Friday, July 31, 2020

Bill Diamond softball team slides way past House team

Bill Diamond Softball's Oakley McLeod bats during
a Windham Little League softball game at Manchester
School on Sunday, July 26.

By Matt Pascarella
Sunday, July 26 was another hot afternoon, but didn’t stop Bill Diamond Softball team from once again taking an early lead against House Team #1 at Manchester softball field.
House Team #1 took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but not only did Bill Diamond’s defense end the first half of that inning with the bases loaded, they got the bats swinging early and had runners hit home plate multiple times in the first two innings.
At the plate we had great ball discipline, knowing which ones to swing at, and great base running,” said Bill Diamond’s Hannah Lee, who doubled in the fourth inning and scored three times during the game. “I’m becoming more comfortable making contact (with the ball).” She also said she can see that she is improving. the second, Yani Kostopoulos was hit by the pitch. Lee walked, Kostopoulos scored; Lee scored. McLeod singled and made it around the bases. Addison Ledger walked then scored. Willow Washburn was hit by the pitch and made it home. The inning ended with Bill Diamond up 7-1.
House Team #1 did try to catch up, as they scored another run in the fourth and four runs in the top of the fifth.
Final score was Bill Diamond 9, House Team 6.
Lee walked in the first, stole her way around the bases and scored. Belle Pinto singled. Oakley McLeod doubled when she smashed the ball up the third base line. This brought Pinto home. Willow
Washburn was thrown out at first after she crushed the ball, but brought McLeod in.
Many of the players are getting better merely by playing more and gaining experience in areas they might not have been exposed to previously,” said coach Jason McLeod. “It’s a testament to not shying away from new challenges and wanting to improve. Just witnessing the development is something we look forward to each time out.” <

Fourth-inning slugfest lifts team David Aaskov Plumbing to victory

Cillian Bradshaw of David Aaskov Plumbing
runs to first base during a Windham Little
League baseball game against GNG at Manchester
School on July 28.
By Matt Pascarella
Windham Minors Division baseball team David Aaskov Plumbing took to the field against Gray New Gloucester (GNG) team China Village on Tuesday, July 28 at Manchester School field hoping to emerge with a victory and they did.
The David Aaskov Plumbing team started slowly and actually trailed GNG for three-and-a-half innings. That changed for David Aaskov Plumbing in the final half-inning when they scored five runs in to capture the win.  
Players Colton Kalakowsky, Mason Clapp, Cillian Bradshaw and Justin Tom all agreed the game was awesome. Clapp said Kalakowsky had a great hit and Clapp said he thought he did a good job pitching in the contest.
GNG got a hit to center field in the second inning and took a 2-0 lead. David Aaskov Plumbing had placed several runners on base in the first three innings,  but they weren’t able to bring anyone across home plate."In a developmental league, it’s fun to see the kids learn the game, the count on the batter; helping each other,” said David Aaskov Plumbing coach Jonathan Bassett. “We played a GNG team tonight that we hadn’t seen before and everyone had great sportsmanship with it. Pitching and defense is what really drives baseball, and we saw those positive glimpses tonight.”
In the bottom of the fourth and final inning, Samuel Cataldi walked, and Justin Tom pummeled the ball for a base hit. Kalakowsky doubled and Clapp was hit by the pitch to load the bases.
David Aaskov Plumbing’s Bronson Bassett walked, and Tom put Windham on the board. Bradshaw crushed the ball and Kalakowsky and Clapp scored, putting Davbid Aaskov ahead, 3-2. Jensen Bartz then walked, and Griffin Robinson sent the ball flying, scoring two more runs.
The final score was David Aaskov Plumbing 5, GNG 2.
“Fundamentals and fun were the focus, as it should be. Wins don’t matter to me, but great moments do and every one of our players has had that. Each one of our boys have amazing qualities, unique personalities and are future allstars in my book,” said David Aaskov Plumbing coach Dustin Bartz. <

Coach of the Week: Windham Softball's Shawn Leger

Windham softball coach Shawn
Leger has been named 'Coach of
the Week' for The Windham Eagle.
He played college baseball
at the University of Southern
Maine and now works with
young softball players for the
Windham Little League.
By Matt Pascarella
Shawn Leger has been involved with Windham Softball for four years. He’s worked with many of the softball coaches over the years and attends games, even if his team isn’t playing.
A lot of the coaches he played with in twilight baseball, a baseball league for adults or college had daughters, so coaching softball seemed like a no brainer for him and it’s earned him the distinction of being the latest “Coach of the Week” for The Windham Eagle.
Aside from coaching and supporting the girls, Leger also takes care of the Manchester/Arlington softball field, raking it to ensure it’s ready for game time.
The youngest of six boys, Leger grew up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He was a pitcher for Fitchburg High School and was the first in his family to attend college.
He went to the University of Southern Maine to play baseball for Coach Ed Flaherty. He was nicknamed ‘Wild Thing’ from the movie “Major League.” Leger was a right-handed pitcher and wore dark-rimmed sunglasses, just like the character in the movie.
Leger made the team and played from 1993 to 1996. He was a co-captain during his senior season. He played with a lot of players who went on to get drafted to the big leagues.
Flaherty was a big influence on Leger. He wanted to pass the lessons he learned from baseball and Flaherty to other kids. Flaherty taught him many life lesson he’s now passing on to children playing youth softball; such as you can outwork people with greater physical talent and succeed, 90 percent is just showing up; the other 10 percent is what you do with it. Everyone can win when they’re playing their best, but it’s when you’re not at your best, that’s when you find out who you really are. Lessons you learn playing as a team, competing, can help when you turn pro in something other than sports.
“He’s a fun guy to be around and the girls really enjoy him,” said coach Shayne Bryant.
Leger says the girls have been great this season. They have shown enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and Windham coaches have really pulled together.
It wasn’t easy to make this season happen, Leger said. He feels honored to work with coaches who care and want to make the most of player abilities. Coordination and communication were important
more this season than ever.“It’s not about one Little League team, it’s about Windham softball,” he said.
Leger would like every girl to get better at one thing they may have struggled with from the start of the season.
“I love to see the kids work at a skill they struggled with and then, through hard work, see them succeed,” he said. “I love to see the moment they get it, knowing the hard journey some of them have had to travel.” 
Leger has been in banking for 24 years and is a small business banker/commercial lender for Machias Savings Bank. He has a wife, Alison and daughter, Addison. <

Friday, July 24, 2020

Doubleheader results in double wins for Windham softball

Windham Rental pitcher Bri Duarte throws a strike during a
Windham Little League softball game.
By Matt Pascarella

Edge Academy v. House Team #2

It was hot. Really hot, but on the Manchester softball field on Sunday, July 19 it was not too hot for Edge Academy and House Team #2 to face off.

A house team is made up of players from outside Windham. Edge Academy wasted no time getting on base and took this game 9-7.

On the first pitch Nola Bryant smashed a triple and then scored. Kaylee Napolitano and Addison Caiazzo both singled. Yani Kostopoulos hit a triple and scored. Edge Academy led 3-0 after one inning.

“There was a lot of communication, we were aggressive and knew the next play” said Caiazzo.

Defensively, Edge Academy stopped several scoring opportunities for their opponent when runners were thrown out on second and third in the bottom of the first. And a run was prevented when a runner was thrown out at home in the fourth.
Edge Academy really showed their hitting power in the fifth inning. They trailed by one. Kaylee
Napolitano bunted and made it home; Caiazzo doubled and crossed the plate. Kostopoulos hit a double deep into the outfield and brought another run in.

“We had a lot of team effort, even though it’s hot; no one was just watching,” said Bryant.

Windham Rental v. House Team #1

The continued heat didn’t stop the hits from coming, as Windham Rental took the field against House Team #1 at Manchester following the previous game. Windham Rental had the bats swinging and finished with a 13-6 win.

“We communicated more and tried new things that might work in the future like Bri pitching or Nola at shortstop,” said Addison Leger.

After House Team #1 took a 2-0 lead in the first, Windham Rental answered when Nola Bryant got on base. Addison Caiazzo and Bri Duarte walked. Each of them rounded the bases and scored. Although the score was close in spots, Windham Rental kept their eyes on the ball and the runs kept coming in.

“The girls just seem to have fun while being competitive at the same time and I think that leads to them being successful,” said coach Shayne Bryant, who helped coach both games.

House Team #1 tied the game in the second, but Windham Rental kept pulling away. In the third, Oriah Doucette was hit by the pitch and Lilly Gallagher walked, Kaylee Napolitano got on base after a dropped third strike and Doucette, Gallagher and Napolitano all made it home; 9-4 Windham Rental won.

When Bri Duarte was pitching in the fourth, she and catcher Neve Ledbetter made a great play when they picked a runner off at home.

In the fourth, Bryant walked and scored and Ledbetter did the same.<

Jet Ski Guy takes early lead in Windham Little League game and keeps it

Jet Ski Guy batter Patrick Davenport drives a pitch into the
outfield during a Windham Little League game against MPM
Sealcoating on July 18. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

As the sun beat down on the diamond Saturday morning July 18, AAA teams Jet Ski Guy and MPM Sealcoating took the field for game 26 of the season.

Visiting team Jet Ski Guy took an early lead and as the game went on, that lead only grew. MPM put in a determined effort and did not get shut out, but Jet Ski Guy stayed ahead for a final score of 12-1.

Jet Ski Guy led 2-0 after one inning. Patrick Davenport doubled in the top of the second and the top of the third which knocked in several runs. In the top of the second, after a walk, Oriah Doucette got a base hit. 

That brought a run in. Two more walks and the bases are loaded.

“Don’t swing at ball that aren’t your pitch,” said Davenport. If you don’t “you’ll crack one and do good.” After he made contact with the ball Davenport said, “that’s a good hit; I should try and run as fast as I can.”

After Davenport’s double, Doucette and another run made it home. Another single and Davenport scored. 7-0.
“I’ve got to get them out and finish the inning,” said Jet Ski Guy pitcher Jordan Tom. He wanted to
get the ball over the plate and keep it under control.

MPM battled. Defensively, they did well at the top of the game. They ended the first inning with Jet Ski Guy runners left on base. They had the bats swinging but weren’t able to score until the bottom of the third when Troy Cunningham was hit by the pitch, Sully Nappi followed him with a massive double and Cunningham put MPM on the map. Joey Small sent the ball flying with a solid hit, but it was caught.

“I thought Cody Ruth and Lincoln Rulman did a great job throwing strikes,” said MPM coach Jeff Ruth “We need to work on making plays behind our pitchers. Our game ball went to Sully Nappi who caught two strong innings and had an RBI (runs batted in) double.” 

In the top of the third, Jet Ski Guy loaded up the bases and drove in five more runs.
The team played a complete game today. They paid attention and kept their heads in the game despite the heat,” said Coach David Langway. “This was the most complete game this season, and the best game they played altogether; Jordan and Patrick did very well in holding MPM to one run.” <

Friday, July 17, 2020

Softball coach Jason McLeod inspires through encouragement

Windham Little League softball coach
Jason McLeod has been honored as The
Windham Eagle's 'Coach of the Week.'
By Matt Pascarella

Softball coach Jason McLeod began coaching his sophomore year of college in 1998. He started out coaching football at Bonny Eagle High School. He immediately became interested in helping kids learn life lessons through competitive and organized sports. And that interest, that passion, has continued through to present day and earned him the distinction as The Windham Eagle’s “Coach of the Week.”

McLeod started coaching softball as a volunteer coach for the Minors level of Windham Little League in 2015. Since that time, it has transformed into him coaching at both the Little League level and the travel team level. He was drawn to softball to be around his daughter, Oakley.

His love of baseball made for an easy transition to softball and his prior football coaching experience helped him implement similar philosophies in softball; teaching life lessons through organized sports, creating a positive learning experience for players and having a lot of fun.

The Windham Little League Board worked hard to make sure this 2020 season happened. It was important for the league to make sure the 12- year-old players, who are playing their final little league season, not only got to play, as many little leagues are not, but also that they have a positive experience. There are many volunteers in both baseball and softball that enabled this to happen.

Without question this has been a different season. McLeod wants to make sure his players learn about the game, but also have fun. Practicing social distancing is a big change. teammates stay apart from each other is tough; they want to congratulate each other just as much as a coach wants to congratulate them. There is always that reaction after a good play or at bat to high five or even hug, but McLeod says they need to stop themselves from doing it.

If we weren't doing it, we certainly wouldn't have the opportunity to play, so the players and coaches have done an excellent job in recognizing what needs to be done to allow us to keep playing in a safe environment,” said McLeod.  

At the end of a season he wants to push his players out of their comfort zones. If a player has never pitched before, they might be challenged to take that position and see how they do. No matter the
challenge or new role asked of the players, he wants each player to enjoy the experience they are put in.

“At the end of the day, if the players are smiling and are excited about playing, our league is doing its job in establishing a positive playing experience.”

He and his wife Holly have three children: Oakley, Colton and Easton. They are very involved with their children’s activities, whether it’s volunteering efforts, coaching, training or transportation. McLeod is also the head varsity football coach at Portland High School.

As a coach, McLeod’s goals are for his players to enjoy the game and being part of a team. He wants them to be prepared so they can continue playing the sport when they get to middle school and high school teams in the future.

He likes the relationships he’s developed, and will keep developing with players, their families and other coaches. “There's a social component in coaching where you gain friendships that last a lifetime. You can't put a dollar value on that because it's priceless.” <

Windham Youth Soccer Association hones skills needed for sport

Seventh- and eighth-grade students work out in a summer
training session for the Windham Youth Soccer Association
at Gambo Field under the direction of coaches provided
by the Rosevelt Soccer Club of Westbrook.
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Youth Soccer Association began its summer soccer skills program on July 7 at Gambo Field in Windham and will continue weekly with two morning groups of players through the month of July.

WYSA is collaborating with the Rosevelt Soccer Club, who supply the coaches. Rosevelt Soccer Club is a premier soccer club affiliated with the Westbrook Soccer League, Soccer Maine and U.S. Youth Soccer.

Rosevelt Soccer’s goal is to provide players in the greater Westbrook area to play affordable soccer. The club started with three teams and has grown to have 14 teams. They provide soccer skills and training experience for players in Windham, Westbrook, Scarborough and Gorham.

The goal of the weekly WYSA skills program is to give players more time with the ball, also known as touches, before the fall season. 

The training is all foot skills related. Training sessions are broken into three groups by grade: second through fourth, fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth.

The groups do not mix with each other and generally do not play competitively; if they do, it’s only within their individual group. Each group is working on different skill sets.

“This is our second year doing this and it’s even bigger than last year,” said WYSA Board member Bill Schwarz. “The goal of WYSA is to share the love of the game and develop players who share that love for years to come.” collaboration between WYSA and Rosevelt Soccer has worked well. Rosevelt Soccer needed somewhere for their club to practice so WYSA stepped in to help. In turn, Rosevelt Soccer Club helps WYSA coach their skills program.

“Our goal is to get kids outside and get some touches...and some exercise while being mindful of the safety guidelines,” said John Morgan, chairman of Rosevelt Soccer.

The summer soccer program is a great way for players to gain exposure, work with the ball and learn new skills as they prepare for future play.

“I like playing soccer and want to play in a professional league,” said fourth grader Jack Dubois. “I’m learning new skills here like how to scissor.”

This is a paid training camp that is currently closed. If you are interested in other training camps WYSA has fall in-house soccer and Little Eagles registration currently open. For more information, please visit

“This is a better soccer experience to get better,” said eighth grader Oliver Weatherby. “I’d like to go on to bigger and better things, like trying to play varsity and at the college level in the future.” <

Fourth-Inning turnaround hands Ice Cream Dugout a 7-1 win

By Matt Pascarella

The smell of hamburgers and hot dogs filled the air at Ciccarone Field on Monday, July 13 as Ice Cream Dugout and MPM Sealcoating went head-to-head. It is baseball season for sure.

The game was a scoreless back and forth until the fourth inning when both teams put runs on the board. MPM’s Ellias Jauregui, Alex Pastore and Brayden Dunn each got hits and loaded up the bases. A short time later Jauregui stole home and MPM took a 1-0 lead.

Ryan Manning of Ice Cream Dugout bats during a Windham
Little League game on Monday, July 13 at Ciccarone Field.
Ice Cream Dugout answered when Bradyn Woodward singled. Levi Hayman got to first on a dropped third strike. Woodward scored. And the hits kept coming. Caleb Hayman bunted and Carson Brown singled; bases loaded. Preston Brown doubled. Two runs come in and before the inning wrapped up two more scored; 5-1.

Colin Janvrin and Kellen Gardiner of Ice Cream Dugout scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth after Ryan Manning doubled to put their final number of runs at seven.

MPM gave a strong effort in the top of the sixth, but they weren’t able to tie or pull ahead and Ice Cream Dugout got the 7-1 win.

“The boys faced some adversity tonight and realized you need to come out swinging from the first pitch, said coach Ryan Brown. Ethan Clapp and Alex Pastore (of MPM Sealcoating) did a great job (pitching). The boys dug deep and the bats produced.”

MPM started out strong as they loaded up the bases with Brayden Dunn, Liam Kalakowsky and Ethan Clapp. MPM was close but did not score in the top of the first.

Pitcher Wyatt Washburn helped Ice Cream Dugout have several three-batters-up-three-batters-down innings and said the team did well pitching and hitting and thought the fourth inning was when they really started to work and play as a team.

One MPM defensive play that stood out was in the bottom of the third. Clapp made a catch and quickly threw to the first basemen after Ice cream Dugout’s runner left too soon, MPM was able to make the double play and also threw a runner out at home. <

Friday, July 10, 2020

MPM Sealcoating snaps tie in fifth inning to down Windham Millwork

MPM Sealcoating's Troy Cunningham rockets the ball
for an inside-the-park home run during a Windham
Little League baseball game against Windham
Millwork at Manchester School on July 6.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham Little League AAA division teams MPM Sealcoating and Windham Millwork squared off at Manchester School on Monday, July 6 with MPM coming away with a 7-2 win.

After MPM’s Troy Cunningham smacked the ball for an inside-the-park homerun in the top of the third inning, Jack Casserly and Trenton Whittaker both picked up base hits and MPM tied the game at 2-2.

Windham Millwork put themselves on the scoreboard earlier in the bottom of the second inning when Dylan Lee was hit by a pitch. Steven ‘SJ’ Depallo III then crushed the ball and got on base, bringing in Lee in to score the game’s first run. Before the end of the inning Depallo III stole home and Windham Millwork led, 2-0.

In the top of the fifth inning and with the bases loaded and the game tied, Whittaker walked and MPM went ahead by a run. But MPM wasn’t done. AJ Sweet walked to add another run to the scoreboard. Tristan Hogan then drove in two more runs. After Cody Ruth walked and another base hit, MPM took a 7-2 lead.
Both teams had gotten on base early in the game, but it did not result in runs scored.

In the fifth and final inning, Windham Millwork tried to rally, but wasn’t able to pull ahead or tie with MPM racking up a 7-2 victory.

“Both teams played great defense,” said MPM coach Jeff Ruth. “Our game ball went to Troy Cunningham. He pitched two scoreless innings and had an inside the park home run. Windham Millwork had a strong performance behind the plate by Riley Gallagher.” <

Bill Diamond softball has strong game against House Team #1

Bill Diamond pitcher Willow Washburn fires the ball
down the pipe during a softball game played against the 12-Under
Maine Thunder Blue at Manchester School on July 7.
By Matt Pascarella

In the first game of the season against players from an outside town, Bill Diamond Softball played house team #1, 12-Under Maine Thunder Blue on July 7 at Manchester School.

Bill Diamond took a substantial 6-0 lead part way through the third inning. Cami Casserly walked and stole her way around the bases. Oakley McLeod walked, and Hannah Lee bunted. McLeod scored. Lee soon stole her way home. Willow Washburn walked and quickly made it home. At the end of the game everyone on the team had gotten on base. And their pitching and defense only let four runs in; outscoring 12-Under Maine Thunder Blue by 10 points.

Willow Washburn pitched four out of five innings and did a fantastic job. This was Washburn’s fourth game she’s pitched in this season and her first season pitching. She said she was pleased with how she did. If she could have changed one thing it would have been to slow down more, but overall, she thought she did a good job.“Willow is now in her fourth year of majors as she was drafted in her first year of eligibility at nine years of age. Not many players are drafted that early,” said coach Jason McLeod. “We all are really proud in how well she has performed this season. She’s doing many amazing things and it’s unfortunate this pandemic has taken away some All Stars.”

In the first inning, Fiona MacArthur got on base after a dropped third strike. She stole her way around the bases and put them on the board. Oakley McLeod smashed a triple and stole home.

The fourth inning brought a few more walks and a lot more bases stolen by Bill Diamond Softball; it’s now 10-0. The final score after five innings was 14-4, Bill Diamond.

“We all are playing well together and as a team,” said coach Jason McLeod. I truly feel this town has created an excellent program and a positive setting for the girls to thrive year in and out from kindergarten all the way up to high school. Participation numbers are steady and rising and they all are having fun.”<

Friday, July 3, 2020

MPM Sealcoating holds off State Farm for Little League victory

JJ Saunders bats during a Windham Little League game
on June 26 at Ciccarone Field.
By Matt Pascarella

Majors division teams MPM Sealcoating and State Farm went head-to-head during a Windham Little League game at Ciccarone Field on Friday, June 26.

In the top of the first inning, Jack Jordan of State Farm walked, Mason Rulman was hit by a pitch and after Daniel Clark walked, Jordan stole home and Rulman stole third base. Later in the inning, Rulman stole home. And Clark also stole home before the inning ended with a strikeout.

In the bottom of the first inning, JJ Saunders of MPM singled to right field, as did MPM’s Alex Pastore and Brayden Dunn. Following a walk, Pastore stole home and MPM trailed after one inning, 3-1.

In the top of the third inning, Jordan walked again, Rulman was again hit by a pitch and Jordan stole his way to third. While trying to steal home, Jordan was thrown out.

MPM struck for two runs to tie the game in the bottom of the third inning when Ellias Jauregui was hit by a pitch, Jordan legged out a ground ball to reach first base safely and Aidan Tweedie also reached base. With two strikes on the MLM batter, Jauregui stole home and Tweedie scored on a sacrifice fly.
In the top of the fourth inning, State Farm’s Wyatt Richards and Ronnie Anthony both reached base safely, but were unable to score.

MPM grabbed a 5-3 lead In the bottom of the fourth inning as Liam Kalakowsky and Ethan Clapp walked. Kalakowsky stole home when Nicholas Davenport walked, and Clapp scored on Noah Adams’ ground ball to the State Farm shortstop.

With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, State Farm's Rulman singled to left field and Clark reached base on a ground ball. With a runner in scoring position. State Farm appeared to be looking to score and draw the game closer, but MPM’s defense was able to hold them off and earn a 5-3 win.

“Our boys kept their head in the game by focusing on the next play and not worrying about the scoreboard,” said MPM Coach Caleb Davenport. “They played as a team, encouraging and helping each other to hold the lead through the sixth inning.” <