion South Portland. 

“Coach makes it so different in practice with a lot more intensity,” said Scarborough pitcher Mitchell Wedge. “It’s the little things like stealing bases, pickoffs.”

D’Andrea was thrilled with the effort of his players.

“We met my expectations for sure,” D’Andrea said. “The kids worked hard. They never complained. They accepted their roles and did them. They progressed really well and got better every game. Everyone was on the same page and made this happen. The kids deserved what they got.”

D’Andrea, who also serves as a physical education teacher at Deering, is non-committal on how long he’ll remain a high school coach, but one thing is for sure, as long as he’s teaching players, they’ll be extremely successful.

Mike D’Andrea, our Southern edition boys’ team Spring Coach of the Year, has excelled at his craft for a long time. This past season might have been his best work yet.

Previous winners

2015 Mike Owens (South Portland baseball)

2014 Tom Fiorini (South Portland lacrosse)

2013 Andy Strout (Cape Elizabeth tennis)

2012 Chris Hayward (Cape Elizabeth baseball)

2011 Craig MacDonald (Scarborough tennis)

2010 Ben Raymond (Cape Elizabeth lacrosse)

2009 Jim Cronin (Scarborough baseball)

2008 Joe Hezlep (Scarborough lacrosse)

2007 Craig McDonald (Scarborough tennis)

2006 Tobey Farrington (Scarborough lacrosse)

2005 Dave Weatherbie (Cape Elizabeth track)

2004 Todd Day (Cape Elizabeth baseball)

2003 Ben Raymond (Cape Elizabeth lacrosse)

2002 Andy Strout (Cape Elizabeth tennis)

Girls’ team:

Sarah Boeckel, Cape Elizabeth tennis

The time was right and the team was right and as a result, Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ tennis program, one of the state’s proudest, returned to the pinnacle this spring.

The Capers had been knocking on the door for several seasons, but this year, they played their best in the biggest matches and captured their first Class B championship since 2007.

Pulling the strings behind the scene was a coach who’s had a lot of success in her short time in town. Sarah Boeckel already had a volleyball state title to her credit and now, for orchestrating a tennis championship, she’s The Forecaster’s choice as our Southern edition Spring Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Boeckel was also named Fall Coach of the Year of a girls’ team after the Capers’ 2014 volleyball championship.

Boeckel, a Buffalo, New York native, played lacrosse at Stony Brook University and began coaching tennis in Cape Elizabeth in 2011. In her first five seasons , the Capers got to the semifinals three times and as far as the regional final once.

This spring, Cape Elizabeth went 9-3 in the regular season, losing twice to unbeatable Falmouth (which has won nine consecutive championships and 141 straight matches) and once to Yarmouth.

As the No. 2 seed in Class B South, the Capers ended Greely’s two-year title reign with a 5-0 victory in the quarterfinals, avenged their regular season loss by eliminating Yarmouth, 5-0, in the semifinals, then completed a perfect run through the region with a 5-0 victory over York in the Class B South Final. At states, Cape Elizabeth finished it off in style with a 4-1 win over Camden Hills.

 “The girls were playing their best tennis when they needed to, “Boeckel said. “All the girls played with confidence.”

Boeckel teaches physical education at Cape Elizabeth High School and hopes to add more hardware next year in volleyball and tennis.

That’s a realistic goal. Sarah Boeckel, our Southern edition girls’ team Spring Coach of the Year, has demonstrated an uncanny ability to get the most out of her players and have seasons end with championship celebrations.

Previous winners:

2015 Leslie Dyer (South Portland lacrosse)

2014 Jeff Perkins (Cape Elizabeth lacrosse)

2013 Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)

2012 Jeff Perkins (Cape Elizabeth lacrosse)

2011 Marcia Wood (Scarborough lacrosse)

2010 Ralph Aceto (South Portland softball)

2009 Ralph Aceto (South Portland softball)

2008 Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)

2007 Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)

2006 Joe Henrikson (Cape Elizabeth softball)

2005 Jim Hartman (South Portland softball)

2004 Susan Ray (Cape Elizabeth tennis)

2003 Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)

2002 Jack DiBiase (South Portland softball)

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

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