SACO—Chloe Wilcox blasted a flashy two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to slice Windham’s deficit in half vs. Thornton Academy on Thursday evening, April 18; two innings later, in a fiery last ups, the Eagles managed to put another one on the board.

Alas: In the end, the Trojans successfully plied their experience and their pitching to fend Windham off and emerge the victors, 5-3.

“Of course, every coach has high expectations of their kids,” said Windham head coach Fred Wilcox, asked what he’d hoped for, heading into the bout. “Beginning of the year, for everybody, it’s cold. We’re playing in the same elements. I expected them to come out and battle – and they did.”

The teams clashed on TA’s diamond, but Windham were the home contingent; the game was originally slated to take place on the Eagles turf, but that wasn’t ready yet when crunch time came.

Trojan Amanda Bogardus scored the first run of the game, doing so in TA’s opening ups; Bogardus & Co. then tallied two more in the second – Olivia Paradis and Grace Harbour did the honors – for a 3-0 lead. Abby Miner made it 4-0 in the third, launching a homer over the left-field fence.

For their part, Windham couldn’t establish any sort of rhythm in the same three-inning stretch: TA’s defense, and especially their pitcher, Olivia Howe, simply proved too tough for the Eagles’ bats. Howe ultimately struck out 13.

“She found her change-up,” Coach Wilcox said of Howe, “which was keeping us off-balance, a good move on their part. Liv’s a great kid – that whole team over there is really, really good. I don’t know who to pitch to in that lineup, and they can play defense, and they’ve got kids that can throw the ball.”

Whitney Wilson, Windham’s starter, found a groove of her own after the third. Wilson’s off-speed work proved critical to keeping the Trojans’ offense in check.

“Whitney is a great pitcher,” Coach Wilcox said. “She’s got a lot of pitches; she commands the strike zone pretty well, definitely has some great pitches to keep the big hitters off-balance.”

“Her change up was pretty gross,” Coach Wilcox added, chuckling. (He intended “gross” in a complimentary sense.)

Chloe Wilcox smashed her homer with two out in the bottom of the fifth, ushering not just herself but also Wilson across the plate and halving TA’s upper-hand, 4-2.

“She’s a catalyst, she’s the spark of this offense,” Coach Wilcox said of Chloe Wilcox. “When she hits, she seems to get others around her hitting. She definitely puts pressure on other teams’ defenses when she’s at the plate.”

Trojan Jenica Botting brought home Harbour in the sixth to extend the Trojans’ lead to three again, but that’s when the seventh arrived. All TA needed to do was hold on through for three more outs – and they would, sure, but not before Windham gave them reason to bite their nails.

Shyler Fielding doubled for the Eagles to spark a surge; the Trojans infield then erred twice in a row, loading the bases to help Windham out. Erin Elder sac-flied and brought Fielding home. Sarah Elder next loaded the bases a second time, clubbing a slow infield grounder and outpacing the throw to first.

Howe, though, sewed things up for TA with a strikeout.

“We’re a young team,” Coach Wilcox said; “we’ve got a lot of girls that haven’t played varsity level before, so my expectations were kind of unknown, I guess. To see them in this situation, in that situation, I think they answered pretty well. We almost made the comeback; it was a great effort.”

Windham opens the season at 0-1; the team was slated to battle Westbrook on Monday the 22nd, but that bout was postponed. The Eagles will travel to the Scots on Wednesday the 24th for their next shot at a W.

Adam Birt can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Sarah Elder makes a break for first base.

Whitney Wilson fires a pitch toward home for the Eagles.

Sarah Elder gets beneath an infield ball.

Whitney Wilson leads off third for the Eagles.

Ellie Wilson watches a TA at-bat from her post at first.

Callie Fielding womans third base for the Eagles in their close defeat vs. TA.