Friday, June 9, 2023

Windham JV softball ends season with outstanding win over Biddeford

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s junior varsity softball team played their final game of the season at home against Biddeford on Wednesday, May 31 and the Lady Eagles went out on top by defeating the Tigers, keeping the hits and runs coming and posting an impressive 15-6 win.

Windham sophomore Maddy Young delivers a base hit during
a JV softball game against Biddeford on Wednesday, May 31
at Windham High School.  PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
With the victory, Windham closed the season with an 11-2 record.

“I really think it was a team win because the team was chipping away at the plate,” said Windham sophomore Sierra Sparrow. “We couldn’t have gotten ahead without everyone top to bottom of the order getting on base and making things happen.”

Biddeford had built a 2-0 lead halfway through the third inning. But in the bottom of the third inning, Sparrow singled, and freshman Jezabelle Pinto walked. Sparrow stole her way around the bases and scored on a passed ball. After Pinto stole third base, Biddeford’s catcher made an error and Pinto scored. The game was tied, 2-2.

The Tigers added two runs in the fourth inning, but Windham answered and really got the bats going and exhibited smart base-running.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Windham sophomore Willow Washburn walked, and freshman Ashley Cloutier was hit by a pitch. Sophomore Maddy Young singled and Washburn scored.

Young said she felt there was more cheering in the dugout than usual, and Windham’s supportive nature helped a lot. Young said the team’s infield played well and the team was smart at the plate.

Cloutier scored on a passed ball. Sparrow tripled and Young scored. Pinto walked and Sparrow scored on a passed ball. Pinto stole her way around the diamond and scored on an error and Windham led by three runs.

Although Biddeford knocked in two more runs in the top of the fifth inning, Windham defense allowed no more runs.

Freshman Lacie Higgins pitched for seven innings and struck out 14 Biddeford batters.

“I definitely felt the pressure,” said Higgins. “I know I have a good defense behind me; if I can throw it in there, they can make plays. I think it’s easy for me to get in the zone and throw strikes. I take a lot of time in between pitches so I can reset myself and think about every pitch one at a time.”

From the fifth inning on, Windham could not and would not be stopped as they continued to round the bases.

Sophomore Charlotte Nappi walked. Higgins doubled and Nappi scored. Higgins stole home after sophomore Dakota Small walked. Two more walks and Young singled; Small scored. Sparrow lined out, but Washburn tagged up and scored. Cloutier scored on a passed ball. Pinto walked. Young scored on an error.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Windham did not let up any; sophomore Alexis Redmon singled, Nappi tripled and Redmon scored. Higgins singled and Nappi scored.

In the top of the seventh inning, Windham only allowed four batters to the plate before they ended the game.

“The girls did a really great job, they held their composure,” said Windham JV softball coach Darcie Finn. “In the first two at-bats they were a little hesitant at the plate and [then] they just settled in.”

Finn said communication, being smart at the plate, seeing the ball and reading it and being smart on the base path were all things that went well.

She said this is a great group of girls who always have each other’s backs and are an awesome team. <

Windham’s Unified bocce team wraps up season on high note

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s Unified bocce team played their final game of the season at home against Scarborough on Thursday, June 1. It was senior night, so seniors Lauren Broadbent, Kayla Fillinger, Dani Iaconeta and Austin Rice were all presented with a small gift as a thank you for their dedication to Windham Athletics throughout their high school careers.

Windham High junior TJ McAllister keeps his eyes on the
target as he gets ready to throw in the final Unified bocce
match of the season against Scarborough on Thursday,
June 1 at Windham High School.
Windham Unified bocce coach Connor McNeill said the biggest goal of Unified sports is to provide an opportunity for students with and without disabilities to participate in a varsity sport together.

Unified bocce just completed its first season at Windham and this match against Scarborough was structured to have three 20-minute games with two courts playing per game.

One team throws a small white ball called the pallino, and the goal is to throw larger balls, called bocce, to get as close to the pallino as possible. Only the team closest to the pallino scores points. While a score is kept, the Unified games are more about having fun and celebrating the season. There was high energy and lots of positive encouragement and cheering from both teams.

In the first group of games, Scarborough won 9-5 and 5-3. In the second games Windham won 7-4 and Scarborough won 6-2. In the third games, Scarborough won 7-4 and Windham won 4-3.

For bocce specifically, Windham’s team goals were intended to learn the game, compete against other high schools and have fun. It was evident to McNeill watching the growth from the first practice to the last game that as a team they met and exceeded all these goals.

“I think we worked together as a team very well,” said senior Lauren Broadbent. “We were taking turns and I think everyone scored some points.”

Broadbent said she had fun during the Scarborough game and throughout the season. Windham has won some and lost some and she said that she liked playing multiple games so everyone has a chance to win.

Windham sophomore Colby Schmid said this team’s chemistry was outstanding. They communicated together, and Schmid said the season has been great. Bocce is a calming sport for Schmid and helps him relax while reducing stress.

“The season was great,” said Windham unified bocce coach Connor McNeill. “It’s been very successful. The opportunity for different groups of students to get together and the comradery between schools is great.”

McNeill said the Windham community is very supportive of Unified sports and they are thankful that they got a grant from the Special Olympics to make the season a reality.

Congrats to Windham team members Broadbent, Sophia Gugliuzza, Jacob Smith, Iaconeta, Jack Shirley, Zach O’Brion, Mary Jean, TJ McAllister, Schmid, Fillinger and Rice on a great season. <

Friday, June 2, 2023

Windham senior Jackson commits to Husson University to play field hockey

By Matt Pascarella

Windham senior Annie Jackson signed her letter of intent at Windham High School on Tuesday, May 30 to attend Husson University where she will major in occupational therapy and play field hockey.

Windham senior Annie Jackson, left, signs a letter of intent
as her mom, Stephanie Smart, looks on at Windham High
School on May 30. Jackson will attend Husson University
in Bangor while playing field hockey and majoring in
occupational therapy. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
Jackson would like to become an occupational therapist and will be part of a dual degree program which combines undergraduate and graduate classes into five years; this will help her get into her major quicker and allow Jackson to start her career sooner.

She first began playing field hockey in a sixth-grade summer clinic hosted by varsity field hockey coach Cory DiDonato. Afterward Jackson found a community with the other girls through field hockey.

“She works so hard and leads by example – her teammates can look to her,” said DiDonato. “She was a tremendous leader for us, my go-to; she didn’t crack under any pressure and there was quite a bit of pressure this season. She shines the brightest when she’s challenged.”

In the off season, Jackson spends a lot of time working on improving. For Jackson, practicing on her own and playing travel field hockey has helped her elevate her skills.

She’s wanted to play at the college level since seventh grade and it felt great for Jackson to sign her letter of intent.

Jackson said it’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point. She’s built up a lot of her strength and confidence in her abilities and in her academics over the years.

“Annie’s a great teammate,” said Windham senior Emma Casale. “She’s always supportive and a really good friend of mine off the field. She’s really hard working and always brings a smile to my face and makes everybody laugh.”

Since Jackson is such a supportive player, Casale said she’ll succeed at Husson University, as an athlete and as a student.

According to Jackson, she stuck with field hockey because she likes the fast-paced nature of the game coupled with the team dynamics. She really enjoys spending time with and playing for her teammates.

“I have put so much time and energy into improving my field hockey skills which made me feel more confident with the sport,” said Jackson. “I also believe that the atmosphere of the team and working together drew me closer to the sport. I believe that having a team to depend on and bond with will help me next year as I start my first year of college.”

Her advice to underclassmen who would like to achieve what she achieved through the signing of her letter of intent is to focus on academics first because they are the most important. She also said putting your mental health first is key. There’s a community and friendships that can be built that will help a student athlete through everything else.

DiDonato said Jackson will bring stability, confidence and consistency to the program at Husson University. DiDonato said Jackson is a work horse and people will look to her for how to consistently perform. When it comes to Jackson, there are no better words to describe her than hard-working, consistent and super driven.

Jackson would like to thank her varsity coach, DiDonato and assistant coaches, Tiff Theriault and Lyndsay Stretch, for all their hard work and for being an inspiration to her. Jackson would like to thank her mother for all she’s done for her. Jackson would also like to thank her teachers and friends who have helped her get to this point. <

Windham outdoor track and field team reaches great heights during Southwesterns meet

By Matt Pascarella

As both Windham High School’s outdoor track and field teams prepare for the state championship meet tomorrow at Mt. Ararat High School, Windham had an extraordinary showing at the Southwesterns championship meet on Friday, May 26 at Gorham High School.

The Windham girls came in third place with a score of 61 and the boys came in 13th finishing with a score of 14.

Windham sophomore Tayla Pelletier leaps over the hurdle
and out past the competition during the Southwesterns
championship meet at Gorham High School on May 26.

“The team united, brought their synergy, ... and worked to meet our goal of reducing self-inflicted pressure [and] just have competitive fun performing in an earned championship meet,” said Windham girls’ outdoor track and field coach Jeff Riddle.

Riddle said strategies evolve over weeks prior to championship meets and during meets coaches offer feedback to players; the responsibility of the opportunity turns to the players. So, if they get elevated at this high level, things like a third-place finish manifest.

Sophomore Tayla Pelletier crushed it as she came in first in the triple jump, achieving her best distance ever of 37-02.00 feet and setting a new school record. She finished first in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.67 seconds; first in the high jump with a 5-02.00 height, and third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 46.50, which also set a new school record.

“Having the teammates there just hyped me up,” said Pelletier. “My goal was to not focus on what anyone around me was doing, but to focus on me and getting my best.”

Pelletier said the competition was tough, but it’s nice having competition that pushes you to be your best. She said everyone on the team was giving their all.

In the long jump junior Khalysa Hammith finished third with a distance of 16-00.25. Sophomore Ava Gerrity finished seventh with a 15-00.75 distance.

Gerrity finished second in the triple jump with a 33-08.75 distance.

Sophomore Addison Profenno finished third in the 1600 race walk with a time of 9:51.44 minutes.

In the discus, sophomore Marina Schwarz finished 12th with a throw of 77-05.

“There was a strong sense of team and unity throughout the entire meet,” said senior captain Elise Schultz.

Senior captain Adriyanna Edge said everyone there had the same emotions and anxieties which made it easy to come together. Many were competing to further the team to get to the state championship.


Windham finished third in the 4x100 relay with a 44.98 time.

Senior Derrick Stephens finished seventh in the 110 hurdles with a time of 16.16 and sixth in the 300 hurdles with a time of 43.03; his season’s best for both events.

Also in the 300 hurdles, sophomore Aiden Hanson finished ninth with a 43.92 time, a personal record.

Sophomore Carter Engelman finished sixth in the pole vault with a height of 11-00.00 – an improvement of 18 inches. He got a personal record in the 300 hurdles with a 44.81 time.

“I had a really good day today,” said Engelman. “I wanted to [achieve a] personal record today and I did, I was really happy with that performance.”

Engelman said it was cool to see opponents who have been competing longer than him and to see what their technique and form is. Windham has been really strong this year.

Senior Connor Langstaff finished eighth in the long jump with a distance of 19-04.75 and seventh in the triple jump with a 38-05.00 distance.

Langstaff wanted to compete better than he had been in the past. He said he achieved that and is proud. He said competition was intense, and Windham competed very well.

Junior Ezra Foster threw 134-00 in the javelin and finished eighth; a season’s best for him.

Senior Scott Ingalls finished eighth in discus with a 116-06 throw.

Senior Max Arbour finished sixth in the shot put with a distance of 40-09.25.

“Our goal going into Southwesterns was to get more individual qualifiers for [the] state meet and for all the athletes to step up their performances for the big meets,” said Windham boys’ outdoor track and field coach Paula Pock. “We had a lot of athletes who are new to track and field and they ... had some incredible performances. The team did great at cheering each other on and helping each other perform to the best of their abilities.”<

Friday, May 26, 2023

Windham boys’ first team lacrosse avoids shutout against Falmouth

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s first team boys’ lacrosse played Falmouth at home on Monday, May 22 and while the game was not the outcome the Eagles wanted in an 11-1 loss, Windham battled it out until the final buzzer and prevented Falmouth from obtaining a shutout victory when Windham sophomore Jack Arsenault scored in the fourth quarter.

Windham sophomore Jack Arsenault gets ready to fire a shot
that goes between the goal posts during a boys' first team
lacrosse game against Falmouth on Monday, May 22.
“As a team we played really pretty well moving the ball,” said Arsenault. “In the second half we really pushed ourselves to get back on the scoreboard; I know my teammates were working hard.”

Arsenault said that his goal was a result of taking shots in practice and his teammates making good passes and working on ground balls.

Windham took the field with intensity. Falmouth scored early; Windham gave 100 percent on the field. They stayed with and went hard after the ball and took several shots at goal. Falmouth scored a few more times in the half, but Windham kept the pressure on.

Windham freshman goalie Lucas Baratta recorded many great saves throughout the game.

Baratta said his mentality going into this game was to do his best. It’s a rough loss, but the best thing you can do is not take it too hard; Windham has more games coming up. Baratta said it was hard as Falmouth pulled ahead, but he didn’t let the score impede his effort at goal. He thought teamwork went well. Windham had some nice defensive looks; their clears were nice, and the offense moved the ball around well.

Windham had several solid checks that either blocked scoring opportunities for Falmouth or slowed them. Falmouth led 6-0 halfway through.

Falmouth scored early in the second half, but Windham kept their heads up. Windham fought hard and stuck with the ball. Windham defense almost grinded Falmouth offense to a halt in the third quarter when they let only one goal in.

“It’s not the outcome we wanted going into this, but as a team, we really buckled down when it counted,” said Windham sophomore Maxfield Genthner. “We played a lot of good defense; we had a lot of good looks on our clears and overall, I think we’re going to do a lot better next time.”

Roughly partway through the fourth quarter, Arsenault took a shot from the sideline that found the back of the net.

“One of the greatest things we’ve had this year is that no matter how down we are, we play the same,” said Windham boys’ first team lacrosse coach Seth Fournier. “We’re trying to teach the kids a little bit of discipline and trying to make sure they’re playing the whole game regardless of the outcome.”

One of the things Fournier said Windham needed to work on was their transition game – they lost the ball in the midfield a lot. They need to slow down and continue to build on some fundamental stuff as they progress to the end of the season.

Fournier said Windham was scrapping until the last five seconds of the game and that’s something he is proud of and appreciates about this group of kids.<

Windham Middle School eighth grade softball speeds past Lewiston

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Middle School eighth grade softball team hit the road to play Lewiston on Friday, May 19. Windham held a 9-1 lead over the Blue Devils halfway through the fourth inning, but a small surge for Lewiston tied the game 9-9. This only motivated Windham more to come back and show their strength as they eventually won, 18-10.

Windham seventh grader Josephine Morine gets a piece of the
ball on Friday, May 19 during a softball game against
“We battled really well,” said Windham eighth grader Evelyn Anderson.

“Even when our pitchers were down, our infield really held up well; we played a good game. Our bats were on fire, and I think we really held together in the infield and made some great plays.”

In the first inning, Kaylee Napolitano got it going with a ground ball hit. She then reached second base because of an error. After a walk, seventh grader Eliana Kostopoulos blasted the ball to center field and reached third on an error. She later scored and Windham led 3-0.

In the top of the third inning, Kiley Card singled, and Kostopoulos doubled. Card scored and Windham was up by five.

"We ended up battling back really well,” said Card. “We just worked together ... we had some really good, heads-up plays; if there was a runner at first and second and there was a force at third, we would talk and know where to go with that heads-up play.”

Card said these plays coupled with hitting and the energy from the dugout led to the win.

In the top of the fourth inning, Josslyn Dionne, Aubrey Turcotte and seventh grader Sitota Hatch all walked. Turcotte scored on an error. Sarah Smyth walked. Napolitano singled and Hatch and Smyth scored. Windham, 9-1.

Lewiston made a comeback in the bottom of the fourth inning and tied the game 9-9.

This ignited Windham’s fire, and they really got the bats going. Anderson hit an in-the-park homerun. Seventh grader Evelyn Robinson reached second on a pop fly. A walk and Jaden Kennedy grounded out but brought home Robinson. A wild pitch brought in seventh grader Josephine Morin.

“Whenever we’re down you have to trust your players and play your game how you play it,” said Anderson.

From this point on Windham defense only allowed Lewiston to score one more run.

In the top of the sixth inning, Napolitano singled, Card walked, Kostopoulos singled. Anderson hit another in-the-park homerun and knocked in four runs. Robinson and Morin scored after Robinson walked, Morin doubled and Kennedy singled.

Napolitano, who closed out the game pitching, concentrated on throwing strikes, but said she knew that her teammates were capable of getting the outs if the ball was hit. She said they battled hard and while they had a little bit of a downfall in the fourth inning, they were able to pick it back up.

Some things Napolitano thought went well in this game were team optimism and staying focused on the game.

Windham Middle School softball coach Laney Worthington said she told the team to light up the bats and put flames on the cleats after that tough fourth inning, and that’s exactly what Windham did.

Worthington said WMS pitching, fielding, team unity and sportsmanship all exceeded expectations against Lewiston. <

Friday, May 19, 2023

WMS eighth-grade baseball holds on to defeat Moore

By Matt Pascarella

In a game that started as a bit of a runaway for Windham Middle School became a lot closer when the eighth baseball team played Moore Middle School at Windham on Friday, May 12. Windham jumped to a 6-0 lead after one inning and defense kept Moore scoreless for more of the game. But Moore scored four runs in the fifth inning and steadily added runs until the end. Windham prevented Moore taking the lead and held on for a 9-8 win.

Windham Middle School eighth grade pitcher Colin Janvrin
keeps his eye on the strike zone before throwing a pitch
during a game against Moore on Friday, May 12. 
Windham eighth grade baseball coach Adam Manzo said he told the team at the beginning of the season, that if they minimize mistakes and pitchers throw strikes, they could do well. Manzo said the first inning’s runs set Windham’s tone for the game.

After the fifth inning, the ball got away from them and errors and a couple walks late in the game hurt. The kids stick with it and were able to grind it out and finish; and Manzo said it was nice to get another win.

Windham defense started the game strong with three consecutive Moore batters sent back to the dugout.

In the bottom of the first inning, Caleb Hayman walked. Seventh grader Mason Rulman singled and brought in Hayman. Bradyn Woodward walked, and seventh grader Patrick Davenport got on base after being hit with a pitch. Colin Janvrin hit a ground ball and reached first base. Woodward and Davenport scored. Ronin Rotaru hit a ground ball and also reached first base on an error. Kellen Gardiner walked, and bases are loaded. Sam Redlon singled and Janvrin and Rotaru scored. Two more walks and Windham led 6-0 after one inning.

Janvrin’s pitching and Windham defense made it difficult for Moore to gain much traction. He pitched six innings and said he trusted his team to make good plays. He said there was good fielding, they ran the bases hard and hit well.

In the bottom of the third inning, Rotaru doubled. Gardiner grounded out, but Rotaru scored.

Hayman doubled in the bottom of the fourth inning; then Alex Pastore is hit by a pitch. Rulman singled and Hayman and Pastore scored.

Moore scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning.

In the top of the seventh inning, it was 9-5, Windham. Moore chipped away and scored another three runs, but Windham prevented further scoring and held onto their win.

Rulman closed the game on the mound in his first time pitching for the eighth grade team. He said it felt pretty good. Rulman said they hit well and made good plays in the field.

“We all had a good start to the game ... we came through and won; it was a good game, good teamwork, good everything,” said Pastore. “Good job to my boys.”

Pastore said Windham had good hitting and good teamwork.

“Overall, I think we have a pretty strong group, they’re resilient,” said Manzo. “They don’t get bothered ... they didn’t get down on themselves or the team. They play so much baseball they know what it takes to get it done.” <