Friday, July 12, 2024

Gerry savors Miss Maine Softball honor following stellar high school career

By Matt Pascarella

Over the course of her four years as a Windham High School athlete, graduate Brooke Gerry accomplished a lot. She helped lead her varsity softball team to their first state championship in 2023, she’s a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year, and has achieved 500 strikeouts, among many other accolades. On Tuesday, June 18 at Saint Joseph’s College, Gerry was named 2024 Miss Maine Softball, the top honor for a prep softball player in the state. She will attend the University of Rhode Island to major in Kinesiology and plans to become an athletic trainer or a sports medicine physician.

Windham graduate Brooke Gerry winds up to pitch on Friday,
May 24 against Cheverus at Windham High School in the 
final regular season softball game. Before the Class A and
Class B All-Star senior game at Saint Joseph's College,
Gerry was honored as this year's recipient of the Miss
Maine Softball award. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
“I feel so grateful and honored to be named Miss Maine Softball,” said Gerry. “I've worked extremely hard to get where I am and I'm appreciative that the committee awarded me for my hard work and dedication to my craft.”

The Miss Maine Softball honor is chosen each year by the Maine High School Softball Coaches Association and Edge Academy, a softball facility in Portland. It is awarded to the best senior softball player for this award. When statistics were compared from her regular senior season, Gerry’s numbers were consistent. She can compete both offensively and defensively.

Over the course of her entire senior season, including the playoffs, Gerry allowed only 23 hits. She had 149 strikeouts. At the plate, she batted .533 with 32 hits and 22 RBIs.

When Gerry looks back over the last four years, she realizes how much she’s had to grow and how much she’s learned through overcoming adversity. The challenges she faced made her stronger. She kept moving past obstacles in order to achieve her goals and she played within herself and with class. Gerry says that she is very proud of what she’s accomplished.

At the age of 4, Gerry began playing softball and by age 6 was pitching. Softball has always been a big part of her life and the relationships she’s made and the dedication to her teams have kept her going. She was able to play alongside her sister, for her mother, and with her best friend Ella Wilcox. Gerry was also coached by Fred Wilcox who believed in her and taught her so many life lessons; all this made Gerry love the game more.

“Beyond playing in the strongest division in the state – Southern Maine Activities Association, Class A, Brooke is easily one of the hardest working players I have ever coached,” said Windham varsity softball coach Darcey Gardiner. “Any chance to get extra repetitions she takes, any chance to pitch to an extra batter in practice, she doesn’t hesitate. Brooke truly goes into every practice wanting to get better and that work shows in a game no matter what she is doing.”

Another thing that keeps Gerry going is the younger players that aspire to be just like her. She’s driven to be a good role model and to give back to the game that has given her so much throughout her career. When she’s down, she looks up and sees all of the younger players cheering her on and it instantly makes her push through. She’s given lessons and helped out with clinics and a summer camp for younger athletes.

“Through these I have been able to make unforgettable relationships with all of them,” said Gerry. “I try to make lasting relationships with these athletes and explain to them how I was just like them when I was younger; hoping it will inspire them to work hard and continue with the game.”

She attributes her successes to her hard work and dedication along with the support from her friends and family. There are a lot of people in her corner. She also wants to thank the people who wanted her to fail, because that lit a fire inside her and drove her to up her game.

“It's time to prove myself as a player and show that I'm ready for the next level,” said Gerry. “College softball is a different platform and I have to work that much harder to earn time in the circle.”

Gerry will play college softball for the University of Rhode Island starting this fall.

She plans to give back by giving lessons and eventually coaching softball in the coming years.

“Brooke is deserving of Miss Maine Softball because this award reminds me of dedication and the ability to strive for greatness and that’s what I think Brooke did throughout her entire softball career,” said teammate and Windham senior Stella Jarvais. “She has left a name for herself in the state of Maine for her career. She was able to go above and beyond just the game of softball by also positively impacting younger communities by all that she has achieved.” <

Windham I girls’ soccer upsets Freeport in substantial victory

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s girls’ summer soccer team, known as Windham I, and made up of returning varsity players, played Freeport in a mid-season game at Windham High School on Monday, July 8. Windham was an incredibly cohesive unit and dominated the field to shut out Freeport, 6-0.

Windham junior Myla Vercoe looks to pass on Monday, 
July 8 during a summer soccer game against Freeport at
Windham High School. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
“I think that the team’s communication and how well we connected our passing tonight helped us a lot,” said Windham junior Marley Jarvais, who scored three of Windham’s six goals. “Every game this summer we’ve managed to do a very good job at those two things, and I think that’s what is helping us out with scoring a lot. The bond we all have with each other off the field as a team helps us so much when we step onto the field.”

The goal of the summer soccer season is to come together and play as a group, it helps identify leaders among the team and allows athletes to play a variety of positions before preseason starts. The team is able to bond and really get to know one another. It’s a laid-back atmosphere and while winning is nice, the goal is for athletes to improve themselves.

Despite the heat, Windham kept up their intensity for two halves. 55 seconds into the first half, Jarvais scored. A short time later, she launched a ball that found the back of the net.

Windham moved the ball well, communicated and had rock solid defense, which limited Freeport’s chances significantly. The Lady Eagles commanded the field with multiple shots on goal and led 2-0 at the half.

“Our chemistry is definitely getting a lot better, especially as a team,” said Windham junior Myla Vercoe, who scored in the second half. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which really helps on the field with who can do what and having trust in our team with who can finish and make those goals. I’ve benefited [from playing summer soccer] a lot from becoming more self-confident ... through obviously practice and getting a lot closer with the team it’s made me go out of my comfort zone and try new things and get new skills. I’m really excited for this upcoming season because we work so well together.”

According to Jarvais, playing summer soccer helps her get extra touches on the ball and try new stuff before fall begins. It also gives her the opportunity to see how her opponents may play before the regular season starts.

In the second half, Windham kept the pressure on Freeport. They had multiple shots on goal early on and remained a strong team. Jarvais and Vercoe both scored; freshman Emily Wardwell followed, and sophomore Isabella Vassoler knocked one in.

“We’re off to a great start,” said Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel. “I feel like kid’s dedication ... they’re trying things in the summer that they’re afraid to do in the regular season. Here we’re like ‘make all the mistakes you want,’ and it’s really taken their game to another level. Tonight, we saw kids all over the place ... and that was fun to see. Our bench is going to be pretty strong this year. We’re looking forward to the fall. Our switching fields went really well tonight; we’re learning to not take those outside shots right at the goalie, we’re putting them more on the six to give our teammates the opportunity to score rather than kicking it right to the goalie. A lot of Windham players have played together for a while, so they are communicating really well.” <

Friday, July 5, 2024

Windham graduate Marion to play soccer for Saint Joseph’s College

By Matt Pascarella

Windham graduate Nick Marion started playing soccer at age five; it was his grandmother who helped him choose this sport. He first tried T-ball and didn’t like it, so he began playing soccer. He was instantly in love with the game and likes playing as much as possible. Marion scored 33 goals this year, which is the second-best season-goal record in Class A history.  In the fall, he will attend Saint Joseph’s College where he will major in political science, while also playing soccer. Marion would like to go to law school after college.

Windham High graduate Nick Marion, center,
is joined by his mother Lisa O'Reilly and
stepfather Kevin O'Reilly after signing a
letter of intent to attend Saint Joseph's
College where he will play soccer. 
PHOTO BY KAREN BURNETT
“Not everyone gets this opportunity,” said Marion. “I feel honored and blessed to be able to keep playing. I’m very thankful to my family and friends who helped me get here.”

In addition to this achievement, the United Soccer Coaches chose Marion as 2023 Fall Boys High School All-America Team – Windham High School’s first All-American player. Three students were picked from Maine to receive this honor and Marion was one of them; he thanks his family and teammates for being able to accomplish this.

This year, Marion was Offensive Player of the Year for the Southern Maine Activities Association, Portland Press Player of the Year and Class A Player of the Year, just to name a few of his accolades.

“He’s going to bring a lot to Saint Joseph’s College,” said Windham graduate and teammate Owen Dakin who will be attending University of Maine Farmington in the fall. “He’ll be passionate with the team, bring a lot of team chemistry and bring the team together. Just all around-great athlete; he’s great in school, I bet he’ll be helping his classmates with work. He’s always that nice person, you can go to him with anything. He just wanted the [Windham] team to be the best they could, and he pretty much did whatever he could to make them better. It’s really great to see.”

Marion chose Saint Joseph’s College because he loved the school, he liked the location, and he liked the soccer team. It had everything he was looking for.

Throughout his athletic career, Windham Athletics taught him a lot that he’ll be able to bring with him when he plays collegiately; one thing is perseverance. Although during his time on Windham’s varsity boys’ soccer team they never won a state championship, they learned something every year which they could carry forward to the next season to make that season more successful. Not giving up made them stronger players.

“So well deserved for you; everything that I think you want in a student athlete, Nick exemplifies,” said Windham varsity boys’ soccer coach Jeff Neal. “Tireless worker, fierce competitor, but his humility is one of his greatest traits – and something that is totally admirable. He is a young man that doesn’t like to be on the sidelines; loves the opportunity to be useful and helpful in any way that he could. When you take him off the pitch, he is so quick to deflect the praise on his teammates and he did it all season long, he did that with the press ... which is a hard thing for a young man to do; you represented yourself well you came across as a class act, which is no surprise to me. The other thing I asked of Nick was could he come and do stuff with the younger players in the community and he always did. That role model for younger players is huge.”

If there is one piece of advice Marion would like to pass down to underclassmen, or anyone looking to accomplish what he has, it’s to believe in yourself – everyone can work hard if they want to, and good things will come from that.

Marion would like to thank Coach Neal, Coach Dubay, Coach Hodge, Coach Graves, Saint Joseph’s College mens’ soccer Coach Pike, and his family and friends. They have all been instrumental in his success. <

Windham 10/11 All-Stars rally in final inning to avoid shutout

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Little League 10/11 All-Stars baseball team played Falmouth in Scarborough on Friday, June 28 and after a rough first inning gave Falmouth a big lead. Windham came back in the last inning to put a couple runs on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, Windham suffered its second loss and was eliminated from the District 6 tournament, with Falmouth winning, 18-2.

Windham 10/11 All-Star fifth grader CJ Bisson throws to
the infield after fielding the ball during a Little League
District 6 tournament game against Falmouth on
Friday, June 28 in Scarborough.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
“I think on that last inning the team had like a pump-up boost and everyone was on,” said Windham fourth grader Nathaniel Potter. “We just did great all in all and it was a great experience to be in an inning that we were doing good. It was really fun to play on a team where it’s mostly Majors players and you got me and another kid and we’re learning from the Majors kids and being able to start alongside them was a great experience. Little League’s not just all about winning, it’s about improving yourself and becoming a better baseball player.”

A rough first inning gave Falmouth the opportunity to score several runs, but Windham kept their heads up and made improvements every inning after that.

In the second inning, Windham fourth grader Dominic Rathbone singled, but was left on base when the inning ended.

In the third inning Windham gave a solid final push.

“I could tell they really wanted to put something together in the last inning,” said Windham 10/11 All-Stars baseball coach John Cressey. “It was great to see the effort and the mental aspect of it come back around again. They cheered each other on, and it was a proud moment to be able to say this was the team that we put together, and we battled together as a team. They started communicating better in the field in that last inning. They watched the pitches and made sure they weren’t swinging at bad pitches, and it developed into a couple runs and they were excited. They were really happy to get rid of the goose egg and put a couple runs across the board. They started realizing they needed to get to the ball a little bit quicker and keep the kids on the bases and then they started building off that momentum. I’m really proud of the progress these kids made.”

Windham fourth grader Byron Dansereau reached first base after a dropped third strike. Potter walked, then stole second base. Fifth grader Wesson LeDuc walked, Dansereau scored and now Potter is on third base. Fifth grader CJ Bisson walked; LeDuc artfully stole second base. Potter stole home.

“It was very exciting to score because my whole team was congratulating me,” said Dansereau. “My team was talking more, and we did some good plays and we played smart.”

Dansereau had fun this season and will play again next year.

“On the mound, it was fun; it was exciting,” said LeDuc who closed out the game. “It was a little stressful because I had a feeling it was probably going to be the last inning. I tried my hardest to throw strikes. It’s an energetic team and we try to build each other up. For the few that got on base we did pretty good, we were smart, we were fast and then fielding we had a couple errors, but the rest were really good plays; we had some good hits. My takeaway from this season is to be a good teammate, and just practice and get better.” <

WLL’s 9/10 All-Star softball drops hard-fought game to Gorham

By Matt Pascarella

A total of 12 teams entered the annual District 6 softball tournament for 9/10-year-olds and Windham’s All-Stars made it all the way to the district’s final four before their season ended on Monday, July 1 in Gorham. Looking to advance further in the tournament, Windham worked hard at it, but Gorham prevailed, 12-2.

Windham fifth grader Avary Caiazzo bats during a Little
League District 6 All-Star softball tournament game
against Gorham on Monday, July 1.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
Windham’s successful season included an 8-6 win over Cumberland North Yarmouth, a close 4-3 loss to Falmouth, and a big 12-2 win over Scarborough.

“I try to get them to think about little battles within the big game. It was a good ... crowd,” said Windham 9/10 All-Star coach Nick Caiazzo. “You embrace the big crowd and let them know a lot of those people are here to watch you guys play. Now you’re down to the final four – they’re all here to watch us and we’re good softball players. Improvement, in just the concept of the game of softball in all of them coming from Minors player-pitch to what we call ‘real softball’, all of them got exposed to so much.”

In the third inning, after a couple walks, a groundout brought Windham fifth grader Quinn Couture home with her team’s first run of the game.

In the fourth inning, Windham fifth grader Brooke Legere stole home after fifth grader Avary Caiazzo walked.

Legere also pitched for Windham and had eight strikeouts.

“I’m proud of every girl and I cherish and will remember every moment I had with them,” said Avary Caiazzo. “I loved that we stayed at it and never gave up; I think we could have had a better ... attitude, but overall, we did amazing and grateful for the times we got to play. Basically, everyone did great in their spots.”

According to Windham fifth grader Lily Nickel, she thought they did great as a team, and they worked hard to get to this point. She said she’s really proud of her team and they had great practices and had fun while they did it. <

Friday, June 28, 2024

WLL 11/12 All-Stars baseball narrowly falls to Cape Elizabeth

By Matt Pascarella

It was a defensive pitching battle for Windham Little League’s All-Star 11/12 baseball team at the Westbrook Little League Complex on Saturday, June 22 in the first game of the All-Star season against Cape Elizabeth, where Cape narrowly edged Windham, 1-0, after a home run put them on the scoreboard.

Windham Little League 11/12 All-Star seventh grader Joey
Somma makes a throw to first base after fielding a ball
in a game against Cape Elizabeth at the Westbrook Little
League Complex on Saturday, June 22.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
“It was a pitcher’s duel,” said Windham All-Star 11/12 coach Adam Kalakowsky. “We needed to get our bats going and we couldn’t; their pitcher did a great job. Our pitchers did a wonderful job, we’re going to try to rebound ... and play hard. Players were in position, they were doing the things we asked; a few mental errors, but with a tight game we kept it close, we made the plays in the field. Just that one homerun, that’s all it was. If we can just keep going, I think we’ll be successful. We have to score some runs, that was clearly our weakness today.”

Windham sixth grader Eli Souther began on the mound where he struck out five batters. Windham fifth grader Bronson Bassett took over in the third inning and struck out six batters.

Windham kept Cape Elizabeth scoreless in the first inning. Cape Elizabeth’s defense was just as tough as Windham’s.

In the second inning, a homerun put Cape Elizabeth in the lead. Windham’s strong defense wouldn’t allow them any further runs, even when it got tough.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, a walk and a single by Cape Elizabeth put two runners in scoring positions. Bassett was on the mound and struck out the next three batters to shut Cape Elizabeth down and leave their runners on base.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure, but I just cleared my mind,” said Bassett. “I let go of everything and it was just me and the catcher, and I was just pitching my way. Even though we got the “L,” it’s not a blowout, it’s 1-0. The one thing we’ve got to do better is getting the ball on the bat. We got a whole [other] game. Great job at fielding ... but I do think we need to work on hitting – overall I think we did good.”

Windham gave a solid effort in the sixth inning but couldn’t get around the diamond.

“We did really good on pitching,” said Windham seventh grader Joey Somma. “I feel like we could get better at our attitudes while pitching, like that homerun was just 1-0, nobody needs to hang their head or do anything to not be positive – we have another chance. Our plays in the infield, our pitching and how we battled at the plate went well.” <

Casserly brother-sister athletes savor state championship weekend

By Matt Pascarella

Windham residents and Saint Dominic’s senior Tommy Casserly and North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) sophomore Cami Casserly each had a stellar weekend on Saturday, June 15. The siblings played respectively in Class D state baseball and softball championships at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham where both teams were victorious.

North Yarmouth Academy
sophomore and Windham
resident Cami Casserly, left,
and Saint Dominic's senior
Tommy Casserly gather after
the Class D South Regionals
on Tuesday, June 11 at Saint
Joseph's College. Both Cami's
softball team and Tommy's
baseball team would each win
their respective state
championships.
PHOTO BY
MELISSA CASSERLY  
Tommy Casserly won his third straight baseball state championship with Saint Dominic’s 9-1 victory in the title game over Millinocket’s Stearns High School. On the same day Cami Casserly helped NYA win its second straight championship with a 2-1 win over Penobscot Valley. Tommy Casserly doubled in the third inning and drove in two runs in the championship baseball game while Cami Casserly singled in the sixth inning and brought in the tiebreaking run in the softball championship game.

“This was my last season in high school sports, and I wanted it to be memorable,” said Tommy Casserly. “Not only did we win the third state championship, but I also managed to have the best few games of my life leading up to that game. I kept playing to the best of my ability and I’m proud of how I did. I’m glad that my high school career ended on a such a high.”

Both Tommy and Cami Casserly began playing sports when they were in elementary school in the Windham Little League.

Tommy Casserly says having fun was the most important part for him and he is glad to have had the opportunity to bat and play in the field with friends, and that’s why he loves the game. Cami Casserly watched her two older brothers who were her role models and they got her interested in playing softball. She says that some of her best friendships have come from softball.

“It was a great feeling,” said Cami Casserly about winning the state championship. “I am really proud of my team, a lot of us are hockey players, not softball players, so to show that NYA softball can win two state championships is a great feeling to bring to our school.”

Saint Dominic’s baseball team ended the season 18-2.

“The thing we don’t have that most teams we face do is a weakness,” said Tommy Casserly. “Everyone on our team can hit the ball and everyone can field, it never matters who’s up to bat because we know that if we’re playing our game then we will get on base and we will score. I think we’re good at handling the pressure of a state championship and we knew that if we played our best, we’d win the game.”

NYA’s softball team finished with a record of 19-1.

“I think we have strong leaders in are senior captains,” said Cami Casserly. “They are great at keeping our team focused and on task. Honestly, with our great pitcher Lily, and our solid batting lineup all around, we are pretty good competitors in the high school league, especially in Class D.”

According to Tommy Casserly, knowing his sister won her second state championship was awesome, and when he learned how well she played in the title game, it made it much better for him. He’s proud of the way she played and knows she’s an amazing athlete who can only improve as time goes on.

Next year, Tommy Casserly will attend Nichols College in Massachusetts where he plans to major in communications and play club hockey.

Cami Casserly got the chance to watch her brother play in the state championship game.

“I got to watch most of his game before I had to warmup,” said Cami Casserly. “Some of my teammates and I snuck away during some downtime and got to watch the final out when he became a state champion for the third time. I was very proud of him and was happy because I knew how important this game was for him as a senior. I think it shows we both are good athletes and hard workers. And we have been lucky to be on talented teams with great coaches.”

Cami Casserly says she’s excited to be able to play two more years of high school softball.

“I am very grateful they each had such talented and positive teams to play on,” said Tommy and Cami’s mother, Melissa Casserly. “Both Tommy and Cami are great teammates, and great athletes. They love sports for the thrill of competing, but also the friendships they have made. Cami is competitive and able to remain calm when the game is on the line. Tommy is competitive and can remain calm under pressure. He is a good leader, encouraging his team to keep fighting.” <

Windham 11/12 softball All-Stars close out ‘amazing season’

By Matt Pascarella

Windham Little League’s 11-12-year-old All-Star softball team had a close game with Yarmouth in their inaugural game of the double elimination All-Star tournament but fell, 5-4, at the Westbrook Little League Complex on Friday, June 14.

Windham fifth grader Ava Kostopoulos high fives with first
base coach Deanna McLean after getting on base during the 
11/12 All-Star softball game against Cumberland North
Yarmouth at the Westbrook Little League Complex on
Tuesday, June 25. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
Windham played Cumberland North Yarmouth on Tuesday, June 25 at the Westbrook Little League complex. After a strong effort by Windham, Cumberland North Yarmouth advanced with a 12-2 win.

Windham seventh grader Courtney Cotter scored in the first inning.

In the fourth inning, Cotter, Windham seventh graders Peyton McLean and Lydia York laid down good bunts. The girls did a good job backing up plays. Windham seventh grader Madi Valliere had an incredible bare-handed catch behind the plate.

In the fifth inning, Valliere scored with bases loaded when fifth grader Ava Kostopoulos walked.

Windham pitcher and fifth grader Bella Westcott had six strikeouts.

“Even if you mess up ... you have to forgot about what you made a mistake on and keep moving forward,” said Cotter. “I think we did excellent bonding, and we were just an amazing team overall. We were able to help each other when we were sad, we wouldn’t let anybody ... sit on the bench, we were all up there screaming our butts off and had an amazing season.”

According to Windham head coach Gina Kostopoulos, the girls showed a lot of heart. Despite the scoreboard they battled; they kept their energy level high the whole game. The girls showed up for each other; even after losses, they went around, and said something great their teammates did. They had great plays, regardless of the outcome – the score is not an accurate reflection of them as players.

The coach said there’s much more to come from these talented individuals. <

Friday, June 21, 2024

‘Driven to Win’ documentary film perfectly encapsulates WHS boys’ basketball’s state championship season

By Matt Pascarella

2022 Windham graduate Cole Washburn was with the 2023-2024 Windham varsity boys’ basketball team through much of their journey to become the first-ever Windham team to win a state championship. Washburn captured many of those key moments and coupled with interviews, created “Driven to Win,” a documentary that was shown at Windham High School on Friday, June 14. The team also received their championship rings on that night.

Windham High graduate Cole Washburn created
a documentary 'Driven to Win' chronicling 
Windham's successful boys' basketball team
as they won its first-ever state championship
during the 2023-2024 season. The documentary
was shown at Windham High School on
Friday, June 14.
IMAGE BY CAMDEN STREIFEL     
“It brought me right back to the moments; it was really special,” said Windham senior Erik Bowen. “Cole knocked it out of the park he did such an amazing job capturing really the whole season, the championship games and the final celebration. It gives me goosebumps again, just seeing it all makes me miss basketball season. The time has already gone fast from when we won. A bunch of us out there were tearing up in the crowd, it just shows how special this team really is.”

When Washburn was a sophomore at Windham High School, he was planning to play lacrosse in the spring of 2020, but COVID-19 cancelled that season. So, Washburn picked up the camera and started taking photos and making videos; it grew into something he loved doing and didn’t feel like work.

Washburn had always followed the basketball team and was home for winter break from Thomas College where he is majoring in entrepreneurship. He saw the team was on a bit of a run and showed up to a few games. He used his footage to put up clips online. He followed them through the playoffs and once they became Windham’s first-ever basketball state champions, it was obvious to Washburn he could make a documentary and tell a really cool story about the team and their season.

“It means a lot,” said Windham senior Quinton Lindsay. “I’m glad people came out to support us one last time. All these guys are like brothers to me; the coaches, we’re all just one big family and I’ll never forget this season. I hope I can see all these people next year at the games, it’s going to be amazing.”

For many players, their season is anything but a distant memory.

According to Windham senior Matt Searway, it felt good for him to be reunited with the team again and to have the community’s support made it feel like the season all over again. Searway says he would do anything to relive that season and he considers it the best few months of his life.

Although it was a lot of work, it was fun for Washburn to make and he’d definitely do it again. There was a very special moment in the documentary when the team celebrated with Windham parent Pat Moody as he rang a bell indicating he was officially cancer-free. It was met with a roar of applause from the crowd.

“This past year was a whirlwind of emotions and I had to look away from the screen to keep my composure during the premiere viewing when the documentary featured the team rallying around me,” said Moody. “Being fueled by love, maintaining a positive mindset and grinding to win can get you through adversity on the court, or in my case, battling cancer. I couldn’t be more proud of AJ and his teammates, the coaches and the way this community rallied around the team and my family. A year of gratitude and achievements beyond my dreams.”

Windham varsity basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen says he will use this past season as a blueprint for upcoming seasons. He’s already begun practices for the summer season and had a larger-than-usual turnout.

“I was watching all Cole’s videos, the highlights that he put online and smiled every single time,” said Pulkkinen. “It meant a lot; it was incredible to see the community continue to support and celebrate something so special.”

A new season brings new challenges and new opportunities and just like this team left their mark, it’s time for another group to write their story.

“It was so much fun going to the games; it was crazy,” said Washburn. “How good the team was and how much fun they were to film; to sit there courtside and film a team this good at a place where I went to school for four years was awesome to see and I’m glad I got to document it.”

This documentary is now available for viewing on YouTube. <

Windham graduate Ammons accepts lacrosse scholarship to play for Saint Joseph’s College

By Matt Pascarella

2024 Windham graduate Emma Ammons signed a letter of intent to attend Saint Joseph’s College and major in nursing while also playing for the school's women's lacrosse team on Wednesday, June 5.

2024 Windham High graduate Emma Ammons signs a 
letter of intent to attend Saint Joseph's College of Maine,
majoring in nursing and playing lacrosse during a ceremony
at Windham High School on Wednesday, June 5.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
Ammons said that she was a little nervous but feels good about herself and has a real feeling of accomplishment to be able to reach this achievement. She would like to use her degree after college to become an injection nurse and do Botox and aesthetic nursing.

“Emma’s done a lot of things to make herself better,” said Windham varsity girls’ lacrosse coach Matt Perkins. “She’s a great citizen, she sets a great example in the school, academically, how she carries herself on and off the field, she works her tail off. There were times last winter, and she’s in my classroom doing wall-ball; doing the extra things to be the best she can be, I’m always impressed by that. You look at us and you look at our ride and it’s a major part of what we do with our attack. She has bought in these last two years and just been a major piece of that, whether it’s on the goalie, chasing down the field, gives everything she has and is a great example of how many kids we have that work hard. I’m really excited for you, I think you’re just going to keep getting better and better because of your work ethic – can’t wait to see what you do in college; really proud and very, very fortunate to have coached you for four years.”

Ammons first became interested in the game through her family and has been playing lacrosse for eight years. It was her middle school coach, Taylor Colangelo, who encouraged her to stick with it.

According to Ammons, it took a lot of support from family, the community coaches and friends to help her get to where she is today.

“Emma’s one of my best friends and she’s just one of the most supportive teammates I’ve ever had,” said Windham senior Mallory Muse. “She’s always worried about the team. I’m really proud of her for committing, and she’s worked so hard for it and is so deserving out of everyone I know. She does a great job on the ride, she’s always stopping and getting the best checks from behind and has the best crease roll, catches it shoots it every time. She’ll bring her skill and positivity to Saint Joseph’s College.”

Ammons said she chose Saint Joseph’s College because she really loved the school and she loved that it was close to her hometown. When she visited the campus, it felt right to her. The Saint Joseph’s College women’s lacrosse coach, David Keenan, made her feel welcome and like she was already a part of the team. Ammons was impressed by the girls on the team and the community Keenan is building up.

“At WHS I learned the importance of teamwork along with valuable lessons in time management and discipline,” said Ammons. “I will miss having the opportunity to wear the Windham uniform and play alongside my friends. I will miss the bonds formed with my teammates, coaches, and mentors. At Saint Joseph’s College I look forward to bringing my passion for the game, sportsmanship, and my drive to improve.”

Her advice to anyone who wants to get the opportunity to accomplish what she has is it’s ok to be nervous and if you really want to achieve it, go for it. Even if you’re having a hard time with school or sports, you do not have to be a top-ranked athlete to play collegiately.

She would like to thank her friends and family, Coach Perkins, Coach Ludka, Coach Babb, Coach Colangelo and Coach Keenan for helping her reach this point in her career. <

Friday, June 14, 2024

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

By Matt Pascarella

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Windham gives everything in quarterfinal baseball playoff against Marshwood

By Matt Pascarella

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 7, 2024

Windham upends Kennebunk in preliminary baseball playoff

By Matt Pascarella

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHS track and field teams showcase skills in state championship meet

By Matt Pascarella

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In discus, junior Marina Schwarz threw 82-00.

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

Boys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Windham varsity boys’ tennis falls to Portland in preliminary playoff

By Matt Pascarella

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Friday, May 31, 2024

Windham softball beats Cheverus to remain undefeated in regular season

By Matt Pascarella

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

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

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

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

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

Gerry was exceptional pitching with 14 strikeouts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Windham Little League’s CR Tandberg rolls by MPM Sealcoating

By Matt Pascarella

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

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

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

MPM Sealcoating fourth grader Tanner Pulkkinen walked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 24, 2024

Perkins becomes first 100-goal scorer for WHS boys' lacrosse

By Matt Pascarella

It was a big night for Windham varsity boys’ lacrosse during their home game on Friday May 17 against Camden Hills. The team raised over $2,000 for the Dempsey Center through community donations, nine seniors honored nine individual teachers in the ninth annual Teacher Appreciation Night, Windham senior Tobias Perkins was the first 100 goal-scorer in program history and the Eagles flattened Camden Hills, 15-1.

Windham senior Tobias Perkins is shown just
before scoring his 100th career goal in a boys'
lacrosse game against Camden Hills on Friday,
May 17. Perkins is the first student-athlete to
score 100 goals in the program's history. 
PHOTO  BY MATT PASCARELLA 
“I thought the team came out strong from the start,” said Windham varsity boys’ lacrosse coach Peter Small. “We have been looking to play consistently for 48 minutes and I think the strong start was indicative of that focus. The players showed a marked improvement in some skills which have been a focal point for us – from stick skills to positioning on both sides of the field. The team has developed more of a trust in each other to execute and that has helped; knowing that teammates are strong in positioning and movement both on offense and defense has led to a better flow of tempo for the game.”

Each year, boys’ lacrosse seniors reflect on their entire education and who has had a meaningful impact upon their growth and development as students, as athletes, and as citizens. In the ninth annual Teacher Appreciation Night, Beth Bubier, Erin Doran, Rae-Ann Guzman, Melissa Holmes-Perkins, Alissa James, Deb Lebel, Chris Livengood, Karen Petcher, and Wayne Rathburn were presented with a token of appreciation for all they’ve done for students and outgoing seniors.

Perkins was the first player in program history to score 100 goals in his athletic career. He scored his goal 100 just 3:30 into the first quarter.

“It’s a personal accomplishment, but it’s only made possible by my team,” said Perkins. “On paper you see that I’m the one that got the goal, but it’s only due to my teammates who made the plays to get me the ball. I care a lot more about team performance than personal performance; I was just focusing on winning, like a regular game.”

The Eagles were definitely focused on the ‘W,’ as a multitude of players scored from start to finish. Senior Blake McPherson scored early. Perkins was next, then senior Landon Buzulchuck. Junior Lukas Hammond followed, as the boys moved the ball well.

Windham defense was strong and remained so all game.

Senior Jake Lord scored one of four goals for him. Windham led 10-1 at halftime.

“It’s a lot of hard-work and teamwork throughout the entire week,” said Lord. “We just had a very long four game streak that did not go our way. During that four-game streak we started getting down on each other, but I think we’ve done a good job of pulling ourselves out of that hole. Our defense was on fire, they came out with something to prove. Teamwork was going really well for us … we all find each other at the right spot ... we worked pretty well.”

Intensity remained in the second half. Lord scored again followed by back-to-back goals from Perkins. Defense remained unbeatable.

“It is a result of the hard work he’s done,” said Small about Perkins. “He has worked his craft by picking up a bucket of balls and shooting every day, he’s gotten in the weight room ... he does everything to just improve and what it does is it’s a huge example for everybody else. The coolest thing is he has seen the results of all of his efforts. When I look at our starting midis and our starting attack, we can move the ball, and everyone uses space ... Blake McPherson gets goals because [Tobias] and [Buzulchuck] are using space ... I think that he attributes a lot to his teammates, is a testament to No. 1, our teammates but No. 2 who Tobias is.” <

WHS senior Tillery commits to USM track

By Matt Pascarella

Windham senior Marcus Tillery is headed to the University of Southern Maine in Gorham to major in criminology and be part of the men’s track and field team. He signed a letter of intent in front of a large group of friends, family, teachers and supporters on Thursday, May 16 at Windham High School. His coaches spoke very highly of him, emphasizing his leadership qualities, positivity as well as his skill on the field and the track.

Windham senior Marcus Tillery, left, joins his father Michael
after signing a letter of intent to attend the University of
Southern Maine in Gorham where he will major in
criminology and participate in track and field.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
“It feels kind of unreal,” said Tillery. “Seeing all these people from the past three years in one room, they all in some way, somehow impacted my life – I love it; seeing everybody together like that brings joy to my heart.”

As a freshman, Tillery attended Lake Brantley High School in Florida. He competed in track and field as a way to train for football in the off-season. He quickly fell in love with track and field. He transferred to Windham High School as a sophomore where he faced adversity early on and felt like he didn’t fit in. It was Windham’s athletic program that opened big arms for him, to which he is forever grateful.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure; I’ve worked with Marcus for three years,” said boys’ track and field coach Paula Pock. “He picks up his entire team; he picks up his entire league; we can go to any meet and Marcus knows just about everyone, they all have to check in on him, it’s like one big family. His work ethic and commitment are great examples of what coaches want in their athletes. Once he leaves, there are going to be some big shoes to fill at Windham, but his positive role-modeling will last for many, many seasons.”

Tillery chose the University of Southern Maine because in talking to the players and the coaches there, they all seemed like a family; very supportive of each other. He said the coaches were phenomenal and are all USM alumni, so they know what it feels like to be in his shoes.

“His work ethic, like pushing us all ... the way to states, no matter who you are, what you do, he's always going to push you,” said Windham senior track and field teammate Aiden Hanson. “He's going to bring out the best in all his teammates, no matter what, just a great person all around. He’s going to uplift people even as a freshman.”

Tillery said it felt great to sign his letter of intent. He said he loves getting the opportunity to compete at the next level and knows not everyone gets that chance. He’s excited and can’t wait to start.

“I met Marcus as a sophomore,” said varsity football coach Matt Perkins. “Big personality, right away the way he talks to people at their level looks you in the eye, is as real as the day is long. He’s very kind, does anything for anybody and is a phenomenal teammate. This year he had a great year in football – he had many yards and touchdowns, he was more impactful as a person, because of who he is and what he is and what he stands for. What he’s done in the classroom from day one to now is very impressive ... he put the time in to get the grades and now he’s moving on. I’m proud of him and feel very, very fortunate to have coached him.”

Tillery’s advice to underclassmen is to know your priorities.

“Don’t take the classroom lightly,” said Tillery. “You’re a student and then you’re an athlete. Care about your academics, go to class every day, respect your teachers, respect everyone ... be a great student in the classroom and a great person in the community. Be a good example – lead by example.”

Tillery said he would like to thank Coach Pock, Coach Flaherty, Coach Blood and give a special thank you to Coach Perkins, and Coach Estey. <

Friday, May 17, 2024

Windham’s Trainor scores 100th goal in girls’ lacrosse win over Bonny Eagle

By Matt Pascarella

Windham sophomore Abby Trainor was just four goals away from scoring her 100th high school career at home on Saturday, May 11 during a home girls’ lacrosse game against Bonny Eagle. She became the third player to accomplish this milestone in Windham’s history and the Lady Eagles commanded the field and earned a solid 18-3 win over the Scots.

Windham sophomore Abby Trainor scores her 100th goal
during a girls' lacrosse game against Bonny Eagle at
Windham High School on Saturday, May 11. Trainor is
the third athlete in the program's history to achieve this
distinction. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA    
“It feels really good, but the main focus today was just winning,” said Trainor. “I’m really proud of myself, I know my teammates are proud. I wasn’t focused on the achievement as much ... I was like ‘let’s win, let’s ... hustle’ the accomplishment came along the way. This [happened] because of the incredible coaching and all the teammates around me that helped with some of these goals, because a goal is the end of a good play. It’s great to do it with this team, my 100th goal was assisted, and I think that shows teamwork. I’m really hard working, people around me are hardworking. When we all come together, so many people can achieve so many different things.”

Windham came out aggressive from the very start; senior Mallory Muse scored in the first 25 seconds. Sophomore Neve Ledbetter scored next. The Lady Eagle offense then began crushing it in this game.

“It’s really just a time to grow as a team and at these times we can focus in on the littlest thing so when it comes to big, big games, we’re ready,” said Ledbetter. “Having a team like this and being able to play with each other is one of the most rewarding things ever. Hustle, defense [went well]. Everyone was playing together and passing to each other. It was such a team contribution to the whole game and it was so impressive to watch. I think we still need to work hard and hustle, but overall, I think we are extremely talented.”

Windham junior Grace Joly scored next, followed by Trainor who was only three goals away from 100. Trainor then scored back-to-back goals. With 3:46 left in the first quarter, Trainor scored her 100th goal, assisted by Ledbetter.

“The thing about Abby that really is impressive to me is this year she has really elevated her game in not just how she scores, but how she drives and draws attention, dishes and gets assists,” said Windham varsity girls’ lacrosse coach Matt Perkins. “Her creativity on offense is creating pockets for everybody. She does an awesome job of passing the ball, getting her teammates open, their teammates do a great job finding her. She does a phenomenal job causing turnovers. She’s a full all-around player; she’s not just a scorer. She brings so much to the team.”

Trainor scored twice more along with Ledbetter and senior Marlie Ennis before the first buzzer. Windham led 13-1 at the half.

Muse scored in the first minute of the second half. Lady Eagle defense remained intense as Bonny Eagle had a very hard time scoring. Windham sophomore Brianna Duarte scored her first varsity goal, easily sending the ball past the goalie.

“It was a big rush for me and that was like my biggest, crazy moment that I’ve ever really had and I’m working to get the next one,” said Duarte. “We worked really well getting the ball around and running our offense, working together as a team. We’ve been getting that one percent better at practice and we’re going to continue to push ourselves to get better. We need to work on our ground balls and obviously defense a little bit, on transition, everything, and getting the ride. We need to use our aggression and teamwork and push ourselves to continue winning games and pushing each other to get better.”

Windham stayed with the ball and sophomore Mady Donnelly scored before the last buzzer.

“Practice contributed to this win,” said Perkins. “The girls showing up ready to go, not wasting time, but buying into what we’re doing and us working on what our weaknesses are ... them getting after it in drills and focusing on those things has helped us improve as a whole. Today we saw a much better job of driving [Bonny Eagle] out of the eight [meter arc], controlling the eight, making sure they didn’t have free shots in front of our goalie – that was huge. Continuing to work on passes and putting the right amount of zip on them, that’s just something that’s a work-in-progress.” <