Friday, June 26, 2020

Windham softball squads face off in preparation for season

Hannah Lee of Bill Diamond slides into home plate during a
girls' softball game against Edge Academy.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham teams Bill Diamond and Edge Academy faced off at Arlington Field on Monday, June 22.

In the bottom of the first, the Edge Academy’s Belle Pinto #8 walked, Addison Caiazzo #15 got a base hit and then stole her way to third and Bri Duarte #7 crushed the ball and got a triple. After one inning Edge Academy led 1-0.

The top of the second inning brought Edge Academy with a walk and then Kaylee Napolitano #2 smashed a triple and scored; 3-0 Edge Academy headed into the third inning.

In the top of the third, Bill Diamond’s Nola Bryant #12 walked and scored on a passed ball. Fiona MacArthur #6 and Oakley McLeod #2 also scored on passed balls.  Hannah Lee #10 creamed the ball for a double and later made it home. Kennedy Kimball #34 walked and scored. Now it’s 5-3, Bill Diamond.
In the bottom of the third, Pinto got a base hit and stole her way home. Duarte walked and scored.

Now, we’re tied at 5-5.

The fourth and final inning had bats swinging and runners on base for both teams. In the top of the fourth, The Edge Academy’s Evelyn Anderson #3 doubled and stole her way to home. Yani Kostopoulos #5 got a base hit and stole home shortly after. Now Edge Academy leads 7-5.

Bottom of the fourth inning and Bill Diamond is up.  Evelyn Robinson #4 is hit by a pitch and steals second, then third. MacArthur got a base hit and made it home. Bryant also scored. McLeod walked, stole a few bases and scored. Lee walked and scored.

Bill Diamond took this game, 10-7.

“For being the only town in southern Maine playing Little League, and accounting for the late start to our season, all of the girls are doing fantastic,” commented Bill Diamond coach Jason McLeod. “The parents have been great as we work out some of the kinks but being able to be out on the playing field has proved already to be a fun experience. You see a lot of smiles from the players as well as seeing many doing things they aren’t accustomed to. Just witnessing the continued development, while having fun, is gratifying in itself.” <

For Athlete of the Week Estella Inman, teamwork is important

Windham High School Cross Country
runner Estella Inman is this week's
 'Athlete of the Week.'
By Matt Pascarella

Windham sophomore Estella Inman has played many sports, from soccer to baseball to basketball to tennis. She and her family would shoot hoops in the yard, play baseball or have road races and sShe decided to switch to cross country because her sister ran it and told her how much fun it was and how close the team is.

Inman said joining cross country was the best decision she ever made. Before she knew it, that team became like a second family.

Her favorite part about running cross country is crossing the finish line and cheering for her teammates as they finish.

I love the feeling of knowing that I gave it my all, leaving it all on the trail. Although my teammates and I feel like dying at the end of the race, we still go to talk to our other teammates who finished, knowing that each and every one of us pushed ourselves to the limit for each other.”

Aside from cross country, she’s also played basketball. She loved being on a team where everyone worked towards a common goal. This winter, Inman joined the Unified basketball team. It was a truly amazing experience for her because she got to see and help kids play basketball, but really just become friends.

“The athletes show the true meaning of sports when they hand the ball to the other team, allowing a kid on that team to score, even if it means that our team loses.” country has taught her to be herself because everyone on her team embraces each other and their weirdness, no matter what. It also taught her how much she is capable of if she puts her mind to it. She learned to love pushing herself to see what her capabilities are. She’s incredibly proud of herself and how far she’s come.

Inman is recovering from a stress injury and hasn’t been able to run for a while, but recently she’s started up again, and says it feels so good to be back at it.
She plans to meet with the team throughout the summer while being smart about social distancing.

During this time, Inman’s advice to other athletes is to refocus on why they love their sport. Sometimes, Inman asks herself, ‘why put all this work in? Is it worth it?’

“This is when I have to think of the feeling at the end of a race, to slow down, let go, and just run,” she said.

Over the seasons, Inman has become close with her team because they are all competing against themselves and each teammate goes through the pain together, but then, get to celebrate together. An important lesson Inman has learned is if you want to improve your team, you need to focus on yourself first.

She is very inspired by Coach Jeff Riddle; his dedication to the team is unbelievable. “I would not have had the same season that I did last fall if I hadn’t had Riddle on his bike cheering me on from the side of the trail.”

When Inman isn’t running, she’s walking her dogs and also enjoys painting, art and baking. She skis in the winter, but is looking forward to summer activities like swimming, gardening and anything outside. She is looking forward to the fall track season. <

Life of an Athlete During Covid-19

Cam Brown of Windham High School drives for a layup
during a prep basketball game this past season.
By Cam Brown
Special to The Windham Eagle

The coronavirus has rained on many parades this year. The graduating class of 2020, hundreds of thousands of travel plans, and all spring sports seasons. Many seniors not only couldn’t have a prom or graduation, but they couldn’t play the game they loved and trained all their lives to play in front of their family and friends.

As an athlete who is going on to play in college, I have been using this time to work on my game in solitude, ensuring this virus will not make me miss a step. Athletes with the passion and drive for the game they love will find a way to play during these hard times whether it’s lifting weights you've created at home, going for runs around your neighborhood or shooting hoops in your driveway. If it means enough to you and you truly want to be great, nothing will be able to stop you. quarantine it’s easy to want to take a day off, stay in bed, or feel like you want to stay inside all day. Athletes who are feeling doubt need to look at the bigger picture. We as a community will get through this, and when that day comes, when our old everyday lives resume you are going to be glad you did that extra rep, shot that extra shot, got out of bed that day, and made sure nothing could stop you.

Don’t let this virus extinguish your love for the game, allow it to strengthen your passion and drive to get better. Every night before you go to bed, ask yourself: “Did I work as hard as I could today?” If your answer is continuously yes, keep doing what you're doing and don't stop for anyone or anything. If sometimes you slack off and take a day to stay in bed, ask yourself how much it really means to you to be great. 
You always hear coaches say: “do things when no one is watching”. Well right now no one is watching because no one can. Use that to your advantage. What do you have to lose? <

MPM Sealcoating records huge Little League victory

Cody Devoid of MPM Sealcoating swings at a pitch during a
Windham Little League Minors Division Abaseball game at
Manchester School on Tuesday, June 23.
By Matt Pascarella 

Windham Little League Minors (AA) teams MPM Sealcoating and Beacon Environmental Consultants hit the field on Tuesday, June 23 at Manchester School.

MPM were up first.  Cody Devoid #2 and Troy Otterson #6 each got singles. Then Wyatt Smith #8 popped up the ball and Devoid scored. Jackson Zinchuk #4 singled and MPM lead 2-0. After Wyatt Miller #10 walked, the bases were loaded. Dominic Vacchian #1 and Kainen Pouliot #7 walked and the inning ended after five runs were scored.

Beacon Environmental had the bats swinging in the bottom of the first but did not make it on base.

In the second, MPM’s Devoid singled, Otterson walked and Joseph Small #9 singled, now it’s 6-0. A walk, a single by Pouliot and a double by Smith and the inning ends.

Beacon Environmental’s Wesley Morgan #5 was hit by the pitch and Jackson Doyle #10 was the pinch runner. Doyle quickly stole second base. Morgan returned ready to make his way to third, but the inning ended too quickly.
After two innings MPM was up 11-0.

After Devoid and Otterson got on base in the fourth, a couple players walked, and the bases were loaded. Pouliot singled before the inning ended.

Beacon Environmental’s Julian Nappi #12 walked, quickly stole second and then third base. June Richard #6 walked and was also quick to steal second.

In MPM’s fifth and final inning, Smith, Devoid, Otterson and Small all got on base. Beacon Environmental had a great play when they threw a runner out at third. Several more players got base hits, including one by Preston McLean #5 and the inning is over.

Bottom of the fifth; after Cameron Beckwith #9 and Morgan walked, David Flint #2 singled and Beacon Environmental is on the board. Ethan Foxe #11 singled.

Final score: 22-2, MPM Sealcoating.

"The players have done a great job learning the game and are having fun which is the best part to see," said Beacon Environmental coach Christopher Inzerillo.

“It was another night in which the pitchers were dominant on the mound for MPM Sealcoating,” said coach Brian Zinchuk. “The kids are having fun and really enjoying being able to play some baseball. Each kid on the team had a hit tonight and we are really proud of how well they have been playing. It’s shaping up to be a really great season.” <

Where are they Now? Windham alumni Nick Curtis knows value of hard work

As a sophomore  at Saint Joseph's College,  Nick Curtis,
a Windham High School graduate, averaged 26 points per game
in the 2019-2020 season.
By Matt Pascarella

In the winter sports season of 2018, Nick Curtis made Windham High School history by becoming the second athlete to score 1,000 points during their high school basketball career.

At Windham, he made Southern Maine Activities Association’s second team his sophomore year and first team his junior year. After Windham, Curtis went to Saint Joseph’s College in Standish to play basketball and major in marketing with a minor in communications.

As a sophomore at Saint Joseph’s, he averaged 26 points a game in the 2019-2020 season. He shot 51.2 percent from the field and 45.6 percent from the three-point line.

He grew up playing basketball and at Windham, they helped to foster that skill. He remembers that while at Windham, all the coaches were very supportive and did everything they could to open up the gym for him and give advice. Chad Pulkinnen helped him get recruited to Saint Joseph’s College. 

After Saint Joe’s recruited him for basketball, they made him feel very welcome.

“I’m super glad I chose to play basketball here because I have played two seasons now and they both went well and am very excited for a third year coming soon,” he said. He has made lifelong friends on his basketball team.

“Nick is a special person,” remarked Saint Joseph’s basketball coach Rob Sanicola. “He has a burning desire to be great and will put in the work when no one is watching. He is humble, hardworking and team oriented. In his freshmen year...his lack of game minutes did not discourage him, it only motivated him to become the player, teammate and student he wanted to be. He plays hard, he is tough (battling injuries), he thinks the game, listens, but speaks up when needed. He sees his weaknesses as an opportunity for growth and attacks each with a quiet confidence.”

Curtis said the adjustment from high school ball to college ball wasn’t huge, but the competition is tough.

“You constantly have to work hard because someone else is always trying to catch you,” he says.

His former Windham teammate, Mike Gilman, joined him during the season.

“Playing alongside Mike is always great. We have been good friends our whole lives.”

Curtis returned to Windham High to watch his brother Andrew play his senior year. He’s also had a few early mornings practicing with his former coach Pulkkinen and Curtis says he will always love playing at Windham High.

His advice to current high school athletes is always stay positive and work harder than the next guy.

“There’s no excuse to not work as hard as you can because the coaching staff at Windham is a group of great people and they will always do whatever they can to help you out.” 

A lesson he’s learned from both Windham and Saint Joseph’s is to always work hard. There’s always something you can do to be better and that will transition into the ‘real world,’ said Curtis. He is going into next year with a positive mind set to have a good season. 

Outside of basketball he’s either out on the lake, working or hanging out with friends. <

Friday, June 19, 2020

Return of Little League baseball features exciting first game

Preston Brown cautiously watches the ball during
a Windham Little League baseball game on Monday,
By Matt Pascarella

Baseball is back! (I wasn’t sure I’d ever write that again!) Windham Little League Majors teams MPM Sealcoating and Ice Cream Dugout took the field for the first game of the season at Ciccarone Field at Lowell Farm in Windham on Monday, June 15.

Ice Cream Dugout was up first as the away team. Carson Brown #7 got on base and all the way to third. Preston Brown #3 rocketed the ball for a double. After Camden Gardiner #9 doubled as well, it’s 2-0.

Now, MPM Sealcoating stepped up to the plate; Davis Jordan #4 walked, Alex Pastore #3 singled and a couple batters later Ellias Jauregui #11 walked; bases loaded. After a strong effort, MPM got thrown out on base.

In the top of the second, Kellen Gardiner #10 singled. Wyatt Washburn #24 singled. Seamus MacDougall #11 doubled and it’s now 3-0.
MPM answered by getting on base. Brayden Dunn #5 singled. After Mason Butterfield #6, Noah Adams #8, JJ Saunders #2, Mitchell Greer #7 and Aidan Tweedie #12 each walked the score is tied.

Jumping to the top of the fourth, Ice Cream Dugout led 5-3. After K Gardiner and Ryan Manning #5 walked, K Gardiner stole home. Washburn doubled, which brought Manning home. MacDougall singled. Then Bradyn Woodward #6 singled. MacDougall scored. Levi Hayman #1 singled and Woodward scored. After Caleb Hayman #2 walked, C Brown singled and C Hayman scored. MPM had three strikeouts and Ice Cream Dugout led 11-3.

In the top of the fifth, MPM showcased some significant defense, as they put the breaks on Ice Cream Dugout, ending the inning with runners on base.

In the top of the sixth, after a walk, Woodward doubled. Then a few walks and another double by C Gardiner and Ice Cream Dugout ends the game with an impressive 17 runs.

MPM gave it their all in the bottom of the sixth but couldn’t catch Ice Cream Dugout.

Final score was 17-3.

These kids are very athletic and grinders,” said Ice Cream Dugout coach, Ryan Brown. “They treat each other like brothers. Therefore, every practice is a competition and they hold each other to high standards. The older guys have done a great job fostering our new younger guys on the team.” <

Developing friendships motivates Athlete of the Week Hailey Applebee

Graduating Windham High School senior and our Athlete of
the Week Hailey Applebee enjoys developing friendships
with other athletes. She is shown competing during a
By Matt Pascarella

Senior Hailey Applebee has always been an active person. She started playing soccer, softball and basketball when she was young, but in fifth grade decided to try running and hasn’t stopped since. Applebee runs year round and currently runs cross country in the fall and track in the winter and spring.

Applebee has learned a lot about herself and what she is capable of as an athlete. She’s learned how to manage multiple responsibilities. She’s also learned without practice, there is no reward; it is her responsibility to work hard.

"I have grown to become the best version of myself, even through adversity.”

Applebee likes being able to see how much she’s progressed throughout the season and how much more she can improve during each race.

“Competing in running is unlike any other sport,” she said. “There’s so much respect between the teams and the individuals it makes it fun and worth doing. Not only have I made a lot of friends on my team, but other teams as well.” says being on a team is one of the best experiences someone could have. Her favorite thing about being part of a team is the friendships and motivation that comes from it.

As they spend countless miles together during summer and fall the team grows into a family. In addition to training, they have team dinners and sleepovers where they talk about their goals. She loves having a group of individuals who share the same passion for running by her side. They have shared countless laughs and memories she will cherish forever.

While working hard during practices is important to improve her races, it’s equally important for her to work hard in school. Her biggest lessons from coaches is to never give up because you never know
what is to come.

During this time, she is a leader in the ‘Social Distance Runners.’ They participate in weekly challenges like creating poems or completing riddles to stay mentally active and in touch with teammates. Coach Riddle offers online workout sessions to keep teammates physically motivated. Applebee says it has been nice to still have some sort of team aspect right now.

Her advice for athletes is to not take this time for granted. It’s extra time to prepare for what’s next. It’s important to get outside, go for a walk or run because being inside for long periods of time is hard on your mental health.

She’s doing at-home workouts as often as she can to stay fit and motivated. Despite the weird conditions, it’s still important for Applebee to work hard.

During the summer she works at The Mosquito Ice Cream Shop and also the Yolked Food Truck with her aunt and uncle. Applebee enjoys working, but also likes to hang out with friends and go on adventures. <

Friday, June 12, 2020

Booster Club honors Wilcox as Windham’s ‘Coach of the Year’

Fred Wilcox, Windham High School varsity softball coach,
has been named 'Coach of the Year' by the Windham Booster Club.
By Matt Pascarella

Athletes and coaches have been doing their best to get the most out of these challenging few months. Everyone has been working hard. The Windham Booster Club recognized varsity softball coach Fred Wilcox during the spring athletic award ceremony as their ‘Coach of the Year.’

Wilcox had been assistant coach for two years alongside Travis Demmons, but became head coach in 2018. Prior to being an assistant coach, he was the Windham Middle School softball coach.

He was nominated by his assistant coach Raquel Gerry.

In her submission, she wrote, “He is teaching the players to be resilient, continue to demonstrate sportsmanship, and for the girls to find the positives even in these trying and difficult times.”
Wilcox said he was humbled by the award.

When I heard the season was canceled, my first thought was what the impact would be on the players,” said Wilcox. “It was hard to say what their reaction would be. I thought about the seniors as I knew they’d be missing out on a season that’s supposed to be very special to them.” hit close to home as his daughter, Chloe, was on the team and recently graduated.

Coach Wilcox’s creativity in seeking outlets for development, his positivity in the face of unprecedented adversity, and his continued sportsmanship even though games were not played embody characteristics of the Coach of the Year,” said former varsity softball coach Demmons.

Aside from virtual workouts, Wilcox began highlighting seniors in a daily Facebook post. It was important for Wilcox to let members of the community learn about them before they graduated.

I wanted each player to know that even though we are going through these uncharted waters, we can still stay positive, life is not over,” he said. “There’s still so much to look forward to whether it’s going off to college, trade school, military or any other route they decide to take.”

And Wilcox wanted to let the underclassmen know they are still here for them. There will be another season and they are ready to get to work.

He purchased lawn signs for his seniors as a way for their neighbors and others to recognize these young ladies. The signs were a reminder, that given the circumstances, they are still part of the program they worked hard to make successful.
Wilcox says there are many great and deserving coaches within this district.

He is lucky enough to be around a lot of great coaches and players and has learned from probably the best coach he’s known, Demmons. His coaching staff of Raquel Gerry, EJ Regan and Darcie Finn has the kids’ best interests in mind and he said he couldn’t have done it without them.

“It feels great to be recognized. Like every other coach, we put countless hours on and off the field. We don’t do it for the recognition but for the love of the game and the joy of watching these young players compete and find something in themselves they never thought they had.”

He wants to thank his seniors for their hard work, dedication and memories. Also, for being fantastic role models. They have made the softball program very proud. He’ll miss them very much and encourages them to visit anytime.

Wilcox’s goal for next season is to get back to normal as best they can. They are ready to adjust to anything that comes their way.

Provided it can be done safely, Wilcox plans to coach summer softball.

**Windham Boosters accept nominations year-round, but typically promotes the ‘Coach of the Year’ submissions each spring. <

Friday, June 5, 2020

Athlete of the Week: AJ Moody dreams of future stardom

Talented sixth-grader AJ Moody is an
 up and coming star in basketball, football
 and lacrosse for Windham
By Matt Pascarella

Like so many students, sixth-grader AJ Moody grew up surrounded by athletes.
His mom graduated from Gorham High where she set records on the track team and earned numerous accolades playing volleyball in college and his dad played basketball during his time at Windham High and in college. His sister is currently playing basketball at Windham High.
“I basically was born with a ball in hand,” said AJ. “I started playing basketball when my dad threw a basketball in my crib.”
While Moody has played a lot of basketball, he’s also played football and lacrosse. He was inspired by a friend’s brother to play football. He’s played quarterback since second grade and really enjoys the game and the time spent with teammates.
For Moody, lacrosse was a natural fit, because it combines much of the strategy of football and basketball.
AJ has played on in school and travel teams. He’s played in the Windham Youth Basketball program since he was four and currently plays on the Maine Attack Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) club team with teammates from all over southern Maine. of his favorite memories is winning a New York City AAU tournament last spring and getting to stay in hotels with his family and teammates.
For Moody, the rush of adrenaline and getting butterflies in his stomach helps him get pumped up to win.
It’s important for Moody to be on a team because he enjoys playing the various sports with his friends and the challenges that arise.
“You need teammates to succeed; there is no ‘I’ in team,” he adds. “Most of what I learn in sports feels like it automatically becomes who I am in real life. If you put in the extra effort you will get more out of it.” The friendships are Moody’s favorite thing about being on a team.
Aside from the thrill he gets from athletics, being an athlete is a confidence booster for Moody and he’s able to take that confidence and use it to encourage other teammates, as well as his friends.
During this strange time, Moody has been working on his basketball skills by practicing on the hoop in his driveway. He’s also been doing virtual workouts with New England Fitness and Athletics twice a week to stay in shape.
Moody isn’t worrying about what’s not happening this season, he’s just thinking about the next season and doing what he can to be ready. He’s looking forward to the fall season.
He encourages other athletes to get out there and practice. Use this time to get better at the sport(s) you love the most.
Moody enjoys spending time with friends and family as well as playing sports with his family. He’s looking forward to the hot summer days on their boat on Sebago Lake and visiting the Ice Cream Dugout.
Moody would like to add he feels really bad for the high school seniors that are missing out on their spring sports and graduation. He wishes them good luck as they graduate and move onto college or jobs. <

Windham Little League season nearing, but will be very different this year

Windham Little League’s MPM Sealcoating
 team for 12-year-old includes, from left,
 Coach Mike Butterfield, Mason Butterfield, Noah Adams,
 Elias Jauregui, Nick Davenport, Aiden Tweedie, Ethan Clapp,
Davis Jordan, and Coach Caleb Davenport.
By Matt Pascarella

With all sports being canceled because of Covid-19, athletic competition seemed bleak. Little League International made the decision in April to cancel its World Series and regional tournaments.
However, they gave the okay for local leagues to resume play, provided they follow proper guidelines to keep everyone safe. Windham Little League has been working hard to figure out how to make the season happen in these challenging times. Their number one priority is safety. And they’ve established guidelines to allow proper protection during the season.
They began practice on June 1 and games will begin around mid-June. The plan is to play two to three games a week. will start closer to the beginning of July. They both will follow Little League International’s guidelines for return to safe play.
The first- and third-base lines will be only for players. There will be marked spots six feet apart up and down the baselines. The dugout will be used for the on-deck batters. This will allow one on-deck batter and one other batter to be in the traditional dugout.
Coaches are not required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) unless they are coming in close contact with to a player or umpire. There will still be base coaches, but the coach’s area will be bigger. 
Umpires will call games from behind the pitcher’s mound and if they are within 6 feet of a player will wear a mask.
Cloth face coverings should be worn by players when in close contact areas and in places where recommended social distancing is a challenge, like dugouts. However, players in younger divisions are not required to wear a mask during game play, unless recommended by a parent, guardian or medical professional.
No helmets, bats, gloves or catcher’s gear will be shared between teammates. If equipment of any kind is needed, they can be coordinated and signed out with the Windham Little League Equipment Manager.
Windham Little League will be using the hill at Lowell, above the field, for extra parking to keep people socially distant.
There will be designated fan spots behind the outfield fence and spectator attendance will be limited to 100 people. 50 on the players/coach’s part of the field and 50 on the spectator part of the field.
Spectators should use social distancing practices and wear a face mask; avoiding direct contact with individuals not from their household.
Water will not be provided and sunflowers seeds are prohibited. There will be no concession offered.
Hand sanitizer will be available; it is required for players as they enter the facility and coming on and off the field. All baseball and softballs will be sterilized frequently.
Dugouts, bathrooms and the top of the fence rail surrounding the field will be cleaned after every game.
There are five Majors, three Minors and four AA baseball teams along with three Majors and two Minors softball teams participating this season. The schedule is still being finalized. 
A huge reason we pushed for the season was so the 12-year-olds could play and earn their wooden bat,” said Mike Butterfield, vice president of the Minors baseball division. The bats are given as a memento during the last little league game to each 12-year-old as they age out of the program.
Representatives of Windham Little League say that they appreciate public cooperation while they figure out these important details and look forward to getting the kids back on the field. More information to follow. <