BOX SCORE

Portland 15 Windham 1 (5-innings)

W- 001 00- 1 3 2
P- 12(12) 0X- 15 10 1

Bottom 1st
Bibeau doubled to center, Bisco scored.

Bottom 2nd
Winship tripled to right, Rang and Gignac scored.

Top 3rd
B. Peeples doubled to right-center, Desrochers scored.

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Bottom 3rd
Crosby doubled to center, Bibeau scored. Legere singled to left, Crosby scored. Brewer homered to right-center, Legere and Brewer scored. Winship singled to left, Rang scored. Bisco grounded to first, Gignac scored. Bibeau walked, DiMillo scored. Legere grounded out to second, Winship scored. Brewer tripled to right, Bibeau and Legere scored. Brewer scored on wild pitch. Gignac tripled to right, Becker scored.

Multiple hits:
P- Brewer, Gignac, Winship

Runs:
W- Desrochers
P- Bibeau, Bisco, Brewer, Gignac, Rang 2, Becker, Crosby, DiMillo, Legere, Winship

RBI:
W- B. Peeples
P- Brewer 4, Winship 3, Bibeau, Legere 2, Bisco, Crosby, Gignac

Doubles:
W- B. Peeples
P- Bibeau, Crosby

Triple:
P- Brewer

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Home run:
P- Brewer (1)

Stolen bases:
P- Bibeau, Legere

Left on base:
W- 3
P- 4

Barker, Harvie (3), Marden (3) and Raynor; Payne, L. Winship (5) and Gignac.

W:
Barker (L) 2+ IP 7 H 8 R 8 ER 1 BB 1 K 1 HBP
Harvie 0.2 IP 3 H 7 R 3 ER 2 BB 1 K 2 WP 1 HBP
Marden 1.1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 1 K 1 WP

P:
Payne (W) 4 IP 3 H 1 R 1 ER 1 BB 2 K 1 WP
L. Winship 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 2 K

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Time: 1:26

PORTLAND—Portland’s offense has been on the brink of breaking out.

And Thursday evening at Hadlock Field, suffice it to say the Bulldogs did just that when they hosted Windham.

Junior shortstop Henry Bibeau hit an RBI double to put Portland ahead to stay in the bottom of the first inning and the fun was just beginning.

In the second, senior leftfielder Colby Winship added a two-run triple.

The Eagles got a run back in the top of the third, as junior centerfielder Blake Peeples delivered an RBI double.

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Then came the bottom half, where the Bulldogs produced an uprising that was years in the making.

Portland would sent 15 batters to the plate and score a staggering dozen runs, highlighted by a two-run inside-the-park home run and two-run triple from junior rightfielder Andrew Brewer, and that ended all doubt.

With junior pitcher Sam Payne holding Windham at bay, the Bulldogs would go on and put the finishing touches on a therapeutic 15-1 victory.

Portland won its second straight game and evened its record at 4-4-1 while dropping the Eagles to 1-8 in the process.

“This shows how we can really swing the bat,” said Brewer, who had two hits, good for seven total bases and four RBI. “We haven’t really proven how we can swing it until today.”

Explosion

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Portland started fast, rallying to beat visiting Biddeford, 4-3, in the opener, then downing host Marshwood (7-4) before settling for a weather-induced 5-5 (six-inning) tie at Westbrook. After falling at home to Falmouth, 6-0, the Bulldogs lost at home to Noble (6-3), then fell at reigning Class A state champion South Portland (4-0) and at Sanford (9-4) before bouncing back  Tuesday with a 4-3 home win over Scarborough in a playoff rematch.

Windham, meanwhile, dropped its first four games, 14-0 to visiting Kennebunk, 9-0 at Scarborough, 12-2 at Falmouth and 10-0 to visiting Marshwood. After downing host Massabesic (9-5), the Eagles fell at home to Sanford (12-3) and Deering (4-3)

The Bulldogs and Eagles didn’t play last year. In the most recent countable meeting, Portland won, 5-3, at Windham in the 2019 Class A South preliminary round of the playoffs.

Thursday, on a terrific mid-May evening (64 degrees at first pitch), the Bulldogs brought their hitting shoes and made quick work of the Eagles.

Portland junior starting pitcher Sam Payne throws a strike to Windham’s Logan Marden early in the Bulldogs’ 12-0, five-inning victory Thursday. Hoffer photos.

Payne retired sophomore second baseman Login Desrochers on a grounder to third, then caught Peeples staring at strike three and after surrendering a single up the middle off the bat of junior first baseman Alex Wing, he got senior catcher Colby Raynor to fly to left for the third out.

Portland then got the jump in the bottom half against Windham junior starter Ethan Barker.

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Winship flew out to left, but senior second baseman Anthony Bisco was hit by an 0-2 pitch and Bibeau followed with a drive over the head of Peeples, good for an RBI double. Senior first baseman Grant Crosby chased strike three and senior designated hitter Andrew Legere grounded out to third, but the Bulldogs were ahead to stay.

Payne made quick work of Windham in the top of the second, getting junior third baseman Logan Marden to pop to short before sophomore shortstop Brady Harvie crushed a drive to deep right-center where Brewer, on the run, made a terrific catch for the second out.

“Andrew Brewer has been playing great,” said longtime Portland coach Mike Rutherford. “That was a big league play. Our outfield has been great. I honestly believe we have the best outfield in the state. That’s our strength and teams know that.”

Barker then bounced out to short to retire the side.

In the bottom half, Brewer grounded out sharply to second leading off, but senior third baseman Mason Rang singled to left and senior catcher James Gignac followed with a single to right. Senior centerfielder Aidan DiMillo flew out to center, but on a 1-2 pitch, Winship ripped a triple down the rightfield line, scoring both Rang and Gignac. Bisco popped out to the mound, but Portland was on top, 3-0.

The Eagles got a run back in the top of the third.

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Sophomore leftfielder Erik Bowen grounded to third, but junior designated hitter Sam Plummer walked on a 3-2 pitch and while Desrochers grounded into a third-to-second force out, Bisco’s attempt to throw to first and complete a double play was wild, allowing Desrochers to take second. Peeples then ripped a drive to right-center that even Brewer couldn’t run down and the double got Windham on the board. After a wild pitch moved Peeples to third, Wing popped out to Payne at the mound, keeping the score 3-1.

But not for long, as Portland would erupt for a dozen runs in the bottom half.

Bibeau began the frame innocuously, with a grounder to third, but Marden threw the ball away for an error. Crosby then ripped a drive to center that went off Peeples’ glove for an RBI double. Legere then singled just over Harvie’s glove to score Crosby for  5-1 lead. That brought up Brewer, who got all of a Barker offering and drove the ball to deep right-center. The ball would roll all the way to the wall, easily scoring Legere, and the speedy Brewer circled the bases. He was waved home and scored easily and his inside-the-park home run pushed the lead to six runs.

Portland’s Andrew Brewer is mobbed by his teammates after his inside-the-park home run.

“The ball carried more today and there were more hits,” Brewer said. “I thought that was just going to be a double, but I was running as fast as I could. I thought the ball would be to the cutoff (man) by (the time I got to third), but I just kept going. It was pretty exciting. I was happy.”

Rang drew a walk to end Barker’s evening. He was replaced by Harvie, who threw a wild pitch, then walked Gignac and hit DiMillo to load the bases. Winship singled to score Rang and reload the bases. Bisco was next and he grounded slowly to first to score Gignac and Bisco reached on an error to load the bases again. Bibeau then walked to bring home another run and after Crosby watched strike three, Legere grounded to second to score the 11th run. Brewer came up with a chance to do more damage and he did exactly that, tripling to right to score two more.

“I thought I was going to score on that one too,” Brewer said. “I’m pretty sure I would have.”

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“(Andrew’s) a kid who was only hitting .250 coming in, but he’s hit the ball on the screws,” Rutherford said. “It was good to see him get a triple and an inside-the-park home run. He’s worked really hard and he’s one of our leaders.”

Brewer came in on a wild pitch with senior Ryan Becker at the plate, then Becker drew a walk. Gignac was next and he tripled as well, scoring Becker. That was it for Harvie, who was relieved by Marden, who finally brought the marathon inning to an end by getting DiMillo to ground back to the mound.

The Bulldogs’ 12-spot made the score 15-1.

After a long, long respite, Payne returned to the hill and gave up a long drive to left off the bat of Raynor which hit the Maine Monster, but was only good for a single. Marden lined out to second, then, after a pair of wild pitches, senior pinch-hitter Cooper Robertshaw chased strike three and senior pinch-hitter Allen Fisher bounced to short.

In the bottom of the fourth, senior pinch-hitter Carter Page grounded out to third and after pinch-hitter Ethan Theriault reached on an error and moved to second on a wild pitch, senior pinch-hitter Dominic Moffo watched strike three and junior pinch-hitter Liam Fay-LeBlanc bounced out to second.

Senior Liam Winship came on to close it out in the fifth and made quick work of the Eagles, getting Bowen to watch strike three, firing strike three past Plummer, then getting Desrochers to bounce back to the mound to close out Portland’s 15-1, mercy rule victory.

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“We haven’t had a game like this in a long time,” Rutherford said. “It’s actually been years. We had been swinging the bat really well. Even in our losses, we’ve had good at-bats. We just hadn’t had bleeder hits and teams haven’t made mistakes.”

The Bulldogs got two hits apiece from Brewer, Gignac and Winship.

Bibeau, Bisco, Brewer, Gignac and Rang all scored twice, while Becker, Crosby, DiMillo, Legere and Winship all touched home once.

Brewer had four RBI, Winship drove in three runs, Bibeau and Legere had two RBI apiece and Bisco, Crosby and Gignac each brought home one.

Portland left four runners on.

Payne earned the victory, surrendering one earned run on three hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out two.

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Liam Winship closed it out with a hitless, scoreless inning of relief. He fanned two.

“The pitching has been great all year, but we haven’t played good defense,” Rutherford said. “The last couple games, we’ve played pretty good defense. If we can shore up the defense, we can play with anybody. Our issue has been infield defense and believe me, we’re working really, really hard at that. We’re figuring out a rotation right now. Bisco has taken second base over. Rang and Gignac are battling for third and Gignac also catches. We have a comfortable rotation.”

Windham got an RBI from Peeples and a run scored from Desrochers.

The Eagles left three men on.

Barker took the loss, giving up eight runs on seven hits in two-plus innings. He walked one and struck out one.

Harvie surrendered seven runs (three earned) in his 0.2 innings of relief. Harvie walked two and fanned one.

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Marden went 1.1 innings of scoreless, hitless relief, striking out one.

More of the same?

Windham looks to bounce back Saturday morning when it travels to Westbrook.

Portland stays home to face Massabesic Saturday, then begins a four-game road trip at Bonny Eagle Tuesday of next week.

The Bulldogs will look to build on their recent success.

“I think we can be one of the top five teams in the league when we’re rolling,” Brewer said. “We’ll have the same approach as today and do what we do best. I think we can compete with anybody.”

“We have some big ones coming up and we can’t take Massabesic for granted,” Rutherford said. “I knew we wouldn’t be in the top four this year, but I thought we’d be in the next four and if we finish strong, we’ll be there. We’re not afraid of anybody.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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