Friday, August 10, 2018

Sisters play in National Basketball Tournament in D.C. by Matt Pascarella

Hannah Talon

The U.S. Junior National girls’ basketball tournament was held from July 26 to July 29 in Washington D.C. Windham’s Hannah and Sarah Talon competed in the tournament, playing on the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Maine basketball team, Blue Wave Elite, comprised of girls from Portland, Gray, Wells, Standish and Cumberland.

The tournament was structured with seven brackets stemming from 96 teams. Teams played five games in order to get to the championship bracket. Blue Wave won all five of those games and the chance to play in the championship. Unfortunately, they ended up losing to the Lady Lakers, a team from Rochester, New York in the final round. However, second place out of 96 teams is very impressive.

To play in this tournament, teams had to qualify by playing in other tournaments and the players must have met talent requirements to be placed in the appropriate group of teams who have a similar skillset.

Sarah Talon
Hannah, an incoming junior, played on the Windham High School varsity girls’ basketball team and has been playing on the Blue Wave basketball team since she was in fifth grade. Sarah, an incoming freshman, has been playing on the Amateur Athletic Union since third grade and played on the Blue Wave basketball team as a way to hone skills.

“It was a great experience. I got to see some of the best players in the country,” observed Hannah.
She said playing in the games was a little overwhelming at first, mostly because of the size of the 20-basketball court gym, but once she started playing, she was fine and had a lot of fun.

“U.S. Junior National girl’s tournament was a great experience,” remarked Sarah. “Most of the girls I played against were bigger, faster and stronger and will help prepare me for the upcoming high school season.”

The Northeast Girls recruiting website, a website that identifies strong players from tournaments, named both Hannah and Sarah as players to watch in the upcoming seasons.
Congratulations to both of you!

Softball Allstars have a spectacular week in Pennsylvania by Matt Pascarella

Addison Caiazzo
After becoming state champs on Sunday, July 22, the 9/10-year-old softball team travelled to Jenkins Township, Pennsylvania to represent Maine in the regional championship from July 28 to August 2. Here is an overview of the games:

Game One
While pitcher Kennedy Kimball limited Connecticut to only two hits, some defense mistakes let Connecticut edge out ahead. Connecticut 5, Maine 0.

Game Two
The girls answered back from their loss with an astounding win over Vermont. Hannah Lee, Chloe Edwards, Addison Caiazzo and Oakley McLeod all got hits along with each getting on base at least twice. Each of these players also scored one run each. Addison Ledger got a run batted in off a double. Kimball struck out 15 batters throwing a no-hitter. Maine 10, Vermont 0.

Game Three
Lee crushes a two-run homer in the first inning. From there Kimball’s pitching was able to stave off Rhode Island. This win secured a spot for Windham in the semifinal games. Maine 4, Rhode Island 1.

Semifinal Game
The first two innings Windham had excellent defense, stranding five Pennsylvania runners on base at the end of innings. Bri Duarte got a hit in the third inning, but Windham couldn’t get her home. Windham rallied in the final inning when a hit by Lee loaded the bases, but with two outs Windham couldn’t get ahead. Pennsylvania 3, Maine 0. the 12 states competing in the region, Windham finished in the top four; a job very well done!

"What this team achieved far exceeded anyone's expectations,” remarked Coach Jason McLeod. “The players molded into a cohesive unit in a very short period of time. The entire experience was amazing and featured many life-lasting memories.  The support we received from all of Windham was just awesome - from fundraising all the way to countless examples of encouragement.  The future of Windham Softball, between what this team as well as the 11/12 All Stars accomplished, is very bright."

Congrats to all the girls. You each did an amazing job and this town is very proud of each one of you!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Children and athletes both were winners at the Shriner’s Lobster Bowl by Matt Pascarella

The 29th Maine Shriner Lobster Bowl Classic Football Game was played at Thornton Academy on Saturday, July 21. High school seniors from all over the state competed in this East versus West game.

Nate Watson and Tanner Bernier
Windham’s own Tanner Bernier and Nate Watson were on the East roster and represented the town very well. Both Bernier and Watson were nominated by varsity football Coach Matt Perkins and were selected by a committee from the Maine Athletics Association.

The student athletes, who usually compete against each other, participated in a week-long training camp where they got to know each other.

It took some getting used to, explained Bernier and Watson. Both stated that it took some adjusting as to how they would play, since they usually compete with others who were now team mates. Both Bernier and Watson stated that they set aside their differences and came together as a team. “There was a lot of comradery and it turned out great,” they agreed.

The field was packed with fans, friends and family showing support for these athletes. Both the East and West teams came out ready to give 100 percent on the field. The East was playing excellent offense and defense, scoring once in the first half and stopping several scoring opportunities for the West.

Half: 6-0, East

The East doubled up on enthusiasm in the second half, scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter along with a 2-point conversion. While West did score twice in the second half, the East kept up the intensity scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Final: 40-14, East

Both Watson and Bernier were proud to have been picked to play.

“It was an absolute honor to be picked by Coach Perkins and to give back to the kids,” said Bernier who had been coming to the Lobster Bowl for ten years.

“It was a great, great time to play football and I’m thankful I got to do that. It was an honor and I felt proud to represent my team and my school,” added Watson.

One hundred percent of the proceeds raised from the game support the 22 Shriner Hospitals for children across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Windham Softball team are state champions by Matt Pascarella

The nine and ten-year-old girls softball team faced off against Kennebunk-Wells on Sunday, July 22nd at Glenburn, near Bangor. Despite the weather, which did cause a rain delay towards the end, the girls were ready to put it all on the line and prove they were the best in the state.
The bottom of the first brought Kennebunk-Wells hitting an in the park home run making the game 1-0.

Windham was playing excellent defense leaving runners with scoring opportunities on base at the end of innings. Pitcher Kennedy Kimball, #34 was once again throwing the heat, striking out batter after batter.

Kennebunk-Wells got another runner over the plate in the bottom of the third, 2-0.

Fast forward to the top of the fifth with only two innings left to get it done, that’s just what these girls did. After four walks, one of whom resulted in an out, the bases were loaded with Cami Casserly, #8, Chloe Edwards, #26 and Hannah Lee, #10. Kimball steps up to the plate, the first pitch is thrown…boom! The ball is sent flying into right field, a triple for Kimball. The score: 3-2, Windham.
Windham wasn’t done yet. The top of the sixth brought Oakley McLeod, #2 walking, Casserly getting a base hit and Edwards crushing the ball, bringing both McLeod and Casserly in, 5-2, Windham.

It all came down to the bottom of the sixth and final inning. Kimball gets the first strike out right away. Then on a walk, a runner advanced to third. The next batter is struck out. The runner on third base was toying with stealing home but was held in place. The next batter gets two strikes – tension was palpable. Kimball winds up, provides the throw - STRIKE THREE, making the Windham softball team the state champs!

“Every girl had something to do [with winning this championship] and that’s a great feeling in itself,” observed Coach Jason McLeod.
Back row: (coaches L to R): Ryan Edwards, Jason McLeod, Shayne Bryant
Middle row: (two tall girls): Hannah Lee (L) Kennedy Kimball (R)
Front row: (L to R) Chloe Edwards, Willow Washburn, Addison Leger, Addison Caiazzo, Lydia Marden, Bri Duarte, Oakley McLeod, Lacie Higgins, Cami Casserly, Nola Bryant 

They will take their skill down to Jenkins Township, PA for the regional championship at the end of the month.

Congratulations again to all the girls on this team. Our town is very proud and will continue to cheer you on.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Windham Youth Basketball’s Three-on-Three Tournament a community victory by Matt Pascarella

Andrew Tulman (R) guards Caleb Sayward (L)

The sixth annual Sonic Coed Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament was held Sunday, July 15 at the Manchester School basketball courts.

Organizer Pat Moody, along with the Windham Youth Basketball volunteers, created the Sonic Coed Three-on-Three Tournament in 2012 to honor Danny “Sonic” Giguere, who graduated from Windham High School in 1998 and was killed in a car accident in 2012. 

Giguere was nicknamed ‘Sonic’ because of his tenacity and how hard he played on the court (like Sonic the hedgehog).

Derek Lovely
In the past, the proceeds from this event have been given to Giguere’s family and the Windham Primary School playground fund. It’s also been used to purchase new basketball equipment and basketball infrastructure in the town and playgrounds at the Windham Primary School, the Manchester School and Windham High School.

This year the funds will be used to help renovate the town skate park, located near the police station in Windham.

Mason Rulman
Moody explains that over the last several years there have been 20-30 teams registered each year. Ages range from third and fourth graders to create a 40+ team. It’s not just Windham teams that come to play, the word has spread about the tournament and teams from outside communities are showing up as well. While the tournament does have a competitive aspect, it’s more about fun and community than winning.

“It’s not just about the teams that come, but about everyone who comes to support those teams,” noted Moody. “When you look around and see the place filled with people, it’s awesome.”

Moody also explained that Giguere’s motto was ‘make it happen’ and that’s exactly what Moody and his volunteers have done; it was a day of fun, community and great basketball.
It was a true community victory.

Windham softball All Star Team starts strong in championship game by Matt Pascarella

Chloe Edwards
Kennedy Kimball
The nine and ten-year-old girls’ softball All Star Team hit the field on Saturday, July 14 against Kennebec Wells for the start of the 2018 State Softball Tournament in Glenburn, near Bangor.

After Kennebec Wells was able to score a single run in top of the first, Windham responded by Chloe Edwards, #26, getting a base hit and then Kennedy Kimball, #34, crushing an in-the-park home run to bring Windham to an early two-to-one lead.

These two teams were fairly evenly matched. Windham made several great defensive plays, getting runners out at first, preventing Kennebec Wells further scoring opportunities.

It all came down to the top of the sixth inning. The score was still two-to-one, so if Kennebec Wells did not score, Windham would take home the ‘W.’ What an intense inning to say the least.

A walk to a Kennebec Wells runner on base occurred almost immediately. Two outs later this same runner advanced to third and prepared to tie the score. Kimball threw one strike and the ball got by Edwards, the catcher; the runner on third bolts.

Edwards recovered the passed ball as the runner charged towards home. Edwards flicked the ball to Kimball who was ready to make the tag; she did, and everyone waits for the umps call.
The runner is OUT! Eagles have done it again and remain undefeated! Final score: two-to-one.
“Now we can breathe a little sigh of relief and work on some of things we need to get better at,” remarked Coach Jason McLeod. “At the end of the day, these girls want to do well.”

They played Thursday, July 19th in Glenburn. Stay tuned to our Facebook/Instagram and Twitter accounts for further updates.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Comradery among teammates makes a difference on the field by Matt Pascarella

McLeod, Edwards and Kimball posing with the game winning ball, after beating Westbrook in the 11th inning 1-0.
The nine and ten-year-old girls’ softball District Six Windham Allstars are on a roll. They are undefeated after beating Westbrook on July 5th in the 11th inning, one to zero. They became District Six Champions on Saturday, July 7with a score of two to one against Cumberland-North Yarmouth to advance to the State Championship in Glenburn, Maine on July 14th.

There are three members on this team who have been playing together and supporting each other since they met. They are: catcher, Chloe Edwards, age 10, the pitcher, Kennedy Kimball, age 11 and the second baseman, Oakley McLeod, age 10. They have known each other for roughly the last four years.
All three of them met on their minor softball team, the Shaw’s team, around 2014. They stuck together as teammates and taught each other to keep their heads up, which came in handy especially later in their softball careers, in situations that go into extra innings.

“It was fun to meet new people who we are friends with now and it brought us up to the level to be able to play here,”remarked Edwards.

They all agreed preparation for any game came through practices. Aside from practices with their teammates, McLeod, Edwards and Kimball would visit each other to work on their skills. “We’d have lessons every night to get good at catching and pitching,” explains Kimball. “I’d go over to [Kimball’s] house so she could pitch to me and we could see how we are doing,” clarifies Edwards.
Kimball has been on a roll herself. She threw three consecutive no-hitters and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “It was exciting; it was really nice to have one of my best friends behind the plate with me and it was nice knowing I had a really good team behind me.”

They’ve been and will continue to be a team that will stick together and are supportive of one another, no matter what team they’re each on.