Spring Coaches of the Year-Southern edition

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Ben Raymond
Cape Elizabeth lacrosse

Tom Griffin
Scarborough softball

Boys’ team:

Ben Raymond, Cape Elizabeth lacrosse

A year after a stunning loss ended a three-year title run, Cape Elizabeth entered the 2017 season playing second fiddle in the minds of many to the team which knocked the Capers off their pedestal last spring, Falmouth. By June, however, Cape Elizabeth was back in its familiar perch, atop the Class B boys’ lacrosse world.

The road wasn’t always easy, but as always, the Capers showed steady improvement and played their best in the biggest games, hallmarks of the program and the its storied coach, Ben Raymond, who, for his work this season, earns The Forecaster’s nod as our Southern edition Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.

Raymond was also honored as Spring Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2010, as well as this past winter after leading the Cape Elizabeth girls’ swim team to a state title.

Raymond has been synonymous with Cape Elizabeth athletic dominance for three decades, starring at soccer, lacrosse and swimming during his high school years and after playing soccer and club lacrosse at Springfield (Massachusetts) College, returning to his alma mater, where he is now the longtime coach in soccer, swimming and lacrosse.

While Raymond has made the Capers very competitive on the pitch and has led them to glory in the pool, it’s been in the spring where he’s been at his best, restoring the lacrosse program to its lofty status as the state’s premier program.

Raymond replaced Charlie Burch as coach in 1998 and in the two decades since, Cape Elizabeth has ended more seasons as champion than it has fallen short.

This spring saw masterful coaching, as despite another painful loss to Falmouth to start the year, the Capers never wavered, rode a chip on their shoulder and improved by the day. By late in the season, Cape Elizabeth went to Falmouth and won, locking up homefield advantage for the playoffs. That loomed large, as the Yachtsmen had to come to Hannaford Field for the regional final and in a game that was decided by a single goal, it’s safe to say playing at home made the difference for the Capers who then went on to down Yarmouth, 16-7, for yet another title, the program’s 11th in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era and its 20th all-time.

“(Getting back) was definitely something we focused on for a year,” said Raymond, who teaches special education at the high school. “The kids knew from day one what the goal was. Last year helped the guys understand they had to bring the right attitude. It was a very fun season.”

Making the 2017 title even sweeter was the fact that Raymond got to share it with his son, Finn Raymond, a rising senior, who starred in the state final.

Ben Raymond, our Southern edition boys’ team Spring Coach of the Year, has set himself apart as a tactician, motivator and winner. Expect the championships to keep on coming.

Previous winners

2016 Mike D’Andrea (Scarborough baseball)

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:

Tom Griffin, Scarborough softball

Scarborough’s softball program had run roughshod over the opposition for three straight years, but had no championship to show for it. This spring, the Red Storm finished the job.

Of course they did. They’re always on the cusp of greatness and that’s long been the case with Tom Griffin at the program’s helm. Griffin has created a powerhouse the rest of the state aspires to be and this season, he and his charges were unbeatable and finished in style.

In light of the consistent excellence he’s established and maintained and for winning another championship, Tom Griffin is The Forecaster’s choice for our Southern edition Spring Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Griffin was also honored in 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2013.

Griffin grew up in Portland and starred in baseball and basketball at Deering High. He went on to pitch as a reliever at the University of Maine. After helping coach baseball and girls’ basketball at his alma mater, Deering, Griffin took the Scarborough softball job in 1990 and after a couple rocky seasons, got the then-Redskins (and since 2001, Red Storm) on the path to dominance. By 1997, Scarborough was Class B champion and after moving up to Class A in 2002, the Red Storm broke through and won the state’s biggest class in 2007. They did it again in 2009, 2011 and once more in 2013.

Frustration then reigned, as a pair of regional final setbacks, sandwiched around a state game loss to Messalonskee, kept the program from adding more hardware.

That all changed this spring, as a typical Scarborough powerhouse featuring lights-out pitching, booming bats, steady fielding and aggressive play on the basepaths, left the opposition in its wake.

The Red Storm won all 16 regular season games (extending their regular season win streak to 73) by outscoring the opposition, 228-15. After beating Gorham, Windham and Portland in the regional playoffs, Scarborough downed Skowhegan, 3-0, to win Class A for the fifth time.

“It’s well deserved,” Griffin said. “The kids worked so hard. We were focused, energized and we had fun. This was the most depth I’ve ever had. Maybe the most talent too. To their credit, the kids found their roles and accepted them. They’re incredible kids who loved to play.”

Griffin, who also teaches physical education at Scarborough Middle School, has won 432 games in his 28 seasons. As long as he’s around, the wins and the titles figure to keep adding up.

That’s because Tom Griffin, our Southern edition girls’ team Spring Coach of the Year, gets the most out of his players year after year after year.

Previous winners:

2016 Sarah Boeckel (Cape Elizabeth tennis)

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.