Thursday, December 19, 2013
By BRIAN FOLEY Special to the Telegram
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - The Windham Merchants, who won five straight games from the losers' bracket to win the state American Legion baseball title, weren't able to do it again at the Northeast Regionals.
The Merchants were eliminated in two games, suffering a 5-3 loss Saturday to Colchester, Vt., at Palmer Field.
Windham fell to Middletown, Conn., the host team, in its opening game Thursday.
Cody Dube, the Windham starter, gave up a run in the first inning on a Zach Tandy sacrifice fly to right that scored Cody Sharrow from third, then another in the third on Sharrow's solo homer over the left-field fence.
Dube ran into trouble in the sixth when he gave up a hit, hit two batters and walked two. Colchester scored three times to expand its lead to 5-0.
Maine Manager Brody Artes said, "Cody gave us a chance to win this game by battling through his six innings."
But Windham's offense struggled with Tandy, who scattered six hits through the first six innings for Colchester.
In the seventh, however, Calvin Field singled in Dennis Meehan from third base for the first run. Three batters later, Dube singled through the left side, scoring John Herzig from third and Spencer Hodge to make it 5-3.
Windham relievers Meehan and Joe Francouer kept Colchester scoreless over the last three innings to give Windham a chance to come back.
"Both of them did a good job to give us a chance," said Artes.
Herzig started the bottom of the ninth for Windham by reaching on an error by Sharrow at shortstop. Field then singled down the left-field line to put runners on first and second.
As Colchester stuck with Tandy, Artes called for a bunt from Hodge, who laid down a perfect one to move runners to second and third.
Joe Francoeur followed with a line drive to first base, but first baseman Ryan Connor was in perfect position to record the second out.
The game now came down to Tandy facing off against Dube.
Tandy hung a curveball to Dube, who hit a line drive toward the shortstop hole.
Sharrow headed to the ground, fully extending his body to catch the ball and save the victory for Colchester.
Tandy struck out nine and walked two.
"He had four solid pitches and kept us off balance throughout the game," said Artes.
The Merchants ended their season with a 22-7 record. Colchester moved on to face Rochester, N.H., in another elimination game Saturday night.
The winner of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament will travel to Shelby, N.C., for the American Legion World Series.
The last Maine team to win the national championship was Nova Seafood, comprised of Deering High players, in 2004.
Included on that team were Ryan Reid and Ryan Flaherty, both of whom spent time in the major leagues this season.