Sunday, June 29, 2014

Windham Varsity baseball loses a heartbreaker to Bangor - By Jim Beers

The Windham High School baseball team had their Cinderella-type run through the playoffs ended by the number one seed from the East, the Bangor Rams, 8-0 in the Class A State Championship game at Saint Joseph’s College, in Standish, last Saturday. 

The Eagles faced off against Bangor's number one pitcher, Justin Courtney, (6-1), and he set the tone for the game right from the start. Cushioned with a first inning, 2-run lead by the Rams' offense, Courtney went on to allow only one hit, while striking out 10 Windham hitters the rest of the day. The Eagles hit some balls hard, but right at Bangor defensemen and couldn't put anything together against Courtney. 
Bangor jumped out to that 2-0 advantage in the first, as their lead-off hitter, Jordan Derrah, cranked the second pitch he saw from Windham starter Spencer Hodge to the left centerfield gap for a double. That was followed by a single to center by Trevor Delhaite and another single by Courtney to score the first run. The Rams added another run after Windham's defense rolled a double play. . A grounder to shortstop Tyler Johnson kicked off the heel of his glove and the throw was late to first, allowing Delhaite to score, making it 2-0. 

That would prove to be all the runs Courtney would need as he settled in and cruised to the seventh inning, not allowing a hit. Windham's Ethan Petty slapped a single through the shortstop hole for the Eagle's only hit, in the  seventh.  "He, (Courtney), was in more of a rhythm than Labell, (Jake Labell of Marshwood), in the Western Maine game," said Windham coach Brody Artes. "We aren't a great curveball hitting team to begin with, and he was able to be in the mid-80s with his fastball and come with that great curve to keep us really off balance," he added. 

Bangor added two more runs in the third inning, both with two outs. Courtney again hit a laser to left for a single. Next hitter, Andrew Flair, ripped a double past third base and into the left field corner, putting runners at second and third. Bangor's Sam Houston then blasted a triple to deep right center field to score Courtney and Flair. 

Windham threatened in the fifth inning, loading the bases with no outs. After two walks and an infield error by Bangor, the Eagles were on the verge of getting on the board. Windham left fielder Josh Dugas hit a tapper back to Courtney, who came home on the force play, one out. Eagle second baseman Alex Loftis tapped to third base, and the drawn-in infield made the play easy, another force out at home, two outs. Next hitter Zack Conley struck out looking on the curve. 

Bangor tacked on three more runs in the sixth to put the game away and give the Rams the State title. "We had a great season to get to this point, we were just never able to break through today," Artes said. "I didn’t feel we played terrible at all, we just didn’t catch the breaks we needed."

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