Northern: Spring sports season was triumphant, therapeutic

Let’s face it.

A full sports season was just what the doctor ordered.

And the 2021 spring campaign delivered in every way.

After being deprived of a season in 2020 due to COVID, spring athletes and coaches were primed to make up for lost time and they certainly did so from start to finish.

For the first time since the winter campaign of 2019-20, we had a full regular season and postseason and plenty of memories were made.

On the diamond, all five local squads enjoyed strong seasons. The North Yarmouth Academy/Waynflete co-op team enjoyed its best season to date, posting double-digit victories before losing to Lisbon in the Class C South quarterfinals. In Class A South, Falmouth defeated Biddeford and Marshwood to reach the semifinals where it lost to Thornton Academy. In Class B South, Yarmouth earned the top seed for the playoffs, but was stunned by Gray-New Gloucester in the Round of 16. Greely downed Morse, Erskine Academy and Wells to make it to the regional final, where Freeport awaited. The Falcons, who suffered a six-game losing streak late in the regular season, put it all together when it mattered most, winnig its third regional title since 2016. The Falcons weren’t able to capture the big prize, however, losing to Old Town in the state final.

Falmouth’s softball team won just three games in the regular season, then had to open the playoffs at perennial champion Scarborough, but Falmouth pulled off one of the most memorable upsets in this or any other year, 5-2, in the Round of 16. Falmouth met its match in the quarterfinals, falling to Windham, but that result isn’t the one that will be remembered. Freeport lost its playoff opener at eventual Class B champion Cape Elizabeth. Greely was eliminated by Lincoln Academy in the Round of 16 and Yarmouth lost to Fryeburg Academy in the same round. In Class D South, North Yarmouth Academy, making its return to varsity play, got all the way to the semifinals before losing a close one in extra innings to St. Dom’s.

Boys’ lacrosse produced a repeat champion in Yarmouth, which overcame a shaky regular season to peak in June, beating Greely in the Class B state semifinals before downing Marshwood for the championship. Falmouth got to the Class A state final for the third year in a row, but lost to undefeated Cape Elizabeth. NYA’s quest for a second straight Class C crown was dashed by eventual champion Waynflete in the state semifinals, 11-4. Freeport dropped its playoff opener to Wells.

On the girls’ side, Yarmouth, after a series of agonizing state final losses, finally ascended back to the pinnacle, beating Greely in the Class B state final. The Rangers were making their first state game appearance in 21 years. Falmouth hoped to win a third consecutive Class A crown, but lost to unbeaten Kennebunk in a close state game. In Class C, NYA was eliminated by Lake Region in the state quarterfinals, while Freeport made a run all the way to the state final, which it lost by a goal to Waynflete.

The outdoor track state meet produced plenty of highlights, including individual crowns for four local athletes.

Tennis saw the Yarmouth boys repeat as Class B state champions, getting past Greely in a hard-fought regional final along the way. Greely had beaten Freeport in the semifinals. Falmouth lost to eventual champion Kennebunk in the Class A South semifinals and NYA was beaten by perennial champion Waynflete in the Class C South semifinals.

Falmouth’s girls got to the Class A state match, but suffered their only loss of the season there, to Brunswick. In Class B, Yarmouth, featuring individual state champion freshman Sofia Mavor, reached the regional final before losing to Cape Elizabeth. Greely was ousted by Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals. Freeport was also beaten by the Capers, in the quarterfinal round.

We’re already enjoying summer, but let’s take another look back and pay tribute to some of the best moments of the spring.

Team state champions

Yarmouth Clippers, Class B boys’ lacrosse
Yarmouth Clippers, Class B girls’ lacrosse
Yarmouth Clippers, Class B boys’ tennis

Regional champions/state finalists

Falmouth Class A North boys’ lacrosse
Falmouth Class A North girls’ lacrosse
Falmouth Class A South girls’ tennis
Freeport Falcons Class B South baseball
Freeport Falcons Class C girls’ lacrosse
Greely Rangers Class B girls’ lacrosse

Individual state champions

Sofia Mavor, Yarmouth, girls’ state singles

Sofie Matson, Falmouth, Class A girls’ mile
Karley Piers, Falmouth, Class A girls’ 2-mile
Sam Wilson, Greely, Class B boys’ 800
Ethan Hennig, Yarmouth, Class B boys’ 100-meter wheelchair

Michael’s top five stories/moments

5) NYA softball makes triumphant return 

Jazzy Huntsman and her North Yarmouth Academy softball teammates made quite a splash in their return to varsity play this spring. Lee Horton / Sun Journal

NYA fielded a stand-alone softball program this spring for the first time in a decade and the Panthers, featuring an abundance of young, talented athletes, quickly made their mark. NYA started with a pair of victories, then later won five straight, but a five-game losing skid to end the regular season left the Panthers with the No. 7 seed in Class D South. It didn’t matter, as NYA rolled past No. 10 Rangeley (15-3, in six innings) in a Round of 16 game, then upset No. 2 Valley, 7-3, in the quarterfinals. The Panthers had No. 6 St. Dom’s on the ropes in the semifinals as well before dropping an 8-7 decision in nine innings. The foundation has been established for even more success next year and beyond.

4) Freeport baseball wins another regional crown 

Freeport’s baseball players show off their third Class B South title in six years. Gregory Rec / Portland Press Herald

Freeport’s baseball team certainly didn’t resemble a championship contender when it lost six consecutive games late in the regular season, but the Falcons once again made the Class B South tournament their playground when it mattered most. Despite being ranked just ninth in the tournament, Freeport dominated its first two games, beating Fryeburg Academy and Gray-New Gloucester via the 10-run mercy rule. In the semifinals, the Falcons needed seven innings, but still managed to down York, 7-1. That set up a regional final showdown versus Greely at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Catcher Kempton von Glinsky-Gregoire hit a clutch two-run double to spark a four-run inning and that was enough for ace Blaine Cockburn and two relievers, Zane Aguiar and Nathan Abbott, who extinguished Rangers’ threats to close out a 4-1 victory. While Freeport lost to Old Town, 7-3, in the state final and is still chasing an elusive championship, the Falcons have established themselves as the premier team in the region over the past five seasons.

3) Yarmouth tennis success continues

Yarmouth’s boys’ tennis team shows off its hardware after repeating as Class B state champions. Contributed photo

Yarmouth certainly enjoyed its share of tennis excellence this spring. For starters, freshman Sofia Mavor won the girls’ singles state title, rolling to the crown while hinting at more hardware to come. The Clippers girls’ team then got all the way to the Class B South Final before dropping a narrow 3-2 decision to Cape Elizabeth. Yarmouth’s boys’ squad, the reigning state champion, would repeat, winning 11 of 12 regular season matches, losing only to perennial Class C champion Waynflete, before downing Lincoln Academy (4-1), York (4-1), Greely (3-2) and Waterville (3-2) to hoist another piece of hardware.

2) Falmouth softball shocks the world

Falmouth’s softball team is all smiles after upsetting three-time reigning state champion Scarborough in the Class A South Round of 16. Contributed photo

On the afternoon of June 7, Falmouth’s softball team sprung the biggest upset of this or any other season. Falmouth, which returned to stand-alone varsity status in 2019 and didn’t win a game, earned three victories during the regular season, but as the No. 14 seed, had to go to No. 3 Scarborough, the three-time reigning state champion, for the Class A South Round of 16. After losing the regular season matchup to the Red Storm, 15-0, in five innings, no one outside of Falmouth’s players, coaches and a few select fans gave it a chance to prevail, but Falmouth put together seven superb innings. Falmouth got some confidence with single runs in the first and second innings, got a terrific pitching effort from Cam Birks and clinging to a lead in the top of the seventh, got a clutch two-run double from Valentina Van Zandt, her third hit, and went on to a jaw-dropping 5-2 victory.

“I’m just blown away,” said Falmouth coach James Coffey. “Speechless. It’s huge for the program. We’ve told the girls they can play with anybody and they proved it today. The girls went nuts afterwards. It was just awesome.”

1) Forecaster Country dominates in lacrosse

Yarmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team celebrates its repeat Class B state championship. The Clippers girls’ squad won a title as well. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

Not only did Yarmouth become lacrosse Titletown this spring, in truth, Forecaster Country was the epicenter of lacrosse greatness.

Yarmouth’s girls were clearly the best team in Class B from start to finish and after avenging a pair of state game defeats to nemesis Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals (17-4), downed York in the semifinals before holding off Greely, 13-8, to capture the program’s first championship since 2015. In Class A, Falmouth won a third straight regional title, edging Windham thanks to Eva Clement’s overtime goal, but Falmouth’s quest for another state championship fell a goal short with a 9-8 loss to Kennebunk. In Class C, Freeport, the top seed, got all the way through to the state final. There, the Falcons dropped an agonizing 9-8 decision to Waynflete.

On the boys’ side, Yarmouth, which was 4-6 at one juncture, put it all together when it mattered most and after eliminating Greely in a Class B state semifinal, held off Marshwood, 13-10, to win its second consecutive state title. Falmouth also reached the state final, in Class A, but was no match for a Cape Elizabeth powerhouse, which took a 15-1 lead, then prevailed, 19-6.

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

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