Friday, August 9, 2013

Legion State Championship in Windham's hands - By David Field (Photos on sports blog)

AUGUSTA-Windham used five pitchers, strong bats and a solid defense to take the State Legion Baseball Title from Westbrook 9-1 on Monday.

Gardiner native Dennis Meehan who relocated to Windham in the winter took the hill in the first for Windham. Meehan worked two outs on fly balls and walked the third batter. Catcher Jack Herzig was called for catcher’s interference to put runners on first and second. Meehan delivered to Robbie Hamilton and had him ground out to end the first. For Windham, Calvin Field led off with a single and Spencer Hodge dropped a nice bunt to advance Field to second. Joey Francoeur then hit a long single to drive Field in to give Windham the early lead.

Meehan retired the side in order in the second against the Westbrook bottom order. Westbrook pitcher Keenan Lowe did the same against the bottom order for Windham. In the third, Tanner Laberge took the hill. He struggle a bit to start. Leadoff batter Brett Goodnow led off with a single. He was sacrificed to second. Laberge got Zach Bean to fly out to Nate Boyle in Center. Laberge then walked two batters to load the bases. Laberge then got Windham’s own Robbie Hamilton to fly out to end the inning. Windham went down in order in the bottom of the third.

In the fourth, Laberge again took the hill. Keenan Lowe flew out to center. Derek Bouchard drew a walk and stole second. Blake Austin hit a single. With runners at the corners, Austin attempted a steal and Jack Herzig threw him out. Bouchard stumbled at third and didn’t advance on the throw. A pitch later, Bouchard attempted to steal home on the throw back to the mound. Catcher, Jack Herzig, kept the ball and a rundown ensued. Bouchard got tagged out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, Windham had runners on, but couldn’t convert. Shawn Francoeur was thrown out at the plate to end the inning after Nate Boyle hit a long single to the outfield.

In the fifth, Laberge started on the hill again. Laberge walked two, but managed to get out of the inning with no damage. In the bottom of the fifth, Windham broke the game open. With one out, Jack Herzig reached base on an error. Calvin Field drew a walk. Spencer Hodge dropped another sacrifice bunt to advance the runners into scoring position. Joey Francoeur stepped to the plate and ripped a double to score Herzig and Field to give Windham a 3-0 lead. Cody Dube then drew a walk. Shawn Francoeur, not wanting to be outdone by his brother, ripped a double to score his brother and Dube to give Windham the 5-0 lead. Although confident, Windham knew this game was far from over.

Laberge came out in the sixth and faced three batters. He struck out the first and allowed a hit and then walked on. With the potential of runners in scoring position, Windham went to Joey Francoeur. Francoeur threw a fly ball out and struck out the next batter to get Windham out of the jam.

In the seventh, Francoeur retired the side in order. Keep in mind here that the Windham defense was spectacular behind these pitchers. There were diving catches in the outfield by Boyle and Field and the infield stopped everything batted at them. In the bottom of the seventh, Westbrook was still pitching Keenan Lowe. Calvin Field drew a walk. Spencer Hodge, grounded out to the third baseman to advance Field. Joey Francoeur drove a ball deep to center field that was dropped. Cody Dube hit a single to drive Field in. 

Shawn Francoeur flew out to left field and Tanner Laberge drew a walk. Nate Boyle hit a single to drive in Dube to give Windham an 8-0 lead. With the mercy rule within inches, Windham was foaming at the mouth to end the game. Dennis Meehan drove a single to get Laberge to the plate for the 9-0 lead. Jack Herzig flew out to center to end the inning. However, the smell of victory was six outs away.

In the eighth, Shawn Francoeur took the hill. Sam Stauble led off with a single. Robbie Hamilton hit into a fielder’s choice to reach base. Keenan Lowe hit a single to advance Hamilton. With two runners on, Derek Bouchard hit a tall fly ball that was called in infield fly out. With two outs, Blake Hamilton hit a long single that Hamilton scored on to erase the shutout. Windham was ineffective in the bottom frame of the eighth.

In the top of the ninth, Windham went to their fifth pitcher and ace Cody Dube. Dube struck out the first batter. Zach Bean hit a single to show some threat. Kyle Heath hit a fielder’s choice to gain first. 

Westbrook’s number four batter came to the plate. Dube delivered and Stauble hit a tall fly ball to right field. Calvin Field caught the final out to end the game.

Tournament award winners included tournament MVP Robbie Hamilton, who played for Westbrook, but lives in Windham. Code Dube was named tournament State team outfielder. Joey Francoeur named State team first baseman. Nate Boyle named State team pitcher.

Windham advances to the regional tournament in Middletown, CT. They faced the Connecticut champion at 8 p.m. on Thursday night.

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