When first-year Westbrook High baseball coach Adam Begos was a player at the school, the Blue Blazes went to consecutive Western Class A finals in 2010 and 2011 and were among the elite programs in southern Maine.

“I wasn’t an everyday guy but we were so deep, 11 of us went to play in college,” said Begos, 28, an elementary physical education teacher in the Bonny Eagle school district who played at UMaine-Presque Isle.

Begos, a Westbrook assistant coach from 2017-20, was well aware that the baseball program had hit lean times when he was hired to replace longtime coach Greg Souza, who was told in January he would not be rehired following a 2-14 season.

Fortunes have changed quickly this season. The Blue Blazes are 7-1-1 and No. 2 in the Class A South standings. They have tossed four straight shutouts after Bronson Damon’s five-inning no-hitter Thursday against Deering, a 12-0 victory.

“Our pitching and our defense is our identity, and for me as a new coach coming in, I really didn’t know what to expect, honestly, coming into a team that has – for lack of a better term – underperformed.”

Damon, a senior, is 3-0 and has not allowed an earned run in his first three starts, including a 5-1 win over Thornton Academy, the No. 1 team in the Varsity Maine poll.

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“He’s a veteran leader. He’s the one the guys look up to,” Begos said.
Junior Ben Eugley is 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA after throwing a 50-pitch complete game, a 2-0 shutout against Sanford.

“He embraces contact and gets outs, and when the ball is in play our team can catch it as well as any team in the league. In the state, I think, and they’ve proven that so far,” Begos said.

Damon entered Thursday’s game hitting .444 (12 of 27) with three doubles and a triple. Second baseman Avery MacWhinnie (.400, eight RBI) has come up with clutch two-out hits. First baseman Garren Post (.320, two doubles, triple, seven RBI) adds some pop. Senior shortstop Chris Coleman, a starter since his freshman year, is a top defender.

“I’m really happy for the kids because it’s been really down the last few years. I’m getting some credit, but really I can’t take too much because we had good players going in. It was just trying to get them to play together and learn how to win,” Begos said.

BOTH LACROSSE TEAMS from York High are intent on winning a state title. Neither program has played in a state final, but the Wildcats are clear contenders in Class B this season.

With former top girls’ teams Yarmouth and Cape Elizabeth moving to Class A, “as far as I’m concerned it’s Greely and us,” said Phil Rowley, York’s third-year girls’ coach. York (5-1) beat Greely (6-1) in the season opener, 16-12. The Wildcats’ lone loss was to Class A Massabesic.

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Twin sisters and midfielders Rose Pavuk (28 goals, eight assists) and Clara Pavuk (18 goals, 23 assists) lead the offense. Rose recently scored her 100th career goal. Both are committed to play at the University of New Hampshire.

Abigail Amlin, a junior who has committed to play field hockey at UNH, senior Lexi Bardwell, senior Ashley LaPierre and sophomore Cary Drake have each scored at least nine goals. Drake, the Class B indoor track mile and 2-mile champ, adds speed and endurance in the midfield.

Greely has won six straight since losing at York. The Rangers also have multiple scoring options (Lauren Dennen, Charlotte Taylor, Carley Ferentz, and Asja Kelman) and the athletes to excel in transition.

York travels to Cumberland for a rematch with Greely on May 27.

“That’s our last game of the regular season,” said Greely Coach Becca Koelker. “That will be a great measuring stick to see how we’ve improved, and then I think we’ll probably see them in playoffs, too.”

The York boys are 8-0 and outscoring opponents, on average, by more than eight goals under first-year coach Billy McNamara. Their wins include a 15-12 victory at home against defending Class B champion Yarmouth.

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“The goal definitely is to be winning the state title at the end of the year,” McNamara said.

Senior attack Jake Anastos, who will play next year at Bates College, recently scored his 100th career goal.

“Jake’s the type of kid who puts up a lot of points against every team we play, not just piling it up on weaker teams,” McNamara said.

McNamara called athletic two-way junior middie Kevin Burke “one of the best lacrosse players in Maine.” Haverford College-bound senior Roan Spencer has produced whether at midfield or attack, and seniors Liam Clayton (long-stick middie), Damon Whitcomb, Liam Bridge and Chris Fletcher have formed a tight defensive unit in front of goalies Alex Malinoski and Jackson Frame.

Yarmouth showed its championship mettle Wednesday, going on the road and snapping Class A power Cape Elizabeth’s 22-game winning streak, 18-16, behind six goals from Killian Marsh, five from Peter Psyhogeos and four from Colter Olson. Cape had beaten Yarmouth 14-5 in an earlier meeting.

Faceoff men Michael McGonagle and Jaxson Dauphinee, along with long-stick middie Cam Miller, won the possession battles in the third quarter as Yarmouth pulled away from an 11-11 halftime tie.

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“The biggest difference is our offense has improved,” said Yarmouth Coach Jon Miller. “The boys are playing with confidence. And additionally, we were able to win more faceoffs, more ground balls and win the possession battle. The third quarter we controlled the ball almost the entire quarter.”

TRAIP ACADEMY’S LACROSSE teams each claimed their first win in program history recently in their second varsity season. The girls’ beat Noble, 13-11, on May 6 and made it two in a row with a 13-4 win Monday against Fryeburg Academy, with eight players scoring. The Traip girls also have enough participation to have a junior varsity team.

Jody Donohue is the first-year varsity coach. A former club coach in New Hampshire, she took over for current assistant Sybil Carven, who was the driving force behind starting Kittery’s youth lacrosse program.

Seniors Julia Durling and Alexis Hernandez, and junior Quinn McPherson are top players but the program’s best asset is its youth, with six freshmen starters and solid middle school participation.

The Traip boys got their first win Monday, beating Fryeburg, 9-4, behind six goals from Brody Johnson and strong play from senior goalie Sam Thumith. Coach Raphael Matty said his 20-player program – up from 15 in year one – is at an earlier developmental stage than the girls’ team.

“I have six seniors on the team and the feeder programs still aren’t producing enough kids where losing six seniors is no big deal,” Matty said.

SANFORD SOFTBALL is not fielding a varsity team this season. Sanford Athletic Director Gordie Salls said only 12 girls are in the program. The decision to play only junior varsity games was made on the eve of the season.

“We were worried if kids got sick, or we had injuries and then couldn’t finish the (varsity) season, then unfortunately you’re on probation for two years and can’t play a varsity schedule.” Salls said all 12 players, including four solid varsity returners, stayed with the team.

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