WINDHAM — Pastime Club and Windham went into Monday’s Zone III championship game knowing the loser’s season wouldn’t end there. And yet both teams seem to like the idea of sudden death.

After 3½ hours and 10 innings, the zone title remained undecided as darkness began to settle in at Windham High School. After a conference involving coaches from both teams, umpires and Zone III commissioner Todd Cifelli, it was suspended.

The game will resume at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday with 11’s wild — tied 11-11 at the start of the 11th inning.

“We’ll come tomorrow and we’ll have a sudden death situation,” said Pastime coach Dave Jordan, whose team is trying to win its third consecutive zone title. “We’ll go out and give it our best effort and put our best people we can into the situations and see what we can do.”

A rainy forecast could alter those plans. If the game is postponed, it will resume at the same time on Wednesday.

“I hope we get it in. I’d rather not push it to Wednesday,” said Windham coach Brody Artes, whose team won the zone’s regular-season title. “It’s pretty much 0-0. It’s sudden death, almost. We’ve just to get up, make sure we’re focused right off the bat and know that we don’t have any safety nets.”

Each team cut down the other’s safety net to bring about the suspension. Pastime rallied from an early 5-1 deficit to take an 8-7 lead in the top of the fifth. Windham tied it in the bottom of the fifth, then relievers Luke Cote and Dennis Meehan put a sudden halt to the scoring for the next three innings.

Pastime put on a small-ball clinic to take the lead again in the ninth. Meehan issued back-to-back walks to start the inning and was lifted in favor of lefty Joey Francoeur.

Anticipating a bunt, Windham brought in a fifth infielder, but still had a hole on the right side between the drawn-in first baseman and the mound. Nick Perreault exploited that hole perfectly with his bunt, so perfectly that Jordan was able to waive Ryan Riordan in from second for the go-ahead score.

“I have a lot of confidence in Nick. He is a great competitor,” Jordan said. “I scanned the field quick to see where everybody was and I thought it was a great opportunity to move people around. Ryan is a fast guy, and in those situations it’s a quick judgement.”

The bunting didn’t stop there. Brian Wigant followed Perreault with a suicide squeeze to score Eddie Emerson. Mike Wong put down a safety squeeze to plate Perreault to make it 11-8 before Francoeur got out of the inning with a fly out.

Entering his fifth inning of relief, Cote gave up a one-out triple and a walk before handing the ball to Riordan, who walked the first batter he faced to load the bases but got the second out of the inning on a grounder to second that scored the Merchants’ ninth run.

Another walk loaded the bases again, then Meehan tied it with a two-run single on an 0-2 pitch. Cote returned to the mound to preserve the tie with a strikeout.

Each team stranded the potential winning run at second base in the 10th prior to the game being called a little after 8 p.m.

Corbin Hyde has been the star of Pastime’s offense, going 5-for-6 with a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored. Perreault is 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Cote and Wong (three RBIs) each have a pair of hits. Ethan Petty is 4-for-6 with a triple and two runs scored to lead Windham, while Calvin Field has reached back four times with a double, two-run triple and two walks.

There is more than the zone championship on the line. The loser will have to get past Zone 2 runner-up Madison in a play-in game on Saturday to earn a berth in the state tournament in Augusta. The winner automatically advances into the double-elimination tournament field and doesn’t play again until a week from Wednesday.

“It’s a good test for teams that are getting ready for the tournament, a pressure situation like this,” Jordan said.


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