ANDREW HEFFERNAN, Junior – Baseball

File photos

• SMAA Pitcher of the Year
• SMAA all-star, first-team

Andrew Heffernan

Heffernan was a joy to watch, as he boiled the art of pitching down to sheer simplicity, catching the ball, throwing strikes and winning games.

Such simplicity-turned-into-dominance is rarely seen at the high school level, and Heffernan’s excellence, not just on the mound but at the plate and in the field as well, led South Portland to another memorable campaign.

Heffernan missed out on his freshman season due to COVID, but made an immediate splash as a sophomore, allowing just four earned runs in 32.7 innings, walking only five hitters while striking out 35 and playing a key role on offense as well (batting .389 with 16 runs batted in) as the Red Riots won their first Class A state title since 1952.

This spring, Heffernan was even better, posting statistics that were hard to believe.

He went 6-2 with an 0.65 earned run average, allowed just 32 hits and five earned runs in 53.7 innings, walking only five while fanning 53.


At the plate, Heffernan, who played third base when he wasn’t on the mound, hit .328, scored 15 runs, drove in 13 and stole eight bases.

Heffernan debuted this season in style, allowing only a first inning single in a 1-0 extra-inning victory over Bonny Eagle. He struck out 11. In his next start, Heffernan beat Cheverus, 3-2, allowing no earned runs on three hits while striking out seven. Over those two games, Heffernan retired an amazing 32 straight hitters.

Other regular season highlights included a triple and a single and two runs scored in a victory over Biddeford, a three-hitter with eight Ks in a shutout win over Gorham, a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts in a victory over Westbrook and a four-hit shutout in a win over Falmouth.

Heffernan didn’t allow his first earned run, spanning his first 38 innings, until a loss at Scarborough in the regular season finale.

Then came the postseason, where Heffernan singled, tripled and drove in four runs in a preliminary round victory over Deering; threw a two-hitter with nine strikeouts in a quarterfinal round win over Westbrook; then had three hits, two RBI and a run scored in a palpitating semifinal round victory at Falmouth. In the Class A South Final, Heffernan got the start against Thornton Academy and only allowed two earned runs, but five errors doomed the Red Riots to defeat.

Heffernan is already getting a lot of interest from colleges and should have plenty of options when the time comes.


Coach Mike Owens’ comment: “Andrew is just so good. We know we just have to play defense because he’s not going to walk anybody. He’s going to throw strike after strike. It’s not just strikes; he throws five pitches for strikes and commands both sides of the plate. He has a little bit of everything. He’s tough to go against because you have to be ready in the box at all times. It’s hard to get him out of a rhythm.”

Previous winners:

• 2021 Bradley McMains (baseball)
• 2020 No season
• 2019 Hunter Owen (baseball)
• 2018 Riley Hasson (baseball) and Cooper Mehlhorn (lacrosse)
• 2017 Steven Smith (track)
• 2016 Sam Troiano (baseball)
• 2015 Henry Curran (baseball)
• 2014 Duncan Preston (lacrosse)
• 2013 Duncan Preston (lacrosse)
• 2012 Brendan Horton (baseball)
• 2011 Adrian Reid (track)
• 2010 Adam Burpee (lacrosse)
• 2009 Ben Linscott (lacrosse)
• 2008 Will Furbush (baseball)
• 2007 Eugene Arsenault (lacrosse)
• 2006 Thomas McCoubrey (track)
• 2005 Justin Collett (baseball)
• 2004 Scott Guillerault (baseball)
• 2003 Anthony Dambrie (track)
• 2002 Greg Norton (baseball)

ELLA NICKERSON, Sophomore – Softball

• SMAA all-star, first-team

Ella Nickerson

Nickerson has quickly established herself as one of the top players in Class A South, and this spring, she came up huge on many occasions, and best news is, she’s just getting started.

Nickerson, who has also played field hockey and competed in indoor track in high school, made an immediate impact as a freshman and this season, she put up some pretty impressive numbers in an all-star campaign.


Nickerson hit .410 and slugged .738, delivering 25 hits in 61 at-bats, including three doubles, seven triples and a home run. She drove in 18 runs and only struck out six times.

Highlights included two singles and a triple in a win over Falmouth; another triple in a loss to Kennebunk; a single, double, triple and three RBI in a victory over Deering; two doubles, a single and two RBI in a loss to Portland; and a home run in a win at Noble.

There’s more to come.

Ella Nickerson, South Portland’s Spring Athlete of the Year, has already established herself as one of the top players in Class A South and she still has two years left to impress us even more.

Coach Bud Voss’ comment: “Ella was at the top of her class offensively. Her defense didn’t lack, either. She is very versatile and can play anywhere. She really enjoys centerfield, but will do whatever the team needs to be successful. Her softball IQ and wellness to adapt and do what’s best for the team is one of her best traits of many. Her approach on and off the field is the approach of a true leader. The way she attacks practice and takes advantage of quality reps, the willingness to take advice and step outside her comfort zone to become better overall is top-notch. The support she gives to her teammates is always positive and supportive. She is the first one to be happy for another teammate’s success. Ella is a pleasure and an honor to coach.”

Previous winners:

• 2021 Geneva Holmes (track)
• 2020 No season
• 2019 Jena Leckie (lacrosse)
• 2018 Grace Rende (softball)
• 2017 Juliana Selser (track)
• 2016 Mary Cronin (lacrosse)
• 2015 Laurine German (softball)
• 2014 Shannon Conley (track)
• 2013 Danica Gleason (softball)
• 2012 Erin Bogdanovich (softball)
• 2011 Alexis Bogdanovich (softball)
• 2010 Katlin Norton (softball)
• 2009 Danielle DiBiase (softball)
• 2008 Julie DiMatteo (softball)
• 2007 Christina Aceto (softball)
• 2006 Kristin Kill (softball)
• 2005 Krystal Shannon (softball)
• 2004 Lindsay Coit (lacrosse)
• 2003 Nichole Cousins (softball)
• 2002 Morgan O’Donnell (softball)

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

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