Boys’ team:

Derek Soule, Greely baseball

Greely’s baseball program has long been among the state’s finest, but prior to this spring, the Rangers had never repeated as state champions. The odds of it happening in 2015 weren’t great after graduation took a hefty toll and Greely looked mortal during the regular season, but this program flips the switch in June like no one else and after surviving a couple scares, the Rangers again found themselves at the pinnacle.

A big reason that Greely is a consistent powerhouse, a program with a unique professionalism and now is a repeat champion is the hulking figure in the third base coaching box, Derek Soule, whose ability to put the right pieces in the right places produced more hardware and earned The Forecaster’s nod as our northern edition Spring Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.

Soule also was named Coach of the Year following the 2007 season.

Soule, one of a long line of family standouts on the diamond (his father, Mort, is a member of several Halls of Fame and has served as a Greely assistant for many years), has long been synonymous with Greely and success. He played soccer, basketball and baseball for the Rangers in high school, then played baseball at the University of Maine.

He began coaching as an assistant to his father at Deering while still in college, then took over the Greely junior varsity job before replacing Maine Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Anthoine (now a Greely assistant) as Rangers head coach in 2000. Soule had immediate success, but couldn’t get over the championship hump until 2007. Greely won it all again in 2009 and behind an almost unhittable pitching staff, won the Class B title in 2014.

With a lot of holes to fill and a typically challenging regional field this spring, Greely had its hands full and the Rangers went 11-5 in the regular season, their fewest victories since 2010, but after outlasting Yarmouth in nine innings in the quarterfinals, slugging its way past York in the semifinals and rallying for a thrilling eight-inning decision over Cape Elizabeth in the regional final, Greely returned to the big stage.

And dominated.

Even without ace Will Bryant, the Rangers put on a show against Camden Hills, riding a gem from ace-in-waiting Ryan Twitchell to prevail, 10-0, in five innings, and a repeat title was at hand.

“In some ways, it was the most gratifying experience I’ve had as a coach,” said Soule, who again got to celebrate as a Dad as well as a coach with his son, Cal, the shortstop. “We saved our best for last. We’ve had more dominant teams, but this team was fascinating to watch. The ups and downs really made me appreciate what we had to go through.”

Soule, who teaches English and social studies at Greely High School, now has 234 victories and four championships at the Rangers’ helm and there’s no reason to think that Greely won’t remain a title contender next year and in the years to come.

The Rangers continue to dominate on the field and carry themselves as champions off the field. Those qualities start at the top with Derek Soule, our northern edition boys’ team Spring Coach of the Year.

Previous winners:

2014 Geoff Arris (Freeport lacrosse)

2013 David Pearl (Yarmouth lacrosse)

2012 Kevin Winship (Falmouth baseball)

2011 Bob McCully (Falmouth tennis)

2010 Marc Halsted (Yarmouth baseball)

2009 Mike LeBel (Falmouth lacrosse)

2008 Casey Abbott (Greely lacrosse)

2007 Derek Soule (Greely baseball)

2006 Chris Carpentier (Freeport lacrosse)

2005 Chris Mazzurco (NYA track)

2004 Craig Curry (Yarmouth lacrosse)

2003 Bruce Poliquin (NYA baseball)

2002 Hank Ogilby (Freeport baseball)

Girls’ team:

Amy Ashley, Yarmouth softball

To say that Amy Ashley is living a charmed life right now would be an epic understatement.

Ashley got married last year, enjoyed a memorable playoff run with her Cheverus field hockey team in the fall and is due to have her first child in November.

Then there’s what she just accomplished.

Leading Yarmouth’s softball team to the program’s first championship.

For getting her team to peak at the right time and make history in the process, Amy Ashley is The Forecaster’s choice as our northern edition Spring Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Ashley (nee McMullin) was a three-sport (field hockey, basketball, softball) standout at Messalonskee High School. She went on to play field hockey and basketball at Franklin Pierce University. After college, she came to Cheverus as the assistant to the athletic director and quickly made a name for herself as one of the state’s best field hockey coaches. She was named Coach of the Year in 2009 and led the Stags to a surprising regional championship in 2010. She also served as Cheverus’ softball coach and as a basketball assistant before becoming Yarmouth’s softball coach in 2014 and it’s assistant athletic director this past school year.

In 2014, the Clippers got to the semifinals and appeared primed for a trip to the regional final, but they let a five-run seventh inning lead slip away in a loss at Cape Elizabeth. This spring, Yarmouth figured to be in the hunt, but few thought that it was title bound.

After a 13-3 regular season, marred only by losses to Greely, Poland and York, the Clippers, channelling the disappointment of last year’s agonizing loss, riding the pitching brilliance of junior Mari Cooper, along with timely hitting and defense, were at their best in the playoffs, shutting out all three regional foes to reach the state final for the first time, where they made history by downing Hermon to win it all.

“I want to say I thought this was possible from day one, but that’s not true,” Ashley said. “It took us awhile to pull it together, but we did it. It took all 13 kids and three coaches to do it.”

Speaking of the other coaches, one is Ashley’s husband, Richie Ashley, and the other is her sister, Janet Tinker.

“I have the best coaching staff to work with,” Ashley said. “It’s awesome. We bring different styles and everyone gets coached. It means so much to do it with them.”

Next spring, with a baby in tow, Ashley will look to lead Yarmouth to a repeat championship. The next one won’t catch anyone by surprise.

That’s because the Clippers are now on the map for good and for that, the program can thank Amy Ashley, our northern edition girls’ team Spring Coach of the Year.

Previous winners:

2014 Ben Caswell (Greely tennis)

2013 Sandra Stone (Falmouth tennis)

2012 Karin Kurry (Freeport lacrosse)

2011 Sara Dimick (Greely lacrosse)

2010 Julia Sterling (NYA lacrosse)

2009 Sandra Stone (Falmouth tennis)

2008 Julia Littlefield (NYA lacrosse)

2007 Robin Haley (Falmouth lacrosse)

2006 Dorothy Holt (Yarmouth lacrosse)

2005 Sandra Stone (Falmouth tennis)

2004 Ann Harradon (Yarmouth tennis)

2003 Julia Seely (NYA tennis)

2002 Julia Littlefield (Yarmouth lacrosse)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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