Spring Previews: Bonny Eagle

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Baseball
Coach: Ricky Hession
Last year’s record: 5-11, fell 4-3 to South Portland in the playoff prelims
Key players lost: Brady Grass (1B, Captain)
Key players returning: Christian Napolitano (sr., C, Captain); Arlo Pike (sr., 1B, Captain); Connor Sirois (sr., SS/P, Captain); Casey Maturo (sr., CF, Captain); Tyler Fitz (sr., P/SS); Greg Emerson (sr., 3B); Will Whyte (jr., RF)
Key newcomers: Cam Phinney (so., P/1B/OF)
Key matchups: April 12 @ Scarborough

Outlook: Hession & Co. are nurturing high hopes for the spring. “We have a veteran-heavy team, with seven of nine starters returning, and the majority of our roster being made up by the senior and junior classes,” Hession says. “We should be very competitive, and that competitiveness will come from our senior class. The seniors on this team are incredible people above all else, but they are pretty darn good at baseball as well. I am excited to see where they take us this year.”

Pike, who hit .333 with 13 RBI and 11 runs last year, and Napolitano (.362, .500 on-base percentage, 10 runs) will helm the Scots’ offense, while Sirois, Phinney, Fitz and Jackson Bean will steer the game from the mound. “We have great depth on our roster in every aspect,” Hession says, “so hopefully guys will step up and separate themselves, helping lead us to wins.”

Hession picks the Scots’ season-opener as his key matchup: “First game of the season, road game, they have been very good for the past few years and they are very well coached,” he says. “Finding a way to get a win against those guys would be a great way to set the tone for our season.”

Boys Lacrosse
Coach: Andrew Slefinger
Last year’s record: 3-9, fell to TA in playoffs
Key players lost: Spencer Shields (29 G, 22 A); Tanner McClure (19 G, 30 A); Aaron Rae (77 GBs), Zack Klein (61 GBs)
Key players returning: Dylan Cobbett, John Merrill, Anthony Breton, Nate Ferris, Tyler Williams, Alex Dyer
Key newcomers: Vinnie Bruni, Chris Westgate, Brandon Caron
Key matchups: Noble, Massabesic, Westbrook, Marshwood

Outlook: The Scots will face some challenges right out of the gate in 2018, but Slefinger is nonetheless optimistic. “A new season means a fresh start for our program,” he says. “Replacing players like Shields, McClure and Rae won’t be easy. They were our leaders, on and off the field. Off-Season injures also set us back a step. Senior defenseman Zack Klein will most likely miss the season with a torn knee ligament and sophomore midfielder Alex Dyer will miss the first half with a broken fibula. Aside from these setbacks, we are loaded with youth, talent, skill and determination. Thirteen new players will get a chance to get a feel for the varsity level. We have a lot of guys that can play all over the field; it’s about putting them in the right position to make the team successful. They have been gelling well, getting comfortable with each other these past couple of weeks. I’m excited to see what they bring to the field once the season gets rolling.”

Boys Outdoor Track
Coach: Mike Burleson
Last year’s results: 4-7, regular season; fifth at SMAAs, sixth at Class A States
Key athletes lost: Michael O’Clair, Ben Steeves
Key athletes returning: Derek Cole (sr., sprints); Max Harris (sr., sprints); Andrew Pendleton (jr., sprints); Zack Allocca (jr., Long Jump/Triple Jump); Aiden Willey (so., distance)
Key matchups: Scarborough, Deering

Outlook: The loss of O’Clair and Steeves — both individual State Champions — is a grievous blow to the Scots’ lineup, but they retain a good deal of talent as well. Willey and Allocca led the team in scoring during the indoor stretch, when Willey dropped his personal best in the 800 (2:06), the Mile (4:34) and the Two Mile (10:31). “He will be looking to dip under the 4:30 barrier for the first time this season,” Burleson says of Willey in the Mile.

Meanwhile, “Zack Allocca had an impressive first season and was voted most improved field athlete for the SMAA. He spent time learning the triple jump and added five feet to his personal best this winter. With more time in the pits, he should be in the mix for top jumpers in the State.”

Cole, Harris and Pendleton reached all the way to indoor New Englands, narrowly missing a school record in the 4×200, despite Cole’s being sidelined for much of the season. Cole, Harris and Pendleton, as well as Alex Sprague — a superb running back on the football field — “should give the Scots some depth on the sprint side and put forth some quality relays for the championship meets.”

Happily, the Scots’ 2018 roster also sports a huge crop of freshmen and sophomores who made an impact over the winter. Burleson likes Scarborough and Deering as competitors for their toughness; Vying with the Storm and the Rams helps Bonny Eagle gauge its readiness.

Softball
Coach: Jan Corliss
Last year’s record: 5-11
Key players returning: Sandie Denico (sr., P); Sarah Champagne (sr., C); Makayla Greene (jr., 1B); Sam Averill (jr., 2B); Mackenzie Emery (jr., 3B); Sydney Gillingham (jr., CF)
Key matchups: Massabesic, Kennebunk, Marshwood, Portland

Outlook: Corliss returned to the BE helm in 2017 after several years away, and her first order of business was to rebuild from the ground up. “We definitely had to go back to fundamentals, and weren’t concerned with our record,” she says. “I told the team I didn’t want to hear the word ‘playoffs,’ or even ‘win!’ They didn’t need the pressure; they needed the experience. This year, however, we believe it is a realistic goal to make the preliminaries at least. Losing very close games to Biddeford, and especially Thornton Academy, in the last inning last year certainly gave us the confidence that we do have the ability to win some games against top teams this year.”

Corliss highlights as key her girls’ bouts with Massabesic, Kennebunk, Marshwood and Portland because she considers them central to the team’s aspirations: “Because our goal this year is to make at least preliminaries, I believe we need two win at least three of those key matchups to get in.”

Last year, the Lady Scots featured two new varsity pitchers and four starting sophomores; this year, those girls all bring hard-earned know-how to the field. “We have speed on the bases, some good returning contact hitters including Makayla Greene with a .349 average last year, and an experienced infield,” Corliss says. “I’m looking forward to seeing the newcomers perform offensively!”

Boys Tennis
Coach: Hossein Miremadi
Last year’s record: 4-8
Key players lost: Fynn Frenzel
Key players returning: Evan Smith, Aidan Rausch, Brandon Hogan
Key newcomers: Andrew “Ace” Ettinger, Nick Sawyer, Ben Atkinson
Key matchups: Westbrook, Biddeford, Kennebunk, South Portland

Outlook: Frenzel led the Scots last season, so his departure is a severe blow to their roster. Still, a number of Miremadi’s veterans look ready to don the first-singles mantle, and a battery of young talent will render the squad more robust: “The return of upperclassmen Smith, Hogan, and Rausch should help stabilize the top of the lineup,” Miremadi says, “while newcomers Ettinger, Sawyer and Atkinson will look to keep the Scots competitive this season.”

Girls Tennis
Coach: John Pelletier
Last year’s record: 6-6
Key players lost: Katie Bearor, Katie Blohm, Nicole Media, Chastity Raymond, CiCi Deakin
Key players returning: Julia Zampini, Ming Ming Lin, Lindsay Baldwin
Key newcomers: Marlee Walker, Mia Kovacs, Amanda Osmolski

Outlook: “This year is definitely a rebuilding year for Bonny Eagle Girls Tennis,” Pelletier says. “Losing six of last year’s top seven, the Scots will be looking at a whole new lineup for the 2018 season. But the future looks promising as the majority of the roster is made up of freshmen and sophomores who are hard workers and willing to learn the game. This year will be a progressive year for the Scots!”

Girls lacrosse coach Judy Martin and girls outdoor track coach Khabir Edwards couldn’t be reached.

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME

Sadie Denico unwinds into a pitch in a midseason bout with Westbrook last year.

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