Biddeford’s Hannah Lappin is met by teammate Laura Perreault after scoring against Scarborough during a game last May. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

1. Windham: After falling short of the Class A final last season, the Eagles are the popular pick as the team to beat this time around. It starts in the circle, where Varsity Maine All-State selection and Gatorade Player of the Year Brooke Gerry is back after a dominant season in which she went 16-3 with a 0.82 ERA and 225 strikeouts and also batted .551. Catcher and shortstop Stella Jarvais is back after hitting .453 as a freshman, and while catcher Jaydn Kimball is out because of an injury, her sister, Kennedy, is primed to be an impact player as a sophomore. Pitching and defense are staples for Windham, but the Eagles’ new coach, Darcey Gardiner, is excited about her team’s plate discipline, which would suit the Eagles well against the loaded SMAA pitching scene.

2. Biddeford: No, the Tigers don’t return everyone from last year’s Class A championship team, but Mike Fecteau’s team is hardly in a rebuild, either. Varsity Maine Player of the Year Charlotte Donovan is back for her senior year, and she dominated while going 12-1 with a 1.09 ERA and 113 strikeouts and batting .549 last season. Baylor Wilkinson, at first base, hit .365 with four home runs and is one of the area’s best power hitters, center fielder Laura Perreault is a line-drive hitter who batted .389 with six extra-base hits, and Hannah Lappin is a returning starter and steady fielder at shortstop. The Tigers have been to the last two Class A finals, and a return trip is hardly a long shot.

3. Kennebunk/Sanford: Last year, the Rams had a freshman in the circle and five in the lineup, and all they did was come within a run of ousting eventual champion Biddeford in the regional semifinals. Sophomore Julia Pike (12-1, 1.32 ERA, 169 strikeouts) is a force in the circle, and she batted .408. Second baseman Talia Kellum (.308) and outfielder Melody Rousselle are back after impressive freshman seasons, and senior Emily Hutchins (.362) is a team leader and bonding presence behind the plate. Fueled by their battery, the Rams – now a co-op with Sanford – should be near the top of the Class A South standings.

York’s Maddy Raymond batted .515 with five home runs last season while posting a 9-1 record with a 1.53 ERA. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

4. York: The only thing better than returning a starting pitcher is returning two starting pitchers. That’s the position the Wildcats are in, as McKayla Kortes (.583 average, six home runs, 31 RBI; 9-1, 1.47 ERA) and Maddy Raymond (.515, five home runs, 29 RBI; 9-1, 1.53 ERA) return as third baseman/pitcher standouts. Some graduation losses did sting, and impressive shortstop Alexis Osterhaus moved to Texas, but outfielder and first-team All-WMC pick Ella Moon, catcher Carli Welch, second baseman Ava Brent, first baseman Emily Estes and third baseman Ella Hickey are back in starting or prominent roles. The Wildcats will hit, pitch and field well, and be a Class B favorite again.

5. Gorham: The Rams are one of the top hitting teams in the SMAA, with one of the league’s best players in University of Connecticut commit Amber Bretton, who hit .479 with five home runs and a 1.000 slugging percentage last year and is likely to take over full-time in the circle this spring. She throws three pitches and sits in the mid-60s, and with some improved command will be a true ace. She’s surrounded by plenty of firepower in the lineup, in the form of power hitters Andi Cloutier and Sophia DiPhilippo, contact hitter Kyleah Mack and outfielder Kaci Mollison, who was injured most of last season. This is a deep, balanced and versatile team, and a team with title aspirations.

6. Scarborough: There’s a new head coach, but the Red Storm’s annual status as an SMAA contender is unchanged. Liz Winslow’s team brings back its pitcher, Natalie Moynihan, who as a freshman went 6-2 with a 2.49 ERA while also batting .511 with eight extra-base hits, including two home runs and 26 RBI. First baseman Angelina Pizzella has impressed in the spring after hitting .391 with 15 RBI a year ago, and shortstop Samantha Cote (.364 last season) and second baseman Jamie Kemper might be the SMAA’s best middle infield combination. There are question marks, such as third base and center field, but Scarborough should be in the mix again.


7. Brunswick: The Dragons were Class A North’s top team in the regular season last spring before falling in the regional quarterfinals, and they are set up well for a strong 2023. Ellie Sullivan (15 wins, 1.61 ERA, 97 strikeouts) is back as one of the KVAC’s best pitchers. Brunswick also has one of the conference’s best hitters in Sophia Morin, who batted .451 with seven doubles and two home runs. The Dragons lost a key piece in catcher Kelsey Sullivan, so players like Jordyn Cummings (.385) and Gabby Swain (.314) will be leaned on more. Brunswick will be good, but just how good will depend on players around those four in the lineup taking a step forward.

Thornton Academy third baseman Jessica Dow batted .435 with four homers and six doubles last season. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

8. Thornton Academy: After a year of leaning on youth, the Golden Trojans are in a position to take advantage this season. Sophia Bogardus and Lauren Tracy, who split pitching duties as freshmen, are back after faring well in their trials by fire, and Thornton brings back its entire infield – third baseman Jessica Dow (.435 average), shortstop Izzy Miner (.481), second baseman Kaitlynn Paradis (.333) and first baseman Renee Gonneville (.385). Lindsay DesRoberts is also back in the mix and will likely catch, and Emily Coleman is a key newcomer who will play first base and the outfield. Pitching and defense are set, and if the Trojans can hit good pitching, they’ll be tough.

9. South Portland/Westbrook: Another new co-op team, South Portland and Westbrook combined to go 10-20 last year but should benefit from joining forces. South Portland brings back a crew led by junior center fielder Ella Nickerson (.446, 11 extra-base hits), pitcher and third baseman Andrea DiMauro (.326) and catcher and third baseman Delaney Whitten (.353), while third baseman Grace Wallace (.413) and outfielder Haley Ball (.388) are top players from Westbrook. Talent won’t be an issue, but team cohesion and a lack of experience playing in games with playoff implications could be. If the merger goes smoothly, South Portland/Westbrook should be in the playoff mix.

10. Medomak Valley: While defending state champion Gardiner might be the KVAC’s team to beat in Class B, the Panthers should provide some stiff competition. Medomak has a clear top pitcher in Madi Boynton, who had a 1.24 ERA with 104 strikeouts, and a strong batterymate in catcher Haley Puchalski, who hit .378 with four home runs. Claudia Feeley, Kendall Simmons and Arianna Sproul are freshmen who should be ready to contribute right away. This should be a strong defensive team, and if the rest of the lineup comes together as hoped, Medomak will be a good all-around team and a difficult matchup.

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