1. Portland: Last year’s runner-up in Western Class A (now Class A South) returns its top two pitchers – Dan Marzilli and Charles Barnard – and starters at every position except catcher. First baseman John Williams and shortstop Jake Knop lead an experienced lineup that should be especially strong in the field.
2. Falmouth: Center fielder Connor Aube and shortstop Robbie Armitage head a solid lineup, and junior lefty Cam Guarino is one of the state’s top pitchers. The Yachtsmen play mostly a Class B schedule but should contend for the Class A South title.
3. Cheverus: The Stags are counting on bounce-back seasons from catcher/first baseman Jensen LaPoint and pitcher Alex Jacobs. Third baseman Chris Vallee, an SMAA second-team all-star in 2015, is another veteran in a lineup that will include two sophomores and a freshman.
4. South Portland: The 2015 Western Class A champ lost 11 seniors but still has pitcher/outfielder Sam Troiano, a two-time all-SMAA selection, and his brother Nick, a catcher. Ben Conti, Griffin Kelley and Drew Abramson are other key returnees.
5. Greely: The Rangers have won two straight Class B state championships and return six regulars, including pitcher Ryan Twitchell and the senior double-play combo of Calvin Soule (shortstop) and Justin Leeman (second base).
6. Cape Elizabeth: The Capers have almost everyone back from a team that lost in extra innings to Greely in the Western Class B final, including pitchers Marshall Peterson, Nate Ingalls and Bryce Hewitt, and sophomore catcher Brendan Tinsman.
7. Thornton Academy: Senior pitcher Ben Lambert – the SMAA’s most valuable player in 2015 – and all-SMAA catcher Brandon Hall lead a team that went 11-6 last season but was upset in the first round of the playoffs.
8. Deering: Center fielder Dom Bernard, the reigning SMAA batting champion, is the focal point of the offense for a team that went 11-7 last year. Junior pitchers James Sinclair and Colby Dame were regulars in the rotation as sophomores.
9. Yarmouth: The Clippers were just 8-8 last season but lost only two regulars and have four of their top five pitchers back. Left fielder C.J. Cawley, catcher Jack Snyder and second baseman Andrew Kinsman are third-year starters, and first baseman Chris O’Donnell was an all-WMC selection.
10. Sacopee Valley: The Hawks lost only three games combined in 2014 and 2015, and have seven returning starters – four of whom were WMC Class C/D first-team all-stars. Shortstop Brady Anderson and catcher Kyle Jordan are the catalysts on offense, and left-hander Roderick Maynard went 8-1 last year.