Friday, June 14, 2024

Windham falls to Cheverus in extra innings in regional softball title game

By Matt Pascarella

In the Class A South regional final playoff game, two juggernaut teams of first-place Windham and second-place Cheverus met for the second time this season on Tuesday, June 11 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. In what can only be described as an impressive battle of skill and defense, both teams went nine scoreless innings before Cheverus knocked in two runs in the 10th inning and won, 2-0.

Windham junior Kyla Harvie makes a great catch up
against the outfield wall at the University of Southern
Maine in Gorham during the Class A South Regional
Softball title game against Cheverus on Tuesday, June 11.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
“What a softball game tonight was,” said Windham varsity softball coach Darcey Gardiner. “Two of the best teams in the state of Maine played tonight and it showed. I think our game plan was to go in and try to attack Cheverus pitcher Deroche. She came in ready to go; for Brooke Gerry to be able to go out like that with 21 strikeouts, it proves what an athlete she is. Our biggest standout is confidence; we saw a lot of players come out of their shell. I have to give all the credit in the world to Stella Jarvais, there is no other catcher I’d want behind the plate; she has consistently called the game through our season and into these playoffs. I think the world of her, and my assistant and I rely on her a lot and she really came through big tonight. Our defense was great, our composure was great, I thought we took Deroche into some deep counts, I wish we hadn’t watched so many strike threes; if we’re going to strikeout, I’d like us to strikeout swinging. Swinging the bat would have made a difference.”

Windham shut down Cheverus in the first inning, sending all three batters back to the dugout. Of senior Brooke Gerry’s 159 pitches in the game, 109 of them were strikes. Gerry also singled in the first inning but was caught stealing second base.

“They’re pretty solid throughout the line up, so calling the game I knew was going to be tricky,” said Windham junior Stella Jarvais. “I think it just came down to watching if Cheverus batters were on time or not and being able to call what I saw best for that player from previous experience and take that into the game. Being able to see everything helps as we went through the lineup multiple times it was a lot easier to pick up on weaknesses and swings. I like to refer to this team as my family and play for them; being able to get to a regional final with [this team] is everything. I’m proud of everyone on the team; I can’t imagine being on a different team than them. Looking back at this game it’s not what we wanted, but we played so hard – it’s so hard going 10 innings – I’m so proud of how we handled everything.”

In the third inning, junior Kyla Harvie had a stellar catch against the right outfield wall.

In the sixth inning, Cheverus loaded the bases, but Gerry left all runners on base as the inning ended.

After Gerry walked in the sixth inning, sophomore Addison Caiazzo singled, but both runners were left on base.

“I just kept having to throw strikes and trust my defense behind me,” said Gerry. “We talk a lot about trusting our defense and trusting within each other. I had to lock down, I had to throw strikes, I had to throw my spins; I couldn’t leave anything over the middle, and I couldn’t play into their powerhouse. We battled to the end, to the very last swing, to the very last pitch; We never let off. I’m very proud of what I did out there; I’m very proud of this team and I think they’re going to be good for a long time.”

Gerry said Windham swung at a lot of high pitches but being disciplined at the plate could have really helped.

In the 10th inning, Cheverus got a couple hits after a runner was placed at second base.

“Hats off to Cheverus, they had very timely hitting tonight, and that was something we couldn’t pull through with,” said Gardiner. “Love to see this kind of support for female athletes.”<

Windham gives everything in quarterfinal baseball playoff against Marshwood

By Matt Pascarella

After a very impressive playoff game where Windham High School eliminated Kennebunk, the Eagles traveled to face Marshwood in South Berwick on Wednesday, June 5 in the prep baseball quarterfinals. Ranked 12th overall, Windham did not let a lengthy rain delay stop them from playing hard against fourth-place Marshwood, but they prevailed, 7-0.

Windham senior Ryan Smyth holds onto the ball after he gets
an out at first base during a prep baseball quarterfinal
playoff game against Marshwood in South Berwick.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
“It was a tough game mentally,” said senior Erik Bowen. “These guys kept fighting I don’t think the score was reflective of the game, but Ethan [Clapp] came in and battled, he did what he could do. We faced a really good pitcher and a really good team, we had a few mistakes, but ... we couldn’t get runners in when we had them in scoring position. Our approach at the plate was still great. The Windham baseball program is on an upward trajection and I’m proud of these guys; there’s a bright future here.”

Marshwood scored two runs in the first inning. Windham sophomore Wyatt Washburn started on the mound, but unfortunately couldn’t finish the game due to a medical issue. By the top of the third inning a rain delay took everyone off the field for two hours.

When the game resumed, Windham was ready to leave it all on the field.

In the fourth inning, senior Brady Harvie singled; so, did senior Login Desrochers. Harvie stole his way to third base and Desrochers to second base, but the inning ended before they could score.

Windham defense only let up a single hit in the fourth inning, before sending the Hawks back to the dugout.

“It was a lot of pressure,” said pitcher and sophomore Ethan Clapp. “Coming in as a reliever, it was a challenge, but I tried to keep my head high and my hopes up. I threw a lot of strikes, we could have hit better, but I think fielding, we did really well. Our approach at the plate went really well; we fought.”

In Windham’s last chance to turn it around in the seventh inning, senior Ryan Smyth grounded and reached first base on an error. Then a pinch runner was caught stealing and there was a strikeout.

Although this game wasn’t an easy one, over the course of the season, WHS has progressed and grown as individuals.

“The growth that I’ve seen on this team has been like anything I’ve seen before,” said Windham junior Joshua Plummer. “Right out the gate we just had this mentality of we're going to be the best that we've been and persevere no matter what. We're going in the right direction as a team. We had a lot of tough spots in this season. We had sat down for two hours with the rain delay ... kept our energy through the last pitch of the game. It just shows how much we are committed to playing this game for the seniors. The seniors were really a huge part of this team. When times were tough, they really brought the team together and kept us all on the same page.”

The score tells only one half of this game’s story.

“We played a good game today, with a lot of adversity,” said Windham varsity baseball coach Chris Doughty. When you’re in a game with a two-hour rain delay it’s hard, it’s hard to keep your body loose, keep your mind ready. We lose our pitcher in the second inning to a medical issue, that can be a little bit deflating to the guys when you’re worried about one of your own. I really appreciate the way my guys handled that today and they did everything with class all year long. When you leave here, I want you to be a better baseball player than when you came, but what I really want is for you to be a better person and I think we accomplished that across the board; the sky’s kind of the limit for this program.”

Doughty said that he is also proud of what this team has accomplished in the last two years and the leadership he had from the seniors all season long. <

Friday, June 7, 2024

Windham upends Kennebunk in preliminary baseball playoff

By Matt Pascarella

Ranked 12, Windham varsity baseball traveled to fifth-place Kennebunk to face off in a preliminary playoff round against Kennebunk on Tuesday, June 4. Although Kennebunk jumped to a 2-0 lead in the third inning, Windham fought back to pull ahead in the sixth inning and secured a 3-2 win to advance to the next playoff round.

Windham senior Owen Dakin nears home plate during a
prep baseball preliminary playoff game against Kennebunk
at Kennebunk High School on Tuesday, June 4.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
“This year the guys just believed in themselves more,” said Windham varsity baseball coach Chris Doughty. “This year we knew how good we were from the beginning, and we kept believing in the process. We showed up ready to play today; the boys were fired up when we got here, stuck to our guns, executed, I think the moment wasn’t too big for them, they were ready to compete all seven innings. [Windham] stayed honest to their approach ... at the plate, waited for their pitch, stayed deep in counts – kind of got ahead – when you get ahead in counts like that you give yourself the opportunity to really hit the ball hard and that’s exactly what they did. Teamwork today was some of the best I’ve seen, the most together I’ve seen all season long, it’s all you can ask for. Everybody in the lineup did something ... and competed across the board; it came together for us and obviously Cam Davis’s big hit in the sixth inning, I don’t think it gets any bigger a moment than that. If we play clean baseball like we played today, I’d put us up against any team in the league.”

Defense on both sides was very strong as neither team scored in the first two innings. Kennebunk put two runs on the scoreboard in the third inning, but Windham only used this as motivation.

In the fourth inning, Windham junior Cayden McCartney singled; pinch runner senior Owen Dakin took his place at first base. Sophomore Wyatt Washburn ripped a ground ball to center field. Junior Joshua Plummer reached first base on an error and Dakin scored.

In the fifth inning, Windham junior Grant Coppi singled. Senior Login Desrochers reached first after hitting a ground ball driving in Coppi and the game was tied, 2-2.

“This one was absolutely huge for us,” said Desrochers. “We had a good week of practices. Nobody gave up on each other, we believe in each other, and we fought the whole way and came out victorious. Everything went well; we had so much energy, very good in the field, all-around great game from us. Everyone's been practicing hard, working on hitting and we just got it done tonight.”

In the sixth inning, Washburn singled. Plummer grounded out and Washburn made it to third base. A line drive to third base by junior Cameron Davis scored Washburn and Windham led, 3-2.

“The coaches told me to load up early and see it,” said Davis. “Let it come to me and get my hands up to it ... I loaded up early and put it over the third baseman’s head. It felt great to get this win because last year we didn’t do so hot in the first round, but this is the year, feeling good.”

After WHS failed to score in the seventh inning, Windham pitcher Brady Harvie walked a runner. Quick hands by senior catcher Erik Bowen caught the Kennebunk runner headed to second base after Brady struck out the batter. He then induced a ground out and that was it.

“A lot of adrenaline up there on the mound,” said Harvie, who had 10 strikeouts and only walked three. “It’s exciting, a good spot to be in. I had a little extra drive in that [seventh] inning. It’s just a great environment, feels nice to be pitching in a playoff game, [Kennebunk] is definitely a tough team, and we had to battle a lot and work through some tough spots. We got down two runs; usually when that happens, we tend to fall back, but our team kept pushing. I’d say our bats were really what kept us in this game; defense made some great plays and pretty solid game overall.” <

WHS track and field teams showcase skills in state championship meet

By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School’s outdoor track and field team had a strong showing at the Class A State Championship in Saco on Saturday, June 1 at Thornton Academy. The girls squad finished seventh with a score of 44.5, and the boys team finished 18th overall with a score of 11.

Windham junior Tayla Pelletier soars over a hurdle during the
state track and field championship meet at Thornton
Academy in Saco on Saturday, June 1.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
Girls


Over the course of the 2024 season, the WHS girls’ team set or reset seven school records.

“The Lady Eagles had much more within them to put towards that all important team score,” said Windham girls’ track and field coach Jeff Riddle. “Taking negatives which were in the way and outwitting them all day, overcoming the obstacles is what went well. We are proud of them for taking the risks to get out there on that championship stage to give their best.”

Junior Tayla Pelletier was the state triple jump champion with a distance of 36-06.25 feet. She also finished second in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.36 seconds.

“I really wanted to defend my title of state champion and prove to myself I could do it,” said Pelletier. “I’m proud of my progress and the whole team’s progress and our commitment.”

Senior Khalysa Hammith set a new Windham High School record in the long jump when she placed second with a 17-04.00 distance. In the 100-dash she placed fifth with a time of 12.70.

“I put on a good mindset and just jumped,” said Hammith. “I knew I was capable of it, so pretty much just putting that mindset together is what got me there. I was a little nervous going into it, but I took a deep breath and [set a personal record]. I’m proud of putting in hard work ... that’s how I got to where I am today.”

In the 1600 racewalk, senior Jasmynne Heath finished fourth with a time of 10:15.99 minutes.

In the 800, senior Beth Bearce finished ninth with a time of 2:32.42.

Sophomore Addison Shanholtz finished 11th in the pole vault with a height of 7-06.00.

In the high jump, sophomores Kendra Eubanks and Nealie Morey jumped 4-08.00.

Junior Ava Gerrity placed 12th in the triple jump with a 32-10.00 distance. She placed 13th in the long jump, with a 15-06.25 distance.

In discus, junior Marina Schwarz threw 82-00.

The 4x400 relay team of junior Faith Dibiase, sophomore Emma Fox, sophomore Sydney Broadbent and Bearce finished 10th with a time of 4:25.37.

Boys

“The boys really had some great performances throughout the season and capped it off with a strong state meet,” said Windham boys’ track and field coach Paula Pock. “I'm proud of this team, they were great fun to work with and I was thrilled of how they all set personal goals and most of them were able to achieve them.”

The 4x800 relay team of freshman Mason Bragdon, sophomore Caleb Saucier, juniors Preston Stretch and Andrew Young had their best performance of the season with a time of 9:13.97.

“I’m really proud of everybody on the team, we had some really great results,” said Young. “The team’s gotten really close today, everybody’s helping out each other. It means everything to be here; a lot of us have been at this since we were nine or 10 years old, to get here is really a great experience.”

Junior Carter Engelman had a strong 110-hurdle performance for 11th place with a time of 15.92. Junior Rory Good finished the hurdles in 14th place at 16.72. Earlier this season Engelman set a new school record in pole vault with a 13-7.00 height.

In the 100-dash, senior Marcus Tillery finished sixth with an 11.27 time – a personal best – and right behind him was sophomore Karl Longstreth with a time of 11.32.

“As a team we have a better mentality this week compared to last week,” said Longstreth. “A lot of people last week were kind of upset the way they were running. I was upset because I had some hamstring things going on, but this week, we’ve had a really good practice all week, mentality’s been there, people have been there, sportsmanship’s been there; we’ve all been here and doing our best.”

Senior Aiden Hanson finished seventh in the 300-hurdles with a 41.65 time, a personal best.

In the high jump, sophomores Mason Arbour and Nick Verrill finished 10th with a height of 5-8.00.

Arbour finished 12th in the triple jump with a 40-8.50 distance, a season-best for him. <

Windham varsity boys’ tennis falls to Portland in preliminary playoff

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham varsity boys’ tennis team was in ninth place going into their preliminary playoff match against eighth-place Portland on Friday, May 31 at Deering Oaks Park in Portland. Windham battled but lost 5-0 after every player gave their all. They finished the season with a 5-8 record.

Windham junior Zac Noonan returns a serve with force on
Friday, May 31 during a preliminary boys' tennis playoff
match against Portland at Deering Oaks Park in Portland.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
“It’s really just a good group of guys,” said Windham assistant boys’ tennis coach Andrew Wing. “It’s rare all the guys aren’t at a practice. They like to have fun together, but when it’s time to do a drill, they take it seriously.”

In the singles matches, Windham junior Zac Noonan fought hard, but lost 0-6 and 0-6. Sophomore Nolan McPhail lost 4-6 and 1-6, sophomore Carter Mathieu lost 3-6 and 4-6.

“We’ve improved a lot from the beginning,” said Noonan. “Maybe it wasn’t the best match today for a few of us ... our doubles have gotten a lot better with communication and knowing where to be; our singles have gotten better with trying to find each other’s weaknesses and use those to get us better, to get consistent. We had fun and hustled while putting up a good fight; trying to adjust to different players’ styles and different courts. We were ready to play our best and not [go easy] on them, and I think we did that.”

In their first doubles match, juniors Brian Gilheany and Asher Knott forced a 10-point super tie-breaker where they came very close to getting the win after a 6-7 set and a 7-5 set win; they narrowly lost 8-10.

“We took the first and second set to a tiebreak and all of the points were really close; it was a really good match,” said Gilheany. “We improved a lot and gave it our best shot today – I feel like it was pretty even. The hits were really good and the coordination between Asher and our plays were very well laid out. If we had played a little stronger in the beginning of the first set it could have changed things, but it was really close.”


In its second doubles match, Windham sophomores Padrick McGuire and Nate Paulding lost 3-6 and 5-7.

“This year was a progress year, next year we’ll be a team to be reckoned with,” said McGuire. “We came together as a team and progressed together and next year we’ll be practicing very well and playing very well. We knew they were a very good team; we weren’t exactly confident, but we were prepared. We expected them to be very good, but we were also ready to play. Communication, and good sportsmanship went well.”

In speaking with the players, they were pleased with their performance this season, saw improvements and are looking forward to next season.

“I’m very happy with how this season has turned out,” said Windham boys’ tennis head coach Garry Stone. “We started 0-4 then we won four in a row; it was really successful – we should do fairly well next year. These guys are resilient; they play hard, and it blows my mind how much they’ve improved this season. It’s a credit to them ... Carter battled; I like both the doubles ... just the fact that they ... stayed with it. Zac battled like he always does, Nolan did well. I feel like one through seven they battled hard, and they really tried their best; I just look forward to next year, I think we’re going to be a tough team to beat. I’m very proud of these guys, they all work hard and love playing tennis.” <

Friday, May 31, 2024

Windham softball beats Cheverus to remain undefeated in regular season

By Matt Pascarella

Two juggernaut undefeated teams, Windham and Cheverus, met for the final game of their regular season on Friday, May 24 at Windham High School and the Lady Eagles battled and secured a 3-1 win over the Stags.

Windham junior Kyla Harvie makes a critical catch in right
field during a prep softball game against Cheverus at
Windham High School on Friday, May 24.
PHOTO BY ALLISON TALON
It was Senior Night for WHS players Brooke Gerry and Jaydn Kimball who were presented with gifts for their dedication to Windham athletics throughout their high school careers.

“I needed to be my best for the team and think positive thoughts,” said Windham junior Kyla Harvie who had an amazing catch in right field in the sixth inning with the bases loaded. “We've been working up to this game, and it was just really exciting to get the win. I'm just really proud for the team, we've had an amazing season; we’ve worked really hard. Our defense was very solid; Brooke did great in the circle, our infielders and outfielders made all the ground balls and pop flies they could get. We were able to get the hits, Brooke getting on to start the rally for us and we did a good job in all parts of the game.”

Cheverus put one run on the scoreboard in the first inning. Both teams’ defenses held off their opponent for large portions of the game.

Windham scored in the fourth inning when Gerry reached second base on an error after bunting safely. Gerry quickly stole third base and scored on a passed ball.

Gerry was exceptional pitching with 14 strikeouts.

“Seeing the crowd today reminded me a lot of states,” said Gerry. “I knew I had to keep my composure. I knew I had to complete every pitch, I knew I couldn’t be one pitch off or they were going to go with it. I strive under pressure ... so when they scored with a runner on, it made me throw harder and lock in. Our energy was up the whole game, the energy from the crowd definitely helped; if we made a mistake, it was OK because we would have picked up the next play.”

In the fifth inning, Kennedy Kimball rocketed a ball to left field that cleared the fence for a home run. Harvie reached first on an error and stole her way around the diamond. She got past the catcher and scored. Windham led, 3-1.

“After my first at-bat, I came in with a whole new mindset and game plan and made a bunch of changes and it felt really good that that paid off,” said Kennedy Kimball. “We knew how good Cheverus was and that was a lot of pressure, but we’ve been in pressure situations before and thrive under pressure. Our defense was incredible – great catches all around great plays, good baserunners. We came together to find a way to move people around and get little hits where we really needed them.”

According to Kimball, they need to work on being aware of every pitcher’s movement so they can adjust sooner in the game and make sure they’re smooth on defense.

In the sixth inning, Cheverus walked, doubled, and had an intentional walk; with the bases loaded, Harvie’s catch from right field was crucial.

Cheverus put a runner on in the seventh inning, but Windham defense remained solid and left them stranded.

“Going into this ... our biggest focus was Brooke and Jaydn,” said Windham varsity softball coach Darcey Gardiner. “We knew this was going to be a great game, we knew a lot of people were going to show up. If we can support our two seniors today, then it will be a good game no matter the outcome. Brooke did a great job; Stella [Jarvais] called a phenomenal game. And one through nine you see our hitters, Kennedy coming up big, once Brooke scores that first run for us, we know it’s a long ballgame, but to get runs like that, to be able to support Brooke in the circle, makes her job a lot easier when we can score on our end. Our hitters did a great job communicating with each other to say what to expect. I thought we did a great job keeping our composure.”

Gardiner said the big thing for the postseason is staying focused on the team and staying focused on what Windham can do as a group. She doesn’t want to put a lot of pressure on the playoffs, but also knows that other teams are going to a next level, so they’ve got to be able to rise to that occasion as well. She loved seeing a big crowd supporting female athletics. <

Windham Little League’s CR Tandberg rolls by MPM Sealcoating

By Matt Pascarella

It was a beautiful night for baseball when Windham Little League’s CR Tandberg and MPM Sealcoating took to the diamond at Ciccarone Field at Lowell Farm in Windham on Tuesday, May 28. CR Tandberg got the bats going early and kept them going right until the end to earn a 16-0 win. MPM Sealcoating did a fantastic job, with great efforts and several great plays.

Windham MPM Sealcoating sixth grader Caitlyn Halladay 
makes a throw to first base during a Windham Little
League game against CR Tandberg at Ciccarone Field at
Lowell Farm in Windham on Tuesday, May 28.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
“Some timely hits and we made some really great pitching,” said CR Tandberg coach Johnathan Bassett. “Charlie [Sanicola] stepped up, helped us out, did better than I anticipated. Good to see them all working together and getting better, that’s really what it’s all about. Watching guys who haven’t played at this level improve, that’s what I’m looking for. Defense needs work – understanding the game. At this level they don’t always understand situational plays and where to make plays and where to throw the ball, so were still always learning with that.”

In the first inning, CR Tandberg fifth grader Maxwell Inzerillo got things going when he singled. He quickly made his way to third base and after a hit from sixth grader Robbie Sanicola, Inzerillo crossed home plate. Sanicola stole third base after sixth grader Nolan Harvie walked. Sanicola scored on a passed ball. Fifth grader Wesson LeDuc walked and after a single from fourth grader Charlie Sanicola, LeDuc and Harvie scored.

MPM Sealcoating fourth grader Tanner Pulkkinen walked.

In the second inning, fifth grader Kainen Pouliot walked and later scored after third grader Grady Inzerillo advanced to second base after being hit by a pitch.

In the fourth inning, MPM Sealcoating’s defense was solid when a sixth grader Caitlyn Halladay made a stellar catch at second base. Two strikeouts and MPM Sealcoating made this just a three-batter inning.

Halladay said their defense was good; as they got multiple outs throughout the game, working well as a team. Halladay was focused on the ball in the fourth inning when it was hit her way; she was ready. She said batting, infield and outfield could still use a little work.

In the fifth inning, CR Tandberg led 9-0 after fifth grader C.J. Bisson and Maxwell Inzerillo singled; both runners scored. Robbie Sanicola singled. Harvie smashed a double and fifth grader Bronson Bassett singled. Robbie Sanicola scored. Leduc walked, Harvie scored. After another walk, Bassett scored. CR Tandberg knocked in four more runs.

MPM Sealcoating’s Halladay walked; Pulkkinen singled on a fly ball to center field. A fly ball to Bisson is caught and stepped on second base for a double play. Fourth grader Mason Cieslak hit a long ball to left field, but unfortunately it was caught.

“I would say teamwork led to the win,” said Bisson. “We did good communication and good hitting, and we played as a team and got the [runs needed]. Knowing when to slide and stealing still need work.”

It felt great for Bisson to get such a big win.

“All these kids are like best friends,” said MPM Sealcoating coach Aaron Cieslak. “It’s good to be able to play a team from Windham. We got our butts kicked, but that’s part of the game and the kids learned, and they got to learn how to grow from it. We pitched well ... they hit the ball; we were throwing strikes; we’ve got a bunch of pitchers that haven’t pitched a lot. Our defense needs work for sure, hitting the cutoff guy, just thinking ahead – our team’s young – they’re learning a ton and having a blast.” <