Friday, July 29, 2022

Windham basketball falls short in games against Scarborough

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham varsity and junior varsity summer basketball teams walked off the court with losses at Scarborough on Wednesday, July 20, but both teams put in strong efforts.

Windham varsity senior Owen Combes rises toward the
hoop at Scarborough in a summer league basketball game
against the Red Storm on Wednesday, July 20. 
The Windham varsity team had a close game to start, but Scarborough pulled ahead. Windham was able to come back within two points of tying the game in the second half, but Scarborough held them off and secured a 41-35 win.

Windham’s JV team took a lead away from Scarborough early. Windham was able to maintain that lead for the entire first half. In the second half, Scarborough turned the tables and got a 47-35 victory.


“Guys were playing hard, playing pretty well on defense,” said Windham varsity boys’ basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen. “They’re a tight-knit group and it shows on the court; they’re pretty well connected as a team.”

Pulkkinen thought it was a close battle, but sometimes the ball just doesn’t go your way.

Windham took a small but early lead in the first half.

Scarborough was not far behind. Windham fought hard and worked to be first to the ball. At the half, Scarborough led 18-11.

The second half was a different story. Windham’s determination was there and as the clock wound down, the Eagles closed the gap. Windham freshman AJ Moody hit back-to-back three-pointers and

now Scarborough only had a two-point lead.

With two minutes left in the game, Windham was down by five. A short time later, Windham trailed by two points again.

Scarborough was able to expand their lead with less than 20 seconds on the clock.

“Our team did really good,” said Moody. “Our effort was there but we didn’t move the ball enough in the second half. Our defense wasn’t really collapsing as we wanted it to be, and Scarborough just had the better offense in the second half.”

Moody said pushing the ball in transition and getting back on transition defense and offense went well.


It was a very close game early in the first half with only a couple points separating the teams. Windham pulled away. Windham had a significant lead at the half when they were up 24-14.

“We did a really good job in transition defense,” said Windham sophomore Braycen Freese who hit two three-pointers during the game. “I think we played better defense than we usually do.”

Freese said Windham struggled to find a way to get past Scarborough’s zone defense in the second half, which resulted in Scarborough taking the lead. Freese said the season has been solid and they’ve built a good foundation for the winter.

In the second half, Scarborough caught up. Windham tied the game at 27.

Scarborough pulled ahead, but a three-pointer and Windham trailed 33-32.

Unfortunately, Scarborough overtook the game and expanded their lead by 10.

“Against Scarborough’s man defense Windham did a good job of running their offense and getting good shots,” said Windham JV boys basketball coach Geoff Grigsby. “Defensively in the first half there was a ton of effort; guys did a great job of talking and identifying getting back.”

Grigsby said Windham got outworked in the second half. When Scarborough switched to zone defense it became harder for Windham, especially in the last 10 minutes. Windham worked hard but struggled to communicate. <

Windham girls’ soccer play strong games against Scarborough

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s girls’ varsity and junior varsity summer soccer teams played two very close games against Scarborough at Windham on Monday, July 25.

Windham varsity senior Abbey Thornton stays ahead of her
Scarborough opponent in a summer soccer game on Monday,
The girls’ varsity team was down 2-0 at halftime and came back in the second half to put three goals between the posts. Unfortunately, Scarborough stayed ahead to win 4-3.

Windham’s JV team was tied at 1-1 at the half and came back to outscore the Red Storm and took home a 3-2 victory.


Windham was a little slow to start in the first half, but they would find their momentum later on. Scarborough scored twice early in the game.

Windham had multiple shots at goal and was aggressive during parts of the half but not able to score.

The Windham defense stopped a couple scoring opportunities for Scarborough who led 2-0 at the half.

Yet Windham continued to take shots at goal in the second half. Windham sophomore Stella Jarvais sent the ball in the net.

Later in the game, Windham senior Abbey Thornton scored off a corner kick from Windham senior Liz Levesque.

Thornton said the team had a good connection during the game; they are close, and communication

went well. Windham’s goal in the second half was to get out there and work harder to go after the win.

Windham defense kept Scarborough’s score low. Although the Red Storm did score twice in the second half, Windham contended when sophomore Jaelyn Poitras scored later in the game.

“We connected a little bit more in the middle,” said Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel. “We started going to the ball better at times; some of the upperclassmen really stepped up and decided they were going to take over.”

Lebel said the summer season shows where the team might need work in a fun relaxed manner.


Windham pressured early but Scarborough scored. Then Windham freshman Sydney Broadbent found the back of the net.

Windham continued to move the ball well. They took several shots at goal. Windham had solid defense and communication.

The game was tied at one at the half.

Windham JV girls’ soccer coach Lisa Anderson said communication and teamwork were key in this

game because they had to play a hard defense. They had leadership from goalie to sweeper to stopper.

Anderson said the season has gone very well. A lot of the players have played together over the years, and this puts them in a good spot for the upcoming fall season.

In the second half, Windham didn’t let a momentary downpour stop their efforts. Windham kept the pressure up until the final whistle.

Scarborough scored.

Broadbent scored again, assisted by freshman Brianna Duarte.

“We played our hardest and made sure to pass-defeat instead of playing straight up the field,” said Broadbent. “We all wanted to win so we put our effort into it.”

Broadbent said passing and communication were big factors in Windham beating Scarborough.

Later on, Windham freshman Neve Ledbetter got the ball by the goalie to send Windham past the Red Storm. <

Friday, July 22, 2022

Windham players showcase talent, kindness in Shriner’s Lobster Bowl

Windham senior Nick Garrison moves quickly to get by
a defender during the annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl
Classic at Lewiston High School on Saturday, July 16.
By Matt Pascarella 

Being picked to play in the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic football game is an honor for any outgoing senior in the state. After two years of not having the traditional game, athletes from all over the state were anxious to get back on the field. Three Windham athletes, Will Ledbetter, Nick Garrison, and Tate Chork, were chosen for this game and played for the East team during the game at Lewiston High School on Saturday, July 16.

The 32nd Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic featured East versus West in a game that the West won, 40-35. Ledbetter, Garrison and Chork were chosen to play for the East after being recommended by their varsity football coach, Matt Perkins.

Windham quarterback Will Ledbetter said he couldn’t have asked for a better effort from the East team. They gave maximum effort and gave everything on the field.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children consists of 22 non-profit medical facilities across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. All net proceeds from the Lobster Bowl go to helping the children within the Shriner’s hospitals. 

According to the Maine Shriner’s Lobster Bowl website, “Since 1990, athlete fundraising missions have provided Shriner’s Children’s hospitals with net proceed donations on behalf of the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic of nearly $750,000.”

Perkins and Windham assistant coach Don Ledbetter served as part of the East team’s coaching staff for the game.

Will Ledbetter, Garrison and Chork each said it was an honor to be chosen to play in this prestigious game.

For Garrison, it was a special moment to suit up one final time. He said it was a great experience to be able to play one more game with two close friends of his and two great coaches. He’s been playing since he was little, and his dad helped him progress and instill a real love of the game. Next year he will attend Keene State College in New Hampshire and play college basketball for the school.

Chork began playing after he saw friends of his playing. He has loved the game from the very beginning. It meant a lot for him to be handpicked by his coaches and this was a valuable experience he was glad he could share with everyone. Next year Chork will attend the University of Maine.

“Those three this whole season and ever since they came to Windham High School have really worked hard to be a huge part of this program and not just the Xs and Os,” said Perkins. “As leaders and influencers in our program, they have gone above and beyond to care about everybody in this program; they’ve all had vital parts in getting us to where we are.”

Perkins said he was not at all surprised these three were chosen to play. They each are the types of kids to represent the game and what it stands for as well as the idea that you are doing something greater than yourself for other people.

“It was surreal to play in this game,” said Ledbetter. “I’ve been wanting to play in this game since I was 10 years old, and I saw my first Lobster Bowl ... I want to say thank you to my community and my teammates for making this happen for me.”

Ledbetter said his father, Don Ledbetter, introduced him to football in elementary school and since then taught him everything about the game and he’s grateful that his dad did so. Will Ledbetter will attend the University of New England in the fall.

Regardless of the winner of this game, the true winners are the children being helped by the proceeds collected by the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic. <

Wood Bat League's Windham team stages rally in seventh inning to defeat Freeport

Windham freshman Ethan Clapp throws heat in one of
the three innings he was on the mound during the final
Wood Bat League baseball game of the season against 
Freeport at Windham on Tuesday, July 19.
By Matt Pascarella 

Windham’s Wood Bat League team trailed 4-2 against Freeport going into the bottom of the seventh inning but the Eagles made up the deficit and earned a 5-4 victory in the final game of the summer season at Windham on Tuesday, July 19.

In the seventh inning, Windham freshmen Harley Hinton and Ronan Mace both walked. Then sophomore Josh Plummer walked to load the bases.

Windham junior Erik Bowen walked. Hinton scored and it’s 4-3, Freeport.

Windham was two runs away from a win. Windham senior Ethan Barker crushed a base hit and drove in the needed runs to send Freeport home with a loss.

Plummer said he had to get home no matter what in that final inning of play, even if it meant going through the catcher. Team chemistry was way better in the last inning than previously in the game.

According to Plummer, once Windham got one player on base in the last inning it gave them hope and they were able to come alive and make up those runs.

“I knew we had been battling all game and we could come back and win it,” said Bowen. “We stayed together and kept our heads up.” 

Bowen said defense was sure-handed and everyone stayed together and kept fighting until the end.

Freeport scored two runs in the first inning. 
In the fifth inning, Barker singled. Then senior Bob Wing doubled to bring in Barker, and Windham trailed, 2-1.

Freeport knocked in two more runs in the sixth inning.

Windham sophomore Cayden McCartney walked in the sixth inning. McCartney then stole his way to third after a passed ball. Shortly after, he stole home. Freeport led 4-2.

“I think it’s like team spirit; we were all like let’s just win this game,” said Windham freshman and pitcher Ethan Clapp, who pitched three innings. “I think fielding was great, Wing did really good at third base.”

Windham defense held Freeport to four runs in the top of the seventh inning.

“Our approach at the plate this game was excellent,” said Wood Bat League Windham coach Rob Hamilton. “We were looking for one pitch, we stayed selective, stayed patient. And the players that we needed to get the hits, did.”

Hamilton said Windham pitched very well and defensively made the plays they needed to make that helped them to win the game in the end. <

Friday, July 15, 2022

Windham Little League softball teams tumble in District 6 tournament

Windham All-Star softball seventh-grader Ava Cole winds
up to throw a pitch during the Majors Division District 6
tournament championship round against Bonny Eagle at 
the Westbrook Little League Complex on Wednesday, July 6.
By Matt Pascarella 

The 2022 Windham Little League Majors Division and the 8-9-10-year-old District 6 All-Star teams each had incredible tournament runs this summer, but the season is now officially over following their hard-fought elimination.

The Majors Division team fell to Bonny Eagle 6-1 and became runners-up for District 6 on Wednesday, July 6 at the Westbrook Little League Complex.

The 8-9-10-year-old All-Stars played Cumberland in New Gloucester on Wednesday, July 6 and while Windham came close, Cumberland eked out a 19-15 win. Windham out-hit their opponent 11-5 and everyone on the team contributed.


In the first inning, Windham seventh-grader Kiley Card singled. A sacrifice bunt from seventh-grader Sarah Smyth scored Card.

The game remained tied at one until the third inning when Bonny Eagle scored two runs, then another three in the fourth inning.

In the fifth inning, Windham fifth-grader Layla Pinto doubled on a fly ball to left field.

In the sixth inning, sixth-grader Eliana Kostopoulos singled. Seventh-grader Ava Cole doubled.

“They were committed from day one and their goal was to make it to the end. They never stopped giving me their best effort,” said Windham Majors Division All-Star softball coach Stephen Napolitano.

Pinto said this season has been an amazing opportunity for her to be on the All-Star team with people who bring positivity and nothing but kindness.

She said they got this far because they continued to work hard and lifted each other up when they were down.

“I think we always try our best to keep our heads up ... and battle back and keep our energy high,” said Cole. “They are probably one of the best teams I’ve ever played with.”

8-9-10 All-Stars

After a walk in the first inning, Windham fourth-grader Elsa Pearson doubled, and third-grader Brooke Legere scored. Pearson later scored.

Windham third-grader Ella Higgins tripled and then scored on a passed ball; Cumberland led 4-3.

“I had fun with the team,” said Higgins. “I learned a lot; we were able to hit the ball and run the bases good.”

In the fourth inning, Cumberland was ahead 13-7 and Windham came back. Fifth-grader Niayah Cummings singled. After two walks, Cummings scored.

Fifth-grader Gianna Lane doubled, and three runners crossed the plate. Now it’s 13-11, Cumberland.

Cumberland scored six runs in the fifth inning.

Windham continued to battle in the sixth inning when third-grader Ava Kostopoulos singled; then a walk, Lane doubled, and Kostopoulos scored.

Windham fifth-grader Madisen Vallerie tripled. Lane and fifth grader Avery Hawkins scored.

Vallerie scored on a passed ball.

Windham 8-9-10 Windham softball All-Star coach Ronnie Higgins said this was a great experience.

He said that he had excellent support from coaches Jason Elder, Megan Pearson and Ron Regula. They challenged the girls in every practice and game with something new. This group really liked the competition.

Higgins said he is looking forward to working with them as they continue playing the game. <

Windham 9-10 baseball All-Stars rally falls short in district final

Windham 9-10 baseball All-Star Jackson Zinchuk prepares
to throw to first base during a District 6 tournament game
against Gray New Gloucester at Ciccerone Field at
Lowell Farm in Windham on Wednesday, July 6. 
By Matt Pascarella 

The Windham Little League baseball 9-10-year-old All-Stars trailed 4-1 against Gray New-Gloucester as they headed into the top of the sixth and final inning on Wednesday, July 6 at Ciccerone Field at Lowell Farm in Windham during the All-Star tournament. They rallied and tied the game 4-4 before falling in the bottom of the sixth inning. GNG advanced with a 5-4 victory.

“Windham knew they had the confidence and skills to battle back,” said Windham Little League 9-10-year-old All-Star baseball coach Adam Kalakowsky. “It came down to the last play, it was tough; we were in it the whole time. It was one of those games where it could have gone either way and unfortunately it went their way.”

Kalakowsky said Windham’s pitching was strong throughout the game. Windham had a sporadic start with the bats but got it going in the last inning and the defense held GNG in check in much of the game.

“You just got to play your hardest and do your best,” said Windham fourth-grade pitcher Robbie Sanicola. He struck out five, walked one and scored a run himself against GNG. 

Sanicola said hitting in the final inning went well and the team really ramped up the intensity to tie the game. Once they started getting runs, they got fired up, he said.

Looking back on the season, Sanicola said while it may have had a rocky start, once Windham came together, their goal was to make it as far as they could.

GNG scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning in the district final.

In the top of the second inning, Windham fourth-grader Joseph Small reached first on an error and third-grader Cody Devoid was hit by a pitch. Windham third-grader Maxwell Inzerillo then singled and Small scored.

In the sixth inning, Windham third-grader Colton Kalakowsky was hit by a pitch, and Sanicola doubled. After Colton Kalakowsky scored on a passed ball, Small tripled, scoring Sanicola. Small scored on a passed ball to tie the game.

“When I hit, I don’t have anything on my mind, I just focus on ... making contact,” said Small.

He said that Windham definitely did well batting and pitching. They need to focus a bit more next year on fielding the ball. Small said everything about this tournament was fun and that he loves baseball.

Windham fourth-grader Nolan Harvie pitched the last inning and struck out one, walked one and that walk stole his way around the bases, for a very close finish at home, where he was ultimately ruled as safe by the umpire.

Coach Kalakowsky said every single one of these kids brings something different to the table and as long as they keep working hard, they’ll continue to succeed. <

Youth Soccer’s Windham 1 team comes close against Marshwood

Windham Youth Soccer Association Windham1 senior Connor
Langstaff kicks the ball toward the goal during a game against
Marshwood at Windham on Monday, July 11. 
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Youth Soccer Association Windham 1 team was down 3-1 as they were roughly halfway through the second half of their game with Marshwood on Monday, July 11 at Windham but put up a strong fight before falling, 3-2.

Windham senior Owen Weatherby rocketed the ball over the Marshwood goalie’s head and through his outstretched arms and fingers for Windham’s second goal.

While Windham fought hard to tie up the game, Marshwood was able to hold off Windham and emerge with a win.

“Today I think we talked better than usual,” said Windham senior Connor Langstaff. “Our defense and our midfield moved more as a unit; I think we were really connected today. I think we are putting things together; slowly but surely, we’ll get there.” 

At the start of the game, Windham worked hard to be first to the ball. They moved the ball well. 

Windham sophomore goalie Lucas Hammond had multiple good saves.

Windham had several shots at goal, but nothing was getting by early on.

Marshwood scored back-to-back goals in the first half.

Windham answered when junior Nick Marion knocked the ball into the back of the net. At the half, Marshwood led 2-1.

“I think overall we improved a lot,” said Marion. “We just need to mark better on defense and tighten a few things up. We had a bunch of balls over the top and we had a bunch of chances, just some of them didn’t go our way; but we were creating a lot of chances.”

Windham pressured more in the second half. Eagle defense blocked scoring opportunities for Marshwood, while Windham took several solid shots at goal.

Weatherby fired a shot into goal roughly halfway through the second half to close the gap between the teams.

Weatherby said the team chemistry is very good right now, especially since they just got a bunch of new players at the start of the season. He sees these games as a steppingstone to help prepare for the regular season in September.

Windham pressured until the end, but Marshwood was able to hold on.

WYSA Windham 1 coach Mitchell Hodge said Windham’s pressure up top was pretty good and the team focused more on finding their center midfield; they just weren’t able to distribute as well as he had hoped. Adjustments are being made and the team has a lot to process, but they are getting there. It’s a good group of kids. <

Friday, July 8, 2022

WLL Majors softball All-Stars hold off Westbrook to advance in tournament

Windham seventh-grader Kaylee Napolitano attempts to
tag out a Westbrook runner trying to steal third base in a
District 6 Majors Division All-Star softball tournament
game on Tuesday, July 5 at the Westbrook Little League
By Matt Pascarella 

It was down to the wire in this elimination District 6 All-Star Majors division softball game where both Windham and Westbrook had lost one game, but defense made the difference as Windham took a 5-1 win and continued to advance in the tournament.

Windham took a two-run lead early on. The Lady Eagle defense did not allow Westbrook to cross the plate more than once at the Westbrook Little League Complex.

After this awesome win, Windham seventh-grader Kiley Card was awarded the game MVP. Card went three for four at the plate and scored two runs.

“Going into today’s game I didn’t know I was leading off, so I got a little nervous,” said Card. “Once I got up there, I was all pumped up and I was just ready to play my game.”

Card said they all worked together to get the win. They lifted each other up. Hitting went well and her teammates made a lot of contact with the ball. 

Card tripled in the first inning. A ground out from Windham seventh-grader Sarah Smyth brought Card home.

“Our defense was phenomenal, and we got the bats going early,” said Smyth. “Right off the bat we scored runs and we locked down defense. We always just got back up; if we bobbled the ball, we stuck with it and got the outs. I knew this was a big game and we had to come out strong.”

Windham sixth-grader Eliana Kostopoulos walked, then seventh-grader Ava Cole reached first base on an error. Kostopoulos later stole home.

Westbrook scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the first inning.

After three scoreless innings, Card singled in the top of the fifth inning. Kostopoulos walked. Cole singled and Card scored.

Seventh-grader Kaylee Napolitano doubled and brought in Cole and Kostopoulos.

Napolitano said she was nervous going into this game but knew they could get the win if they tried their hardest, did their best and had a good mindset from the start. She said Windham kept their heads up all game and did well on defense.

After Windham defense shut Westbrook down in the bottom of the fifth inning, Westbrook’s final chance to score in the bottom of the sixth inning was met with three consecutive outs after a single.

Windham Little League Majors Division All-Star softball coach Gina Kostopoulos said the team won 100 percent because of their attitudes. They kept their energy high from first pitch to last pitch; they all came out to play.

She said that first big hit made a difference; getting on the scoreboard early and battling from there trying to win one inning at a time. <

Windham 8-9-10-year-old All-Stars impressive in softball tournament win

Windham fifth-grader Maddie Vallerie bunts during a District
6 Little League All-Star softball tournament game on
Wednesday, June 29 against Portland.
By Matt Pascarella

In their third game of the 8-9-10-year-old District 6 Windham Little League All-Stars tournament, Windham took a 10-run lead over Portland in the bottom of the first inning and went on to earn an impressive 18-7 win in New Gloucester on Wednesday, June 29.

Windham racked up 11 hits all together with only three strikeouts during the game.

Windham fifth-grader Audrey Libby was in the pitching circle and struck out eight, with two hits over four innings. Libby also scored three runs which included an in-the-park home run.

“We had a lot of good hits and good plays in the field,” said Libby. “The confidence in the first two innings was good.”

Libby said they got down on themselves a little but didn’t let it affect the game. She felt great to hit an in-the-park home run; she’s been taking lessons and working a lot on her at-bats.

Portland scored one run in the first inning. 

After a walk, Windham fifth-grader Niayah Cummings singled and brought in third-grader Brooke Legere to tie the game.

This inning was far from finished. Libby singled and Cummings scored. Libby stole home. Windham third-grader Ella Higgins singled.

Windham third-grader Ava Kostopoulos singled. Fifth-grader Avery Hawkins doubled; Higgins and Kostopoulos scored.

Windham fifth-grader Gianna Lane walked. Hawkins scored on a wild pitch. Lane scored.

Legere walked. Windham fourth-grader Elsa Pearson singled; Legere stole home. Cummings singled; Pearson scored.

Libby hit an in-the-park home run and Cummings scored.

Windham fifth-grader Maddie Vallerie said Libby’s good pitching and the team being controlled in where they threw the ball led to the win. They want to continue to advance in the tournament. Vallerie said passing the ball and hitting went really well.

Windham defense kept Portland scoring to a minimum when they ended the second inning with Portland runners on base after Cummings picked off a runner at second base.

In the third inning, Vallerie stopped a runner headed home.

In the bottom of the third inning, Cummings was hit by a pitch. Libby walked. Higgins was hit by a pitch and Cummings scored on a passed ball; Libby scored.

Higgins later scored on a wild pitch, then Kostopoulos, who walked earlier scored.

Portland’s last chance to turn it around was met with a strong defensive force that allowed only three runs and left runners stranded on base.

“This group is building momentum; they are having a lot of fun in being active offensively,” said Windham Little League 8-9-10-year-old All-Star softball coach Ronnie Higgins. “Audrey’s doing a really good job pitching and defensively the team is moving doing what they need to do. It’s clicking for them; the team worked really well together.” <


Tales from the Outdoors: The Ubiquitous Worms

Plastic worms are very versatile and are used by fishermen
all over the country and are able to be rigged with different
shaped weighted sinkers to get them through weedy cover
and into the 'strike zone' quickly. PHOTO BY BOB CHAPIN
By Bob Chapin 

Many fishermen have discovered the attractiveness and efficacy of using plastic worms and other swim baits for catching a whole array of fish but mostly small and large mouth bass. The manufacturers of plastic worms, grubs, salamanders and jig bodies have responded to this demand and today there is a bewildering selection of bait shapes and sizes designed to meet your every need.

If you want to use a worm, for example, you can buy one from about 2 inches to 12 inches in just about any color of the rainbow, with or without glitters. First, they made them to look like the real thing, then they added metallic flakes for more sparkle, then they added colors like watermelon, or motor oil or any number of other concoctions. Then they changed the shape to be thicker on one end and tapered the tail to be thinner and flatter then curled it so it fluttered tantalizingly as it fell through the water column.

They are remarkably versatile and soon we had standard ways to rig them often pioneered by fishermen in various parts of the country, so you have Texas rigged, and Carolina rigged with different shaped weighted sinkers, sliding or fixed, designed to get them through weedy cover and into the “strike zone” sooner.

Then they lost the weights altogether and started hooking them in the middle called the “Whacky worm” where both ends of the worm wiggled with just a slight pull on the line. These were either hooked through the worm body with a large 1/0 -5/0 bass hook or strung through a O-ring washer or an electrical tie.

These last two techniques allowed the worm to stay on the hook longer and resulted in fewer lost worms. Now Berkley Power Baits has come up with a water-soluble polymer that they inject with flavors the fish might like, say crawfish. The bait oozes the flavor in a concentrated squirt when a bass inhales such an offering.

The theory is that the sensors, they have on their tongues and lips, tell them right away, estimated at .2 seconds, whether what they just slurped in is food or not. If not, they can eject it from their mouths just as quickly before the fisherman can detect he has a bite and react with a vicious pull on the line setting the hook.

How you feel about these technological advantages, which tip the scales in favor of the fisherman, depends on whose side you are on.

The ethics of such refinements designed to overcome the natural defense mechanisms of your quarry certainly are open for debate.

What is not up for question though is the fact that thousands of plastic baits, but worms in particular, eventually fall off or are ripped off the hooks due to casting pressures, underwater obstructions, multiple fish bites, or simply old age as these worms often sit for long periods of time in the bottom of tackle boxes, sometimes in sealed plastic bags, sometime not and they deteriorate.

Sometimes they react chemically with the plastic your tackle box is made of and melt or stick to it making it useless. I think you can see where such a worm is likely to end up…yup, tossed overboard and therein lies the problem.

Plastic baits free to settle to the bottom detached from your line do not stop fishing because they are not attached to anyone’s line. They settle onto the substrate and start to expand. The material they are made of begins to absorb water. Many times, these loose worms get vacuumed up by fish without anyone there to reel them in.

Sometimes they are able to regurgitate the worm if they detect something is wrong early enough, but usually not. They are not able to pass the worm through their digestive tract and out as feces. When that happens, the worm expands four to five times its original size. A 6-inch by ¼-inch worm quickly turns into an 8- to 10-inch worm and quadruples in width filling the stomach cavity of the fish.

The fish thinks it is full and stops eating. You can guess what happens then. They get no nourishment from the worm in their gut, but it takes up the space normally reserved for bugs, minnows, larvae, and other protein rich foods that allow them to grow and stay healthy.

There have been many attempts to force the manufacturers of plastic baits to come up with a bio-degradable alternative with little success. In short, the reason is money.

Manufacturers such as Mann, Gulp, YUM, and Berkley sell billions of worms a year. Most serious bass fishermen will have multiple bags of six to 12 worms each in their tackle boxes as a hedge against not having the right color, size, shape, and now flavor, when the bite is on.

Most of these are priced anywhere from $5 to $12 each. Next time you pick up a fishing magazine look closer at the lunker being held up by the lucky angler.

Chances are it will have a plastic worm hanging out of the corner of its mouth. If it were only the bass eating the runaway worms maybe I could forgive the fishermen losing control of their worms, but it is not.

Of the dozen or so brook trout I caught through the ice this past winter and kept for the table, clearly 20 to 25 percent of them had some plastic bait in their stomachs. The only way this is going to get better is if fishermen put their feet down and demand a bio-degradable alternative from the manufacturers, it can’t be that hard. It worked with small lead weights and waterfowl because the audience was larger than the fishing public and it can work here. <

Friday, July 1, 2022

Windham softball All-Stars start tourney with shutout win

By Matt Pascarella 

Windham's Evelyn Robinson bats during a Majors Division
All-Star tournament softball game against Portland at
the Westbrook Little League Complex on June 22.

The 2022 Windham Little League Majors Division All-Stars team began the Division 6 tournament with a huge 11-0 win over Portland at the Westbrook Little League Complex on Wednesday, June 22.

Windham scored six runs in the first inning and put five more across home plate in the third inning. Portland was given one more chance to come back, but the Windham defense was too powerful, and ended the game early after three and a half innings.

Seventh-grader Ava Cole pitched a very strong game denying Portland any hits. She struck out nine batters and walked none.

Windham Majors Division All-Star softball coach Stephen Napolitano said the team had put in a fantastic effort and came ready to play. He said their pitching was outstanding, and so was Windham’s base running and defense. 

In the first inning, Windham’s defense started strong and ended the inning with runners on base. 

In the bottom of the first inning, Windham seventh-grader Kaylee Napolitano reached base on a dropped third strike. She stole her way around the bases and scored.

Cole then reached on a dropped third strike. Sixth-grader Eliana Kostopoulos singled to center field and Cole scored. Seventh-grader Evelyn Anderson singled and Kostopoulos scored.

Windham seventh-graders Kiley Card and Lily Gallagher then singled. Card later scored and Gallagher also scored.

The Windham defense hardly wavered. Cole struck out three batters in the top of the second inning. Portland grounded out three consecutive times in the top of the third inning and had a fly out and two strikeouts in the top of the fourth inning.

Cole said she was nervous going in, but as soon as the first inning was over that nervousness was gone. She knew Windham had to keep their heads up and try their best.

In the third inning, Anderson walked, Card singled, and Anderson scored. Gallagher singled. Windham seventh-grader Jaden Kennedy walked loading the bases.

Windham fifth-grader Layla Pinto then grounded into a fielder’s choice with the bases still loaded.

Windham seventh-grader Sarah Smyth hit a grounder and reached first base as Gallagher and Kennedy scored. Pinto stole home and Napolitano singled, scoring Smyth.

Kaylee Napolitano said that going into the game, she simply wanted to do her best. She was trying to adjust to the pitcher and that the team had good energy. Her hit in the third inning was decent and helped her mindset.

Cole was named MVP for the game and said it felt awesome to get that recognition. <

Windham senior Murphy to play college volleyball

By Matt Pascarella

Windham senior Sam Murphy began playing volleyball in eighth grade. She fell in love with the sport because of the people. She had tried other sports, but volleyball had a positive team aspect that she really enjoyed.

Amy Powers, left, Windham High senior Sam Murphy, and 
Michael Murphy smile after Sam Murphy signs a college
letter of intent on June 8 to attend Wentworth Institute
of Technology and major in industrial design while
playing college volleyball for Wentworth.
Now that love for the sport is taking her to the next level as Murphy signed a letter of intent at Windham High School on Wednesday, June 8 to play volleyball at Wentworth Institute of Technology this fall where she will major in industrial design.

One requirement for a student to have a letter of intent signing at Windham High School is to be someone with good character. This describes Murphy very well.

“Sam is a great teammate because no matter what she’s always helping us out and always brings good spirits,” said Windham sophomore and teammate Lilly McLean.

McLean said Murphy is always willing to drop what she’s doing if a teammate needs help.

It took a lot of hard work for Murphy to get to this point. She has a lot going on in her life and is very busy, but always puts volleyball first. All the hard work made it worth it for Murphy. She likes being around the people.

It felt great for Murphy to sign her letter of intent; it was really nice for her to make everything official.

Murphy played club volleyball her freshman, sophomore and senior years. She made varsity her junior year and was a varsity team captain her senior year.

“She’s very selfless, she’s very giving,” said Windham varsity coach Chuck Fleck. “She’s helped her teammates out whenever possible. Off the court, on the court, it didn’t matter. She's just a natural leader, very caring, very empathetic and I know she's going to do great.”

Her advice to underclassmen who want to follow in her footsteps is to just go for it. Make sure you are mentally prepared to play the sport. This is a sport that if you want it, you can have it. Murphy said working hard to get better has nothing to do with your physical skill; it has to do with how good a teammate you are.

Murphy says she would like to thank her parents for supporting her and helping her prioritize things. She wants to give a big thanks to Coach Fleck for taking over Windham High School’s varsity volleyball program when they needed him and for being supportive in both their skills and mindsets.

She also would like to give a big thanks to her team, they are like family. And to Mr. Drummond who worked hard to make her signing happen; she’s very appreciative. She would also like to thank her art teachers, Mr. Bell and Mr. McLaughlin, for being there to listen to her and letting her know it’s not a scary thing to go into an art field. She would like to thank her counselor Ms. Wayne for being there to listen, too.

Murphy said that she is really excited to start the next chapter of her life and wants to thank everyone who’s ever been in it, because it got her to this point. <

Little League 9–10 baseball All-Stars hold off Bonny Eagle

Windham 9-10 All-Star Jackson Zinchuk gets a good swing at
the ball, driving it to the outfield during a Little League
baseball All-Star tournament game against Bonny Eagle at
Ciccerone Field at Lowell Farm on Tuesday, June 28.
By Matt Pascarella 

The Windham Little League baseball 9–10-year-old All-Stars defeated the Bonny Eagle Scots 15-13 at Ciccerone Field at Lowell Farm in Windham during the All-Star tournament.

Windham took control of the game in the second inning when they knocked in five runs to lead Bonny Eagle 6-1. From that point on, these Windham All-Stars scored multiple runs to widen the gap between them and the Scots.

Bonny Eagle wasn’t far behind Windham and may have caught them had it not been for Windham’s top-notch defense and pitching.

“We executed everything that they went over in practice for the last two weeks,” said Windham 9-10-year-old Little League All-Stars baseball coach Stephen DePaolo II. “We made a lot of mistakes first game; we didn’t make those mistakes today. We hit well, we helped each other out, we were talking in the field. Awesome effort by them all.”

Bonny Eagle scored a run in the first inning.

Windham fourth-grader Steven Depaolo III singled and stole his way around the diamond to tie up the game in the first inning.

Fourth-grader Joseph Small later singled.

“It’s a first win ... I feel like we did a really good job,” said Small. “Pitching, fielding and hitting all went well.”

Small said they are going to try their best to win a lot more games.

In the bottom of the second inning, Windham fourth-grader Robbie Sanicola doubled. Third-grader Nolan Works singled; Sanicola scored.

Windham third-grader Maxwell Inzerillo singled and brought in Works. Depaolo III singled and Inzerillo scored. Depaolo III stole home.

Windham fourth-grader Nolan Harvie walked. So did third-grader Colton Kalakowsky. Harvie scored.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Windham led 10-7. After a walk, Windham third-grader Cody Devoid singled. Inzerillo singled and third-grader Jackson Zinchuk scored.

Harvie doubled and Devoid scored. Kalakowsky doubled and Inzerillo scored. Harvie later crossed the plate. Windham led 14-7.

With time almost up for the Scots, Bonny Eagle put four funs on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning.

Windham scored one more run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Sanicola singled and Zinchuk brought him home.

In the top of the sixth inning, Windham defense held down Bonny Eagle. Windham’s Inzerillo was on the mound and got the first strikeout after a single from the Scots. Another single and Bonny Eagle scored.

A ground out and the Eagles were one out away from a win. Bonny Eagle singled, and a run scored.

A pop-up to center field and DePaolo III is there with an open glove to make the catch.

Depaolo III said he was a little nervous going into the game but once he got his first hit those nerves went away. <