Spring Previews: Gray-New Gloucester

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Baseball
Coach: Brad Smith
Last year’s record: 7-10, fell in postseason prelims to Greely
Key players lost: John Henry Villanueva, Jake Winchester, Zach Mann, Nick Chandler
Key players returning: Josiah Rottari (sr., P/2B); Eli Winchester (sr., P/SS); Will Shufelt (sr., P/DH); Cam Usher (sr., 1B); Nick McCann (jr., C); Cam Andrews (jr., P/3B)
Key newcomers: Cooper Winslow (SS/2B/P), Damien Pye (P/OF)
Key matchups: Greely, York, Wells, Freeport

Outlook: Graduation 2017 claimed the entirety of G-NG’s outfield, their two middle infielders and two of their starting pitchers, meaning they face something of an uphill climb this spring. Smith remains cautiously optimistic, however. He will lean heavily on Rottari and McCann, as well as Winchester, Shufelt and Usher, to get the job done both behind the plate and in the field. Happily, Winslow and Pye are well on their way to earning starting positions, which will round out the Patriots’ lineup.

“I’m excited about the new look in our conference,” Smith says. “Not going home and home with perennial Class A Champions Falmouth and Kennebunk is a plus. I look for Greely, York, Wells and possibly Freeport to be among the top tier teams in the Conference. We have some big holes to fill. Where the Patriots will be will depend on how quickly we come together as a team.”

Boys Lacrosse
Coach: Kris Parkin
Key players returning: Shayne Splint (sr., A); Oliver Grant (sr., D); Brannon Gilbert (jr., G); Wyatt Edwards (jr., D); Kyle Curtis (jr., D); Lawson Dunford (jr., M); Kyle Mercier (jr., A); JJ Mazur (jr., A); Scott Lynch (so., M); Danny Stash (so., M); Hunter Brown (so., M); Andrew Lacerda (so., A)
Key matchups: St. Dom, Lake Region, Fryeburg

Outlook: This is G-NG’s first year as a varsity program, so they face a long list of unknowns. “Our goal is to be competitive within both the WMC and Class C this year,” Parkin says. “We play St. Dom’s, Lake Region and Fryeburg twice, so making adjustments in preparation for our second meetings with these teams will be very important for us.”

As a JV outfit, and in prep for their debut on the varsity circuit, the Patriots have focused heavily on team defense. “We have done well the last two JV seasons to hold opponents to an average of less (sic) than six goals per game, and hope to continue this trend as a varsity program,” Parkin says.

Offensively, G-NG aims to “take advantage of our speed across the midfield and play up-tempo lacrosse with scoring opportunities being generated in the transition game.”

Boys Outdoor Track
Coach: Todd Mercer
Key athletes lost: Trent Dexter, Sam McGrath-Holmquist, Joe Gurney
Key athletes returning: Andrew Peterson (sr.), Ethan Ray (sr.), Seth Levier (sr.), Logan Nickerson (sr.), Nathan Gendreau (jr.), Noah Bruns (jr.), Jacob MacCallum (so.), Nick Cohen (so.)
Key newcomers: Tyler Amos
Key matchups: Wells, York, Greely, Poland

Outlook: “We have some strong athletes and a few that are on the verge of breaking out,” Mercer says. “Ethan Ray, Nick Cohen and Jacob McCallum all had great indoor seasons and were hoping to build on that progress during the outdoor season. Nathan Gendreau and Seth Levier are talented athletes who could be a threat in any number of events. Andrew Peterson will be chasing new PRs in the sprints. As a senior, even through his last season, Andrew will remain focused on his goals.”

Mercer highlights Wells as an important opponent for their sprints contingent, York because they’re consistently top-caliber, Greely because they’re coming off an outstanding indoor season and Poland for their overall speed, strength and talent.

Girls Outdoor Track
Coach: Mike Griffin
Last year’s results: 13-4 regular season
Key athletes lost: Emma MacCallum (throws)
Key athletes returning: Eliza Larrivee (sr.), Jaley Martin (sr.), Madi Post (jr.), Erica Schlichting (jr.), Megan Reynolds (jr.), Lindsey Pierce (so.)
Key newcomers: Zoe Barnes (fr.), Nicole Cobb (fr.), Abby Dulac (fr.), Sarah Fecteau (fr.)
Key matchups: Greely, WMCs, States

Outlook: This year’s Lady Patriots feature a happy mix of experience and fresh talent. All four members of the 2017 4×100 Class B State Champion relay squad return, ensuring a strong core of sprinters. Post, an individual State victor in the 200, heads up that sprint contingent, while Nicole Cobb, a State finalist in the indoor 55, injects further muscle.

The G-NG throwers — long a strength for the team — return in force this spring as well: Zoe Barnes, an indoor medalist in the Shot Put, leads the group, which also features Reynolds, Caitlyn Smith and Kassidy Plummer.

Schlichting, Dulac, Abby Chandler, Liza Sturgis and Alison MacDonald have lately emerged in force on the distance scene. Finally, G-NG’s batch of already-solid freshman, as they continue to develop, will help the team compete against top outfits.

Griffin likes Greely as an opponent in particular because the Rangers are coming off an indoor state title, and will function for other schools as a standard of comparison.

Softball
Coach: Amanda Harmon (eighth year)
Last year’s record: 11-7, fell in the playoff quarterfinals to Fryeburg
Key players returning: Alison Martell (sr., P); Alexa Thayer (jr., C); Chelsea Davis (jr., 3B); Mikaela Ryan (jr., CF); Lydia Espling (so., SS); Jordan Grant (so., 1B/OF); Sydney Rodrigues (so., OF); Isabelle Brindley (so., 2B/P)
Key matchups: Wells, Fryeburg, Yarmouth, Greely

Outlook: “Our goals are to … work together to produce outs and runs,” Harmon says, “knowing that we cannot rely on one player to make the big hit, or play.”

Luckily, the Lady Patriots sport talent across the field: Martel earned WMC First Team honors last year and Thayer Second Team honors, for instance. “We will have to work all seven innings both offensively and defensively to win the innings and know that, no matter what point in the game, one run isn’t enough,” Harmon says. “Focus on taking one game at a time and learn from each game whether we come out on top or chalk up a loss.”

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

Mikaela Ryan crosses home for the Lady Patriots in a bout last season.

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