Friday, August 7, 2020

Windham Little League pays tribute to 12-year-old players

Camden Gardiner accepts an engraved bat from Windham
Little League president Caleb Davenport during a
recognition ceremony for 12-year-old players at
Ciccarone Field at Lowell Farm on July 30.
By Matt Pascarella
One of the reasons it was so important to make sure Windham Little League baseball and softball happened this summer was so that the 12-year-old players who are aging out of the program got one last season to compete. On Thursday night July 30, at Ciccarone Field at Lowell Farm, these players were recognized for their time with the league.
Windham Little League President Caleb Davenport presented each 12-year-old playing baseball and softball with a mini bat with their name engraved in it. Following the presentation, both baseball and softball players were broken into three teams and went head-to-head in three two-inning games that ended with a homerun derby.
This was the first year Windham Little League has done this. Since there are no regional or state All Star tournaments because of the pandemic, Davenport said the league wanted to try something different.
Afterward, Davenport said he thought it was a big success and hopes to continue this type of recognition in future seasons.
Lydia Marden of the softball team Windham Rental has enjoyed how much the game moves over the years and said that everything’s different every game with a new group each season.
Her advice to other players was to keep practicing and commit; that’s the only way you’ll get better.
Baseball team Ice Cream Dugout’s catcher Camden Gardiner said he had fun during his time playing
Windham Little League.
“You should be having fun when you’re playing a game,” he said.
His advice to other players is to cherish the moments and have fun.
“Coaching these young men has been one of the greatest privileges of my life,” said Windham Little League State Farm coach Nolan Ammons. “We are able to turn off and unplug for a few hours to come together as a community. They’ve matured into young men from giggling during the National Anthem to standing tall; learning to respect their coaches and their rivals. I will miss the comradery that develops with all teams and I wish all them well in the future.” Academy coach, Nick Caiazzo said he will miss the girls’ commitment to the game and the bright attitudes they bring each day to the field.
“They have been great,” said Caiazzo. “These girls are committed softball players.”
Congratulations to Windham Little League 12-year-old players Nola Bryant, Dawson Carlberg, Daniel Clark, Nick Davenport, Oriah Doucette, Isabella Hinse, Elias Jauregui, Kennedy Kimball, Jacob Leavitt, Cayden McCartney, Oakley McLeod, Ty Stahle, Aiden Tweedie, Lucas Baratta, Mason Butterfield, Ethan Clapp, Chloe Edwards, Keagan Farley, Braycen Freese, Graham Herald, Jack Jordan, Hannah Lee, Addison Leger, Lydia Marden, CJ McDonald, Aaron Sanborn, Noah Adams,
Alayna Baldwin-Dagnese, Calvin Bartz, Brayden Bean, Joe Donnelly, Brianna Duarte, Camden Gardiner, Levi Hayman, Davis Jordan, Sophia Kalogerakis, Joshua Logan, Ronan Mace, Sierra Sparrow, Seamus McDougall and Willow Washburn.
The town of Windham looks forward to watching you play in the future. <  

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Windham’s Chloe Wilcox honored for softball career by New England Girls Softball League

By Matt Pascarella

The cancellation of the spring sports season left many seniors without that final act to close out their high school athletic careers. But the New England Girls Softball League (NEGSL) worked hard to provide a summer softball experience for many athletes.

Windham High School senior Chloe Wilcox has been playing on the Southern Maine River Rats Orso team in the NEGSL this summer and on Thursday, July 30, the league honored Wilcox, as well as seniors from other towns, at Saint Joseph College in Standish.

From left,, Natalie, Chloe, Ella and Fred Wilcox
gather at a New England Girls Softball event
honoring high school seniors at Saint Joseph College
in Standish on July 30.
Wilcox says she had a lot of fun playing this year and had a great summer. She was thankful for the experience.

All the work Travis Demmons and the Southern Maine River Rats organization did to make sure the athletes from the local programs got a chance to play this summer made a difference. It was much appreciated, according to Wilcox.
One of the things she said that she missed the most about her spring season at Windham High was getting to experience her “last everything,” including her last first game playing for the school, her last playoff game and most of all her last time taking the field with an Eagles team that really became a family to her.

Wilcox said there is there is so much to be proud of from her time of being a Windham Eagle.

One moment that will always be special to her was a game against Thornton Academy. Her team went in with a common goal, put in every ounce of effort and it ended up being an 11-inning game.

“Though it didn’t end exactly as we may have wanted it, seeing the team come together and fight until the very end will reside with me forever,” said Wilcox.

Her coach and dad, Fred Wilcox, said he couldn’t ask for a better player to coach.

He said that she’s always working on her craft and is a great teammate.

“She understands that softball isn’t an individual sport and it takes a team to be successful. Off the field, she’s a hard worker,” he said. “I’ve watched her grow into a beautiful and smart young lady who is destined for great things.”

Most of all, the coach said that he’ll miss her leadership and skill on the field next year, but is looking forward to her continuing her success at Colby College.

“If you’re reading this Chloe, thank you for all the memories. I’m so proud of you. You’ve been a great mentor to your sister, Ella. She’s the player she is today because you helped her set the bar high and reach higher. We love you.”

Chloe would like to thank coach Travis Demmons who supported her through her high school career. She said that she wants him to know that he is so greatly appreciated.

She also would also like to thank her family, who have been very supportive with special recognition to her dad and coach.

“He has put endless hours into helping me and making me who I am today, not only as a softball player, but as a person. I don’t think I could thank him enough for the things he has done,” she said.

Her Southern Maine River Rats travel coaches, Kim and Gary Orso have been some of her biggest supporters. Wilcox said.

“I can confidently say that I would not be who I am today without them,” she said.

In the fall, Wilcox will head to Colby College to major in chemistry with a pre-med track where she will start a new chapter in her life and athletic career. She said that just talking with her future teammates is making her very optimistic for her next four years. <

Friday, July 31, 2020

Bill Diamond softball team slides way past House team

Bill Diamond Softball's Oakley McLeod bats during
a Windham Little League softball game at Manchester
School on Sunday, July 26.

By Matt Pascarella
Sunday, July 26 was another hot afternoon, but didn’t stop Bill Diamond Softball team from once again taking an early lead against House Team #1 at Manchester softball field.
House Team #1 took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but not only did Bill Diamond’s defense end the first half of that inning with the bases loaded, they got the bats swinging early and had runners hit home plate multiple times in the first two innings.
At the plate we had great ball discipline, knowing which ones to swing at, and great base running,” said Bill Diamond’s Hannah Lee, who doubled in the fourth inning and scored three times during the game. “I’m becoming more comfortable making contact (with the ball).” She also said she can see that she is improving. the second, Yani Kostopoulos was hit by the pitch. Lee walked, Kostopoulos scored; Lee scored. McLeod singled and made it around the bases. Addison Ledger walked then scored. Willow Washburn was hit by the pitch and made it home. The inning ended with Bill Diamond up 7-1.
House Team #1 did try to catch up, as they scored another run in the fourth and four runs in the top of the fifth.
Final score was Bill Diamond 9, House Team 6.
Lee walked in the first, stole her way around the bases and scored. Belle Pinto singled. Oakley McLeod doubled when she smashed the ball up the third base line. This brought Pinto home. Willow
Washburn was thrown out at first after she crushed the ball, but brought McLeod in.
Many of the players are getting better merely by playing more and gaining experience in areas they might not have been exposed to previously,” said coach Jason McLeod. “It’s a testament to not shying away from new challenges and wanting to improve. Just witnessing the development is something we look forward to each time out.” <

Fourth-inning slugfest lifts team David Aaskov Plumbing to victory

Cillian Bradshaw of David Aaskov Plumbing
runs to first base during a Windham Little
League baseball game against GNG at Manchester
School on July 28.
By Matt Pascarella
Windham Minors Division baseball team David Aaskov Plumbing took to the field against Gray New Gloucester (GNG) team China Village on Tuesday, July 28 at Manchester School field hoping to emerge with a victory and they did.
The David Aaskov Plumbing team started slowly and actually trailed GNG for three-and-a-half innings. That changed for David Aaskov Plumbing in the final half-inning when they scored five runs in to capture the win.  
Players Colton Kalakowsky, Mason Clapp, Cillian Bradshaw and Justin Tom all agreed the game was awesome. Clapp said Kalakowsky had a great hit and Clapp said he thought he did a good job pitching in the contest.
GNG got a hit to center field in the second inning and took a 2-0 lead. David Aaskov Plumbing had placed several runners on base in the first three innings,  but they weren’t able to bring anyone across home plate."In a developmental league, it’s fun to see the kids learn the game, the count on the batter; helping each other,” said David Aaskov Plumbing coach Jonathan Bassett. “We played a GNG team tonight that we hadn’t seen before and everyone had great sportsmanship with it. Pitching and defense is what really drives baseball, and we saw those positive glimpses tonight.”
In the bottom of the fourth and final inning, Samuel Cataldi walked, and Justin Tom pummeled the ball for a base hit. Kalakowsky doubled and Clapp was hit by the pitch to load the bases.
David Aaskov Plumbing’s Bronson Bassett walked, and Tom put Windham on the board. Bradshaw crushed the ball and Kalakowsky and Clapp scored, putting Davbid Aaskov ahead, 3-2. Jensen Bartz then walked, and Griffin Robinson sent the ball flying, scoring two more runs.
The final score was David Aaskov Plumbing 5, GNG 2.
“Fundamentals and fun were the focus, as it should be. Wins don’t matter to me, but great moments do and every one of our players has had that. Each one of our boys have amazing qualities, unique personalities and are future allstars in my book,” said David Aaskov Plumbing coach Dustin Bartz. <

Coach of the Week: Windham Softball's Shawn Leger

Windham softball coach Shawn
Leger has been named 'Coach of
the Week' for The Windham Eagle.
He played college baseball
at the University of Southern
Maine and now works with
young softball players for the
Windham Little League.
By Matt Pascarella
Shawn Leger has been involved with Windham Softball for four years. He’s worked with many of the softball coaches over the years and attends games, even if his team isn’t playing.
A lot of the coaches he played with in twilight baseball, a baseball league for adults or college had daughters, so coaching softball seemed like a no brainer for him and it’s earned him the distinction of being the latest “Coach of the Week” for The Windham Eagle.
Aside from coaching and supporting the girls, Leger also takes care of the Manchester/Arlington softball field, raking it to ensure it’s ready for game time.
The youngest of six boys, Leger grew up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He was a pitcher for Fitchburg High School and was the first in his family to attend college.
He went to the University of Southern Maine to play baseball for Coach Ed Flaherty. He was nicknamed ‘Wild Thing’ from the movie “Major League.” Leger was a right-handed pitcher and wore dark-rimmed sunglasses, just like the character in the movie.
Leger made the team and played from 1993 to 1996. He was a co-captain during his senior season. He played with a lot of players who went on to get drafted to the big leagues.
Flaherty was a big influence on Leger. He wanted to pass the lessons he learned from baseball and Flaherty to other kids. Flaherty taught him many life lesson he’s now passing on to children playing youth softball; such as you can outwork people with greater physical talent and succeed, 90 percent is just showing up; the other 10 percent is what you do with it. Everyone can win when they’re playing their best, but it’s when you’re not at your best, that’s when you find out who you really are. Lessons you learn playing as a team, competing, can help when you turn pro in something other than sports.
“He’s a fun guy to be around and the girls really enjoy him,” said coach Shayne Bryant.
Leger says the girls have been great this season. They have shown enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and Windham coaches have really pulled together.
It wasn’t easy to make this season happen, Leger said. He feels honored to work with coaches who care and want to make the most of player abilities. Coordination and communication were important
more this season than ever.“It’s not about one Little League team, it’s about Windham softball,” he said.
Leger would like every girl to get better at one thing they may have struggled with from the start of the season.
“I love to see the kids work at a skill they struggled with and then, through hard work, see them succeed,” he said. “I love to see the moment they get it, knowing the hard journey some of them have had to travel.” 
Leger has been in banking for 24 years and is a small business banker/commercial lender for Machias Savings Bank. He has a wife, Alison and daughter, Addison. <

Friday, July 24, 2020

Doubleheader results in double wins for Windham softball

Windham Rental pitcher Bri Duarte throws a strike during a
Windham Little League softball game.
By Matt Pascarella

Edge Academy v. House Team #2

It was hot. Really hot, but on the Manchester softball field on Sunday, July 19 it was not too hot for Edge Academy and House Team #2 to face off.

A house team is made up of players from outside Windham. Edge Academy wasted no time getting on base and took this game 9-7.

On the first pitch Nola Bryant smashed a triple and then scored. Kaylee Napolitano and Addison Caiazzo both singled. Yani Kostopoulos hit a triple and scored. Edge Academy led 3-0 after one inning.

“There was a lot of communication, we were aggressive and knew the next play” said Caiazzo.

Defensively, Edge Academy stopped several scoring opportunities for their opponent when runners were thrown out on second and third in the bottom of the first. And a run was prevented when a runner was thrown out at home in the fourth.
Edge Academy really showed their hitting power in the fifth inning. They trailed by one. Kaylee
Napolitano bunted and made it home; Caiazzo doubled and crossed the plate. Kostopoulos hit a double deep into the outfield and brought another run in.

“We had a lot of team effort, even though it’s hot; no one was just watching,” said Bryant.

Windham Rental v. House Team #1

The continued heat didn’t stop the hits from coming, as Windham Rental took the field against House Team #1 at Manchester following the previous game. Windham Rental had the bats swinging and finished with a 13-6 win.

“We communicated more and tried new things that might work in the future like Bri pitching or Nola at shortstop,” said Addison Leger.

After House Team #1 took a 2-0 lead in the first, Windham Rental answered when Nola Bryant got on base. Addison Caiazzo and Bri Duarte walked. Each of them rounded the bases and scored. Although the score was close in spots, Windham Rental kept their eyes on the ball and the runs kept coming in.

“The girls just seem to have fun while being competitive at the same time and I think that leads to them being successful,” said coach Shayne Bryant, who helped coach both games.

House Team #1 tied the game in the second, but Windham Rental kept pulling away. In the third, Oriah Doucette was hit by the pitch and Lilly Gallagher walked, Kaylee Napolitano got on base after a dropped third strike and Doucette, Gallagher and Napolitano all made it home; 9-4 Windham Rental won.

When Bri Duarte was pitching in the fourth, she and catcher Neve Ledbetter made a great play when they picked a runner off at home.

In the fourth, Bryant walked and scored and Ledbetter did the same.<

Jet Ski Guy takes early lead in Windham Little League game and keeps it

Jet Ski Guy batter Patrick Davenport drives a pitch into the
outfield during a Windham Little League game against MPM
Sealcoating on July 18. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

As the sun beat down on the diamond Saturday morning July 18, AAA teams Jet Ski Guy and MPM Sealcoating took the field for game 26 of the season.

Visiting team Jet Ski Guy took an early lead and as the game went on, that lead only grew. MPM put in a determined effort and did not get shut out, but Jet Ski Guy stayed ahead for a final score of 12-1.

Jet Ski Guy led 2-0 after one inning. Patrick Davenport doubled in the top of the second and the top of the third which knocked in several runs. In the top of the second, after a walk, Oriah Doucette got a base hit. 

That brought a run in. Two more walks and the bases are loaded.

“Don’t swing at ball that aren’t your pitch,” said Davenport. If you don’t “you’ll crack one and do good.” After he made contact with the ball Davenport said, “that’s a good hit; I should try and run as fast as I can.”

After Davenport’s double, Doucette and another run made it home. Another single and Davenport scored. 7-0.
“I’ve got to get them out and finish the inning,” said Jet Ski Guy pitcher Jordan Tom. He wanted to
get the ball over the plate and keep it under control.

MPM battled. Defensively, they did well at the top of the game. They ended the first inning with Jet Ski Guy runners left on base. They had the bats swinging but weren’t able to score until the bottom of the third when Troy Cunningham was hit by the pitch, Sully Nappi followed him with a massive double and Cunningham put MPM on the map. Joey Small sent the ball flying with a solid hit, but it was caught.

“I thought Cody Ruth and Lincoln Rulman did a great job throwing strikes,” said MPM coach Jeff Ruth “We need to work on making plays behind our pitchers. Our game ball went to Sully Nappi who caught two strong innings and had an RBI (runs batted in) double.” 

In the top of the third, Jet Ski Guy loaded up the bases and drove in five more runs.
The team played a complete game today. They paid attention and kept their heads in the game despite the heat,” said Coach David Langway. “This was the most complete game this season, and the best game they played altogether; Jordan and Patrick did very well in holding MPM to one run.” <