Spring 2011 Male Athlete of the Year:

MATT MACDOWELL, Senior—Baseball

* WMC Class B Player of the Year

* John Winkin Award Finalist

* WMC Class B All-Star, first-team

* WMC All-Academic team

* Senior All-Star

The phrase student-athlete often fails to hold water, but there are many terrific kids in our midst who not only standout on the playing field, but in the classroom as well.

Matt MacDowell is one of them.

As one of the best players in the state, offensively and defensively, he helped his team peak at the right team and meet its preseason potential. Off the diamond, his academic prowess helped him land a berth at an Ivy League college.

For being such a premier ballplayer, fine student and well-rounded young man, Matt MacDowell gets The Forecaster’s nod as Falmouth’s Spring 2011 Male Athlete of the Year.

MacDowell grew up in Falmouth and comes by his baseball talent naturally, as he is related to University of Southern Maine coach Ed Flaherty, along with his sons, Ryan (who is playing ball in the Cubs’ organization) and Regan (who’s at Vanderbilt University). If that’s not enough, MacDowell’s father, Steve, was a catcher at Portland High and St. Joseph’s College.

Matt, naturally, starting playing baseball at a young age and played a key role for the Yachtsmen, most notably this spring when he hit .429, slugged. 696, had 24 hits (including seven doubles, two home runs and a triple), 20 RBI, 18 runs and only struck out twice all year. Defensively, he made only two errors and threw out six runners.

Highlights included a double and two singles in a win over Freeport, two doubles and three RBI versus Lake Region, two solo home runs at York, a double, single, run scored and RBI in a win over Fryeburg, a two-run single in a decisive win at Yarmouth and two hits and two RBI versus Fryeburg.

Falmouth, which at one point was 4-5, won six of its last seven to make the playoffs, then upset defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals, thanks in large part to a MacDowell RBI triple. The Yachtsmen led eventual regional champ Greely late in the semifinals before the Rangers rallied to end their season..

From start to finish, MacDowell, who also played hockey at Falmouth, didn’t just hit with authority, but he adeptly handled the pitching staff and caused most baserunners to think twice before attempting to steal.

MacDowell, who is playing American Legion ball this summer and previously took part in a Fall Showcase League and a camp at Vanderbilt, had the goal of playing Division I baseball and he’ll achieve it next fall at Dartmouth. He’s undecided on a major.

Rest assured he’ll do something special at the next level. That’s because Matt MacDowell, Falmouth’s Spring 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, rises to the occasion and makes a mark. On and off the field.

Coach Kevin Winship’s comment: “Matt was the heart of our team. He was a threat to every team both as a hitter and behind the plate. He was a game-changer. Because of his defensive ability, he limited teams to what they could do, making stealing bases against us very difficult. His bat in the lineup was always dangerous. He could change the game with one swing. He’s worked very hard to make himself into a Division I player, taking extra batting practice, working on his catching drills, going down to the field on off days. Not only is he a great player, he’s also an extremely nice young man. It’s been a pleasure to coach him.”

2010 winner: Dan Hanley (Lacrosse)

2009 winner: Tommy Winger (Track)

2008 winner: Ethan Shaw (Track)

2007 winner: Ethan Shaw (Track)

2006 winner: Chris Morrison (Tennis)

2005 winner: Antonio Floridino (Track)

2004 winner: Aaron Paradis (Baseball)

2003 winner: Antonio Floridino (Track)

2002 winner: Matt Dissell (Track)

Spring 2011 Female Athlete of the Year

KELSEY FREEDMAN, Senior—Softball

* WMC Class B All-Star, first-team

* WMC All-Academic team

The old adage about lies and statistics never rang more true than in regards to Kelsey Freedman’s 2011 season.

Freedman was superb from start to finish, one of the finest pitchers in the league, but she was on the wrong end of many close decisions, including a heartbreaking playoff loss to Greely.

Regardless, she improved dramatically this spring, was at her best against the toughest foes and was pretty impressive off the diamond as well, convincing The Forecaster to select Kelsey Freedman as Falmouth’s Spring 2011 Female Athlete of the Year.

Freedman grew up in Falmouth and started playing softball in T-ball. She joined the Falmouth varsity as a freshman and was a top contributor throughout her high school years, never more so than in 2011.

The tone for her season was set in a 4-3 loss to Wells in the opener, when she struck out nine and only allowed four hits, but suffered the setback nonetheless. Her improved offensive skills showed the next game, a 4-1 win over Freeport, when she singled, double and scored a run. She also earned the save. Freedman had two hits and struck out 11 versus Cape Elizabeth, singled, tripled and drove in two runs versus Gray-New Gloucester, earned a win in relief against Lake Region, homered (over the fence), singled, drove in three runs and threw a three-hitter in a win at Greely, threw a one-hitter with 10 Ks against Poland, no-hit York (while driving in a pair of runs), fanned nine in an upset win over Yarmouth, homered and doubled versus Cape Elizabeth, doubled twice against Greely, two-hit Sacopee (with 10 strikeouts) and held eventual champion Fryeburg to three hits in one game and four in another (both losses).

Against Greely in the preliminary round of the Western B playoffs, Freedman only allowed three hits, but one was a decisive home run in a 2-1 loss.

Statistically, she had few rivals this spring, boasting a 1.71 earned run average with 118 strikeouts in 90 innings, but somehow, she wound up just 5-7. Offensively, she upped her average from .256 in 2010 to .416. She belted 25 hits (including five doubles, three triples and two home runs), scored 12 runs and drove in 16.

“I worked hard last winter at Maine Hits and got pitching lessons,” Freedman said.

Freedman, who was the field hockey’s varsity goalie for three years, was a member of video yearbook, played ASA softball and just returned from a Safe Passage trip to Guatemala. She made the conference’s All-Academic team. Her next stop is Bates College, where she’ll play field hockey and possibly softball. She’s undecided on a major.

Expect her to keep impressing in college, on and off the playing field. Kelsey Freedman, Falmouth’s Spring 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, showed that hard work can pay great dividends.

Coach John Keyes’ comment: “Kelsey has worked hard on all aspects of her game. She started hitting four days a week in November and pitching the other days. This was the best team I’ve coached at Falmouth and Kelsey is the best student-athlete I’ve every had the privilege to coach. As a coach, you always hope you can have an impact on your players, making them better people, students and athletes. In Kelsey’s case, she had that impact on me in making me a better person and coach.”

2010 winner: Analise Kump (Tennis)

2009 winner: Annie Criscione (Tennis)

2008 winner: Hallsey Leighton (Tennis)

2007 winner: Carly Applebaum (Track)

2006 winner: Kristen Meahl (Tennis)

2005 winner: Eileen Brandes (Softball)

2004 winner: Kristen Meahl (Tennis)

2003 winner: Beth Rubenstein (Track)

2002 winner: Beth Rubenstein (Track)

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