Boys’ team

Paul Grazia, Waynflete baseball

Contributed photos

Boys’ tennis and lacrosse are well-established championship programs at Waynflete, but baseball is coming on strong. This spring, for the second year in a row, the Waynflete/North Yarmouth Academy co-op squad posted double-digit victories and won a playoff game, and it’s safe to say that the program is now considered a contender in Class C South.

Much of that is due to the work of Paul Grazia and his assistant coaches, who have molded a strong team out of players from schools that are traditional rivals, and in light of that accomplishment, The Forecaster is naming Paul Grazia our Portland edition Spring Coach of the Year of a boys’ team.

Grazia played baseball at Beloit College and for six years, was the assistant at Waynflete under Steve Kautz before taking over the program in 2014.

Waynflete and NYA joined forces in 2019, and in 2021, with virtually no varsity experience due to COVID wiping out the season prior, managed to win a dozen games and reach the Class C South quarterfinals.

This spring, Waynflete/NYA impressed again behind a deep pitching staff and timely hitting, going 12-4 in the regular season, thanks in large part to win streaks of four and six games.

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Waynflete/NYA then outlasted Old Orchard Beach in a thrilling preliminary round playoff game (8-7, in eight innings) before falling to Monmouth Academy, 11-2, in the quarterfinals to wind up with a record of 13-5, Waynflete’s highest win total since joining the Western Maine Conference and NYA’s best since 2004.

“We’ve really turned the corner the last couple years,” Grazia said. “We’ve had two of our best years in Class C ever. It’s been revitalizing for the program to be competitive.”

Waynflete/NYA will be right back in the hunt in 2023.

“We’ll have a lot of younger, talented players who will get an opportunity to play,” Grazia said. “We want to take the next step next year. I’m very excited about where we’re heading.”

He should be. Paul Grazia, our Portland edition boys’ team Spring Coach of the Year, and his program have turned the corner and even bigger things await.

Previous winners:

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• 2021 Andrew Leach (Waynflete lacrosse)
• 2020 No season
• 2019 Jeff Madore (Waynflete tennis)
• 2018 Mike DiFusco (Portland lacrosse)
• 2017 Mac McKew (Cheverus baseball)
• 2016 Jeff Madore (Waynflete tennis)
• 2015 Mike Rutherford (Portland baseball)
• 2014 Steve Virgilio (Cheverus track)
• 2013 Jeff Madore (Waynflete tennis)
• 2012 Deke Andrew (Cheverus lacrosse)
• 2011 Mac McKew (Cheverus baseball)
• 2010 Steve Kautz (Waynflete baseball)
• 2009 Eric Begonia (Portland lacrosse)
• 2008 Mike D’Andrea (Deering baseball)
• 2007 Mike D’Andrea (Deering baseball)
• 2006 Stephane Pejic (Waynflete tennis)
• 2005 Eric Begonia (Portland lacrosse)
• 2004 Mike D’Andrea (Deering baseball)

Girls’ team

Jason McLeod, Portland softball

 

Jason McLeod has made his mark as Portland’s football coach, leading the Bulldogs to an undefeated regular season and a trip to the regional final last fall, but he truly did a masterful job this spring, stepping in to take over the softball program and leading it to a memorable season.

The Bulldogs started fast, earned double-digit victories and even won a playoff game for the first time since 2018, and in light of that rousing success, The Forecaster is naming Jason McLeod our Portland edition Coach of the Year of a girls’ team.

McLeod previously served as an assistant to longtime coach Robbie Ferrante, but due to his health, Ferrante stepped back this spring and McLeod took over the squad, with help from Skip Capone, Ashley Anderson and Marty Macisso.

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The Bulldogs – featuring the booming bat and strong arm of junior ace Sadie Armstrong, fellow all-stars Halle Chase and Hannah Hawkes, and a strong supporting cast which came up clutch in big spots – won their first five games and went 10-5 in the regular season, good for the No. 6 seed in Class A South. Portland then dispatched Bonny Eagle, 9-1, in the preliminary round before falling just short at No. 3 Kennebunk in the quarterfinals, losing, 5-4, to wind up 11-6, the program’s best mark in five years.

“It’s a testament to who these girls are,” McLeod said. “They’re good teammates and they play really well. The girls have it in their heads to be the best they can possibly be every single game, and if they do, good things will happen to us as a team.”

Lots of good things happened this season, and Jason McLeod, our Portland edition Spring girls’ team Coach of the Year, pushed all the right buttons along the way.

Previous winners:

• 2021 Cathie Connors (Waynflete lacrosse)
• 2020 No season
• 2019 Theresa Hendrix (Cheverus softball)
• 2018 Bonnie Moran (Portland tennis)
• 2017 Tim Eisenhart (MGA/Falmouth softball)
• 2016 Robbie Ferrante (Portland softball)
• 2015 Cameron McManus (Portland lacrosse)
• 2014 Maureen Curran (Cheverus softball)
• 2013 Jamie Chamberlain (Cheverus lacrosse)
• 2012 Cathie Connors (Waynflete lacrosse)
• 2011 Linda Cohen (Waynflete tennis)
• 2010 Robbie Ferrante (McAuley softball)
• 2009 Bonnie Moran (Portland tennis)
• 2008 Cathie Connors (Waynflete lacrosse)
• 2007 Jamie Chamberlain (Cheverus lacrosse)
• 2006 Jamie Chamberlain (Cheverus lacrosse)
• 2005 Rick Supinski (Cheverus softball)
• 2004 Cathie Connors (Waynflete lacrosse)

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

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