Friday, May 17, 2019

Windham’s softball slugger, Junior Chloe Wilcox breaks record

Chloe Wilcox (image by Melissa Foss)
By Matt Pascarella

Softball has always been a part of Chloe Wilcox’s life. She started playing when she was four and hasn’t stopped since. Wilcox recently broke Windham High’s record for most home runs hit during a high school softball career. The original record, 13 home runs, was set by Liv Mora (class of 2017). 

Wilcox has hit 16 home runs during her career; nine of which have been this season.

“She’s a hard worker,” stated her dad and coach, Fred Wilcox. “As a catcher, she understands pitchers. She’s educated on what pitches may be coming and she’s a numbers kid. As a lefty, pitchers will work the outside corner of the plate, She’s got really quick hands to work the inside and she’s a smart, smart player; very strong with great hand eye coordination.”

Chloe was surprised when she found out she had broken the career record.“It felt really good” she explained. "It wasn’t something I was expecting or aiming for but getting the phone call that I just broke the record was a surreal moment. I’ve been looking up to these girls [her teammates] my entire life, I never thought I’d be one of the girls.”

Wilcox got to this point through a lot of hard work, training in the winter and the fall and she adds she is in so much debt to the game and that it’s given her so many opportunities on and off the field. She’s made friends up and down the East Coast because of softball. For Wilcox, getting to meet people and coaches and get their perspective on the game is really eye opening.

Chloe stressed she could not be where she is without the support of her coaches and teammates.
Her varsity coach last year, Travis Demmons was Chloe’s little league coach. Demmons knew Chloe as a player and a person. When she would get down on herself, he’d say, ‘hey, you know who you are, you know what you can do’ and that really helped her.

Chloe describes her teammates as beyond amazing and says they truly are like a bunch of sisters. At the end of the day, they all love each other and are there for each other.

“My dad and I - we talk softball all the time,” she said. “We talk strategy and we talk how I need to go up to the plate against certain pitchers, which is great because I get in that mindset and when we get to that game, I know what to do.”

“Her work ethic is amazing; not just in sports, but academically,” stated Fred. “That’s where it starts with her. She’s highly motivated and as a parent, it’s awesome to watch happen, as a coach it’s impressive.”
“I love playing for people,” added Chloe. “I play for myself obviously, because I love the game, but I like the feeling I get when my teammate just relied on me and I know I can rely on them. There is the sisterhood and the friendship I get from this game and it is really amazing; I love it.”

Varsity baseball keeps pressure on against Deering

Ryan Sargent
By Matt Pascarella

The boys’ varsity baseball team played Deering Monday, May 13 at Windham.
The Eagles started strong right away. Bryce Afthim, #22, was on the mound and in the top of the first brought three batters to the plate and sent three batters away, with back-to-back strikeouts and a pop fly to second base.

Windham really stepped it up in the bottom of the first. After Bryce and Brady Afthim, #2, both walk, Ryan Sargent, #20, walked making the bases loaded. Bryce stole home on a wild pitch, 1 to 0. Brady stole third and Sargent stole second. Caleb McCartney, #26, walked and bases were loaded again. After a balk, a pitcher pretending to pitch when he had no intention of so, Brady took home. Sargent advanced to third and McCartney took second. Garrett Peeples, #21, grounded out to second and Sargent scored. McCartney took third. A line drive by Tyler Thornton, #12, brought in McCartney, 4 to 0 - Windham.

Bryce brought three batters up in the second and sent three away. Windham had a lot of chatter and cheering as they worked to add runs to the scoreboard and prevented Deering from doing the same.
Jump to the bottom of the fourth, where after William Brooks, #10, got a base hit and quickly stole second. Bryce popped out to right field and Brooks tagged up to advance to third. After a wild pitch, Brooks took home, making the score 5 to 0 -Windham.

Multiple innings featured three Deering batters coming to the plate and going right back to the dugout.

In the top of the seventh, Deering’s last chance to turn the game around, they were able to get one run before the Eagles ended the game.

Final 5 to 1, Windham

“They just kept the pressure on,” remarked coach Cody Dube. “Bryce had a quick tempo, which was nice, throwing a lot of strikes; just attacking. Nobody let up today. [Windham] kept the pressure on and [Deering] couldn’t do much with it.”

Westbrook no match for Windham tennis

By Matt Pascarella

The boys’ tennis team took on Westbrook on Monday, May 13 at Windham.

The match was broken into singles and doubles. Each individual match is best of three games and the
Gabriel McPhail
entire competition is best of five of all the matches played.

The boys were aggressive right out of the gate. They were playing with determination and were focused. They were playing smart, being watchful of the ball with quick footwork.

The singles matches featured Stephen Sepulveda, Vireak Tray and Ben Smith who took win after win after win against their opponents, with Sepulveda winning 6-0 and 6-0, Tray winning 6-3 and 6-0 and Smith winning 6-1 and 6-1.

For the doubles matches, the team of Andrew Wing and Gabriel McPhail crushed Westbrook 6-0 and 6-0. They remain undefeated with seven consecutive wins.

Hayden Bilodeau and Devon Harnden partnered up and also reigned victorious, with scores of 7-5, Windham; 5-7 Westbrook and 7-5 Windham.

Final: 5 to 0, Windham

“I think we are coming together as a team. It's been hard to get going with all the bad weather this spring,” remarked coach Garry Stone. “The guys are hitting their stride and playing their best tennis of the season. We're 5[wins] 2[losses] right now and hoping to keep it going for our last five matches and into the playoffs.”

Friday, May 10, 2019

Opening day for Windham Little League gives preview of exciting season

Joe Donnelly

By Matt Pascarella

Opening Day for Windham Little League was held at Ciccerone Field at Lowell Field in Windham on Saturday, May 4. Majors teams Ice Cream Dugout and CR Tandberg played first.

CR Tandberg was off to a great start with Philip Traina, #9, getting a double. After Ben Shaw, #4, was hit by the pitch, Josh Tum, #12, got a base hit and Traina scores. A triple by Lukas Hammond, #8, brought in Tum and Shaw. Hammond stole home and the inning ends 4-0.

The bottom of the first for Ice Cream Dugout had Caleb Hayman, #,2 getting a single. Preston Brown, #3, made it all the way around the bases after a passed ball. Brown brought in Hayman.

Camden Gardiner, #9, hit a double. After a pop fly, Gardiner tagged up and scored, 4-3, CR Tandberg.

Jump to the third inning, and Shaw of CR Tandberg and Tum got base hits. Joe Donnelly, #5, got a single too. Shaw stole home. Hammond singles and Tum scored. Ice cream Dugout got it going when Seamus McDougall, #10, hit a ground ball to the third baseman and reached first. Hayman and Gardiner both single. McDougall scored; 6-4, CR Tandberg. Tandberg had a small lead, but Ice Cream Dugout wasn’t done yet. In the top of the sixth, Traina singled, then Shaw walked. Tum doubled and Traina scored. Shaw stole home and it was 13-5, CR Tandberg.

Tum scored after a ground out.

When Ice Cream Dug Out took the plate, Gardiner got a base hit. Grant Coppi, #8, walked, Bradyn Woodward, #4, singled. Bases loaded. Conor Janvrin, #12, doubled to center and stole third; bringing in Gardner, Coppi and Woodward; 14-8, CR. Janvrin scored. Wyatt Washburn, #5, walked, stole second base, then scored. Ice Cream Dugout made an excellent attempt, but CR Tandberg held onto their lead.

Final: 14-10

“Focusing on the baseball is what helped the team win today,” remarked Coach Dave Donnelly. “Also, doing what we’ve done in practice; it’s all the little fundamentals that count.”

Coach Raquel Gerry has made a life out of softball

Raquel Gerry

By Matt Pascarella

Raquel Gerry knows softball and it has been a big part of her life. She is the assistant coach for the Windham High School varsity softball team and has been coaching softball for ten years, beginning when her oldest daughter was playing t-ball. Gerry has coached at all levels from t-ball to recreation to travel and now high school.

Gerry started playing at a very young age and has had many coaches that made a lasting impression on her playing days and her life. When she was playing softball early on, she knew she would eventually coach. “I wanted to coach girls and have an impact on their life and give back to the sport of softball, which gave me so much in my life,” she explained.

She became interested in softball and wanted to coach because of the competitiveness of the sport, wanting to be a positive influence. Gerry stated that to watch and see her girls come together on the field has been and continues to be very rewarding.

She coached travel softball with head varsity coach Fred Wilcox and former varsity coach Travis Demmons. She saw the great things the two of them were doing with the Windham High School softball program. In 2017, there was an opening at the middle school for a softball coach and she applied, knowing she wanted to be involved with the up and coming program and surround herself with great players and coaches. She coached that team for one year. In the spring of 2018, she became the Windham High School junior varsity softball coach. This year she has moved up to the varsity level.

What does Gerry want her players to walk away with after a season? She said the lessons learned from adversity and success on the field are great preparation for future experiences. “When you step between these lines, nothing else matters except being with your teammates and having fun playing the game of softball.” Gerry explained that you must always be a student of the game and never stop learning.

The culture and atmosphere of softball in Windham is changing and I am excited to be a part of that,” she added.

A Casco resident, Gerry is married with two daughters. She is a special education teacher at Dodge House School, a residential day treatment school in Bridgton, where she enjoys working with the children. Softball keeps her family busy. Both her daughters play summer travel softball. However, whenever there is the chance, Gerry and her family like to camp and ride ATVs.

Girls’ lacrosse maintains significant lead over Lake Region

Alanna Joyce

By Matt Pascarella

The girls’ varsity lacrosse team hit the field against Lake Region, on Monday, May 6 at Windham.

The Lady Eagles wasted no time as Riley Beem, #1, scored within the first minute of play. Windham was pressuring, with strong offense and defense. The girls were aggressive, taking advantage of any misstep on Lake Region’s part. The Lady Eagles were communicating well, and the score reflected that. Alanna Joyce, #4, put one in the net. 

Emma Yale, #24, put the ball in three times in the first half. Windham was moving the ball around nicely and were first to the ball. Lake Region had slowly started to make a comeback, but Windham still had a decent lead. Beem scored before the end of the half.

Half: 6-3, Windham’s intensity didn’t diminish in the second half as the Lady Eagles came onto the field ready to get that ‘W.’ While Lake Region was slowly gaining, Windham was making sure they held onto their lead. The Lady Eagles continued solid offense and defense. Multiple players scored in the second half including: Yale and Beem and Belle Skvorak, #10. Lake Region did manage to score a couple goals, but the patience, teamwork and skill of the Lady Eagles allowed them to gain a more than comfortable lead and secure the win. Top scorers: Emma Yale and Riley Beem.

Final: 13-5, Windham

“We have a philosophy, with the speed we have and the athletes we have, we can wear teams down,” explained coach Matt Perkins. “We just got to keep working and keep pressing. It was 6-3 at halftime...and we started cleaning up some of the things we were having issues with. I thought we did a good job of fixing those, I thought we did a good job pressuring...I think we did a great job.”

Girls U9 Windham Youth Soccer skyrocket to win

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Youth Soccer U9 girls’ team played against the U9 Kennebunk girls at Gambo Field in Windham on Sunday, May 5.

As soon as the whistle blew, Windham was off to a great start and scored within the first few seconds. Then they scored again shortly after that. Windham had strong teamwork and excellent communication. They had powerful defense with the U9 Windham girls keeping the ball away from the Windham half of the field.

There were several nice blocks and stops by Windham’s keeper. Kennebunk did manage to get one through the posts, but Windham didn’t let Kennebunk score many goals during the game. Windham’s U9 girls showed great skill on the field. They were moving the ball around nicely and passing well to each other. Windham kicked it into high gear toward the end of the first half. The U9 Windham girls scored three goals; one after another after another, showing unlimited teamwork.

At the half: 5-1, Windham

Windham’s U9 girls didn’t slow down in the second half; their consistent offense and defense did not waiver. Windham’s keeper kept up the quick hands, blocking several shots and only allowing Kennebunk to score one time for the remainder of the game. Windham had great hustle throughout the entire game and the score reflected that. Windham put two more goals in before the final whistle and with less than two minutes left on the clock, the Windham U9 girls scored a final time.

Final score: 8-2, Windham

“We work a lot on discipline and holding their positions, so they’re aware where they need to be when the ball comes to them. Also, passing and holding positions is allowing us to do a good job,” commented coaches Ken Clark and Jason Bowie.