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.
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. <

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