While the months of April, May and June were devoid of high school sports, that doesn’t mean baseball, softball, lacrosse, track and tennis weren’t on our minds.

Expectations of greatness were commonplace before the slate was wiped clean, but what if the season had proceeded like normal?

There’s a good chance the spring of 2020 would have been similar to the ones that came before, full of drama, triumph and trophy celebrations.

While we’ll never know for sure what the spring of 2020 might have produced, here’s what one sportswriter gleaned from a glimpse at the crystal ball:

Outdoor track

Per usual, track crowned its champions before any other sport and once again, familiar local athletes dazzled.

The Scarborough boys rolled to yet another Class A state title, the Red Storm’s second in a row and fourth in five years. All eyes were on Jarett Flaker, Scarborough’s sensational, George Mason-bound sprinter. Flaker capped his career in style, rolling to victory in the 100, 200 and 400, duplicating his feat from the year before, and going one step farther, setting new state records in the 100 and 200.

File photos

Not to be outdone, Flaker’s brother, Jayden Flaker, ascended to the top spot in both the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles.

Cheverus’ girls, meanwhile, made it four straight Class A championships, as its unstoppable 1-2 punch of Victoria Bossong and Emma Gallant proved to be the difference. Bossong held off Gallant in the 100 and broke Nicole Kirk’s state record in the process. The tandem also finished first and second respectively in the 200 and 400 and paced a first-place 4×400 relay squad.

Falmouth distance standout Sofie Matson and Scarborough hurdler Emily Labbe also turned heads in winning their events.

In the Class B meet in Freeport, Greely won its first boys’ crown in 17 years, while Cape Elizabeth edged York for second behind the distance heroics of Jack Bassett.

Cape Elizabeth’s Darcy Cochran was a hurdler without peer, Freeport’s Catriona Gould was a top sprinter and Greely’s Marin Provencher won both the mile and two-mile, but it was York coming out on top in the girls’ standings.

Tennis

After seeing its 187-match win streak and 11-year championship run come to an end with a regional final round loss to Scarborough a year ago, Falmouth’s girls’ tennis team set out to begin another streak in 2020. The Yachtsmen would get the better of co-favorites Gorham and Scarborough in the regular season, but the Red Storm again had Falmouth’s number in the playoffs, shocking the Yachtsmen, 3-2, in the semifinals, then holding off Gorham by the same score in the regional final. After losing to Lewiston in the 2019 state final, Scarborough’s seniors capped their careers in storybook fashion, rallying to stun the Blue Devils by a 3-2 score, captuing the program’s first championship in the process.

Falmouth’s boys, meanwhile, had a much easier time of it, only needing to fight off Thornton Academy in the Class A South Final before capturing its fourth straight crown (and winning its 64th consecutive match), 4-1, over Camden Hills.

In Class B, defending champion Yarmouth went back-to-back, but not before getting a mighty scare from resurgent Cape Elizabeth in the regional final. The Clippers then downed Belfast for the second straight season, winning titles in consecutive years for the first time since 1993-94.

The girls’ story was written by Greely, which avenged a regular season loss to rival Cape Elizabeth by edging the Capers, 3-2, in the regional final before going on to win its first championship since 2017.

Waynflete’s boys continued to rule over Class C, going 11-1 in the regular season, then cruising to their 13th championship in a row.

This time, the Flyers had company, as the girls’ squad avenged the previous year’s loss to Carrabec in the regional final, then won the championship for the first time since 2017.

Baseball

On the diamond, it was a season of fulfilling destiny and capturing elusive championships.

South Portland entered the campaign as the favorite in Class A South, due in large part to the presence of aces Hunter Owen (bound for Vanderbilt University) and Noah Lewis (bound for the University of Maine), but after a string of postseason disappointments, the Red Riots knew nothing would come easily and it didn’t.

South Portland managed to earn the top seed in the region, but entering the postseason, several other teams, including defending champion Scarborough, Mike D’Andrea-coached Falmouth, underrated Cheverus and Portland were primed to go on a run.

South Portland avenged its 2019 regional final loss by holding off Scarborough in the quarterfinals, 3-0, as Owen threw a two-hit shutout. Next up was Cheverus, which had beaten Portland in a nine-inning thriller, 5-4, in its quarterfinal. The Stags led the Red Riots, 2-0, into the bottom of the sixth when South Portland took advantage of an error and a timely two-run double from Anthony Poole to score four runs. Lewis slammed the door and threw a complete game allowing the Red Riots to reach the Class A South Final for the second year in a row. This time, the foe was Falmouth, and again it was D’Andrea trying to keep South Portland out of the state game. Owen got the ball and was close to un-hittable, but the Red Riots only managed one run and the Yachtsmen scratched across a run in the seventh to tie it. Another marathon ensued, but this time, South Portland had the last laugh, pushing a run across in the 10th on Poole’s sacrifice fly for a 2-1 victory. Messalonskee awaited in the state final and Owen was eligible to pitch. In his final act as a high school player, Owen threw a one-hit shutout and to boot, hit a three-run homer, and for the first time since 1952 and the first time in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era, the Red Riots had a championship, 4-0.

Class B saw another team tired of close calls, Freeport, take the final step. The Falcons, who lost to Ellsworth in the 2019 state final, found themselves in a four-way, season-long battle with Yarmouth, York and Greely. The Class B South tournament came down to those four teams. Freeport, behind Heath Cockburn’s pitching and a three Gabe Wagner RBIs, eliminated York, 6-2. Yarmouth and Greely then produced another of what Rangers’ coach Derek Soule calls “Forecaster Instant Classics.” The young Rangers lead 1-0 into the bottom of the seventh, where the Clippers pulled even. Greely then scored a run in the top of the 9th, but Marc Halsted’s team wouldn’t be denied this time, scoring twice with two outs, on RBI hits from Aidan Hickey and Jason Lainey, to win, 3-2, and advance. Little separated Freeport and Yarmouth in the regional final at Gorham High School, but the Falcons’ first inning run, on Anthony Panciocco’s single, held up and they advanced, 1-0. Ellsworth awaited again in the state final and this time, the Falcons bring their bats. Wagner says farewell in the most poetic way possible, hitting a three-run home run and blasting a two-run double and that was more than enough for the Heath Cockburn and Blaine Cockburn, who combine to allow just four hits and one run and Freeport celebrated its 6-1 victory with its massive legion of fans, which made the long trip to Bangor and made their presence felt.

Softball

Scarborough remained atop the softball world, but the biggest story didn’t come from the Red Storm capturing another championship. Instead, it came May 27, when Scarborough’s 118-game regular season win streak came to an end with a 2-1 home loss to Thornton Academy. The Red Storm still managed to earn the top seed in Class A South and with the win streak out of the way, were refreshed and refocused and the rest of the region paid the price.

Scarborough blanked Portland, 10-0, in the quarterfinals, then shut down Biddeford in the semifinals, 3-0. Thornton Academy needed nine-innings to survive South Portland in the other semifinal, setting up a memorable Class A South Final. Bella Dickinson was up to the task, throwing a two-hitter and driving in a pair of runs as the Red Storm avenged their regular season loss and prevailed, 2-0, to reach the state final for the fourth year in a row. Yet again, it was Skowhegan standing in the way and one more time, Scarborough saved its best for last, winning, 5-0, as Dickinson capped her transcendent career with a one-hitter, adding three hits and three RBI.

In Class B, everyone was chasing York and Cape Elizabeth nearly caught the Wildcats. The teams meet in the Class B South Final, but the Capers’ run came to an end with a 3-1 loss.

Girls’ lacrosse

Girls’ lacrosse saw the return to the pinnacle of the state’s most storied powers.

Class A was a four-team race throughout, as Kennebunk and Massabesic once again had little separation in the South, while two-time champion Falmouth tried to prevent Windham from overtaking it in the North. When the dust settled, we had a rematch of last year’s state final, as the Rams and Yachtsmen each survived in overtime of their respective regional finals. The state game, on a Friday night in front of a raucous crowd, was more of the same, a defensive struggle similar to the 2019 contest. Eva Clement once again starred for Falmouth, scoring four goals, but the Yachtsmen managed just five as a team. Falmouth’s defense and big-game goalie Hannah Dubinsky (13 saves) held Kennebunk in check as well, but with the game tied late, 5-5, Lily Schwartzman scored the biggest goal of her life and the Rams won the third title in program history, 6-5.

The final day of the sports season saw Class C and B hold their state games amid the hottest weather conditions in memory. Temperatures soared into the 90s, but the quality of play was supreme.

In the Class C Final, Waynflete, which had moved down from Class B, rediscovered its magic and got to the state final for the first time since 2013, where Freeport awaited. The teams, who once met in a Class B state final eight years prior, one won by the Flyers with ease, produced a 50-minute thriller. Waynflete showed its nerves early and the Falcons took advantage, leading by as many as four goals before taking a 5-3 lead to the half. The Flyers then settled in and locked down on defense in the second half. Waynflete tied the game, 6-6, but with five minutes to go, Molly Whelan gave Freeport the lead back. Flyers’ coach Cathie Connors (who won her 300th career game earlier in the spring) then called timeout and her team responded, as Jesse Connors, the coach’s daughter, tied the game with three minutes to play, then Jesse Connors entered program lore by scoring the winner with just 10 seconds left. Waynflete had an 8-7 victory, Cathie Connors had her 13th crown and her biggest postgame hug was reserved for her daughter.

That left Class B, which once again saw two-time champion Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth need more than 50 minutes to determine a champion. Capers star Karli Chapin, the hero of the 2019 state game, would bow out with another terrific effort, scoring four goals in the first half to help Cape Elizabeth to a 7-5 lead, but the Clippers hung tough thanks in large part to three goals from Ehryn Groothoff Yarmouth roared back in the second half to lead, 10-9 and 11-10, but each time, Chapin tied the score. Groothoff then appeared to give Yarmouth its elusive title when she scored for the fifth time with just 27 seconds left, but the Capers refused to relinquish their crown, as Chapin earned a free position and buried it with just 4.2 seconds left, tying the score again, 12-12, and forcing overtime. But just when it appeared the Clippers were primed to have their hearts broken once more, an unexpected hero emerged. Exactly a minute into OT, Groothoff drew the defense and threaded a perfect pass to Katelyn D’Appolonia, who finished, giving Yarmouth the 13-12 victory and setting off a celebration five years in the making.

Boys’ lacrosse

The boys’ lacrosse story was one of revenge and redemption.

For the first time, Class A got the Friday night state game spot and it deserved the spotlight, considering who took the field.

One year after losing in overtime to Thornton Academy in agonizing fashion, Falmouth was a team on a mission. The Yachtsmen got to enjoy the sweet taste of revenge early in the season, as they hosted the Golden Trojans in game two. To say Falmouth was fired up for that one would be the understatement of the year and the Yachtsmen roared out of the gate, took a 5-0 lead after one quarter and went up 9-1 at halftime before going on to a 15-7 victory. Falmouth was on its way to something special. The Yachtsmen did stumble once, at Cape Elizabeth in a 10-9 overtime thriller in the penultimate regular season contest, but after the Capers ended Thornton Academy’s two-year title run with a 10-6 victory in the Class A South Final, the longtime rivals would meet again in the state game.

Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth had met in the Western B Final every year between 2009-16 with the winner going on to capture the state title on each occasion. This time, the powers would battle with the biggest prize on the line and the game wouldn’t disappoint. The score was deadlocked, 2-2, after one period, 4-4 at halftime, then 6-6 heading for the fourth quarter. There, finally, the Yachtsmen got a little breathing room, as Tommy Fitzgerald (injured for much of 2019) scored twice. The Capers got a goal back courtesy Archie McEvoy, but with just under a minute to play, after Cape Elizabeth turned the ball over with an opportunity to pull even, Falmouth transitioned and Jonah Eng finished to slam the door. The Yachtsmen prevailed, 9-7, and celebrated their first crown in four seasons and their first under coach Dave Barton.

The Class C and B title games had a tough act to follow, but they produced their share of drama as well on the season’s final Saturday, under sizzling 90-degree skies.

After meeting in the state semifinals in the first two years of Class C play, Waynflete and North Yarmouth were seeded appropriately at 1 and 2 and squared off in the state game. The defending champion Panthers scored the game’s first three goals, but by halftime, the Flyers had drawn even at 5-5. The back-and-forth continued in the second half and with NYA up, 9-8, Waynflete forced overtime on Oliver Burdick’s goal. Then, off the overtime faceoff, the Flyers get possession and scored just 12 seconds in, with Luca Antolini playing the hero, and for the second time in three years, Waynflete celebrated a championship.

The Class B state game was a repeat of last year’s thriller which saw Yarmouth outlast Greely by one goal. The Rangers weren’t just looking to avenge that loss, but to also erase the sting of the previous season’s overtime setback to Brunswick and Greely’s large senior class would bow out happy. In the final game of Championship Saturday, as well as the 2019-20 school year, the Clippers managed to stymie the Rangers’ potent attack for the majority of the first half and led, 4-2, at the break. Then, Schuyler Wetmore scored twice in the first minute of the second half and Ethan Fraser and Chris Williams added two goals apiece to cap a 6-0 run, for an 8-4 lead. Yarmouth got back within two in the fourth period, but this time, Greely refused to be denied and Wetmore (who scored six times) put it away with two goals in 35 seconds and the Rangers went on to a therapeutic 12-7 victory, winning their first championship in the MPA-sanctioned era in the process.

And that, as they say, was that.

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

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