May 3, 2013

Baseball Notebook: Windham stepping up to join the elite in the SMAA

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

In the SMAA, there are several good baseball teams but none dominant, at least not yet.

Ben Greenberg

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Ben Greenberg, Scarborough: Greenberg pitched a three-hitter and struck out 10 in a 7-0 win over Westbrook. In his next game, he hit an inside-the-park homer and a two-run triple as the Red Storm beat Bonny Eagle, 7-3.

HONORABLE MENTION

Tim Rovnak, Portland: Rovnak hit an inside-the-park homer and a run-scoring single as the Bulldogs beat Thornton Academy 6-3. Rovnak also made some strong plays in center field.

Jeff Gelinas, Thornton Academy: Gelinas slugged a pair of two-run homers in a 13-8 victory against South Portland. He also had a double and allowed only four hits in a 6-3 loss to Portland.

Alex McLean, Marshwood: McLean pitched a three-hitter and had three hits in a 14-2 win over Noble, then was part of a three-hitter in an 11-0 win over Bonny Eagle.

AREA TOP 10

1. Portland

2. Scarborough

3. Falmouth

4. Greely

5. Marshwood

6. Cheverus

7. Windham

8. South Portland

9. Westbrook

10. Gorham

"There's a lot of parity in the league," said first-year Windham Coach Brody Artes. "There are six or seven teams who could come out on top."

Count Windham as one of those teams. The Eagles have a core of veterans interspersed with some promising newcomers.

"I thought we had a good team entering the season," said Artes.

One thing that has helped the Eagles is being more selective at the plate.

"We were definitely focused at the plate against Cheverus," he said.

Several of the players have warmed up just like the recent weather.

In an 11-0 victory against the previously unbeaten Stags that ended after five innings, pitcher Shawn Francoeur allowed three hits, striking out two and walking none.

Francoeur and his twin brother Joe each had run-scoring doubles.

"Shawn was throwing strikes and keeping it around the plate. He had a big double in the second inning to get us going," said Artes.

When not pitching, Shawn Francoeur occasionally will play at third base, but mostly will be the designated hitter.

Joe Francoeur is a slick-fielding first baseman and a good hitter.

Tanner Laberge broke out of an early-season slump with two hits. Spencer Hodge had three hits. Hodge has pitched while also playing second and shortstop.

"Spencer has definitely been a catalyst for us," said Artes. "He's one of the best athletes on the field."

Nate Boyle is the other top pitcher for Windham, which has had players step up to the varsity and contribute.

Players like third baseman Zach Conley, and outfielders Andrew Whiting and Ethan Petty have been steady.

"Shawn and Nate are doing a doing a good job on the mound," said Artes.

MARSHWOOD HIGH is honoring a former player, Troy Pappas, this season.

Pappas, a standout pitcher/outfielder for the Hawks the previous four seasons, died last September from a dormitory fall at Bates College, where he was a freshman.

For the team's home opener April 23, the pregame ceremony remembered Pappas, who played four seasons of varsity baseball for the Hawks. Pappas was also the quarterback on the football team. The ceremony also included a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon bombing victims.

In addition, Pappas' No. 7 is painted in right field and a "T. Pap" insignia is on the wall of the dugout.

AN EARLY SEASON showdown of Class B Western Maine Conference powers will take place Friday when Falmouth plays at Greely at 4 p.m.

In five wins this season, the closest game Greely has had was a 9-1 victory against Wells on Wednesday.

Falmouth (4-0) is a game behind the Rangers because of a Florida trip during April school vacation.

The Yachtsmen opened with a 3-0 win over Cape Elizabeth. Falmouth has scored in double figures in its last four games.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

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