BASEBALL

Junior Zach Johnston will be the Rangers’ ace this season. He’s verbally committed to the University of Maryland. File photos.

Coach: Derek Soule (21st year, 282-90-2 overall record, four state championships)

2019 record (no 2020 season): 13-5 (Lost, 4-2, to Freeport in Class B South semifinals)

Top returning players: Cooper Neleski (Senior), Brady Nolin (Senior), Max Cloutier (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 27 YARMOUTH, May 1 @ Yarmouth, May 18 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 22 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 25 @ Freeport, May 29 FREEPORT

Coach’s comment: “We graduated 17 guys over the past two years, but we have a talented group that’s ready to take the helm. It’s a nice mix of young and old players. I’m excited. We’ve had a great preseason. We beat Portland and we beat Cheverus twice. I expect that we’ll be really competitive. I’m optimistic that we can play with anyone.”

Junior catcher Ryan Kolben will be a key player for the Rangers this spring. He’s committed to playing at the University of Massachusetts.

The Forecaster’s forecast: Early buzz suggests that Greely might be the team to beat in Class B South, a familiar spot for the Rangers. Greely has a very different look this season, but as usual, talent abounds.

On the mound, the Rangers feature a pitcher, junior Zach Johnston, who has already verbally committed to playing for the University of Maryland. Johnston throws left-handed and will be this year’s ace. Senior Grant Allard and Nolin are other hurlers of note. Junior Ryan Colben is behind the plate. He’s verbally committed to the University of Massachusetts, giving Greely a battery that will be more closely watched than any other in the state. Nolin, a second-team all-star as a sophomore after hitting .388, is a top hitter. He’ll be in centerfield and can also pitch. Neleski, the designated hitter, and Cloutier, the shortstop, who hit .340 two years ago, also swing a potent bat. Some newer players will step right in and make an impact. Senior Dawson Jowett (first base), juniors Liam Sheff (second base) and Brooks Williams (leftfield) and freshmen Marky Axelson (third base) and Jackson Leding (rightfield) should all make key contributions over the course of the season.

Greely will get challenges from several teams, including traditional rivals Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth and reigning regional champion Freeport, but this lineup and pitching staff can match up with anyone. The Rangers are thrilled to be returning to action and the good times figure to keep on rolling right into June.

SOFTBALL

Coach: John Eisenhart and Daryl Rawnsley (first year)

2019 record (no 2020 season): 1-15 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Lindsay Eisenhart (Senior), Delia Knox (Senior), Emily Ferrelli (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 20 FRYEBURG, April 27 YARMOUTH, May 1 @ Yarmouth, May 18 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 22 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 27 @ Gray-NG

Coach Eisenhart’s comment: “We have a very young team. Only three girls with varsity experience, but we do have a good group of freshmen and sophomores. It’s all about getting better. I hope that we can go .500 and be a tough team come playoff time. Lily (Rawnsley) will keep us competitive. We have to make plays on defense and not make her throw extra pitches.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely features a lot of new faces this season, including at the top. John Eisenhart, who coached the Westbrook baseball team for five seasons and Daryl Rawnsley, who, like Eisenhart, previously served as an assistant to Rob Hale, take over. They inherit a team that should show steady improvement in the weeks to come.

The proven entities are Lindsay Eisenhart behind the plate, Knox in centerfield and Ferrelli in rightfield. Freshman Lily Rawnsley will be the pitcher this season and she’ll also hit leadoff. Freshman Avery Butler will also see some time on the mound and will otherwise play shortstop. Sophomore infielder Mya Wright has middle-of-the-order power. Freshman Haley Stewart can play catcher or first base.

The Rangers are untested but promising. They’ll stumble at times against top foes, but by the time June arrives, this team could be ready to go on a run. It won’t be long until Greely is back in the upper echelon of Class B South softball.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Sophomore Lukas Cook is an offensive player to watch this season for Greely. 

Coach: Mike Storey (ninth year, 63-44 overall record)

2019 record (no 2020 season): 11-4 (Lost, 11-10, to Yarmouth in Class B state final)

Top returning players: Chase Cornwall (Senior), D.J. Kenney (Senior), Elias Legatt-Barr (Senior)

Pivotal games: April 21 CAPE ELIZABETH, April 24 NYA, May 6 @ Yarmouth, May 12 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 27 WAYNFLETE, May 29 @ York

Coach’s comment: “We have good energy and our numbers are good. The kids are excited to be out playing. We have a newfound appreciation. We’ve graduated a lot the past couple years, so we’re young. A few seniors carried over from our last varsity team. We have a lot of athletic kids. We need to work on learning the game. We’ll grow and learn every time we take the field. Our number one goal is the health of the boys and introducing some normalcy back into their lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re a competitive playoff team by the end.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The cancellation of the 2020 season might have been cruelest to the Rangers, who, after back-to-back, agonizing, one-goal state game losses, were primed to finish the job. Greely has graduated an abundance of talent the past two years and while this year’s team might not be as star-studded, it has quite an upside and will be much stronger in June than in April. The Rangers showed some positive glimpses in their opener Thursday, nearly rallying from four goals down before falling at home to Yarmouth, 8-5.

This year’s offense figures to be led by Kenney (two goals in the opener), Cornwall and sophomores Lukas Cook, Matthew Kennedy and Thomas Bennert. Legatt-Barr is a terrific midfielder, who wins ground balls and finds teammates in optimal positions. Junior Charter Sasseville takes faceoffs. Sophomore Parker Sasseville is a top defender. Junior Spencer Osgood, who stopped 15 shots in the first game, is in goal and appears to be one of the best in the region.

Greely’s schedule is daunting and as a result, a glowing win-loss record might not ensue, but that slate will work in the Rangers’ favor, as it will make them stronger for the postseason. If this team can hit its stride in the weeks to come, they’ll find themselves going deep into the playoffs again and perhaps finishing what their talented predecessors started.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Senior Elsa Dean-Muncie is a top returner for Greely’s always-strong girls’ lacrosse team.

Coach: Becca Koelker (eighth year, 51-42 overall record)

2019 record (no 2020 season): 9-5 (Lost, 10-4, to eventual champion Cape Elizabeth in Class B state semifinals)

Top returning players: Elsa Dean-Muncie (Senior), Sam Goldburg (Senior), Hannah Perfetti (Senior), Abby Taylor (Senior), Haley Vaccarello (Senior)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ NYA, May 3 @ Falmouth, May 5 @ Yarmouth, May 12 SCARBOROUGH, May 14 @ Lake Region, May 24 YARMOUTH, May 28 FREEPORT, June 1 CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach’s comment: “It’s been the best spring ever, getting to play again. We lost an incredible group of seniors last year, but this is a great, young group. The kids are excited to be out there. They’re hungry to learn things. The growth we see will be exponential this year. We want to get past that semifinal game. We’d love to have a different outcome this season.”

Senior Hannah Perfetti returns in goal for the Rangers.

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely is fired up for a new season and will be one of the top teams in Class B yet again.

On attack, Dean-Muncie figures to be a top scorer this season. Junior Carley Ferentz is another player to watch. The midfield is led by Goldburg, who takes draws. Sophomores Allie Read and Charlotte Taylor, along with freshman Eva Williams, will also make their presence felt. On defense, Taylor and Vaccarello have experience. Senior Mollie Obar, the basketball standout, is new to the team and will make the defensive unit that much stronger. Perfetti will be in goal and she’s one of the best.

The Rangers will score their share of goals and should be able to stymie the opposition. Finally solving Cape Elizabeth in the playoffs and/or getting past powerhouse Yarmouth will be a challenge, but by June, Greely should be in position to give any team a scare.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: David Dowling (second year)

2019 results (no 2020 season): 

(Boys) 2nd @ Class B state meet
(Girls) 6th @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Danny Geary (Senior), Leif Harvey (Senior), Caleb Knox (Junior), Ben Libby (Junior)

(Girls) Stephanie Bruder (Senior), Katie Carlson (Junior), Abby Irish (Junior), Olivia Marsanski (Junior)

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely features some strong athletes, both veteran and new, this spring.

The boys’ squad features Geary, Knox and Libby in the sprints. Harvey and sophomore Hayden Macarthur are top distance threats. The Rangers, as always, will be tough in the regular season and will hope for a top five state meet finish.

On the girls’ side, Irish returns from a runner-up 3,200 relay team in 2019. She was also seventh in the 800 as a freshman. She’ll lead the distance contingent. Freshman Annie Reynolds is another distance runner to watch. Carlson is a top sprinter and hurdler. Sophomore Elle Jowett will also compete in the sprints. In field events, Marsanskis (fifth in the pole vault in 2019) looks to make a leap at the top spot, Bruder is a thrower to watch and Jowett competes in the jumps. The talent is in place for Greely to be very good all season long.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Tom Hurley (second year)

2019 record (no 2020 season): 8-6 (Lost, 3-2, to Freeport in Class B South semifinals)

Top returning players: Carson Bell (Senior), Zach Wright (Senior), Leif Boddie (Junior), Peter Rinehart (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “The team is very excited to be playing again. They were all disappointed to have missed last year, but are looking to take full advantage of the opportunity to play together in 2021. The key to our season will be to get healthy and remain focused on developing our consistency during matches.  Two years ago, we had a group of young players looking to establish themselves as strong competitors in a challenging league. This year, we have six seniors and three juniors that will all be looking to see playing time at the varsity level. These players provide us with strong upperclass leadership. In addition, we are fortunate to have three freshmen that are looking to break on to the varsity team. My expectation is that this depth will be an important factor in allowing us to have a successful season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Just four years after a second straight winless season, Greely is viewed by some as a potential championship-caliber team. The program has enjoyed a rebirth and this year could be its finest hour.

Boddie, who is recovering from injury but should be available by May 1, was a Western Maine Conference first-team all-star as a freshman and will likely be in the top singles spot. Bell (a second-team all-star in 2019) and Wright are veterans who will also be in the hunt for a singles spot, along with Rinehart, who previously played doubles. Seniors Grant Dresnok and Ethan Sligh are also in doubles mix.

The Rangers will have their hands full with the likes of defending champion Yarmouth, Cape Elizabeth and Freeport, but they like their chances. This could be a memorable season for a program on the brink of doing something special.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Marc Ouellette (first year)

2019 record (no 2020 season): 13-2 (Lost, 4-1, to Lincoln Academy in Class B South Final)

Coach’s comment: “Everyone is new to me. We are an athletic team and a great group of individuals that are a joy to work with. We’ll play each point as well as we can and see how far it takes us.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely’s been a powerhouse in recent years and this year, the Rangers have a lot of inexperience, but they should remain competitive under Ouellette, the school’s longtime Alpine ski coach.

Juniors Mia Netland and Luna Smith-Mejia and freshman Emma Lindsey project to play singles. Other players to watch include Ciel Antoine, Abigail Briley, Bridget Frost, Hailey Hobart, Chloe Pierce and Ruth Weeks.

This is a squad that should show steady improvement and will be dangerous when the playoffs commence.

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

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