Falmouth’s Brennan Rumpf was a Varsity Maine All-State selection last year, compiling a 7-0 record with a 0.28 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

1. Falmouth: Pegged as the team to beat in Class A South, the Navigators have a returning Varsity Maine All-State battery in pitcher Brennan Rumpf and catcher Ethan Hendry, both four-year starters. Falmouth’s other top players are still relatively young. Junior Josh Polchies will play short and Coach Mike D’Andrea called him a “top hitter in Maine,” and a “D1 player.” Polchies and junior Tyler Simmons will be key pitchers, as will powerful sophomore first baseman Jacoby Porter. Falmouth ran off 15 straight wins in a 16-2 season that ended with a 4-3 loss to Thornton Academy in the regional semifinals. This season, the goal is to return to the state final for the first time since a 4-3, nine-inning loss to Bangor in 2017.

2. Yarmouth: Consistently among southern Maine’s top programs, the Clippers won Class B South last year before falling to Old Town, 1-0, in the state championship. They return 11 seniors with plenty of big-game experience. That class includes Varsity Maine All-State shortstop/pitcher Andrew Cheever, pitcher/outfielder Sam Lowenstein (4-0, 0.29 ERA), infielders David Swift (.407 average, eight extra-base hits) and Matt Gautreau, catcher Graeme Roux, and Sam Bradford, who will pitch and can play infield or outfield. Swift (3-2, 2.57 ERA) figures to be another key pitcher.

3. Cape Elizabeth: The Capers finished first in the Western Maine Conference a year ago and reached the B South final, losing to Yarmouth to finish 14-4-1 overall. Coach Donald Dutton believes this team is even better. Returners include Varsity Maine All-State pick Gabe Harmon (.450, 23 runs, 12 steals, five saves) at short and in relief, outfielder/catcher Charlie Son (.330 with 18 walks), and juniors Jameson Bryant (4-0, 1.16 ERA), Brady Inman and catcher Jimmy Hollowell. Several newcomers from the sophomore, junior and senior classes will also play key roles.

4. Kennebunk: The Rams have three players bound for NCAA Division I programs. Juniors Max Andrews and Isaac Jensen have verbally committed to Northeastern. Senior outfielder/left-handed pitcher Drew Sliwkowski is headed to UMass, where he’ll have a chance to be a two-way player. Andrews, a superior athlete with big-time pop (.332, 3 HRs, 14 RBI), will play short. Jensen (3-3, 2.95 ERA as a sophomore) has an upper-80s fastball with much improved command. Sliwkowski throws even harder and was a first-team SMAA outfielder after hitting .344 with 18 steals. Four-year starter George Lazos is another key returner. With both defending state champion South Portland and regional finalist Thornton Academy returning only two starters, Kennebunk is looking to climb the standings.

Greely catcher Wyatt Soucie, left, and third baseman Marky Axelsen earned first-team all-Western Maine Conference honors last year. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

5. Greely: The Rangers started slow in 2023, but their 11-8 season included two playoff wins and they return five all-WMC players. Third baseman Marky Axelsen is a two-time first-team all-conference player coming off a .449 season. Junior catcher Wyatt Soucie (.375) and senior outfielder Ryder Simpson (also .375 with a team-high 18 RBI) are also returning first-team picks. WMC second-team pitchers Sam Almy and Keeler Vogt lead a veteran staff. Senior outfielder Jackson Leding could only play defense last year because of an injury. A .300 hitter as a sophomore, Leding will bolster the offense. Freshman shortstop Kyle Soule (Coach Derek Soule’s nephew) is New England’s No. 2 Class of 2027 prospect according to Prep Baseball New England Report.

6. Thornton Academy: The 2022 Class A state champs will have plenty of new faces, but Coach Jason Lariviere said he has fewer concerns entering this year than he did last spring, when the Trojans finished 11-5 in the regular season and 13-6 overall. The overriding question will be how talented but young players adapt to their first varsity situations. Senior shortstop Jeremiah Chessie is a four-year starter, and senior Josh Penney is a returning starter in the outfield. Junior Jake Fish saw significant time as a power-hitting left-handed first baseman, and sophomore catcher Brayden Duane also played a lot. Sophomore Beck Edgerly and promising freshman Noah Fullerton join Chessie as top starting pitchers.


7. Gorham: First-year head coach Ed Smith has one of Class A South’s most experienced positional teams. Senior catcher/outfielder CJ Whitehead, junior catcher/third baseman Mason Finck (.379 batting, team-high 18 RBI), junior first baseman Jack Karlonas (.350, 11 RBI), sophomore shortstop Miles Brenner, and junior outfielder Casey Skolfield return. Skolfield and Karlonas both have significant pitching experience.

Sacopee Valley’s Caleb Vacchiano hit .645 with nine homers and 44 RBI last spring. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

8. Sacopee Valley: The Hawks bludgeoned teams en route to 18 straight wins until they were shut down by Monmouth Academy, 1-0, in the Class C South final. Coach Jamie Stacey says his team is prepared to make another deep run. It helps to have Caleb Vacchiano back. The senior shortstop/pitcher and UMaine commit hit .645 with nine homers and 44 RBI. James Ritter, Dylan Capano, Bryce Stacey, Bradly Metcalf and Keegan Thibodeau are also returning starters.

9. Wells: Cracking the top four in B South will be tough. The Warriors did it last year, going 11-5 and finishing third, and they have six returning starters, including all-conference players Spencer Carpenter (WMC Pitcher of Year, hit .440), Cal Moody (.340, 10 RBI), Aydan Collins (.370, 20 hits) and Keith Ramsey (3-2 as a pitcher, zero errors in 106 chances). Moody and Collins are only sophomores. Wells will have plenty of serious challengers. Freeport (8-9 last year, regional champ in 2022), returns six starters, lots of pitching and gets two key seniors back in Thomas Roy and promising pitcher Arlo Boutureria who missed most of last year because of an injury. York has returning 11 players including all-conference picks pitcher Ben Brown and hard-hitting oufielder John Jacobsohn, along with junior catcher Bradley Carr.

10. Sanford: The Spartans were 10-6 last season in Class A South to finish seventh before losing to No. 10 Kennebunk in the preliminary round. Third-year coach Kyle Bernier returns his entire pitching staff and believes senior right-hander Ben Gill can be among the state’s elite pitchers after increasing his fastball velocity to 91 mph and improving his command. Gill also hit .370 and was an SMAA first-team pick at first base. Senior center fielder Tyler Sevigny leads a speedy outfield that will track down flies all over Goodall Park and opposing fields. Tanner McCann is another key as the No. 2 pitcher. Expect Sanford to battle Thornton Academy, Gorham, Marshwood and Scarborough for a top-four finish and s preliminary-round bye. Marshwood is led by lefty ace Noah Fitzgerald. Scarborough returns three quality pitchers (Zak Sanders, Erik Swenson, Harrison Griffiths) and an experienced infield defense.

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