Yarmouth Clippers Spring Sports Preview

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Junior Anders Corey will be a top scorer again this spring for a Yarmouth boys’ lacrosse team chasing an elusive state title.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Marc Halsted (13th year, 137-81-1 overall record, one state championship)

2018 record: 10-8 (Lost, 6-5, in nine-innings, to Cape Elizabeth in Class B South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Toby Burgmaier (Senior), Jack Romano (Senior), Aidan Hickey (Junior), Jason Lainey (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 24 GREELY, May 8 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 13 @ Greely, May 15 FREEPORT, May 20 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 28 @ Freeport

Coach’s comment: “I love our mix. Stalwarts like Romano, Burgmaier, Lainey, and Hickey will anchor our program as we introduce a really talented sophomore class. Four of those guys are six-feet-plus and almost all of them are three-sport athletes who love to grind and compete. We’ll sort out our pitching situation as the season evolves. Our team goals never change. We want to win 10-plus games, earn a good playoff position, fight for a championship and never stop ‘Rowing the Boat.’ We can’t wait to get started.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Yarmouth wasn’t able to repeat as Class B champions a year ago, but the Clippers certainly didn’t go quietly in their playoff loss to Cape Elizabeth. This spring, Yarmouth is right back in the mix of top teams in a deep and balanced Class B South.

Romano was a first-team league all-star in 2018 and will pace the offense as a centerfielder (he had a .390 batting average last year with 23 hits, 12 RBI and four doubles) and also serve as the closer on the mound (four holds, three saves, 1.00 earned run average in 2018). Burgmaier (2-1, 1.05 ERA) and Lainey (2.05 ERA) will be top starting pitchers. Senior Aaron Belesca and sophomores Will Dickinson, Jake Gautreau and Jack McGrath will eat up innings as well. Helping pace the offense will be Burgmaier (.308 average last season), who plays second base when he isn’t pitching, Lainey (.283 average, 13 hits, 11 RBI), a second baseman, Hickey (.265, 13 hits, 13 RBI), who plays shortstop, Dickinson and McGrath. Junior Teddy Norton (outfield) and sophomore Will Cox (third base/outfield), who will likely be the leadoff hitter, add depth.

Yarmouth (which lost, 7-1, at York in the opener Thursday) will focus on pitching and defense, being aggressive on the basepaths and will seek the timely hit. If all these ingredients come together. the Clippers will be right there with many top teams in the region. Don’t be surprised if another June success story is the final result.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Ashley Marden (first year)

2018 record: 9-8 (Lost, 4-3, to Cape Elizabeth in Class B South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Lydia Guay (Senior), Ceanne Lyon (Senior), Alex Manthorne (Senior), Cayte Tillotson (Senior), Tasha Powers (Junior), Adriana Whitlock (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 24 GREELY, April 30 @ York, May 8 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 13 @ Greely, May 20 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 23 FRYEBURG

Coach’s comment: “Our goal is to play clean games and be competitive. This team has a lot of talent and I’m excited to be a part of it. We are out there to have fun and win games. We will learn from our successes and mistakes and grow together as a team. I can see us making it to playoffs this year and, like all coaches, would love to make it to states.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Yarmouth produced its fifth straight winning season a year ago and should be one of the top contenders again this spring as Marden takes over. Marden played at the University of Maine-Presque Isle and previously coached Unified basketball in Yarmouth. She inherits a squad with a lot of experience and talent.

Lyon will be the ace pitcher. Powers will also see time on the hill. They have a solid catcher in Tillotson. When Powers (who will hit clean-up) doesn’t pitch, she’ll be at first base, as part of a strong infield which also includes Manthorne (second base), junior shortstop Maddy Hayes and sophomore third baseman Sadie Gallant. Guay (leftfield) and Whitlock (centerfield) are veterans in the outfield. They’re joined by junior rightfielder Shanti Gallivan. Freshmen Olivia Bradford, Ellie Fortin and Cat Jordan will see time as well.

The Clippers have the pieces in place to be very competitive all season and if everything comes together, Yarmouth expects to enjoy a lengthy playoff run.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: David Pearl (eighth year, 72-37 overall record)

2018 record: 9-5 (Lost, 14-13, in OT, to eventual champion Brunswick in Class B state semifinals)

Top returning players: Cole Buchanan (Senior), Michael Guertler (Senior), James Hook (Senior), Griffin Primeau (Senior), Jake Rogers (Senior), Anders Corey (Junior), Gavin Hamm (Junior), Spencer King (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ Cape Elizabeth, April 30 @ NYA, May 3 @ South Portland, May 10 @ Falmouth, May 23 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 27 @ Greely, May 31 WAYNFLETE

Coach’s comment: “We’re looking good. I have a great group of leaders. Our spirit is very high. The boys are hungry. They haven’t forgotten last year. They’re very prepared. I’m seeing hustle and competitiveness. A number of players are vying for roles and we’re seeing some epic battles in practice. That should translate to the field. Anders will be an attackmen that every team needs to take into account.  We can’t wait to get this rolling.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Yarmouth suffered its share of cruel fate a year ago, losing its final two regular season games in overtime, then letting a late lead slip away in an overtime loss at Brunswick in the semifinals. Had the Clippers won any of those games, an elusive state title could have ensued. Instead, it was agony. This year’s team believes it has what it takes to turn the tables and be the last team standing and there’s ample reason for optimism.

Corey was a first-team all-star last season and he’ll be one of the state’s top attackmen this spring. Primeau (an all-star in 2018) will win the majority of his faceoffs and get the Clippers possession. Guertler, a captain and second-team all-star last season, along with Hamm, are forces in the midfield. Hook and Rogers (another captain) both made the first-team last season and will anchor the defense, along with senior captain and longstick middie Cole Buchanan. King, coming off an all-star season, returns in goal and should be one of the stingiest keepers around.

Yarmouth has all the elements in place to go toe-to-toe with the state’s best teams and the Clippers play most of them. If Yarmouth can close out games better than it did in 2018, this season could have the happy ending that slipped away a year ago.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Dorothy Holt (15th year, 161-48 overall record, five state championships)

2018 record: 12-3 (Lost, 12-11, in OT, to Cape Elizabeth in Class B state final)

Top returning players: Isabel Brennan (Senior), Hannah Grant (Senior), Kyaira Grondin (Senior), Izzy Serrano (Senior), Abi Thornton (Senior), Jane Fulton (Junior), Ehryn Groothoff (Junior), Avery May (Junior), Annie Lowenstein (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 23 FREEPORT, April 26 MASSABESIC, May 3 @ Kennebunk, May 8 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 10 @ NYA, May 28 @ Greely, May 31 WAYNFLETE

Coach’s comment: “We’re relatively young, but our young ones are good. We lost eight starters, but we have good senior leadership and the girls are working hard. It’ll take us a couple games to figure it out. We hope to be strong at the end. Our goal is to take it game by game.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After consecutive agonizing state game losses to Kennebunk (by a goal) and Cape Elizabeth (by a goal, in overtime), Yarmouth has been hit hard by graduation, but if you’re expecting the Clippers to come back to the pack, guess again. There is still plenty of talent on the roster and Yarmouth has one of the most accomplished coaches in the state. That will add up to a serious contender when all is said and done.

Thornton was a second-team league all-star in 2018. She’ll be a top scoring threat this season and will see time in both the midfield and on attack. Grant, Grondin, Groothoff and Lowenstein are other veterans who will pace the offense. They’ll be bolstered by the arrival of sophomores Maddie Marston, Emma Moll, Bella Solari, Natalie Teare and Anna Thornton and freshman Katelyn D’Appolonia. Defensively, the Clippers will be paced by Brennan, Fulton and May. Sophomore Lizzy Guertler is a nice addition to will make the Clippers that much more formidable in front of Serrano in goal.

Cape Elizabeth is the defending champion and Class B favorite, Greely’s not far behind and you can never write off Waynflete, but Yarmouth will wind up in the mix. If the younger players come along as hoped, the Clippers could reach the final Saturday again and capture that championship which has been just outside their grasp the past three seasons.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Sarah Carrigan (first year)

2018 results:

(Boys) tie-6th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 24th @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Wyatt Bates (Senior), Ben Cox-Faxon (Senior), Noah Eckersley-Ray (Senior), Odeh Rizkalleh (Senior), Sean Whynot (Senior), Chris Koskinen (Junior), Michael McNeil (Junior), Conor Wolff (Sophomore)

(Girls) Caitlen Hewitt (Senior), Kim Fuller (Senior), Paige Reinfelder (Senior), Sophie Walsh (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “Our goal this season is primarily based on team-building and supporting each other to achieve individual improvement. We are looking to get everyone a personal record and build a strong team culture.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Yarmouth should be competitive again in the league as Carrigan takes over as coach. She also served as the school’s cross country and indoor coach this school year. She has a promising squad.

The boys’ team will certainly miss distance standout Luke Laverdiere, now running at Harvard. This spring, Cox-Faxon, Rizkallah, Whynot and Wolff are the top distance runners. Koskinen will lead the sprinters. Bates (Yarmouth’s Winter Male Athlete of the Year after a strong indoor campaign) will look to score in the hurdles, but his top events are the high jump and long jump. Eckersley-Ray will be a top scorer in the throws (he placed fourth in the javelin last spring). McNeil also competes in the throws. Koskinen will contend in the pole vault. This is a group that has the potential to turn heads during league competition and make a run at another top-10 state meet finish.

On the girls’ side, Walsh will contend in the sprints and hurdles. Fuller has experience in the jumps, while Hewitt hopes to score in the javelin and Reinfelder will be heard from in the pole vault. Three freshmen help the cause. Laney McDonough and Trinity Sinker are sprinters to watch, while Elena Schlax could be a factor in the jumps. Look for this group to simply get better in the weeks to come.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Bill Shardlow (second year)

2018 record: 10-4 (Lost, 4-1, to Freeport in Class B South semifinals)

Top returning player: Parker Rollins (Senior), Shepard Shutkin (Senior), Joe Wilson (Senior), Liam Ireland (Junior), Will Nicholas (Junior), Miles Hagedorn (Sophomore), G.W. Ruth (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We’ll still be a reasonably young team, so our goal is to improve every day, every match and be competitive.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Yarmouth is coming off a strong season and could be even better this spring.

The Clippers return first-team league all-star Shutkin at singles. Ireland and Nicholas were also all-stars last season. Rollins and Wilson bring experience. Hagedorn and Ruth are back for a second year. Three freshmen, Sutter Auger, Asher Lockwood and Archie McDonough, step in to bolster the lineup.

Yarmouth is viewed as a top contender in a very talented Class B South. To dethrone Freeport and hold off perennial powerhouse Cape Elizabeth, the Clippers will need to show steady improvement and be at their best in June. Don’t be surprised if that’s exactly how it plays out.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Ann Harradon (22nd year, four state championships)

2018 record: 8-5 (Lost, 5-0, to Cape Elizabeth in Class B South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Clementine Blaschke (Senior), Mairen O’Neill (Senior), Lexie Caterine (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “I have three veteran girls back and they’re playing singles. We hope to get better as the season goes on. Once we’re on courts, I think we will. Making the playoffs is always our goal.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Yarmouth has been frustrated by the weather and poor court conditions in the preseason, but once things get rolling, the Clippers figure to be right in the thick of contention like they always are (they’ve only missed the playoffs once in the past three decades).

Blaschke made the WMC all-star team last season and is back at first singles. Caterine (another all-star) will play in the second singles position. O’Neill, another veteran, will play third singles. Freshman Hannelore Sanokklis is new to the squad and will likely be in a doubles position. Other spots were being sorted out at press time.

While Cape Elizabeth and Greely are viewed as the teams to beat in Class B South, Yarmouth figures to do what it always does, steadily improve and be a very dangerous out come playoff time. A deep postseason run isn’t out of the question.

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

Rest assured that senior Jack Romano will do whatever it takes to helps Yarmouth’s baseball team win games.

Junior Jason Lainey will do his share of damage as a pitcher and hitter for the Clippers this season.

Senior Ceanne Lyon is the returning ace pitcher for Yarmouth’s softball team.

Senior Lydia Guay is another veteran returner.

Junior Tasha Powers is a top hitter and will also see time on the hill for the Clippers.

Senior Griffin Primeau is one of the league’s top faceoff men and a solid midfielder to boot.

Junior Gavin Hamm is another midfielder to watch.

Junior Spencer King is back for another season between the pipes.

Junior Ehryn Groothoff has scored some big goals in her career. She’ll look to score more this spring and lead Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team back to the state final.

Senior Izzy Serrano returns in goal for the Clippers.

Senior Abi Thornton was an all-star last season and will score a lot of goals this spring.

Senior distance runner Ben Cox-Faxon is a top returner for Yarmouth’s boys’ outdoor track team.

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