When it comes to the South regional baseball finals, it’s a case of familiarity leading to … respect.

“There should be no surprises. We know each other really well,” said Greely Coach Derek Soule of his Class B opponent Yarmouth. “We have a lot of respect for Yarmouth’s program, their coaches, their players.”

The regional finals are Tuesday. The Class A and C games are at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham at 3 and 6:30 p.m., respectively. The Class B game is 3 p.m. at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Each game pits the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 2 seed.

Monmouth’s Kyle Palleschi hunts down Mt. Abram’s Bryce Wilcox, who was trapped in a rundown, during a May 17 game in Monmouth. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

CLASS C: No. 1 Monmouth Academy (17-1) vs. No. 2 Sacopee Valley (14-4)

This is a rematch of last season’s C South final, when No. 2 Monmouth upset No. 1 Sacopee Valley, 1-0. The Hawks had come into the game unbeaten and averaging over eight runs per game.

“There’s a total different feel this year,” said Sacopee Coach Jamie Stacey. “We’re playing our best ball right now. Last year being undefeated — you don’t realize it in the moment — that pressure wore on us. And so many of our wins were one-sided, it became more routine and it hurt us. They were definitely more up for that game last year than we were.”


This time Monmouth, which beat Maranacook in the semifinals, is the favorite. The Mustangs are unbeaten in Class C (lone loss to Class B Cony) and beat Sacopee Valley 7-5 on May 3. They also have six players, led by last year’s winning pitcher Sam Calder, who have already won soccer (Class D) and basketball (Class C) state championships this school year.

Sacopee counters with Maine Gatorade Player of the Year shortstop/pitcher Caleb Vacchiano, and fellow senior pitchers Dylan Capano and James Ritter, who are also key offensive threats. Stacey said he’s not sure who will be the starting pitcher. The entire Hawks staff is available. Catcher Brady Metcalf, and juniors Bryce Stacey, leadoff hitter Keegan Thibodeau and Bradly Metcalf add to the hitting depth.

Vacchiano, who will play next season at the University of Maine, hit over .600 with nine homers as a junior. This season he has been routinely intentionally walked. Brady Metcalf has often made opponents pay for that choice.

“I think we can hit with anybody,” Jamie Stacey said, “but (Monmouth’s) defense is solid. We can’t give away runs because they’re not going to give runs away.”

CLASS B: No. 1 Greely (16-2) vs. No. 2 Yarmouth (14-4)

It would be difficult to find two teams with more intimate knowledge of their opponent. Soule is in his 24th season as Greely’s head coach and Marc Halstead has been at Yarmouth for 17 seasons. The Western Maine Conference foes play each other twice a year, are almost always at or near the top of the standings, and have met eight times in the playoffs (Greely has a 5-3 edge).


Yarmouth has won five straight meetings the past two seasons, including 1-0 and 2-1 (in eight innings) this year.

“What happened in the past means nothing,” Soule said. “It’s all about executing on that day. The bottom line is we’re playing a lot better now than we were earlier in the year when we faced them.”

In 2023, Yarmouth swept the regular-season games and as the second seed beat No. 6 Greely 6-1 in the regional semifinal. Yarmouth went on to win the regional title before losing 1-0 to Old Town in the championship game.

Marky Axelsen and No. 1 Greely will face No. 2 Yarmouth in the Class B South final on Tuesday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

“I guarantee you (Greely senior) Marky Axelsen could care less about the last five games. (Yarmouth senior) David Swift could care less about the last five games,” Halstead said.

Greely will start Sam Almy, a hard-throwing senior fully recovered from arm issues, while Yarmouth will counter with Sam Lowenstein, who is 7-0 with a 0.91 ERA and one-hit Greely in the 1-0 win.

“Both teams will have aggressive-minded pitchers and in high school baseball, if the pitchers are on the attack and locating, then it’s going to be challenging for the hitters,” Halstead said.


Soule said the Rangers’ lineup is better than it was back in May, with more consistent hitting throughout the order. Axelsen, recently named a finalist for the John Winkin Mr. Baseball Award, is a powerful .400 hitter. Catcher Wyatt Soucie (.418, team-high 26 runs), second baseman Wes Piper (.364, 14 RBI), first baseman Ben Kyles (.350, 3 RBI vs. Cape in the semis) and Ryder Simpson (.300, team-high 20 RBI) are key threats.

Yarmouth, with 11 seniors and seven starters back from last year’s regional championship team, also has a deep lineup. Lowenstein (.356), Cheever (.327), Jack Janczuk (.304) and Sam Bradford (.298, team-high six extra-base hits) are solid bats. Junior second baseman Alec Gagnon (.281) has an on-base percentage of .511. Swift, who hit over .400 as a junior, is batting .255.

CLASS A: No. 1 Scarborough (17-1) vs. No. 2 Falmouth (15-3)

In the regular season, Scarborough ace Erik Swenson got just enough support to earn a 2-1 victory against Falmouth. Swenson, the SMAA Pitcher of the Year, is lined up to start Tuesday.

“I know he’s excited and ready to go. He’s that momentum for us,” said Scarborough Coach Wes Ridlon. “We feel we’re in every game any time he has the baseball in his hands.”

Falmouth will counter with junior Nick Wyse and will have Tyler Simmons ready when needed. The Navigators do not have senior Brennan Rumpf, who dueled with Swenson on May 16. Rumpf suffered a broken and lacerated finger prior to the playoffs when he was helping to move the team’s pitching machine.


“In the regular season it was a very close game, anyone’s game, so I don’t think Scarborough is intensely better than us,” said Wyse, a junior. “I’ve just got to go in there and throw strikes.”

When Scarborough won its first tournament-era state title in 2019, Falmouth Coach Mike D’Andrea was the Red Storm’s head coach. Ridlon and current Red Storm pitching coach Matt Rutherford were on D’Andrea’s staff. D’Andrea moved to Falmouth prior to the COVID-canceled 2020 season and Ridlon took over at Scarborough.

“I played for Mike in the late 1990s (at Deering) and coached with Mike so our systems are similar,” Ridlon said. “We preach the same type of fundamental and same type of philosophies.”

Scarborough’s Erik Swenson beat Falmouth earlier this season 2-1, and will face the Navigators again Tuesday in the Class A South final. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

One of Scarborough’s key traits is its willingness to be daring on the base paths. Falmouth catcher Ethan Hendry’s strong arm and ability to block pitches in the dirt can stifle many running games.

“Ethan is the best catcher in the state from my vantage point,” Ridlon said. “He changes your game plan but running the base paths isn’t just straight steals, right?”

This is the first regional final for both coaches in their current positions.


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