Friday, July 30, 2021

Windham softball All-Stars showcase skills during East Regionals

Windham seventh grader Kaylee
Napolitano prepares to steal third base
during the 10-12 softball East Regional
Tournament game against Delaware on
Sunday, July 25 in Bristol, Connecticut.
Windham fell, 5-2, eliminating the Maine
State Champions from further contention.
 By Matt Pascarella

The 10-12-year-old Windham Little League All-Star softball team have had an amazing journey during the past six weeks and despite being eliminated during the East Regionals, this team has a lot of accomplishments to be proud of.

After winning the District 6 championship against South Portland/Falmouth, Windham knocked out Ellsworth in the state championship game and earned the privilege to represent the state in the East Regional tournament in Bristol, Connecticut on July 24.

The girls left it all on the field and represented Maine extremely well. They played Maryland to open the tournament and fell 10-0 in the first game of the double- elimination event. This did not destroy their spirits. They returned the next day to take on Delaware in Game Two and Windham put in a solid effort, but Delaware won 5-2.

The girls were excited, but a little nervous as they headed into their game against Maryland.

The Maryland game showed some excellent Windham defense. Seventh-grader Sarah Smyth has been described as a vacuum; the ball is drawn to her. Once the ball is there, Smyth knows exactly what to do with it. She made several throws to get outs during the tournament.

“The competition was hard, and it was such a great experience,” said Smyth. I was not nervous at all; I just blocked out everything around me and focused on the game itself.”

Smyth had a lot of fun and said it was the best time of her life.

Seventh-grader Kaylee Napolitano caught a pop up in the bottom of the second inning against Maryland. She also tagged a runner out on their way to third base in the third inning. This was followed by seventh-grader Evelyn Anderson who made a throw to seventh-grader Ava Cole at third base who tagged a runner and got the out.

As Windham headed into Game Two, they had a win or go home mentality.

After Delaware took at 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, Windham answered in the top of the third when Smyth walked, and seventh-grader Kiley Card bunted out. Smyth advanced to third, and an error from Delaware allowed Smyth to score. Napolitano singled, and eighth-grader Lacie Higgins doubled. After eighth-grader Addison Caiazzo popped out, Napolitano scored to tie the game at two.

Napolitano said playing in this tournament was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She had fun and said it felt great when she crossed home plate in the game against Delaware. It was exciting for her to cheer for her teammates to score.

Windham minimized Delaware’s scoring chances in the bottom of the third inning when Windham only allowed three Delaware batters to the plate.

Delaware loaded up the bases in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Windham ended their inning with the bases loaded.

The Lady Eagles worked very hard and worked very hard but weren’t able to get ahead.

“(It’s) a great accomplishment when you think about how many girls play Little League softball,” said Windham Coach Nick Caiazzo. “It was a great experience and I appreciate the players and families’ efforts and energy they brought for the last six weeks. This was a fun group of girls ... and the ... effort is always there. These girls should be very proud of their accomplishments.”

Congratulations are in order to the 2021 Maine State Champions Evelyn Anderson, Addison Caiazzo, Kiley Card, Ashley Cloutier, Ava Cole, Chloe Delewski, Lily Gallagher, Lacie Higgins, Eliana Kostopoulos, Kaylee Napolitano, Belle Pinto, Evelyn Robinson, and Sarah Smyth on a great tournament season and memories to last a lifetime. <

Windham Wood Bat League squad ends season with overall improvement

Windham junior Dylan Hanrahan takes a swing so hard that
his bat cracks in two during the Wood Bat League playoff
game at Sanford's Goodall Park on Friday, July 23.
By Matt Pascarella

For the Beacon Pizza-sponsored Windham High School Wood Bat League baseball team, and it’s been a team-building season.

Since opening the year on June 15, their record of 1-13-1, does not reflect the progress the team has made at the plate and on the field. Windham took on Sanford at Goodall Park in Sanford on Friday, July 23 for the first game of the playoff season and despite Windham’s best efforts, Sanford advanced with a 13-0 win.

Windham got things going in the first inning against Sanford when junior Bob Wing crushed the ball and sent it to the outfield for a base hit. Junior Ethan Barker followed Wing and he also got a base hit. Junior Ryan Bernard was next to get on base after he sent the ball into the outfield. Wing put in a great effort to make it home but was tagged out.

In the bottom of the second inning, Windham showed concrete defense when sophomore Aiden Benish caught a pop fly and later Bernard did the same.

Sanford put two on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning.

Windham’s defense was ample in the third inning when sophomore Ryan Smyth and junior Nathan Jordan made great catches to send Sanford back to the dugout.

“We’ve definitely seen some improvements coming along,” said Windham Coach Cody Dube.  “It was nice tonight to have a consistent lineup for the whole game ... we took a lot of good at-bats; we’ve become more aggressive. If we’re striking out, we’re striking out swinging. The plate appearance improvement has been really nice to see.”

Bernard singled in the top of the fourth inning. Later, junior Dylan Hanrahan swung the bat so hard it split in two pieces.

Windham prevented Sanford from scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth when Wing threw the ball to junior Logan Marden who tagged a runner headed home.

The bottom of the sixth inning brought Wing with a stellar line drive catch.

Windham put up a good fight in the top of the seventh inning but could not catch Sanford.

“I think overall today we did really well at the plate,” said Marden. “We were being aggressive and hitting first pitch strikes. I think defensively the biggest thing was errors and we couldn’t come around to ourselves and make the ... plays that changed the game.”

In the Wood Bat League season, Marden felt the team hasn’t been able to come together and have some solid games. He said it was good to get out on the field and he thought that overall, everyone worked hard, the team was happy to play, and it was a fun season. <

Friday, July 23, 2021

Windham’s 10-12 softball All-Stars ready for East Regionals

Eighth grader Ashley Cloutier bunts during an All-Star
10-12 softball tournament game in June. As the Maine state
champion, Windham will play Maryland in the first round
of the East Regional Tournament in Connecticut on 
Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN + television.
By Matt Pascarella

In 2020, when there were not a lot of summer sports going on, many of the players from the 10-12-year-old Windham Little League All-Star softball team, and several coaches held a sandlot league where these players were able to work on their skills. This play during a time where other towns may have been idle, helped propel the younger girls’ transition to what would become the 2021 All-Star Maine state championship team.

The 10-12-year-old Windham Little League All-Star softball team’s recent 9-1 state win over Ellsworth on July 13 in South Berwick, earned the team the state title and secured a berth in the East Regional tournament. Windham will take the experience and skills that they’ve acquired and use it as fuel heading to Bristol, Connecticut to play Maryland in a first-round East Regional tournament game this weekend.

The 10-12-year-old All-Star team scrimmaged at The Edge Academy on Tuesday, July 20 in Portland against several previous Windham Little League All-Star players who won state tournaments in 2018 and 2019. Coaches say this will help the current team prepare against tough competition in  the East Regional tournament.

“I think it helped us (experience) faster pitching and how the ball is going to be in play more,” said seventh-grader Sarah Smyth. “I think it prepared us to be more alert (for when we play in Connecticut).”

Eighth-grader Ashley Cloutier said this scrimmage against the older players was a bit of a reality check that the teams Windham will face in Connecticut won’t be easy teams, but probably some really good ones.

Coach Nick Caiazzo has scouted Windham’s first opponent, Maryland and says he is familiar with the state tournament games that Maryland played. Caiazzo said he knows what kinds of hitters Maryland has, where they like to put the ball, how their best players play on the field and how Windham can use that information to get an advantage over Maryland.

Coach Caiazzo also prepared for the tournament by talking with past Windham Little League softball coaches Shayne Bryant, Kregg Jarvais and Jason McLeod. They provided information and advice on what to expect when Windham heads to play in Connecticut.

Bryant, Jarvais and McLeod told Coach Caiazzo to relax and want him to know that Windham’s opponents will also be 10-12-year-old girls and while there’s a lot happening during this tournament, the game is not played differently.

Many lessons have been learned during the course of this year’s All-Star tournament and Smyth said she has to stay as focused as possible and minimize distractions.

“We’re really excited,” she said.

Cloutier said that communication is key in the game of softball and seventh-grader Evelyn Anderson said she feels Windham’s overall confidence during games will make a difference.

Coach Caiazzo said that he encourages his players to learn from their mistakes, but not to dwell on them. He describes baseball and softball as games where failure will happen, and the players need to be able to take the good with the bad. It’s a game that is supposed to be fun, he said, and in perspective, it’s never as bad as it seems.

“I’m expecting that there is going to be a lot of good teams and that we need to be prepared for some really good pitching,” said Cloutier.

She said she’s excited for the new competition, but also a little nervous as she doesn’t know what to expect.

Assistant Coach Ronnie Higgins said this is a good group of kids who kept their focus pretty well throughout the whole (tournament). He thinks they’re very good and they’re going to be ready to go when the time comes.

“Our girls have had to grind out some of their victories along the way. No matter who they will face in the Regional, our players will give us all they have, and they won't quit,” said Assistant Coach Stephen Napolitano.

Coach Caiazzo said the team has done the work during practices and are prepared. They must feel confident in the work they have done up to this point and he said if the kids can stay focused, they will do well.

“I know our team is really good when we do our best, said Anderson. “I know the teams are really good (at Regionals). If we play our best, I think we have a really good chance.”

If you’d like to follow the team’s progress, the first game will air at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 24 on ESPN+ television. <

Varsity and junior varsity basketball keep Bonny Eagle from getting win

Windham High sophomore Blake McPherson takes a shot
in a varsity summer basketball game against Bonny Eagle
on Monday, July 19 at Windham High School. Windham
defeated the Scots 59-54. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School’s varsity and junior varsity basketball teams have been practicing and preparing for their regular season during the summer basketball season.

Both the varsity and junior varsity teams got out ahead of Bonny Eagle during summer scrimmage games on Monday, July 19 at Windham High School and then held onto those leads throughout their games. Windham’s varsity team beat the Scots, 59-54, while JV posted a 42-39 win.


The game was close to start but Windham pulled away as senior Will Mannette sunk several three-pointers in the first half. The team was quick to get several rebounds, which helped Windham build and sustain their lead. As the half wound down, Bonny Eagle couldn’t catch Windham and the Eagles led 32-27 at intermission.

Windham’s offense and defense were strong. At the start of the second half, Bonny Eagle tied the game at 34. The Eagles moved the ball nicely and Windham moved back into the lead. The Scots were not able to hold any kind of lead for long. With a little over a minute left in play, Windham was up by four points. Once the game was over, Windham walked off the court with a "W."

Windham senior Will Ledbetter said he thought the varsity team played solid team basketball, saying that it was a fun game where they all passed the ball around and got open looks. Ledbetter said it was evident how several players on the team helped contribute to getting that momentum going that would eventually lead to the win.

“The guys played with a lot of effort; they’re starting to trust each other as a team,” said Windham varsity Coach Chad Pulkkinen. “These guys are doing a great job working on what we need to do ... to reach the potential they want to reach in the regular season.”

Junior Varsity

In the first half, Bonny Eagle jumped to an early lead, but it was short-lived. While the game remained close, Windham took the 22-16 lead after the first half.

In the second half, Windham maintained their lead, but Bonny Eagle wasn’t far behind and worked hard to close the gap. Ultimately they could not and lost by three points.

Windham sophomore Noah Mains said working together as a team coupled with sharp passing led to the JV win.

One minute was left in play and Bonny Eagle had an opportunity to tie the game. Windham gained possession and prevented the Scots from the possibility of tying the game. Windham was able to hold on to the lead as the clock ran out.

“Bonny Eagle is a really tough team; they’re physically tough and mentally tough. They make you work for everything,” said Windham JV Coach Geoff Grigsby. “As the game went along (Windham) slowed down and began to work on the few things we’ve tried to work on this summer.” <

Friday, July 16, 2021

Windham's 10-12 All-star softball squad soars to state title

Windham's 10-12-year-old All-Star softball team defeated 
Ellsworth, 9-1, in the state championship game on Tuesday,
July 13 in South Berwick. As Maine state champions, Windham
qualified for a berth in the East Regionals on July 24 in
Bristol, Connecticut against the Maryland state champion.
From left are Coach Ronnie Higgins, Lily Gallagher, Kaylee
Napolitano, Kiley Card, Lacie Higgins, Ashley Cloutier,
Belle Pinto, Coach Nick Caiazzo, Addision Caiazzo, Eliana
Kostopoulos, Ava Cole, Evelyn Anderson, Chloe Delewski,
Sarah Smyth, Coach Stephen Napolitano, Maine District 6
administrator Bill Finley, and in front in Evelyn Robinson.

By Matt Pascarella

This was it, with Windham facing Ellsworth at Aggie Field in South Berwick on July 13 and the state championship on the line for Windham. When all was said and done, Windham Little League’s 10-12-year-old All-Star softball team defeated Ellsworth 12-3 in the first game of the double-elimination state tournament and brought home the state championship banner.

Ellsworth had to beat Windham twice in order to win the title but came up short.

Windham grabbed a 7-1 advantage early on and they maintained a significant lead throughout the game. After six innings Windham won the state championship by a final score of 9-1 and qualify for the East Regional tournament in  Connecticut later this month.

In the top of the first inning, sixth-grader Kaylee Napolitano’s first swing resulted in a double. Seventh-grader Lacie Higgins walked. Napolitano then stole third and scored on a passed ball. After a pickoff attempt at third base, Higgins scored on an error by Ellsworth.

Windham Coach Nick Caiazzo said good Windham teams of the past with great Windham coaches were influential in previous years and especially this year to this All-Star team. Windham coaches Jason McLeod, Kregg Jarvais, Shayne Bryant, Kristen Marden, Shawn Leger, Ryan Edwards, and Jason Elder helped paved the way for wins like this one.

In the second inning, sixth-grader Evelyn Anderson walked, and later stole home on an error by Ellsworth. Fifth-grader Evelyn Robinson and sixth-grader Sarah Smyth walked. Sixth-grader Kiley Card doubled. Napolitano singled and brought home Smyth and Card.

Seventh-grader Addison Caiazzo tripled on a fly ball to right field in the second inning, scoring Napolitano. Fifth-grader Eliana Kostopoulos singled on a ground ball to third base and brought in Caiazzo. Windham led 7-1 after two innings.

Higgins’ pitching coupled with Windham’s infield and outfield showed strong defense against Ellsworth and many innings consisted of only three opposing batters coming to the plate to bat.

“It’s amazing; it’s like the next level,” said Higgins. “I’m confident in myself,” which made it easy to shake off any nerves. “I’m so excited (for regionals); we’re going to be on TV!”

In the fourth inning, Windham did not stop. Higgins and Caiazzo both singled. Kostopoulos singled and loaded the bases. Seventh-grader Chloe Delewski smashed a ground ball to center and two runs came in.

In the bottom of the sixth, Caiazzo was pitching, and an Ellsworth batter hit a pop fly to sixth-grader Lily Gallagher who made the catch. That was followed with a strikeout before Ellsworth got and Caiazzo recorded yet another strikeout as Windham officially earned the title of state champions.

Addison Caiazzo said the game was exciting and Windham played well as a team, but because it was a championship game, she was a little nervous. But she knew she could rely on her teammates to help out.

Anderson, who caught for Higgins and Caiazzo, said she had faith in her pitchers. Anderson was glad the team has made it this far and said it felt amazing to win a state championship. She’s excited for the next step.

“The win is a by-product of ... these kids going five days a week,” said Coach Caiazzo.  They’ve put the time, effort, and energy ... and they’ve been terrific. It’s nice because you like to be able to see the reward of the effort, that they’ve put in.”

Windham will now head to Bristol, Connecticut where they will represent Maine in the Little League Softball East Regional game against Maryland at 4 p.m. July 24. <

Windham Little League 9-10-year-old baseball All-Stars shine in District 6 tournament

Windham fifth-grader Brady Legere makes a 
throw to first base after catching a pop fly in
the top of the fifth inning of a 9-10-year-old
District 6 Tournament baseball game against
Cumberland North Yarmouth on Saturday,
July 10 at Ciccarone Field in Windham.
By Matt Pascarella

The 9-10-year-old Windham Little League All-Star baseball team played District 6 doubleheader games on July 10 against Gorham and Cumberland North Yarmouth at Ciccarone Field and turned in an impressive showing.

Windham put runs on the scoreboard early in the first game against Gorham and was able to hold onto its lead for an 8-6 win. Cumberland North Yarmouth (CNY) took a big lead in the second game, but Windham fought hard however it wasn’t able to catch up and lost, 20-8. This eliminated Windham from the tournament.    

Windham had an early lead in Game One against Gorham. In the second inning, fourth-grader Robbie Sanicola singled, then scored. Fifth-grader Hunter Pulkkinen stole home after he walked. Windham added to their lead in the fifth inning when fifth-graders Brady Legere and Carson Brown singled. Fifth-grader Joey Small doubled. Fifth-grader Ryan Manning tripled.

After grounding out and popping out earlier in the game, Manning said he needed to do something better. After his hit, he scored.

In the fifth inning of Game One, Windham fifth-grader Riley Gallagher walked, then stole second and third. Sanicola singled. The Eagles led 8-1 going into the sixth inning. Gorham just couldn’t catch up.

In Game Two, CNY had a big lead at the start of the game, but Windham had great defensive plays like pop ups caught by Legere in two separate innings. Brown caught a line drive and a pop up in two separate innings as well.

“I think our team did very well against (CNY),” said Brown. “We had some good hits. This team played better than us today.” He added he had fun during the tournament and thought it was a good experience.

Windham loaded up the bases in the fourth inning of Game Two after a couple walks and a single by Sanicola. Windham scored a few runs, but CNY maintained the lead.

“It was fun,” said Windham Assistant Coach Mike Manning. “The kids are smiling ... at the end; that’s all you could ever want as a coach.”

Windham Assistant Coach Josh Legere said the team worked very hard during the tournament.

“We tried to keep it fun for them (during the tournament) while at the same time pushing them,” said Manning. He added that made them hungrier and made them want to play for Windham.

Windham Coach Tim Gaudet said they were at a disadvantage to have two games in one day, but the kids did great for what they were dealt.

Gaudet said he’s seen a lot of progression from the team since the start of the tournament. He said the dynamics put everyone where they needed to be which contributed to the team going as far as they did.

Congratulations to Windham’s Carson Brown, Dylan Emmons, Riley Gallagher, Brady Legere, Ryan Manning, Sullivan Nappi, Hunter Pulkkinen, Cody Ruth, Robbie Sanicola, Joey Small and Justin Tom on a great tournament. <

Friday, July 9, 2021

Windham High’s spring sports playoffs memorable for victories and achievements

Windham junior Isabelle Babb powers past an 
opponent during the Class A North Regional
girls' lacrosse finals at Falmouth High
School on June 15. PHOTO BY
By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School’s 2021 spring playoff season was intense. Many of the teams did very well, with Windham athletes pushing themselves and showing just what they were made of. Windham athletes showed their opponents they are worthy competitors and will continue to be so for years to come.

Boys’ and Girls’ Outdoor Track

On Saturday, June 5 schools from all over the state gathered for the state track meet at Massabesic High School. The Windham boys placed eighth overall with a score of 37. The Windham girls placed 15th overall with a score of 14.

Senior Ethan Wert placed in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.24 seconds. In the 200-meters, he placed fourth with a time of 22.67. In the 400-meters, he placed second with a time of 49.37.

“It felt great” said Wert. He said that adrenaline played a part, and he gave it his all and surprised himself.

Senior Katelyn Smith set two new school records as she placed second in the long jump with a distance of 17-01.25 feet. In the triple jump, she placed third with a distance of 37-01.50.

“(The day was) better than I could have imagined, especially with it being my senior year ...  I just wanted to go out strong,” said Smith.

Boys’ Tennis

Windham’s boys’ tennis team beat South Portland, 3-2 at home on Tuesday, June 1 in the Class A South opening round.

In the singles matches of this game, Windham senior Lukas Hradecky won 6-1 and 6-0. Senior Gabriel McPhail won 6-4 and 6-1. Senior Devon Harnden won 6-4, 3-6 and 6-2.

Windham faced Kennebunk on the road on Thursday, June 3 where they fell 4-1 in the Class A South quarterfinal.

Girls’ Tennis

In the Class A South opening round, Windham shut out Biddeford, at home on Tuesday, June 1.

In the singles matches senior Rebecca Hammel won 6-3 and 6-3. Sophomore Grace Paiement won 6-1 and 6-0 and freshman Alyssa Conley won 6-1 and 6-0.

In the doubles matches, seniors Chloe McVetty and Nicole Snow had 6-1 and 6-0 victories. Junior Lauren DeLuca ad senior Gianna Stevens won their matches 6-2 and 6-1.

In the Class A South quarterfinal, Windham met Scarborough on the road where they fell 4-1 on Thursday, June 3.


In the Class A South play-in game, Windham beat Westbrook, 3-0 at home on Saturday, June 5. In the third inning, Windham scored the only runs of the game. Windham senior Brady Afthim threw a no-hitter through six innings and senior Cam Joyce closed the game getting the final four outs for a combined no-hitter.

On Tuesday, June 8 Windham traveled to Thornton Academy for the Class A South opening-round playoff game and lost 1-0 to the Trojans. 


Windham won the Class A South opening-round game against Westbrook 9-2, then beat Falmouth an impressive 17-0 in the quarterfinals.

Windham traveled to Biddeford on Saturday, June 12 to take on the Tigers in the Class A South semifinals. This was an impressive defensive battle with the game going scoreless for 12 innings. Windham freshmen Brook Gerry pitched the entire game. In the 13th inning, Windham junior Amanda Foss scored after sophomore Ella Wilcox’s line drive. Senior Ellen Files singled, and Wilcox scored. Biddeford tied the game in the bottom of the 13th inning and managed to push one run across the plate during the 14th inning for the win.

“We keep going until the end,” said Gerry. “We don’t ever give up; we stay strong through it all.”

Boys’ Lacrosse

Windham won the Class A North quarterfinal matchup against Portland, 8-3, and then beat Lewiston 17-3 in the semifinals.

The Class A North regional finals against Falmouth was played at Falmouth High School on Tuesday, June 15. Windham battled hard as Falmouth had an early lead. Junior Nolan Brennan put two goals on the scoreboard in the first half. In the second half, senior Derek Palow also scored two goals. So did senior Holden Anderson. Sophomore Alex Yeaton scored a goal. But after a great effort by Windham, Falmouth escaped with a 10-7 victory.

Windham Boys’ Lacrosse Coach Peter Small said that the Windham team believed in themselves and kept fighting, never letting up.

Girls’ Lacrosse

Windham crushed Cheverus in the Class A North quarterfinals, 15-1. They then kept it going, defeating Oxford Hills 20-7 in the semifinals.

The Lady Eagles fought Falmouth all the way in the regional finals, even taking an early lead when senior Emma Yale scored in the first 17 seconds. Falmouth was up 7-6 at the half before Windham came back to tie the game up at 12 and forced overtime. Falmouth scored in OT to win 13-12.

Windham Girls’ Lacrosse Coach Matt Perkins said he had a great group this season who did not quit. They worked hard, and the seniors were a great example for the younger players. <

Windham 10-12-year-old softball All-Stars win District 6 title

Windham's 10-12-year-old All-Star softball team defeated
South Portland/Falmouth 4-2 in the second game of the
District 6 championships and became the District 6 champions
on Tuesday, July 6 at the Westbrook Little ue Complex.
The champions include Coach Stephen Napolitano, Eliana
Kostopoulos, Lily Gallagher, Sarah Smyth, Chloe Delewski,
Kaylee Napolitano, Addison Caiazzo, Coach Nick Caiazzo,
Lacie Higgins, Evelyn Anderson, Kiley Card, Belle Pinto,
Ava Cole, Ashley Cloutier, Coach Ronnie Higgins and 
Evelyn Robinson. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA       
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Little League softball 10-12-year-old All-Stars had an incredible run during the District 6 tournament and even after South Portland/Falmouth forced a second game in the District 6 championship games after beating Windham 7-6 on Monday, July 5 at Westbrook Little League Complex, Windham returned to the Westbrook Little League Complex on Tuesday, July 6 and held off South Portland/Falmouth to win 4-2 and earn the District 6 championship.

In the District 6 championship, South Portland/Falmouth had to beat Windham twice in order for them to win the title. But the Lady Eagles weren’t about to let that happen. In the first game of the championships, Windham took an early lead, and was up 5-1 after the second inning. South Portland/Falmouth caught up and was able to just get by and win which forced a second game.

Sixth-grader Ava Cole, who tripled and scored in the first game of the championship series, was a little nervous to play in a second game, but also excited.

“I look at what they’ve accomplished, and it started some time ago,” said Windham Assistant Coach Stephen Napolitano. “They learned how to play competitively together, keep it fun and have composure.”

In Game Two, Windham wasted no time getting things going when sixth-grader Kaylee Napolitano singled in the first inning. Seventh-grader Lacie Higgins did the same. Seventh-grader Addison Caiazzo walked loading the bases. Fifth-grader Eliana Kostopoulos then singled, and Napolitano scored to put Windham on the scoreboard. After an error by South Portland/Falmouth, Higgins scored. After a pop up was caught, Caiazzo tagged up and crossed home plate and Windham led, 3-0.

In the third inning, South Portland/Falmouth scored two runs to narrow Windham’s lead.

"I kind of played as if it wasn’t a big game,” said Caiazzo who pitched the first half of the game. “I tried to not put that much pressure on myself or our team.”

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Higgins doubled, stole third base and then scored on a passed ball. Higgins also pitched the last couple innings for Windham.

She said she was able to take a deep breath and take it pitch-by-pitch.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Lady Eagles were one out away from a championship win. There were runners on first and second base and South Portland/Falmouth got a hit. The ball was fielded by Kaylee Napolitano who quickly got it to second baseman Sarah Smyth who was ready and got the out at second.

Smyth said she was not nervous to make the final play. “I knew that I had to be there whenever I could. I was just really excited,” she said.

Windham Coach Nick Caiazzo said that his only goal during the tournament was to create a fun experience for the kids.

“We had ... the right momentum we had a good team environment going, so it was awesome to see them move everything through,” said Windham Assistant Coach Ronnie Higgins.

After the championship game, Windham players said that it felt amazing for them to be selected as All-Stars and they worked hard to realize their potential.

Addison Caiazzo said that they’ve accomplished so much in such a small amount of time and to know they are one of the best teams in District 6 means a lot. <

Friday, July 2, 2021

Windham softball All-Stars oust Bonny Eagle in second game of district tournament

Windham sixth-grader Kaylee Napolitano bats 
against Bonny Eagle during a District 6
All-Star softball tournament game at the
Westbrook Little League Complex.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham Little League’s District 6 All-Star team played their second game of the 10-12-year-old softball tournament against Bonny Eagle on Sunday, June 27 and this one was much closer than their first game. Bonny Eagle had a 3-0 lead after three innings, but Windham battled back to win.

Windham tied the game at five in the bottom of the fifth inning when seventh-grader Chloe Delewski was patient and smart at the plate. She walked and stole her way around the diamond. Fifth-grader Eliana Kostopoulos crushed the ball for a double in the seventh inning and the 6-5 win over the Scots at the Westbrook Little League Complex.

In the bottom of the fourth, Windham put themselves on the board when sixth-grader Evelyn Anderson bunted and got on base. Next, sixth-grader Sarah Smyth singled. Anderson scored on an error by Bonny Eagle.

In the fifth inning, after Bonny Eagle bumped their lead to 5-1 Windham responded. Seventh-grader Belle Pinto was hit by the pitch. She shrugged it off and took her base. Pinto made it to second, then third on passed balls. Windham sixth-grader Kaylee Napolitano made it on base after another passed ball. Seventh-grader Lacie Higgins bunted out and Pinto scored.

Seventh-grader Addison Caiazzo walked in the fifth. Delewski stepped up to the plate and here’s where Windham turned up the heat on Bonny Eagle. After Napolitano scored, Delewski, disciplined, let four balls go by. She took her base, then quickly stole second. This brought in Caiazzo. Delewski, running fast made it to third and kept going. She beat the throw and crossed home plate. The game was tied at five.

“It felt good ... it’s like the fastest I’ve ever run in my life. It was really nice to do that in a game,” said Delewski. “I felt proud of myself because I actually did it.”

Windham held off Bonny Eagle for the last two innings with Caiazzo on the mound.

In the bottom of the seventh, Higgins and Caiazzo walked. Kostopoulos was at the plate, with two strikes against her. “I knew that ... if I hit it, we would be in good shape and we would have won the game,” said Kostopoulos. “In my head I was really nervous ...  (but) I knew that I could do it.” And she did. She doubled to left field and brought in the run needed.

Windham coach Nick Caiazzo saw a lot of determination in various players like Pinto who was hit by a pitch, Smyth who got injured and went back in the game and Delewski who played smart and let a walk turn into runs. <

Windham High senior Brady Afthim wins prestigious Winkin Award

Windham senior Brady Afthim has won
the prestigious The Winkin Award and 
is the 2021 Gatorade Maine Baseball Player
of the Year award for athletic and academic
excellence and strong character. Both awards 
recognize him as the best high school
baseball player in the state this past season.
By Matt Pascarella

Brady Afthim’s goal was like most other high school baseball players, he just wanted to win games. As he and the team went into the 2021 season, he knew there was the possibly of other teams looking down on Windham. Afthim wanted to do his part and show those teams they were wrong. And he did.

Afthim, who will play college baseball for the University of Connecticut, was presented with the most prestigious high school baseball award in the state, the Winkin Award, on June 23 at Saint Joseph’s College. Afthim also earned the title of ‘Mr. Maine Baseball’ as winner of this award.

Afthim had a fantastic season. He struck out 128 batters in 53 1/3 innings. He had an ERA of .525. Afthim’s abilities did not stop at the mound. When he was at the plate, he had a batting average of .478 and had three homeruns over the season.

The Maine Baseball Coaches Association established this award in 1992, named for University of Maine baseball coach Dr. John Winkin and is given each year to the best high school senior baseball player in the state.

Afthim said every player hopes to be recognized as the best in the state, especially in their last season. He knew he was a finalist for the award and admitted he would be lying if he said he wasn’t thinking about it, but during the season he was more focused on the game and doing his best.

“It feels great (to win the Winkin Award). I think it’s cool and hopefully I’ll be able to show it to my kids one day and tell them I could play, too.”

Afthim thinks he had a good season because, with it being his last, he was trying to have fun with the time he had left.

“Brady was very successful on the mound and at the plate,” said Windham High varsity baseball coach Cody Dube.  “He also caught which makes his success more impressive.”

This summer, Afthim will be playing for the Brockton Rox collegiate baseball team, based in Massachusetts. He said hopefully he will learn a lot from coaches and teammates. He wants to really start facing some good hitters that will push him. Afthim admitted he was a little nervous only because it’s a big step, but he’s more excited to get after it and play with the best.

His ultimate goal as a pitcher was to make it super simple and max out his potential.

“If that happens next year or three years or 15 (years), that’s all great but I just try to be the best I can,” he said.

Afthim wants to thank everyone, specifically, his family for being huge support systems and helping him along the way. Afthim would like to thank his coaches for teaching him so much, the Maine Lightning travel baseball team for putting him in a position to succeed, and all his teammates that give him a reason to be better every day. <

Tales from the Outdoors: The Brothers Four Redux

By Bob Chapin

When we last left the intrepid fishing brothers, they were planning a trip to the St Croix River System, typically referred to as Grand Lake Stream or GLS.  GLS is actually a small town about five hours north past Bangor and east on Route 9. It is also the name of the stream which connects West Grand Lake and Big Lake. 

We had reservations for three overnights in the classic Maine fishing camp widely known as Weatherby’s Fishing Resort. While the buildings show their age, they are clean and comfortable and covered with log siding. They have seen the likes of Ted Williams, Gadabout Gadis, and Lefty Krey…all famous people that have vacationed at the lodge known for its fishing, particularly out of guided canoes that were 18 to 20 feet long. While the original canoes were paddled, the more modern ones are square ended and accommodate small outboards. The Lodge sits on West Grand Lake right where Grand Lake Stream begins its 3-mile run to Big Lake. When the salmon runs are on, it is the place to be. We were there the last week of June and missed the salmon run but the stream held a good number of small mouth bass which we tricked into trying to consume a fly with minor success.

Our first full day was with guides, two brothers to a canoe, and they took us to Big Lake, aptly named as it approaches the size of Sebago, but not quite. At the crack of 9 a.m., hey we were on vacation, we launched in brilliant sunshine and crossed the calm lake to Crescent Bay. The guides were studying their mounted depth finders and were looking for a rocky ridge several hundred yards from shore. The spot looked fairly nondescript to me, but they knew what they were doing. I had brother John with me and when J.R. Mabee, the guide, was reasonably sure that we were over the ridge we launched a couple of small black and purple bass bugs with black tail feathers and white rubber legs. In less than five minutes the first of over 60 fish throughout the day was in the boat. All but four small mouth (under 12 inches) were immediately returned to the water. The smaller fish were kept for our planned shore lunch. The action was fairly steady in both canoes. The fish were all a nice chunky size and fought valiantly to defend their reputations as scrappy fish. I managed to catch the lunker bass at 19 3/4 inches, a quarter of an inch short of the 20 Incher’s Club.

The shore lunch was the highlight of the day. We had selected chicken, but the fish stole the show as J.R and Deryn Lacombe cleaned, and beer battered the fish and sliced up some potatoes and onions for cooking over the fire in light oil as the chicken broiled in racks around the fire. I always thought that freshwater bass tasted like dirt as most of what I have sampled came out of relatively warm water down Virginia way. These were delicious. We could have done without the chicken. The afternoon fishing was a repeat of the morning. We always came back to the bugs and Senko worms rigged whacky worm style. After our experiences at Big Lake, we fished the next day from shore around the dam pool, the construction pool, and parts in between on Grand Lake Stream. It was good to be back fishing with my brothers and doing classic fly fishing rather than simply dragging a streamer behind the boat. The dining at Weatherbys was superb. The current owner/operator and Master Maine Guide is Jeff McEvoy and his partner, Michelle, and they are doing a tremendous job.

After three nights there we moved a short distance down West Grand Lake shore to Leen’s Lodge for two more nights where we rented a boat and motor. After all the hype we had heard about Weatherby’s we were expecting a letdown at Leen’s. We needn’t have worried. Scott and Kris Weeks are in their 5th year of operating the lodge and they too are doing a great job. The attention to detail, especially in the kitchen, is amazing. We had prime rib you could cut with a spoon and chicken that was superb. Vegetables were chosen with care to accompany the main dish and the desserts—warm apple pie ala mode and chocolate pot du creme were delicious…we talked about bringing our wives up next trip because we know they would also enjoy it.

These kinds of trips are not inexpensive, but they are a great value, and we are not getting any younger! < 

The original Tales from the Outdoors column by Bob Chapin about “The Four Brothers” appeared in the May 14, 2021 edition of The Windham Eagle newspaper.