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

South Portland’s Nolan Hobbs fires a strike past Portland’s Andrew Legere early in the Red Riots’ 4-0 victory Tuesday. Michael Hoffer / The Forecaster

On the diamond, reigning Class A state champion South Portland hasn’t missed a beat this spring, winning its first five contests. The Red Riots survived visiting Bonny Eagle in the opener, 1-0, in eight innings (Andrew Heffernan threw a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts and the winning run scored on an error); then blanked host Deering, 9-0 (Ryan Thurber had three hits); edged visiting Cheverus, 3-2 (Heffernan extended his streak of consecutive batters retired to 32 before settling for a three-hitter with seven Ks); won at Biddeford, 12-5 (Johnny Poole had three hits); then Tuesday, blanked visiting Portland, 4-0, as Nolan Hobbs threw a two-hitter and Jack Houle had two hits and a couple RBI.

“Portland’s a good team and it’s always good to beat them,” Hobbs said.

“We’re together and we believe in each other,” Houle said. “We still need to get better every day. We take practice seriously and put in the work in in practice to get better.”

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“It’s a good group, working hard every day,” added South Portland coach Mike Owens. “I don’t think there’s pressure. There’s a lot of talk about us, but it’s a different group and it’s a different year.”

South Portland was at Gorham Thursday, visits Noble Friday and has a pivotal home showdown versus Thornton Academy Tuesday of next week (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story).

“Every game in our league is so difficult,” Owens said. “Gorham is excellent and Noble is a surprise, then we have Thornton next week. We’re just trying to work on our craft, and hopefully, that’s enough to compete with the top teams. We have a lot of tough games ahead of us, and hopefully, we’ll continue to get better.”

Scarborough split its first four contests. After opening with a 5-0 loss at Thornton Academy, the Red Storm blanked visiting Windham (9-0), lost at home to Westbrook (12-2, in five innings), then improved to 2-2 with a 9-5 win at Bonny Eagle Saturday. Scarborough hosted Kennebunk Thursday (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story), welcomes Biddeford Saturday and plays at Portland Tuesday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth opened with home wins over Brunswick (6-4) and York (5-4), then lost at Fryeburg Academy (4-3) and Freeport (1-0) before improving to 3-2 Monday with a 7-0 home win over Gray-New Gloucester. Charlie Song had a key, two-run single in the victory over the Dragons. Against the Wildcats, Brady Inman had three hits and a pair of RBI. Song had three hits in the loss to the Raiders. Against the Falcons, Owen Tighe only allowed one run on five hits in six innings but was the hard-luck loser. Curtis Sullivan then threw a no-hitter against the Patriots, striking out 14, and Tighe drove in three runs. After going to Mt. Ararat Thursday, the Capers host Greely Friday (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story), visit Wells Monday and play at Old Orchard Beach Wednesday of next week.

Softball

Cape Elizabeth’s reigning Class B champion softball team got off to a rough start, having its 21-game win streak snapped with a 3-2 home loss to Brunswick in the opener. The Capers then lost, 18-11, to visiting York. Sophia Chung had two hits and four RBI in that one.

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“We’re not as strong one-through-nine this year, so we’re just trying to fill in those spots,” said Cape Elizabeth’s second-year coach Kristen Duross. “We do still have talent. Teams are gunning for us this year. We’re going to come around. It’s still early.”

Sure enough, the Capers then hit their stride and won at Fryeburg Academy (7-1), at Freeport (15-0, in five innings) and at home over Gray-New Gloucester (18-2, in five innings) to improve to 3-2. In the win over the Falcons, Kathryne Clay pitched a two-hitter, striking out eight. Clay also had two hits, while Dana Schwartz and Kat Callahan added three hits each. Against the Patriots, Clara Parker threw a no-hitter and added two hits and two RBI. Lauren Steinberg had three hits. After going to Mt. Ararat Thursday, the Capers host Greely Friday, visit Wells Monday and play at Old Orchard Beach Wednesday of next week.

Scarborough dropped its opener for the first time in 19 years, losing at home to Windham, 9-5. The Red Storm did show some life late, scoring four runs after falling behind, 9-1.

“I’m really happy with the way we stuck in there,” said longtime Scarborough coach Tom Griffin. “We could have buried ourselves, but we swung the bat and showed what we’re made out of. Unfortunately, we put ourselves in a hole early. It was just too deep of a hole.”

Like Cape Elizabeth, the Red Storm then flipped the switch, defeating visiting Bonny Eagle (16-6, in six innings), rolling at Cheverus (28-1, in five innings), handling visiting Deering (15-1, in five innings), then out-slugging visiting Gorham (13-8). Against the Scots, Natalie Moynihan led the way with four hits, Morgan Scoville added three hits and Calynn Gendreau had two hits with four RBI. In the win over the Stags, Moynihan threw a no-hitter and homered twice. Katie Roy finished with five hits, including two doubles and a triple, Maddie Russo homered and AJ Swett and Calynn Gendreau also had three hits. Against Deering, Meghan Robinson threw a two-hitter while Sophia Ouellette had three hits and two RBI and Alana Sawyer hit an RBI double and an RBI triple. In the win over Gorham, Scarborough broke it open with a nine-run third inning. Moynihan, Roy and Angelina Pizzella all produced three hits. The Red Storm hosted Marshwood Thursday. After going to Kennebunk Monday, Scarborough plays at Falmouth Tuesday, where it looks to avenge last year’s stunning playoff upset loss, then it welcomes Noble Wednesday of next week.

“We can play with anybody and we can beat anybody,” Griffin said. “What we can’t do is is let up against weaker competition, and that’s a lesson we learned last year. I love my team. I think a lot of people will be surprised. They better not take us lightly, because our kids can really play.”

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South Portland welcomed new coach Bud Voss with a 9-8 home win over Westbrook. The Red Riots then lost at home to reigning regional champion Biddeford (13-0, in five innings) and at home to Cheverus (5-2) before beating host Bonny Eagle (10-0) and visiting Falmouth (15-0, in five innings) to improve to 3-2. In the win over the Navigators, Ella Nickerson had three hits, while Elise Connor, Andrea Dimauro and Maddie Jamieson all added a pair. South Portland was at Deering Wednesday, hosts Kennebunk Friday, goes to Gorham Monday and returns home Wednesday of next week to face Massabesic.

Boys’ lacrosse

Nic Boudreau scores one of his three goals in Cape Elizabeth’s victory over Gorham earlier this season. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ lacrosse team, the reigning Class A champion, has been tested in the early going, but hasn’t stumbled. The Capers started with home wins over Kennebunk (21-4) and Gorham (16-9). In the first victory, Keegan Lathrop and Tiernan Lathrop both scored three goals, while Nic Boudreau added five assists. In the second, Keegan Lathrop scored four goals, while Tiernan Lathrop, Boudreau and Sam Cochran had three apiece, and longtime coach Ben Raymond earned his 300th victory with the program.

“It’s amazing, but the win didn’t go the way we wished it had,” Tiernan Lathrop said. “We were a little too confident. We definitely hold ourselves to a high standard. If we knew it was going to be Coach’s 300th win earlier, we would have been much more hyper.”

“I hoped to be here this long,” Raymond said. “Being good for a long time has helped. When I was much younger, there was a ton more pressure because we’d won so many (championships) in a row. At the end of seasons, people were more relieved than happy. Now, they’re just mostly happy.”

Cape Elizabeth then won at two-time reigning Class B champion Yarmouth, 14-5, before holding off host Falmouth, 11-10, Monday to improve to 4-0. Against the Navigators, seven different players scored, with Keegan Lathrop leading the way with three goals. Sebastian Moon won a late faceoff and the Capers ran out the clock and won their 20th consecutive game dating to last season.

“I was just thinking I had to get possession and run down the clock,” Moon said. “I was just trying to get it to my wings or push it forward.”

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“I think in the long run, this will be a positive,” said senior Colin Campbell, who had a goal and four assists. “We know we’re capable of so much more. We haven’t been executing in practice. I think this year is more a mental game. We had all that success last year and we almost felt immortal, but obviously, we’re not.”

“Falmouth played really well,” Raymond added. “It wasn’t like we played poorly. I think in the first half, we had some miscommunication, but we cleaned it up.”

Cape Elizabeth was home versus Greely Wednesday, visits Scarborough Monday (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story) and returns home next Wednesday to face Yarmouth.

“We want to have a league where we have quality games and that will prepare us for playoffs and gets these kids better and better,” Raymond said.

Scarborough also started 4-0, downing visiting Marshwood (10-3), host Windham (13-8), host Deering (22-1) and visiting South Portland (9-6). In the opener, Finn Pedersen scored four goals and Tae Delaware added three. Pedersen then scored four times and Delaware finished with three goals in the win over the Eagles. Against the Red Riots, Delaware, Pedersen and Jeremiah Park all scored two goals, while Sam Rumelhart took over in the faceoff circle and scored a goal of his own.

“Playing these guys on our turf and knowing they beat TA, we knew it would be a good game and it was,” Rumelhart said.

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“I think it’s early,” Red Storm coach Zach Barrett said. “We still have a lot to figure out. We gave (South Portland) a lot of opportunities that we shouldn’t have, but we’re still learning. We have a lot of guys without much experience. A game like this is huge for them to know they can dig themselves out of a hole.”

Scarborough was at Bonny Eagle Wednesday, hosts Cape Elizabeth Monday and visits Gorham Wednesday of next week.

South Portland opened with home wins over Bonny Eagle (19-3) and Thornton Academy (11-10). In the opener, Beckett Mehlhorn scored six goals and Jack Dreifus added five. In the win over the Golden Trojans, Mehlhorn scored four goals and a Brady Demers score won it late. The Red Riots then fell to 2-1 with a 9-6 loss at Scarborough despite three goals from Demers and 13 saves from goalie Ben Kieu.

“It was just too many mistakes in the clearing game,” South Portland coach Dan Hanley said. “We needed goals quickly and we settled for some outside shots. It’s a learning experience for our guys. We have to be able to handle the ball with composure and develop some poise. We made a lot of mental mistakes. Even when we were winning faceoffs, they won the ground ball or caused turnovers.”

The Red Riots were at Deering Wednesday, host reigning Class C champion Waynflete Saturday, welcome Massabesic Monday and go to Windham Wednesday of next week.

“I love our team,” Hanley said. “We’re pretty much the same core group from last year and we have some great additions. There are more good things to come for us. It’s good to deal with adversity and recognize we won’t win every single game.”

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Girls’ lacrosse

Scarborough’s Natalie Bilodeau takes off with the ball during a recent win over Windham. Michael Hoffer / The Forecaster

On the girls’ side, Scarborough has picked up where last year’s resurgent team left off. The Red Storm opened with a 16-0 blanking of visiting Bonny Eagle, then held off host Thornton Academy (10-8), edged visiting Windham in the rain (7-6) and improved to 4-0 with a 12-7 victory at Gorham. Natalie Bilodeau led the way with six goals in the opener. Against the Golden Trojans, Darby Stolz had four goals while Bilodeau added three. In the win over the Eagles, Stolz’s free position goal with 3:52 left, her second of the game, was the difference.

“I came in expecting a good game,” Stolz said. “I know how hard Windham plays. I loved how back-and-forth it was. It made for a great game. The rain makes it harder to catch and grip your stick, but I also like playing in the rain, so it was fine. We definitely have the grit and tenacity to come through when we need to. At the end, we knew we had to be composed and play the defense we know how to play.”

“I think this shows we can dig deep,” said Scarborough coach Emily Field. “There were minutes where I wasn’t sure, but then I saw the switch flip and they pulled it together. That gives me confidence as we enter the tough part of our season.”

Bilodeau and Stolz then scored five goals apiece in the win over the Rams. The Red Storm hosted reigning Class B champion Yarmouth Thursday (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story), go to Cape Elizabeth Tuesday of next week, then host reigning Class A North champion Falmouth Thursday of next week.

South Portland started with losses at Sanford (7-5) and Cheverus (18-9), then improved to 2-1 Tuesday with a 12-5 home win over Portland. In the victory, Zoe Baker scored five times and Pearl Friedland-Farley added four goals. The Red Riots welcome Thornton Academy Friday, then go to Bonny Eagle next Tuesday.

Cape Elizabeth, which is new to Class A this season, opened with a 12-9 home win over Gorham, then lost at home to Yarmouth (12-5) and at Massabesic (8-4). In the victory, Claire McDonald and Kaity Woods both scored three goals.

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“We’re really excited (to move up),” McDonald said. “Having even more competition is good for us.”

“It’s a great start,” said Capers coach Alex Spark. “We don’t see Gorham all the time and they brought us an awesome, competitive game. Both sides went back-and-forth, which is what you want to see.”

McDonald scored twice against the Mustangs and goalie Elise Branch stopped 13 shots. The Capers are at reigning Class A champion Kennebunk Friday and host Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

“When it starts to click, we’re only going to go up from there,” Spark said. “We always say that we only want to go up in our season.”

Outdoor track

Outdoor track’s season began with Cape Elizabeth hosting five other teams and the Capers sweeping the meet.

Scarborough hosted South Portland and Bonny Eagle in its opener. The Red Riots won the boys’ meet with the Red Storm coming in second. In the girls’ competition, Scarborough was first and South Portland placed third.

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Boys’ tennis

South Portland’s boys’ tennis team has stolen the show in the early going this spring, getting off to its best start in years, 5-0, capped by a first-ever victory over Falmouth (3-2). The Red Riots have their biggest test Monday when reigning Class A champion Kennebunk pays a visit.

Scarborough started with a 4-1 loss to South Portland, then defeated Westbrook and Marshwood before going to Falmouth Thursday.

Cape Elizabeth lost its first three matches, then defeated Lake Region (5-0) and York (3-2).

Girls’ tennis

On the girls’ side, reigning Class B South champion Cape Elizabeth beat Waynflete, Yarmouth and Greely by 4-1 scores to open the season, then blanked Lake Region and York to start 5-0. The Capers go to Yarmouth Monday.

Scarborough was also perfect at press time, opening with 5-0 wins over South Portland, Westbrook and Marshwood and a 3-2 victory over Gorham. The Red Storm hosted Falmouth in a playoff rematch Thursday.

South Portland dropped its first four outings, capped by a 5-0 loss to Falmouth Tuesday.

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

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