Special spring sports season won't soon be forgotten-Northern edition

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Caitlyn Camelio and her Falmouth girls’ lacrosse teammates made history this spring by winning the program’s first state championship.

Greely’s softball team celebrated an unexpected regional championship this spring.

Yarmouth’s James Waaler and Freeport’s Colby Wagner were two of many baseball standouts in Forecaster Country this spring. Four of five local squads made the playoffs.

The spring of 2018 will be remembered for high drama, more hardware and weather that might not have been ideal, but certainly better than the year before.

Falmouth’s tennis dynasty continued, as the girls won their 11th consecutive championship and along the way, extended their match win streak to an unthinkable 173, but it didn’t come easily, as the Yachtsmen had to eke out a 3-2 victory over Lewiston in the state final. Falmouth’s boys made it four Class A crowns in five seasons and standout Nick Forester won the boys’ singles title. Freeport’s boys’ team enjoyed the best season in program history, getting to the Class B state final before losing to Caribou.

The outdoor track state meets also produced champions, as Greely’s girls took Class B again, while Falmouth’s boys tied Thornton Academy for top honors in Class A. Several individuals turned heads as well.

The diamond produced drama.

Falmouth wasn’t able to win its third straight Class A South baseball title, but the Yachtsmen did come up big in the playoffs, upsetting Marshwood and top-ranked South Portland, before losing on a walkoff hit to Cheverus in the semifinals. Freeport’s baseball team lost in the preliminary round to Gray-New Gloucester, but defending Class B champion Yarmouth downed Spruce Mountain in that round. The Clippers then rallied for five runs in the seventh inning, but lost an extra-inning heartbreaker to Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals. Greely defeated Gray-New Gloucester and Cape Elizabeth to get to the Class B South Final, but the Rangers finally met their match in Wells.

Greely and Yarmouth’s softball teams qualified for the postseason and while the Clippers were ousted by Cape Elizabeth in the Class B South preliminary round, the Rangers, behind senior ace Kelsey Currier, caught lightning in a bottle, downing Spruce Mountain, Fryeburg Academy, Gray-New Gloucester and Morse to win an improbable regional title. Greely then fell one run short in the state game, losing to Brewer.

Lacrosse produced its usual abundance of excellent players and teams.

North Yarmouth Academy was the top seed in the newly created Class C division, but the Panthers lost to eventual champion Waynflete in the state semifinals. In Class B, Yarmouth and Greely were both victimized by Brunswick in playoff heartbreakers. The Clippers lost to the Dragons in overtime in the state semifinals, while the Rangers fell in OT to Brunswick in the state final. In Class A North, Falmouth earned the top playoff seed in its first season at that level, but after making it to states, the Yachtsmen fell just short and had their title dream denied by Thornton Academy

On the girls’ side, NYA lost to eventual state champion Lake Region in the Class C quarterfinals, while Freeport lost to the Lakers in the semifinals. In Class B, Greely survived an upset bid from longtime nemesis Waynflete in the state quarterfinals, then lost by a goal at Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals. Yarmouth was hoping to win the title that had eluded it the past two years, but despite leading Cape Elizabeth late in regulation of the Class B state final, the Clippers gave up the tying goal, then lost in overtime. That left Falmouth, playing its first season in Class A, and the Yachtsmen pulled the stunner, getting to the state final for the first time before upsetting defending champion Massabesic to win the program’s first championship.

We’re all eager to get on to summer, but before we do, here’s one last look back at the champions and best moments of the spring:

Northern edition spring state champions

Team

Falmouth Yachtsmen girls’ lacrosse, Class A
Falmouth Yachtsmen boys’ tennis, Class A
Falmouth Yachtsmen girls’ tennis, Class A
Greely Rangers girls’ outdoor track, Class B

Northern edition spring regional champions

Falmouth Yachtsmen boys’ lacrosse, Class A North
Freeport Falcons boys’ tennis, Class B South
Greely Rangers softball, Class B South

Individual

Outdoor track

Malaika Pasch, Falmouth, Class A, girls’ 800
Malaika Pasch, Falmouth, Class A, girls’ mile
Lily Horne, Freeport, Class B, girls’ mile
Lily Horne, Freeport, Class B, girls’ two-mile
Elizabeth Brown, Greely, Class B, girls’ high jump
Olivia Reynolds, NYA, Class C, girls’ mile
Olivia Reynolds, NYA, Class C, girls’ two-mile
Tahj Garvey, Yarmouth, Class B, boys’ 400
Luke Laverdiere, Yarmouth, Class B, boys’ mile
Luke Laverdiere, Yarmouth, Class B, boys’ two-mile

Tennis

Nick Forester, Falmouth, boys’ singles

Michael’s top five moments

5) Greely boys’ lacrosse comes oh so close

Greely’s boys’ lacrosse team, long buried in the shadow of Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth and Yarmouth, emerged as the top team in Class B this spring, at least in the regular season. Dramatic overtime victories over Brunswick and Yarmouth helped the Rangers go 9-3 and earn the top seed for the state tournament. After easily dispatching Gardiner and Messalonskee to reach the program’s first state final in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era, Greely dug a hole against Brunswick, roared back in the second half and even led twice before losing in overtime. With a young nucleus, don’t be surprised if the Rangers get back to the big stage and finish what this year’s inspiring team started. 

4) Greely diamond squads save best for last

Neither Greely’s baseball or softball team appeared destined for big things for most of the regular season, but when the calendar flipped to June, both squads stole headlines. Baseball, which long ago demonstrated a penchant for being at its best in the biggest games, knocked off Gray-New Gloucester on a walkoff hit in the quarterfinals, then avenged last year’s playoff ouster with a semifinal round victory at Cape Elizabeth. A rough first inning spelled doom, however, against Wells in a regional final setback. Greely’s softball team went even farther in the tournament. At one point 5-7, the Rangers won their final four regular season games, then did whatever it took to down Spruce Mountain, Fryeburg Academy, Gray-New Gloucester and Morse to make it to states for just the third time in program history. There, Greely gave favored Brewer fits before losing, 1-0.

3) Freeport boys’ tennis makes history

Freeport’s boys’ tennis team came into the 2018 season hoping to turn heads. The Falcons wound up one point shy of winning a state title. The latest in a series of resurgent Freeport teams to steal headlines, the Falcons went 9-3 in the regular season, then downed York, Yarmouth and perennial powerhouse Cape Elizabeth to win a regional championship for the first time. Freeport then battled Caribou to the wire in the state match before falling just short, 3-2. Despite the setback, the finest season in program history won’t soon be forgotten.

2) Falmouth girls’ tennis still unbeaten…barely

Falmouth’s girls’ tennis dynasty might have been a little more mortal this spring than in most seasons, but at the end of the year, it wound up champions once more. The Yachtsmen went 12-0 in the regular season and had to hold off Kennebunk, 3-2, May 16, but after beating Windham, Scarborough and Portland with relative ease in the regional tournament, Falmouth was back in the state match. The Yachtsmen would win Class A for the fifth year in a row and capture their 11th straight title overall, but it came down to Meredith Kelley at first singles and Kelley, after losing the first set, rose to the occasion, giving Falmouth a 3-2 victory, more hardware and its mindboggling 173rd consecutive match victory.

1) Falmouth girls’ lax shocks the world

Tennis wasn’t the only Falmouth girls’ sport to win a championship this spring. While the title on the court was expected, the one captured by the girls’ lacrosse team came in stunning and historic fashion. The Yachtsmen moved up to Class A and welcomed a new coach, Ashley Pullen, this spring and with just one senior on the roster, appeared to be a year away from serious title contention. That was confirmed in the minds of many by early season losses to Class A powerhouses Kennebunk and Massabesic, but Falmouth quietly peaked as the season progressed and after ousting Windham and Cheverus in the regional tournament to reach states for the first time, the Yachtsmen led favored Massabesic most of the way en route to a 10-7 victory in the state final. After many close calls, Falmouth could finally call itself state champs.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@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.