Baseball
Coach: Brad Smith
Last year’s record: 10-8
Key players lost: Damien Pye (P/OF); Josiah Rottari (P/SS); Wil Shufelt (P/DH); Eli Winchester (P/SS); Cam Usher (1B)
Key players returning: Nick McCann (sr., C, Captain); Cam Andrews (sr., P/3B, Captain); Cooper Winslow (sr., P/SS); Aiden Sweeney (jr., 1B); Logan True (jr., SS/2B); Jake Dyer (jr., OF)
Key newcomers: Matt Johnson (jr., P/OF); Colby Saunders (jr., P/OF); Conner Saunders (so., P/OF)
Key matchups: Poland, Lake Region, Freeport, Fryeburg
Outlook: Graduation claimed nearly the entirety of the Patriots’ pitching corps at the end of last season – only Andrews remains – not to mention their designated hitter. So Smith & Co. have many a slot to fill. The team will rely heavily on McCann to, as Smith says, “steady a group of young and inexperienced pitchers, as well as to provide the offensive pop he did last year as the team’s leading hitter.” Expect the Patriots to gain momentum in the second half of the season, and hopefully to power into the playoffs.

Boys Lacrosse
Coaches: Kris Parkin (head), Ganan Mancini (asst.), Glen Mercier (asst.), Bruce Myers (asst.), Kevin Gilbert (asst.)
Last year’s record: 7-7; entered the postseason ranked eighth and defeated No. 9 Erskine 12-6 in the first round before falling 17-3 to No. 1 NYA in the second round
Key players lost: Shayne Splint (A); Oliver Grant (D, WMC Second Team)
Key players returning: Brannon Gilbert (G, WMC First Team); Gabe Gendreau (M, WMC Second Team); Hunter Brown (FOGO, WMC Third Team); Kyle Mercier (A); Drew Lacerda (A); Jeremy Mazur (A); Kyle Curtis (D); Wyatt Edwards (D)
Key newcomers: Travis Caron (fr., M); Jacob Butler (fr., LSM); Owen McDuffie (fr., FOGO)
Key matchups: Fryeburg, Oak Hill, NYA
Outlook: “The boys have had a great start to the season and they are very motivated to improve upon their performance from last season,” Parkin says. “We didn’t lose any of our midfielders from last year and this is a very fast and physical group of young men that will be the backbone of our team.” Parkin & Co. look especially to improve against the opponents they struggled with last year; Fryeburg, Oak Hill and NYA are all on that list. “[They’re] going to be very important matchups for us this year,” Parkin says of the three schools, “as we look to improve on our regular season Heal Points ranking and hopefully our postseason performance.”

Outdoor Track
Coaches: Todd Mercer (head boys), Mike Griffin (head girls), Adam Zukowski (asst.), Scott Espling (asst.), Jeff Amos (asst.), Tammi Maclean (asst.)
Key athletes lost: Andrew Peterson, Ethan Ray, Jaley Martin, Liza Larrivee
Key athletes returning: Kaleb Frey, Nathanial Gendreau, Jacob MacCallum, Nicole Cobb, Abby Chandler, Abby Dulac, Sarah Fecteau, Jasmine French, Emily Hargraves, Cece Keddy, Allison MacDonald, Ruby Pfeifle, Lindsay Pierce, Kassidy Plummer, Madison Post, Erica Schlichting, Caitlyn Smith, Madison Soule, Emily Terranova, Megan Reynolds
Key newcomers: Alec Brooks, Keegan Brooks, Cody Benson, Grace Begin, Kayleigh Burrage, Emma West
Key matchups: Poland
Outlook: “Our team has the potential to upset opponents,” Mercer says. “When Madison Post is healthy, I believe she can be a contender for a State title in the 400. We have, I think, five girls who have thrown the shot over 30 feet. We’ve got some strong discus throwers on the boys and girls side. We have vaulters – Tyler Amos and Madison Soule – who are just coming into their own. We have a very respectable girls 4×800 relay with plenty of alternates. There is even potential for a strong 4×400 relay. If we fight hard, no telling what we can accomplish this season.” Mercer likes Route 26 neighbors Poland as an opponent in part because, “(Coach) Rick Kramer does some nice work with his kids, and it feels like we match up nicely.”

Softball
Coach: Amanda Harmon (ninth year)
Last year’s record: 12-6, defeated Poland 4-3 in the playoff quarterfinals before falling 1-0 to Greely in the semis
Key players lost: Ali Martel (P)
Key players returning: Alexa Thayer (sr., C); Mikaela Ryan (sr., CF); Lydia Espling (jr., SS)
Key matchups: Wells, Fryeburg, York
Outlook: G-NG returns central players at many positions; if the Patriots are to win and keep winning, those girls will have to step up defensively – to say nothing of offensively – and play complete games. “The returning veterans will be looked at to support their teammates with their knowledge of the game and their experiences at this level,” Harmon says. “We look forward to playing each game one inning at a time and getting back to the post season.”

Adam Birt can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Trenton Overcash returns to the field this spring for the Patriots.

Nick McCann will play a critical role – on both offense and defense, and as a leader – this spring.

Alexa Thayer returns for her senior season this spring.