Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA -- There are different ways to win a championship in a double elimination tournament.
IT’S OVER: Calvin Field of Windham celebrates after catching the final out of the game in right field to secure the Merchants’ 9-1 win over Westbrook in the title game of the American Legion baseball state tournament Monday at Morton Field in Augusta.
Portland Press Herald photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette
For the Windham Merchants, it was an edge of your seat kind of tournament until the title game.
Windham didn't need any late inning rallies Monday, taking control early and easily winning its first American Legion state baseball title with a 9-1 win over Biddeford and Saco Savings of Westbrook at Morton Field.
The championship game was postponed from Sunday because of the threat of rain.
Losing its first game of the tournament last Wednesday to Westbrook, Windham never lost again. It faced elimination games four times, five counting the championship game, and won each, including a 5-4 win over Bangor on Sunday morning when it scored two runs in the top of the ninth to win. The path to the championship included two wins over Westbrook
"We had to win every one after we lost to Westbrook in our first game last Wednesday," Windham coach Brody Artes said.
Playing Westbrook for a third time in the tourney, the Francoeur twins, Joey and Shawn, provided the bulk of Windham's offense Monday. They combined to drive in five of the team's nine runs.
The brothers also contributed on the mound as Windham showed its pitching depth, using five pitchers. Joey, a lefty, was Windham's third pitcher while Shawn, a righty, followed.
Windham pounded out 11 hits. Three Windham pitchers held Westbrook to three hits through seven innings of the nine inning game.
"We hit the ball well all tournament," said Artes, also the high school coach. "We put up some big numbers during the tournament. It was good for us to jump out to a lead. We have a lot of pitching depth. We're good to go for the Northeast Regional tournament," he said.
Windham will play in the Northeast Regional in Middletown, Conn. The tournament starts Thursday and finishes next Monday.
Windham, the home team, led 1-0 after one inning and then took control with a four-run, fifth inning. It scored four more times in the seventh.
"We were known as a comeback team during the season," Joey Francoeur said. "We were just trying to put the ball in play and have them make a play. We've been practicing so hard and to get here feels awesome," he said.
Calvin Field led off the bottom of the first with a single to left center. He moved to second on Spencer Hodge's sacrifice bunt and scored on Joey Francoeur's single to right.
Francoeur nearly put one over the fence in center in the fifth inning, but Joe Quinlan of Westbrook made a circus catch to rob him. In the fifth, Francoeur doubled home two runs. A batter later, Shawn Francoeur, doubled down the left field line to drive in two more runs.
Windham made it 9-0 in the seventh. Cody Dube, Nate Boyle and Dennis Meehan had RBI singles.
Meehan started the game for Windham, pitching three innings before Tanner Laberge came in at the start of the fourth. Dube pitched the ninth.
Joey Francoeur hit the ball hard in his five plate appearances.
"Joey had a big tournament," Artes said. "He hit the ball well the last couple of games in our zone and continued it in the state tournament. He's batting around .400," he said.
Westbrook scored its lone run in the eighth when Austin Blake singled home Robbie Hamilton, who named tourney MVP.
Westbrook (14-8), the Zone 4 winner, was hoping to add another state title on the same field it won the Class A championship over Messalonskee in June.
Westbrook got men on base in the early going as Windham pitchers issued six walks through five innings.
"We couldn't get anything going," Westbrook coach Greg Souza said. "We hit some balls hard, but right at them. Windham came out and pitched well. They made the plays. We did really well this season. We won our zone," he said.
Tourney notes: Joey Francoeur was named to the all-tourney team along with teammates Cody Dube and Nate Boyle. Westbrook was represented on the all-team by Hamilton, Keenen Lowe, Zack Bean and Sam Stauble. Other players named were Justin Courtney, Hunter Boyce and Curtis Worcester of Bangor, Noah McDaniel, Max McComb and Zack Quintal of Staples Crossing. Also named were Corbin Hyde of Lewiston and Zack Lachance of The Red Barn.