Baseball: Windham ousts Gorham from summer playoffs

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Bryce Afthim threw nine Ks for Windham in their win over Gorham on Tuesday.

WINDHAM—Bryce Afthim – on the mound for the Eagles for all seven innings on Tuesday evening – led his boys to a 9-0 victory over visiting Gorham. Of course, nine runs rarely come without some hits, and Afthim had a good day at the plate as well, serving up plenty of contact.

“Bryce was great,” said Windham head coach Brody Artes. “All summer he’s been fantastic. He’s had control of three pitches, in the zone, out of the zone, whenever he’s wanted to. He’s kept hitters on his heels all summer. He’s one we’ve been looking at all summer if we needed a win, and obviously he dominated today.”

“Most of it was Afthim, the pitcher,” said Gorham head coach Chuck Nadeau, asked what went wrong for the Rams. “He was great. He was good against us in the regular season, too, and he looks like he’s even getting better here in the summer. He throws all of his pitches for strikes in any count, and he looks like he’s really confident with all of his pitches now. He was really the story of the game; we didn’t get much solid contact on him at all.”

The Windham and Gorham outfits are members of the new-this-year Regency Realty Summer Baseball League, established as a developmental option for high school players in Southern Maine.

The Rams went down one-two-three in the top of the first, but held the Eagles silent in their opening at-bats, too. Not until the bottom of the second did Windham scratch out a run and kick off their roll. When they did, it was Mason Rosborough who reached base – he gapped a double into center-left – and eventually scored. Rosborough arrived at third on a Brady Afthim single to shallow left and home on a Kobe Lauzier sac grounder. 

The Eagles tallied three more in the bottom of the third: Caleb McCartney and Kyle Herzig scored on a Bryce Afthim double to center and Afthim scored on a Rosborough sac fly. Windham then piled on another in the bottom of the fifth, Herzig scoring again on Afthim contact.

“We also got some really big hits today,” said Artes. “Putting an 11 in that hit column is big for us. Even the outs that we had offensively were hard-hit balls. We had some good plate appearances today, which put it all together with our defense. A good all-around team effort, led by Afthim.”

“We’re trying some people in new places,” Nadeau said, asked about his boys’ work in the field. “That’s part of what the summer’s for, to see what you have coming down the line for next year, even the year after – we’ve got some really young kids playing. For the most part, I’m really happy with the kids that committed to the summer, and played consistently for us, and I think got a little flavor of what that next level of varsity baseball is going to be like.”

In the sixth, the Eagles added four final insults to Gorham’s injuries: Anthony Kilgallon scored on a Herzig single into shallow right-center, and Nick Kilgallon, McCartney and Herzig all scored when Afthim grounded sneakily up the middle into center. 

“We’ve always talked about not wanting to be complacent with having a lead,” Artes said, asked about his boys’ offensive consistency across all seven innings. “Sometimes we’ll get up 1-0, 2-0 early in the game, and we’ll get complacent – take at-bats off or not be as aggressive as we probably should. Then all of a sudden, it comes six or seventh inning and we’re in a tight game. This summer, it’s starting to finally [sink in]: ‘Let’s hop on this wagon, let’s keep going, let’s get as many as we can and really put ourselves in a good position.’”

Afthim, of course, is the winning pitcher; he recorded nine strikeouts and gave up just three hits –  singles to Trevor Gray, Clay Bassingthwaite and Trevor Loubier. Joe Curesky, who started on the mound for Gorham, takes the loss. Herzig notched a trio of singles on the day.

Artes highlighted a few of his players. “I thought Caleb McCartney had a great day at shortstop overall. Made some really good plays…and he had a couple hits, too. At the plate, Mason Rosborough did a really good job. He had that double that kind of sparked us, and then he ended up scoring the first run for us, and then he had a sac-fly in his next at bat. Bryce had a couple really good plate appearances. And our hits weren’t bloops; we hit it hard, on the screws.”

The win pushed Windham to 12-5-2 on the summer; the Eagles will take on Portland (aka Bruno’s) on Thursday. As this is the playoffs stretch, Gorham retires for the season.

“For the most part, I’m really happy with how our kids did, and how this new summer, wooden-bat league went,” said Nadeau. “Some of the younger kids, in this type of program, their goal is to become a better baseball player, but it’s also to introduce themselves, in a manner, to the varsity coach and the varsity system. And some of our kids who played, they made an impression. They showed up, and they played hard, and they paid attention and they learned some stuff – every kid did that, a little bit.”

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Bryce Afthim threw nine Ks for Windham in their win over Gorham on Tuesday.

Kyle Herzig, at first for Windham, leans out to grab a throw as Gorhamite Trevor Loubier approaches.

Gorham first baseman Trevor Gray leans out for a throw as Windham runner Kyle Herzig approaches; the ball will momentarily skip past Gray, and Herzig will dash round to second.

Jack Van Zandt, in right for Gorham, grabs a fly ball.

Clay Bassingthwaite, working second for Gorham, reels in a throw from home in plenty of time to catch Windham runner Caleb McCartney out.

Windhamite Anthony Kilgallon dives back to first.

Caleb McCartney crosses home for Windham, putting them up 2-0 over Gorham.

Mason Rosborough races home for Windham’s first of nine runs on Tuesday.

Joe Curesky took a bit of a beating in Gorham’s 9-0 loss to Windham.

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