The early returns are in and the spring sports season is off to a promising start.

And the best is yet to come.

Here’s a glimpse at what’s transpired so far in the 2022 campaign.

Baseball

Falmouth’s Eli Cowperthwaite prepares to throw a strike during last week’s dominating performance at Portland. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

On the diamond, local teams have lived up to expectations in the first couple of weeks.

Greely started with a 10-0 (five-inning) home win over Fryeburg Academy, as senior left-handed ace Zach Johnston, who will pitch next year at Wake Forest University, threw a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts. The Rangers then gave longtime coach Derek Soule his 300th career win, 8-2, at Brunswick, as Ryan Kolben struck out 17. After an 18-0 (five-inning) win at Wells, Greely beat visiting Poland (6-1), host Gray-New Gloucester (13-0, in six innings) and visiting Edward Little (10-0, in five innings). In the win over the Warriors, Johnston threw a one-hitter and Kolben and Marky Axelsen hit home runs. Brooks Williams hit a two-run double to spark the victory over the Knights. Against the Patriots, Kolben threw a one-hitter, striking out 14, and he added three hits. In the win over the Red Eddies, Kolben doubled twice, Jackson Leding had three RBI and Max Cloutier’s bloop hit ended the game.

“This was one of those games where we had to take advantage of what they gave us and keep riding that momentum,” Soule said. “Several guys, after we were given opportunities to extend innings, stepped up and had key hits.”

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Monday, the Rangers finally proved mortal, losing at home to Yarmouth, 7-2, to fall to 6-1. Greely goes to Cape Elizabeth Friday (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story) and travels to Lake Region Monday.

“Overall, I’m pleased where we are so far this season,” Soule said. “We’re playing well, but there are always things to improve on. We have to keep working hard and fine-tune our approach at the plate and on the basepaths.”

Yarmouth started with a 9-0 home loss to Class A power Oxford Hills.

“This is what we wanted,” said longtime Clippers coach Marc Halsted. “This is why we have a really good hockey program, a really good basketball team, a really good soccer team. These kids don’t want to go play some pushover. When we saw Oxford Hills on our schedule, we didn’t blink.”

Yarmouth then downed visiting Mt. Ararat (6-1) and host Lake Region (15-0, in five innings). Against the Eagles, Sam Lowenstein earned his first varsity win, striking out six, while Matt Gautreau and Gibby Sullivan both had a pair of RBI. In the win over the Lakers, Liam Hickey threw a no-hitter. After losing, 5-2, to visiting Freeport, the Clippers blanked host Fryeburg Academy (3-0), then improved to 4-2 Monday with a 7-2 win at Greely. Lowenstein earned the win at the Raiders, and in the victory over the Rangers, Hickey earned the win and David Swift and Matt Waeldner each had a pair of RBI. Yarmouth goes to York Friday, then hosts Poland Monday.

Reigning Class B South champion Freeport started with a 7-5 win at Morse, then lost at Mt. Ararat, 3-2. Nathan Abbott earned the victory and Keigan Shea had a pair of hits and couple RBI. The Falcons then blanked visiting Wells (10-0, in five innings), as senior University of Maine-bound ace Blaine Cockburn threw a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts, and he also doubled and homered. Wins at Yarmouth (5-2), at home over Cape Elizabeth (1-0) and at York (9-5) followed. Abbott earned the win against the Clippers and Cockburn had a couple hits. Cockburn then threw a two-hitter to beat the Capers and Shea scored the lone run on Thomas Roy’s double. In the victory over the Wildcats, Abbott homered twice and earned the win. Freeport was home versus Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday, welcomes Lake Region Friday and plays host to Fryeburg Academy Monday.

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Falmouth started with wins over visiting Windham (12-2, in five innings), host Portland (6-0) and host Massabesic (11-1). Dom Tracy earned the victory in the opener against the Eagles and Eli Cowperthwaite hit a bases clearing triple. Cowperthwaite then dominated against the Bulldogs at Hadlock Field, throwing six innings of shutout ball, striking out 13.

“It was just a great experience to be out on a field like this with a nice mound and to do what I did,” Cowperthwaite said.

“(Portland) had a couple mishaps we took advantage of,” Falmouth coach Mike D’Andrea said. “We were fortunate to get those extra opportunities and we capitalized today. That was the difference in the game.”

Mitchell Ham had four RBI in the win at the Mustangs. The Navigators were home versus Deering Tuesday, go to Biddeford Thursday, play host to Thornton Academy in a playoff rematch Saturday (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story) and welcome Noble Tuesday of next week.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” D’Andrea said. “We have to get better with the bats. We’ll get there. It’s still early and everybody’s in a similar boat being cold outside.”

The Waynflete/North Yarmouth Academy co-op squad started with a 9-4 setback at Maranacook, then defeated visiting Richmond (3-0), swept a doubleheader Saturday at Mt. View (5-3 and 7-2) and blanked host Traip Academy, 4-0, Monday. Waynflete/NYA goes to St. Dom’s Friday and returns home Monday of next week for a game versus Old Orchard Beach.

Softball

Freeport’s softball team got off to its best start in decades, downing host Morse (9-4), host Mt. Ararat (16-2, in five innings), visiting Wells (6-5) and host Yarmouth (10-8). The Falcons then came back to earth with losses to visiting Cape Elizabeth, the reigning Class B state champion (15-0, in five innings) and at York Monday (10-0, in six innings) to fall to 4-2. Freeport was home versus Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story), hosts Lake Region Friday and welcomes Fryeburg Academy Monday of next week.

Greely was just the opposite, starting with four straight losses before winning three straight. The Rangers started with an 8-2 home setback to Fryeburg Academy.

“We didn’t show what we’re capable of defensively,” lamented first-year Greely coach Daryl Rawnsley. “It should have been a 3-1, 3-2 game. We had some young kids out in the field. I know we’ll get better.”

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After a 14-2 (five-inning) loss at Brunswick, the Rangers fell, 12-2, in six innings, at Wells, then lost, 8-0, to visiting Poland. Greely started to turn things around with a 9-8 victory at Gray-New Gloucester, as Avery Butler and Hayley Stewart each had two hits. After downing visiting Edward Little, 7-4 (behind three hits and two RBI from Maia Wright), the Rangers improved to 3-4 Monday by holding off visiting Yarmouth, 10-9. Greely is at Cape Elizabeth Friday and goes to Lake Region Monday of next week.

Yarmouth started with an 11-0 (five-inning) home loss to Oxford Hills, then fell at home to Mt. Ararat (8-5), at Lake Region (21-2, in five innings), at home to Freeport (10-8) and at Greely (10-9). The Clippers seek their first win Friday at York, then host Poland Monday.

In Class A South, Falmouth opened with five-inning losses at Marshwood (17-2), at Noble (18-1), at home versus Portland (18-2) and at South Portland (15-0). The Navigators hosted Scarborough in a playoff rematch Wednesday, go to Westbrook Friday and welcome Thornton Academy Monday.

Boys’ lacrosse

NYA mobs Brayden Warde after his goal in a season-opening victory over reigning Class C champion Waynflete. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

Yarmouth boys’ lacrosse team, the two-time reigning Class B champion, started with a 15-2 victory over visiting Gray-New Gloucester/Poland, then lost two defending Class A champion Cape Elizabeth (14-5) at home before bouncing back with road victories over Greely (10-5) and Brunswick (20-8) to improve to 3-1. After going to York Wednesday, the Clippers welcome Messalonskee Friday, then play at Cape Elizabeth Wednesday of next week.

Greely was still seeking its first win at press time after starting with losses at York (13-5), at home to reigning Class C champion Waynflete (7-4) and Yarmouth (10-5), and at Messalonskee (12-5). The Rangers go to Cape Elizabeth Wednesday and host Thornton Academy Saturday.

In Class A, Falmouth started with a 16-2 win at Kennebunk, as Xavier Grenier scored four goals and Robby Drum and Rory Skillin-Lanou both added three. The Navigators then lost at home to Thornton Academy, 4-1.

“I absolutely love this group,” said Falmouth coach Dave Barton. “They won’t back down from anybody. They’re as tough a group as we’ve ever had, but toughness only gets you so far and our sticks failed us today.”

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After holding off host Gorham, 9-6, the Navigators fell to 2-2 Monday after a hard-fought 11-10 home loss to Cape Elizabeth. Jay Thomas scored four times, Drum had six assists and goalie Drew Noyes made 19 saves, but it wasn’t quite enough.

“We had a good game plan, but it’s hard to execute for 48 minutes,” Barton said. “I’m proud of the way we battled. Our guys did everything we asked of them and I’m super proud of them, but it stings. The guys are a little ticked off as competitors. We’ll have to earn the right to play (Cape) again.”

Falmouth hosts Windham Thursday.

In Class C, NYA started with a 7-4 home win over Waynflete, getting a measure of revenge for last year’s playoff loss. Wyatt Thomas scored three goals.

“I wanted this so badly,” Thomas said. “We lost to them twice last year, so we were fired up.”

“This feels great,” said senior defensive standout Henry Bergeron. “We’ll see them again at the end of the year I’m sure. It meant a lot to beat them here on our field.”

“We were excited,” Panthers coach Peter Gerrity added. “It’s fun to end a season with a rivalry game, but it’s awesome to start with one. It’s nice to kind of avenge last year’s loss right off and set the tone.”

NYA then downed visiting Traip Academy (17-0), host Gray-New Gloucester/Poland (13-3) and visiting Gardiner (18-5) to start 4-0. James Tourigny and Caleb Waterman both scored three goals against the Rangers. In the win over the Tigers, Waterman erupted for eight goals and also had three assists. The Panthers were at Wells Tuesday, host York Saturday and welcome Freeport Tuesday of next week.

Freeport opened with a 15-1 home win over Lake Region, then suffered losses to visiting York (9-5), host Wells (9-6) and host Waynflete (10-5). The Falcons host Cony Wednesday and go to NYA Tuesday of next week.

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Girls’ lacrosse

Falmouth’s Maeve Ginevan passes the ball up field during last week’s loss at Kennebunk in a rematch of last year’s Class A state final. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

On the girls’ side, Greely, which lost in the Class B state final a year ago, lost its opener at York, 16-12, then defeated visiting Gray-New Gloucester/Poland (20-1), host NYA (10-5) and visiting Freeport (6-5). In the first victory, Carley Ferentz and Charlotte Taylor both scored four goals. In the win over the Panthers, Ferentz led the way with five goals. Against the Falcons, Ferentz and Lauren Dennen both scored three times and goalie Addyson Babcock made a game-clinching save in the waning seconds.

“In that moment, my only focus is the ball and getting there in time,” Babcock said. “I just wanted to run out the clock from there.”

“I felt tears because I was so happy,” Ferentz said. “Our new defense has worked really well as a unit and no one wanted to let a goal in at the end.”

“You could not ask for a better game,” added Rangers coach Becca Koelker. “I just told our team, that’s the kind of opponent you want. They’ll teach you a lot. Freeport played their hearts out the whole game, so credit to them.”

Greely was at Yarmouth for a state game rematch Tuesday, then visits Messalonskee Saturday.

“We’re a young team with a lot to learn, but we get better every game and that’s our goal for the season,” Koelker said.

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In Class A, reigning regional champion Falmouth opened with a 10-8 home victory over Yarmouth, as Sloane Ginevan and Whitney Adams each scored twice.

“Yarmouth has some excellent players and we knew they’d be tough,” said Ginevan, a junior, who has already committed to playing lacrosse at Notre Dame in two years time. “We knew to beat them, we had to work as a team and we did that. We treated this like a potential playoff game and that’s what it shaped up to be.”

“We held on for dear life,” said Navigators coach Ashley Pullen. “No lead is ever safe against Yarmouth. They scored a few goals on us when we were short-handed.”

Falmouth then went to Kennebunk for a state game rematch and the Rams pulled away in the second half to prevail, 11-6. Ginevan led the Navigators with four goals.

“It’s good to have a learning experience this early in the season,” Pullen said. “I’m proud of the girls for playing the full 50 minutes and for not hanging their heads and giving up. I definitely give Kennebunk a lot of credit. They’re a talented team, they’re well-coached. They execute fundamentals really well and they’re scrappy. They want the ball and that turns into possessions for them which turns into goals for them.”

Falmouth then improved to 2-1 with an 18-4 home win over Biddeford. Ginevan had four goals and three assists, and Adams added three goals and two assists. The Navigators were at Cheverus Tuesday and welcome Gorham Tuesday of next week.

“We’ve talked about having pride in our program and having confidence in our abilities and doing a better job of tapping into the potential we have,” Pullen said.

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Yarmouth, the reigning Class B state champion, which has moved up to Class A this spring, opened with a 13-4 home win over Windham, as Aine Powers had five goals and Neena Panozzo added four. The Clippers then lost at Falmouth, 10-8, despite three goals from Powers and a pair from Katelyn D”Appolonia.

“We have eight girls who were on JV last year and we only have four girls back who played a lot last year, so to come back like we did, I couldn’t be prouder,” longtime Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt said. “There are big things to come for this group. To hang with a seasoned Falmouth team shows we’re getting there.”

After a 12-5 win at Cape Elizabeth, the Clippers fell to 2-2 with an 11-3 home loss to Kennebunk. D’Appolonia, Panozzo and Lauren Keaney scored and the final score was misleading as Yarmouth was stymied by Rams goalie Lizzie Hayes, who made 14 saves.

“We’re so much younger than (Kennebunk) and their first few goals were scored off our turnovers,” Holt said. “They’re a good team and that’s what good teams do. Their goalie came up big when she needed to. Give her credit.”

The Clippers hosted Greely Tuesday, play at Scarborough Thursday (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story) and return home Monday of next week to face Oxford Hills.

In Class C, Freeport, the reigning state runner-up, opened with victories over host NYA (12-6) and visiting Fryeburg Academy (12-0). Against the Panthers, Meg Driscoll and Savannah Tracy each scored four times.

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“It feels really good to come back together as a team and have that bond,” Driscoll said. “This game really shows that we can power through and play the game we can play. We talked through what our issues were and our team put it all together.”

“We’re definitely ready to make a run this year,” Tracy said.

“Last year is what motivates (the girls),” added Freeport coach Marcia Wood. “The goal is obviously to get back (to states). I think they learned from last year’s mistakes and they’re ready to push.”

Tracy and Emily Olsen each scored twice in the win over the Raiders. The Falcons then lost, 6-5, at Greely, as Kate Tracy had three goals, goalie Piper Williams stopped 11 shots and a last-second, game-tying bid was denied.

“I thought my defense was phenomenal today and Piper made a lot of great saves,” Wood said. “We’ve worked on defense all year and we did a good job keeping Greely to such a low score.”

After going to Gray-New Gloucester/Poland Wednesday, Freeport is home Monday versus Lake Region.

“We have bigger games down the road,” Wood said. “York, Waynflete, NYA and Cape Elizabeth will be great games. We need to fight to the end, then come out on top.”

NYA, meanwhile, started with a dramatic, come-from-behind 10-9 overtime win over Waynflete. Maggie Holt scored four goals, including the decisive tally.

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“I think we have a lot of potential and we can only go up from here,” Holt said.

“That was a little too exciting, but it was a lot of fun,” said NYA’s first-year coach Molly Moss-Stokes. “This says a lot about our leadership and our ability to move the ball around and find the good look. There was a little panic, but we regrouped and it worked out.”

The Panthers then dropped a 12-6 home decision to Freeport despite three goals and two assists from Holt.

“It was not our day,” Moss-Stokes lamented. “I think we just got in our own heads and lost composure. Nothing was connecting. We reacted to some calls not going our way and couldn’t turn it around. It was a learning moment and I think we needed it. There were so many turnovers and the 50-50 balls were huge. We were able to win them last week, but not this week.”

NYA then lost at home to Greely (10-5) before evening its record at 2-2 with an 11-1 home victory over St. Dom’s. The Panthers host York Wednesday.

Outdoor track

Outdoor track’s season began with Falmouth’s boys beating Kennebunk and Westbrook and the girls coming in second to the Rams.

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Yarmouth hosted Greely, Freeport and three other teams to start the season. The Rangers were second to York on both the boys’ and girls’ meets. The Clippers boys were third and the Falcons came in fourth. Freeport’s boys placed third while Yarmouth finished fifth.

Boys’ tennis

Yarmouth’s two-time defending Class B boys’ tennis champion improved to 3-0 Monday by beating 13-time Class C champion Waynflete, 4-1.

Greely was 3-0 after opening its season with wins over Lake Region, Cape Elizabeth and Waynflete.

Freeport was 4-0 at press time after enjoying 4-1 wins over Mt. Ararat and York and 3-2 decisions over Brunswick and NYA.

Falmouth was 1-2 after a 5-0 win over Marshwood and losses to Kennebunk (5-0) and Portland (3-2).

NYA started with a 4-1 victory over Lake Region, then lost to Waynflete (4-1) and Freeport (3-2).

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Girls’ tennis

On the girls’ side, reigning Class A South champion Falmouth beat Marshwood and Bonny Eagle by 5-0 scores to open the season, then, last Friday, dropped its first regular season match since May 2, 2008, 3-2, to Kennebunk.

In Class B South, Greely won three of its first four matches, downing York (5-0), Waynflete (4-0) and Freeport (4-1), and losing to reigning regional champion Cape Elizabeth (4-1).

Freeport beat Mt. Ararat in the opener (5-0) then dropped 4-1 decisions to Brunswick and Greely.

Yarmouth started with a 4-1 loss to Cape Elizabeth.

NYA lost its first two matches by 3-2 scores to Waynflete and York.

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

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