Thursday, April 17, 2014
WINDHAM - When Nate Boyle finally raced in, leaped and landed on home plate with both feet, his Windham teammates poured out of the dugout to celebrate.
For the third time.
After an apparent walk-off victory in both the 10th and 11th innings Thursday, the third-seeded Eagles came from behind in the 13th to dispatch No. 11 Biddeford 5-4 in a Western Class A baseball quarterfinal that took 31/2 hours to complete.
"I hope I don't ever have to do that again," said Calvin Field of Windham, whose winning run in the 10th was negated on appeal when plate umpire Ed McDonough ruled Field left early from third base on an apparent sacrifice fly to shallow left.
It was Field's sixth hit of the game, a grounder just out of reach through the shortstop hole that capped Windham's two-run rally in the 13th after Biddeford (7-11) took a 4-3 lead in the top of the inning.
"I can't even catch my breath now," said Field, a dazed look on his sweat-streaked face and an ice bag on his left foot. "I'm still shaking right now."
Windham (14-3) advances to a regional semifinal Saturday at second-seeded Marshwood (15-2).
The Eagles, who left 20 runners on, loaded the bases in the seventh through the 10th without scoring, and put a runner on third in the 11th and 12th without scoring.
They were halfway to first base to embrace Zach Conley after his two-out dribbler to Biddeford pitcher Chris Gregoire seemed to score Boyle with the winning run, only to be stopped dead in their tracks by a delayed out call at first base when Nick LeBlond leaped high for Gregoire's throw and came down on the bag.
"It felt like the entire game the bases were loaded," said Biddeford Coach Keith LeBlanc, whose team took a 2-0 lead in the first, made it 3-3 on Corey Brown's RBI double in the sixth and nearly beat a Windham club that had 16 hits and eight stolen bases.
"I'm very proud of my team, the way that they competed. They're not afraid to play in big spots."
Field had five of those stolen bases and reached base all eight times he came to the plate. He was intentionally walked -- one of the five free passes LeBlanc ordered in the seventh through 12th -- and reached on a fielder's choice.
His first-inning steal set up Jack Herzig's RBI triple as Windham made it 2-2, then took a 3-2 lead in the second on a two-out RBI single by Field.
"I'm pretty sure I broke my ankle sliding into second (in the first inning)," Field said. "But it's not a big deal. I'll be all right. Adrenaline, it gets to you, you know? You don't feel it after a while."
Biddeford nearly took a 4-3 lead in the sixth, but Brown remained at third on Casey Twomey's one-out single that Windham first baseman Ethan Petty knocked down with a diving stop toward the bag.
The ball trickled behind Petty, allowing Twomey to reach safely, but neither Brown nor LeBlanc, coaching at third base, realized it.
"From our perspective it looked like he had it," LeBlanc said. "I couldn't see that the ball squirted away until he got up and picked it up."
In the 10th, Biddeford loaded the bases with one out, but Brown grounded sharply to third, where Shawn Francoeur started a double play.
In the home 10th, Windham loaded the bases with none out and Petty lofted a fly to shallow left. Field tagged up and just beat the throw home, only to have LeBlanc order an appeal as the Eagles celebrated, prematurely, as it turned out.
In the confusion that followed, the three umpires eventually overturned their original call of a triple play (Windham's other runners had left the basepaths to join the celebration) and returned them to first and second with two outs.
Gregoire induced a first-pitch liner to short to send the game to the 11th.
"These are the comeback kids," Windham Coach Brody Artes said. "When their backs are to the wall, they're at their best."
Trailing 4-3 in the 13th, Shawn Francouer, Boyle and Joey Francouer singled. Conley reached on an error to make it 4-4 and Field finally won it.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: