It’s been a long time in coming, nearly two years, but spring sports have made their triumphant return across Forecaster Country and early results have been largely positive.

Whether your passion is baseball, lacrosse, tennis or track, there’s been no shortage of impressive performances and that figures to continue in the weeks to come.

Here’s a look:

Baseball

Scarborough senior Ryan Gambardella throws a strike to Deering junior Connor Coleman early in the Red Storm’s 14-1 season-opening victory. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

Scarborough’s reigning Class A champion baseball team has lived up to billing as one of favorites this spring, defeating host Deering (14-1, in five-innings), visiting Portland (10-1) and host Falmouth (9-3) to open the season 3-0. Against the Rams, Ryan Gambardella allowed just one hit and struck out seven in five innings, T.J. Liponis had four RBI and the Red Storm stole 10 bases.

“It’s great to play again,” said Liponis. “The nerves were there after not being on the field for a high school game in nearly two years, but it was a fun day.”

“We’re pursuing our (championship) goal again and we’re having fun,” Gambardella said. “It’s nice to be back out here.”

“It’s been a long wait and I’m happy for the kids to get back out here competing and enjoying baseball,” first-year Scarborough coach Wes Ridlon said. “It’s a completely different team, but the holdovers from that state championship team want to show the younger guys the way we play baseball. It’s great to see that we were ready to play.”

In the win over the Bulldogs, Joe Townsend earned the victory and drove in a pair of runs. Ben Seguin had two hits and two RBI and Peter O’Brien had two hits and scored three runs. Against Falmouth and former coach Mike D’Andrea, Townsend went the distance to earn the win, Nic Frink crushed a first inning home run and drove in four, pinch-hitter Ashton Blanchette broke it open with a two-run triple and O’Brien made a highlight reel catch against the centerfield fence.

“I wanted to finish it more than ever,” said Townsend. “This is the one game that I wanted to go all the way. It felt to great to go out there and show what I can do since I didn’t get to pitch sophomore year. I just focused and adjusted what I needed to do.”

“It was a big game and it was good to get the ‘W,’” said Frink. “I think we were looked at as one of the better teams at the start and at 3-0, we’ve done that.”

“Falmouth’s extremely well-coached,” added Ridlon. “Some of the kids here have relationships with Coach D’Andrea, but it was just another game for us to focus on and try and play our best baseball.”

Scarborough welcomed Gorham Thursday, has a doubleheader at Westbrook Saturday and plays at Cheverus Tuesday of next week.

“Our best baseball is ahead of us,” Ridlon added. “We want to progress. We have some mistakes to clean up, but we’re getting there.”

South Portland is off to another fast start, opening with victories at Portland (5-1), at home over Cheverus (4-0) and at Windham (9-6, in eight-innings). In the win over the Stags, Nolan Hobbs threw a three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts. Against the Eagles, Connor Dobson drove in the tying run with a ground out in the seventh and scored the go-ahead run in the ninth. He also had a pair of hits, as did Bradley McMains, Andrew Heffernan and Noah Dreifus. Heffernan was the hard-luck loser against the Rams. The Red Riots host Thornton Academy for a doubleheader Saturday and welcome Deering Tuesday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth started with a 7-3 home win over Brunswick, then lost three times to Freeport: 6-5 at home and 2-1 in both ends of a doubleheader Saturday on the road. Tuesday, the Capers bounced back and improved to 2-3 with a 7-5 home win over Mt. Ararat. Against the Dragons, Hayden Webber earned the victory and Colin Smith had three hits. In the first loss to the Falcons, Smith singled and homered, but Cape Elizabeth allowed four runs in the seventh inning. In the win over the Eagles, Smith had two hits and three RBI, Charlie Bischoff had two hits and two RBI and Patrick O’Brien struck out six over five innings. The Capers return to action Tuesday at Yarmouth.

Softball

South Portland’s Mia Micucci throws a strike during the Red Riots’ season-opening win at Portland. Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald

Scarborough’s softball team, the three-time reigning Class A champion, was supposed to come back to the pack this season, but it hasn’t happened yet. The Red Storm started with a 20-0 (five-inning) victory at Deering, then downed visiting Portland (5-1). In the win over the Rams, Jenna Giguere, Angelina Pizzella and Meghan Robinson combined for the shutout and struck out 10. Sylvia Foley and Mollie Verreault both had four hits. Against the Bulldogs, Giguere pitched a three-hitter and Katie Roy, A.J. Swett and Verreault had RBI singles. Scarborough put its 62-game overall win streak and 107-game regular season league win streak on the line Thursday when it hosted powerhouse Gorham (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story). The Red Storm play a doubleheader at Westbrook Saturday, go to Falmouth for a makeup game Monday and visit Westbrook Wednesday of next week.

South Portland was 2-2 at press time. The Red Riots opened with an impressive 10-3 victory at Portland, as Emilie Way had four hits, including a triple and a home run, and Mia Miccuci earned the win, fanning 11.

“My curveball was working well and I even had a change-up that worked,” Micucci said. “That’s been the struggle with my finger, but I hit both corners with my fastball and my curve was on.”

“It felt really good (to hit a home run),” Way said. “Everyone hit today. We have a lot of good bats and against a faster pitcher, hits can go farther.”

“You could tell at the beginning of the game it would come down to who could catch the ball,” added South Portland coach Ralph Aceto. “I was never worried about the hits. I knew we could hit the ball. I was worried about catching the ball. It’s a work in progress, but it’s getting better.”

The Red Riots then lost at Windham, 3-1 (despite two hits apiece from Julia Connors and Delaney Whitten), beat visiting Cheverus, 5-3 (Micucci struck out nine, while Elise Connor doubled and tripled), and Tuesday lost a slugfest at Gorham, 11-8 (despite three hits apiece from Connor and Way). South Portland hosts Thornton Academy for a doubleheader Saturday and welcomes Deering Wednesday.

Cape Elizabeth has won its first five outings by a composite 82-2 score. The Capers opened with a 12-0 home victory over Brunswick, then beat Freeport three times: 15-0 at home in five-innings and 26-0 (in five-innings) and 13-2 at the Falcons in a doubleheader. Tuesday, Cape Elizabeth dispatched visiting Mt. Ararat, 12-0, again in five-innings. Against the Dragons, Anna Cornell struck out 12, while Kathryne Clay and Clara Parker both had three hits. In the first win over Freeport, Clay had four hits and six RBI, while Cornell again fanned a dozen. In the first game of the doubleheader, Clay earned the victory and also had four hits and four RBI, while Cornell and Esme Song added four hits apiece. Parker earned the win in the nightcap, as Dana Schwartz had three hits and Abigail Scifres drove in three runs. Against the Eagles, Cornell threw a one-hitter and struck out 11 and had three hits and five RBI. The Capers are at Morse Saturday and go to Yarmouth Tuesday of next week.

Boys’ lacrosse

Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ lacrosse team has more than lived up to billing in the early going, defeating visiting York (17-2), visiting Greely (17-2), visiting Yarmouth (18-3) and host York (22-10). In the opener, Keegan Lathrop scored five goals, while Nic Boudreau, Archie McEvoy and Tiernan Lathrop added three goals apiece. Against the Rangers, Boudreau scored four times and McEvoy added three goals. In the win over the defending Class B champion Clippers, Lathrop had five goals and Oscar Frankwicz added four. The Capers return to action Saturday at home versus Freeport, then visit Greely Wednesday of next week.

Scarborough has returned to form this spring, beating two-time reigning Class A champion Thornton Academy (8-6) on the road in the opener, then defeating visiting South Portland (18-7) and host Windham (12-6) before dropping a thrilling 10-9 overtime decision at Falmouth Tuesday. In the opener, Finn Pederson led the way with four goals. Against the Red Riots, Pederson scored five goals, Aiden Joyce had four goals and two assists and Will St. Germain added three goals. In the victory over the Eagles, Aidan Joyce scored five times and Pederson added three goals. In the loss, William St. Germain scored three times, including the late tally to force OT. The Red Storm had two chances to win it, but couldn’t convert, then lost on a man-down goal.

“It’s a really hard loss to take because we fought hard and showed a lot of emotion, but we played well and did some very good things,” Scarborough coach Zach Barrett said. “We were down and came back. We had our chances. We had the ball, but we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net and they did.”

The Red Storm welcome Kennebunk Friday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story), visit South Portland Tuesday, then play at Thornton Academy Thursday of next week.

“It was only our fourth game and the message to the guys is that we grow from here,” Barrett said. “It’s pretty fun to coach this group. This is a coach’s group. The kids want to be here and they want to play hard. They want to get better and they’re tight-knit. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish. We hope to get back on track against Kennebunk. We look forward to moving forward.”

South Portland has been competitive under new coach Dan Hanley, but started 0-5 against a brutal opening schedule. The Red Riots started with a 12-6 loss at Thornton Academy, then fell at home to Kennebunk (10-8), at Scarborough (18-7), at home to Thornton Academy (13-4) and at home to Windham (11-10, in overtime). Cullen Adams scored twice in the opener and had three goals apiece against the Rams and Red Storm. In the loss to the Eagles, Brady Demers scored four times. South Portland tried again for its first victory Thursday at Windham. After going to Falmouth Saturday, the Red Riots welcome Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Girls’ lacrosse

Scarborough’s Paige Spooner makes a move toward the goal in a win at Cheverus last week. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

On the girls’ side, Scarborough is enjoying a resurgence this spring. The Red Storm opened with a 14-5 home win over Gorham and after eclipsing the 2019 team’s win total with a 12-7 home victory over Thornton Academy, Scarborough beat host Cheverus (14-4) and Bonny Eagle (14-3). Molly Henderson led the way in the opener with four goals. Against the Golden Trojans, Natalie Bilodeau scored four goals and Darby Stolz added three. Bilodeau went off for seven goals in the win at the Stags.

“It’s been so much fun and it feels so good to be back playing,” Bilodeau said. “My freshman year we won one game, but now it’s totally different. We have really good chemistry. We all click really well. We’ve talked for months about this season, hyping ourselves up.”

“I really think this has been a long time coming,” said Emily Field, Scarborough’s third-year coach. “I think we’ve had talent and we’ve played the strongest teams and we did well, but it didn’t show up in the win column. I feel like it’s three years of these girls working together and wanting to be a winning team and it’s finally turned the corner for us.”

Against the Scots, Bilodeau scored seven more goals, Stolz added six and Meagan Donovan and Paige Spooner had four assists apiece. Goalie Kathleen Murphy stopped 13 shots.

Tuesday, the Red Storm fell to 4-1 after an 8-7 home loss to Massabesic. Donovan and Erin Bresnahan scored two goals apiece and goalie Kathleen Murphy made 17 saves. Scarborough welcomed Portland Thursday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story), plays host to Westbrook Monday and goes to Greely Wednesday.

South Portland, under new coach Colleen Fleming, started by beating host Westbrook (13-1), visiting Bonny Eagle (9-5) and after falling at Portland (8-4), improved to 3-1 Monday after a 15-2 home win over Westbrook. In the opener, Barrett Backman and Zoe Baker each scored five goals. Baker then scored seven times against the Scots. In the loss, Blackman and Sydney Mitschele had two goals apiece. In the second victory over the Blue Blazes, Anne Von Seggern scored four goals, while Ally Trefsger and Kate Von Seggern added three apiece. The Red Riots play at undefeated Kennebunk Friday and host Gorham Monday.

Two-time reigning Class B champion Cape Elizabeth started with losses to host York (13-12), visiting Kennebunk (13-2), visiting Windham (13-3) and visiting Yarmouth (9-3), then won at Berwick Academy (15-10). Laura Ryer scored twice against the Clippers in a rematch of the past two Class B state finals.

“You have to play the best to be the best,” Capers coach Alex Spark said. “We want to be playing Yarmouth and Kennebunk and Windham. It’s still early and we’re at a great point to keep moving forward.”

In the victory, Charlotte Graham scored five goals and Claire McDonald added four goals and two assists. Cape Elizabeth returns to action next Wednesday at two-time reigning Class A champion Falmouth.

Tennis

Scarborough’s girls’ tennis team, the 2019 Class A South champion, opened with a 5-0 win at Westbrook, then lost at Falmouth, 3-2, in a rematch of the Red Storm’s memorable victory in the 2019 Class A South Final.

The Scarborough boys started with losses to Westbrook (3-2) and three-time Class A champion Falmouth (4-1), then got in the win column Tuesday by edging South Portland, 3-2.

South Portland’s boys fell to 2-4 with a 3-2 loss to Scarborough. The Red Riots had previously defeated Marshwood (4-1) and Bonny Eagle (5-0) and lost to Portland (4-1), Westbrook (3-2) and Kennebunk (3-2).

The Red Riots girls started with losses to Portland (3-2) and Marshwood (3-2), then downed Westbrook (5-0) and Biddeford (4-1) before falling to 2-3 with a 5-0 loss to Bonny Eagle.

Cape Elizabeth’s girls are off to a 3-0 start, defeating Waynflete (4-1), Freeport (5-0) and Fryeburg Academy (5-0).

The Capers boys started with 4-1 losses to Waynflete and Freeport.

Outdoor track

The outdoor track season began last week with South Portland’s boys edging Scarborough and the Red Storm girls downing the Red Riots.

Cape Elizabeth joined NYA at Greely for its first meet. The Capers boys finished first, while the girls came in second.

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

Comments are not available on this story.