This spring, Midcoast high school tennis teams will face the “Wrath of Schoenthal.” Boothbay Region freshman Rath Schoenthal has played tennis for 11 years and is ready to play his first high school season. And Schoenthal is already making an impact on the Seahawks’ boys team. He is battling senior Cody Field for the No. 1 spot.
“He played Cody, and lost 7-5. So I expect those two to battle all year for the No. 1 spot,” said Boothbay tennis coach Alex Arsenault who begins his 11th season. But this season will be his first coaching boys tennis. Arsenault is taking over for Mark Gorey who decided against coaching due to the coronavirus. So Arsenault is performing double duty coaching both boys and girls tennis. This season, Boothbay has 10 matches against regional opponents with Oceanside and Medomak Valley added to the spring schedule instead of traditional Mountain Valley Conference schools.
Playing larger schools is one challenge, another is competing without a full roster. The boys’ team has three players and girls’ team has five. This means, in the high school team tennis format of three singles and two doubles matches, the boys will forfeit both doubles and the girls will forfeit the second doubles match. “It’s going to be tough. We have to win all three singles matches in boys, and, on the girls side, we have two returning players, and the other three are brand new to the sport,” Arsenault said.
Rounding out the boys roster is Field who is playing his third high school tennis season. Field is a big hitter who attacks the net, often ending a point with a solid overhead smash. Field was disappointed to have his junior season cancelled due to COVID-19. “I’m looking forward to being around my friends and playing tennis this spring,” he said.
Arsenault described Andrew Fowlie as an experienced tennis player.
On the girls’ side, there is a battle for the No. 1 spot. Senior Isabel Harkins returns for her second season. Harkins’ best shot is her serve. Hannah Roberts is an experienced player as a sophomore. Arsenault expects his two most experienced female players to battle for the No. 1 spot all spring. Three other girls either have limited or no tennis experience at all. This is senior Kylie Brown’s first season playing tennis. Brown is an excellent athlete having played varsity basketball, field hockey and lacrosse. She will attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts next fall and play field hockey.
But this spring, she is trading her field hockey stick for a tennis racket. “This is my last high school sport, and I was looking for something fun to do,” she said. Brown has won her early challenge matches and is in the No. 3 singles position. Other newcomers are juniors Jaelyn Crocker and Della Hahn. Crocker played varsity basketball and field hockey. But for Hahn, like Brown, tennis is a whole new racket. “This is the first time I’ve played. I just wanted to give it a try,” she said. Arsenault has Hahn and Crocker playing No. 1 doubles this season.
Turning to the diamond, there is no varsity baseball in Boohbay due to a low participation rate, but that is not the case for Boothbay Region Elementary School. Middle School baseball coach Smith Climo had 17 players on the first day (April 12) of baseball practice. Climo has six players returning who played for him two years ago as sixth graders. In 2019, the Wildcats returned to Busline League action with a team devoid of any eighth graders, and won a playoff game. “Nobody expected that from that team. We were thought of as a laughing stock, but we had a great season which ended losing to the eventual league champions in a close playoff game. So I’m excited to begin this season,” Climo said.
Even though there was no middle school baseball last spring, four Wildcats played summer and fall baseball for Lincoln County Babe Ruth. Pitcher Liam Jacobs, outfielders Mattie Orchard and Aidraic Canada and outfielder Clayton Splaine anchor a solid nucleus of experienced players. “I’m looking forward to getting back to playing ball. It’s been a while, and I want to see what I can do,” Canada said. Second baseman Sam Markowitz didn't play organized ball last year, but he practiced with his father in 2020. “It’s nice to be playing again. I love baseball and love the game’s intensity,” he said.
The Wildcats play a 10-game season with six home and four away games. Climo has added an assistant this season. Freshman Finn Harkins couldn’t play for the varsity team, so Climo offered him a job. “Mr. Climo offered me an opportunity to coach and I jumped at it. I’m very excited to be part of this team as a coach,” he said.
Climo is equally excited to begin a new season filled with many challenges and opportunities. “To take kids who haven’t played ball in a year to play competitive ball is what I’m looking forward to most. We have a good group, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.