Senior Shea Wagner will be a top pitcher this season for a Freeport baseball team that will be one of the top contenders in Class B South.

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BASEBALL

Coach: Kyle Goodrich (first year)

2018 record: 10-7 (Lost, 6-1, to Gray-New Gloucester in Class B South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Toby Holt (Senior), Ben Morang (Senior), Ericksen Shea (Senior), Shea Wagner (Senior), Heath Cockburn (Junior), Liam Holt (Junior), Gabe Wagner (Junior)

Pivotal games: May 1 GREELY, May 3 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 4 YORK, May 6 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 15 @ Yarmouth, May 28 YARMOUTH 

Coach’s comment: “The Western Maine Conference is always loaded with talented teams, players and coaches. From top to bottom, it might the toughest baseball conference around. With that said, I feel that anyone can beat anyone on any given day. There’s not a single team we play that we can afford to overlook. We’ve got to prepare for a battle every day of the season. The outlook for us is simple, continue to get better every day and build confidence and camaraderie. The boys are really locked in right now and If we continue to work together, positive things will happen. We want to be playing our best baseball at the end of the season. We can’t take anything for granted. The first step is to make the playoffs, and then focus on seven innings at a time after that.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport continued to cement its status as a perennial contender last year and this spring, the Falcons hope to return to the top of Class B South under Goodrich, Freeport Class of 2004, who who has been the Falcons’ junior varsity coach the past six seasons. He inherits a squad that has experience and is hungry to succeed.

The departure of Colby Wagner, Freeport’s reigning Spring Male Athlete of the Year, will certainly hurt, but two Wagners remain on the roster. Shea Wagner was a first-team all-star a year ago and projects to be a top pitcher after winning three games, posting a 1.37 earned run average and striking out 39 batters in 40 innings in 2018. Pitching will be a Falcons’ strength, as Toby Holt (three wins, 29 strikeouts) and Cockburn (four wins, 2.45 ERA, 23 strikeouts) also return. Liam Holt and sophomore Anthony Panciocco are other hurlers to watch. Gabe Wagner will see time behind the plate, as will Shea. Cockburn (an all-star last season), Liam Holt, Toby Holt, Panciocco and Shea Wagner will all see time in the infield. Morang, Shea and Gabe Wagner will anchor a strong outfield. 

Freeport won some big games, but struggled with consistency last season. This time around, the Falcons expect to be strong from start to finish. If that happens, they’ll be set up to make some June memories.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Jason Daniel (fifth year)

2018 record: 2-14 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Abbye Koenig (Senior), Alexa Koenig (Senior), Brooke Toothaker (Senior), Abby Brier (Junior), Alexys Langley (Junior), Annika Thomas (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 26 @ Traip, May 15 @ Yarmouth, May 20 POLAND, May 22 @ Fryeburg, May 24 @ Gray-NG, May 28 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We’re working hard in the preseason. I have high hopes. The girls have improved a lot over the past few years. People looks at wins and losses, but sometimes the biggest wins are among the team, playing tougher ball, having fewer errors, hitting more and making plays. The girls are more determined this year. Very positive and supportive. The girls are coming off great seasons in field hockey, soccer and basketball and they’re feeling good about themselves. We just have to get over the hump.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is hoping the school’s recent surge of athletic success will translate to its new softball diamond this spring and with the athletes on the roster, it’s quite possible that the Falcons could show dramatic growth in the weeks to come.

Alexa Koenig, a first-team league all-star last spring, who will play field hockey next year at the University of New England, is a top returner. She’ll play third base, will be a top hitter and could see some time on the mound as well. Abbye Koenig, a second-team all-star in 2018, is working her way back from a knee injury suffered during the soccer season and is expected to contribute later in the year, as a leftfielder and top hitter. Langley will see the most time on the mound and is another girl who wields a potent bat. Freshman Brooke Pawlowski will also get a chance to throw some strikes and will be in the infield as well. Junior Sarah Gray will be the catcher. She played as a freshman and is back this season. She’s another hitter to watch. Freshman Jaclyn Burke (first base), Toothaker (second) and Thomas (shortstop) round out a promising infield. Brier and freshman Riley Smith will be in the outfield. 

There are many teams on the schedule that Freeport will be able to compete with and if the Falcons can win some games early, they might just parlay that into a flirtation with contention. This is a team that is capable of dramatic improvement. 

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Geoff Arris (11th year, 47-81 overall record)

2018 record: 1-11 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Kohen Bailey (Senior), Kaleb Barrett (Senior), Charlie Ngoal (Senior), Evan Owen (Senior), Steel Crawford (Junior), Jake Gormely (Junior), Deven Hannan (Junior), Sam Larochelle (Junior), Sam Tourigny (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 24 NYA, April 30 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 14 @ Waynflete, May 21 @ Greely

Coach’s comment: “We’re fielding a fairly small team again this season with about 16 varsity players. We do have several new players. We struggled last season with wins and losses and many concussions. I believe that we did earn the reputation for going hard until the final whistle. We have a really strong group of upperclassmen and leaders that are doing a great job pushing the team. We had many close games last season that I believe will go our way this year. We have the same schedule and it is a very difficult one in the Western Maine Conference, but I think we are building and growing in the right direction.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport could be in line for a quantum leap up the standings this spring. The Falcons have already matched last year’s win total, downing Fryeburg Academy, 5-3, in Thursday’s opener.

Hannan was a first-team league all-star in 2018. He’ll be a captain this year and is a force on defense. Hannan collected 84 ground balls last spring and will make life miserable for the opposition. Bailey is another returning defenseman of note. Tourigny replaces Garrison Thompson in goal. Freshman Connor Ingerson will also see time between the pipes. Offensively, Barrett (a second-team all-star a year ago) hopes to build on his 17-goal campaign. Crawford (14 goals, nine assists during an honorable mention all-star campaign in 2018), Gormely, Larochelle (two goals in the opener), Ngoal, Owen and freshman Dan Casale are other potential scorers.

The Falcons were victimized by injuries and bad luck in 2018. This spring could be a different story. If Freeport can say healthy and earn some early confidence, the wins will come and the Falcons could wind up being a top contender in Class C when all is said and done..

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Marcia Wood (fifth year, 26-29 overall)

2018 record: 9-5 (Lost, 19-8, to eventual state champion Lake Region in Class C state semifinals)

Top returning players: Allison Greuel (Senior), Margaret Perrotta (Senior), Margaret Ryan (Senior), Piper Sherbert (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ Yarmouth, May 1 YORK, May 8 NYA, May 15 @ Greely, May 20 @ St. Dom’s, May 23 @ Waynflete

Coach’s comment: “We have a really great group of girls who are very motivated to make it deep into the playoffs. As far as scorers go, I think we will be very well balanced. I know Yarmouth, Greely and York will give us a good game, but I’m hoping we’ll get enough Heal Points to place high in the tournament.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport had a solid campaign a year ago and was one of the final four teams standing in the inaugural Class C tournament. The Falcons suffered some key graduation losses, but remain a top contender. Freeport started with an impressive 15-3 home victory over Fryeburg Academy Thursday.

Sherbert will be one of the top goalies around. She’s aided by Ryan’s play on defense. In the midfield, Greuel and Perrotta lead the way. They’ll also take draws and spark the offense. Freshman Savannah Tracy is a potential star of the future. On attack, look for sophomore Meredith Fuller and junior Molly Whelan (three goals in the opener) to score their share of goals.

Freeport will benefit from a tough regular season slate and by the end of the season, will be a tough foe. Don’t be surprised if the Falcons are one of the best teams in Class C yet again.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Matthew Greear (sixth year)

2018 results:

(Boys) tie-13th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 8th @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Alex Les (Senior), Nick Mitch (Senior), Adam Ulrickson (Junior), Alex Helie (Sophomore), Martin Horne (Sophomore)

(Girls) Lily Horne (Senior), Emma Abbot (Junior), Catriona Gould (Junior), Edie Hayden-Hunt (Junior), Tara Migliaccio (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “ Now that the Joan Benoit Samuelson track is open and finished, we’re expecting more from this team than in prior years. As the team grows, we should challenge to win more meets and score more points at the state meet.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport boasts its share of athletes as a new season commences.

The boys’ team returns distance standout Horne, who came in fourth in the mile and fifth in the two-mile last season. He hopes to be even faster this spring. Helie, Les and Mitch will be top sprinters. Sophomore Boden Abbot and freshman Owen Howarth add depth to that contingent. Ulrickson will be a sprinter and hurdler of note. Helie hopes to score in the shot put as well. The Falcons have the potential to score more points in the big meets.

On the girls’ side, Horne looks to excel again after winning both the mile and two-mile in 2018. Freeport will be strong in the sprints with Abbot, Gould (sixth in the 200 a year ago) and Migliaccio (third in the 400 and fourth in the 200 last season). Hayden-Hunt looks to compete in the throws. Newcomers to watch include sophomores Elsa Blease (middle distance) and Jane Dawson (distance) and freshmen Ryanne Galletta (jumps), Emily Pagnano (throws, jumps) and Emmie Riendeau (sprints). The Falcons have the pieces in place to be among the top teams in the conference and to make a run at a very high finish at the state meet. Perhaps even top five.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Jay Harper (19th year)

2018 record: 12-4 (Lost, 3-2, to Caribou in Class B state final)

Top returning players: Wes Goodwin (Senior), Liam Gould (Senior), Aaron Rusiecki (Senior), Sullivan Smith (Senior), Clay Canterbury (Junior), T.J. Whelan (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We have been talking tennis all year long and we’re excited that the season is finally here. I have four seniors who I have had the pleasure of coaching for four years and watch them grow as players and young men. I am also excited that we have six quality freshmen who came out for the team, so we have depth that should keep us competing for the next four years. We feel we have the talent to go back to states and have a better ending, however, we know Yarmouth is going to be loaded with talent as well, so we are very aware of what a challenge it will be to get past them. We also know you can never count Cape out of the equation.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is coming off the finest season in program history, one which produced a first-ever regional championship and nearly a state title as well. With virtually the same team returning, the Falcons are looking to take that final step this spring, but the road to glory won’t come easily.

Canterbury and Goodwin were each first-team league all-stars in 2018 and will secure the top two singles spots this season. Canterbury went 16-2 last spring, while Goodwin was 19-3. Don’t be surprised if they flip-flop the 1-2 roles as the season goes on, something which happened last year. Either Gould or promising freshman Gage King will be in the third singles spot. Smith is a top doubles returner. He was an all-star last year. He’s joined by Rusiecki, Whelan and sophomore Liam Hornschild-Bear. Freshman Andrew Morrissey is also in the mix for playing time.

There’s a buzz around this program and with that comes expectations, but the Falcons are primed for the challenge. Freeport has talent at singles and doubles, but will be pushed to the brink by the likes of perennial powerhouse Cape Elizabeth and talented Yarmouth. If Freeport can navigate the minefield of Class B South and get to states, this year’s team could be the first to bring home a championship.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Meagan Cadorette (first year)

2018 record: 4-8 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Maya Dowling-Wolfe (Senior), Becca Pierce (Senior), Grace Abbott (Junior), Lindsey Galletta (Junior), Ani Giraud (Junior), Hannah Giroux (Junior), Ayanna Hatton (Junior), Rachel McKittrick (Junior), Emily Perilla (Junior), Charlotte Soule (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “Our conference is pretty tough. For decades, some of the best tennis in the state has come out of these schools, so we have our work cut out for us. This is an incredible group of girls. They have worked really hard to learn the game and become the players they are. I feel like they deserve for this to be their year to shine and I’m really excited for them.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport fell short of the postseason a year ago, but there’s reason to believe that the Falcons, who return a lot of talent, will make some noise this spring under their new coach, who played at Cony High School and the University of Maine and previously coached the Boothbay girls’ program.

At press time, Dowling-Wolfe (a co-captain), Abbott, Galletta and Soule were battling for singles spots. Pierce, the other co-captain, along with Giraud, Giroux, Hatton, McKittrick and Perilla, were all in the hunt for doubles positions. Add freshmen Caroline Cadorette and Katlyn Mosier to the mix and you can see that this team will have depth and the ability to contend.

Freeport’s schedule won’t do it any favors, but if the Falcons can get into the playoffs, they’ll be a very dangerous foe. Regardless, look for the program to build throughout the season and be formidable going forward.

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

Junior Heath Cockburn has the potential to be one of the league’s best pitchers this spring and lead Freeport’s baseball team a long way.

Junior Gabe Wagner always goes all out, in the field and at the plate.

Junior Liam Holt will play a key role in Freeport’s success this season.

Senior Allison Greuel returns in the midfield this spring for a Freeport girls’ lacrosse team seeking another deep playoff run.

Senior Margaret Perrotta is another top returner in the midfield.

Senior Margaret Ryan anchors Freeport’s defense.

Sophomore Martin Horne will be a contender in the distance races for Freeport’s boys’ outdoor track team this season.

Senior Nick Mitch is a top returning sprinter for the Falcons.

Senior Lily Horne is the defending Class B state champion in the mile and two-mile. She’ll be at the top of the heap again this spring as she looks to lead Freeport’s girls’ outdoor track team to big things.

Junior Tara Migliaccio is a top sprinter for Freeport.

Junior Clay Canterbury is a top singles player for a Freeport boys’ tennis team looking to return to the state final and win it this spring.

Senior Sullivan Smith was an all-star at doubles last season. He’s another key returner for the Falcons.