WINDHAM — Pastime Club and Windham knew Wednesday’s Zone III championship game could end with one pitch. Both teams just assumed that the one pitch would have to be put in play.

It was not. Instead, the pitch led to Pastime winning its third consecutive zone title on a technicality, two days after the game began.

With the teams tied at 11-11, the same score as when it was suspended by darkness on Monday, Windham’s Nate Boyle threw a first-pitch strike to Pastime’s Eddie Emerson to start the 16th inning. Pastime coach Dave Jordan called home plate umpire Kevin Joyce for a conference.

A moment later, Joyce asked zone commissioner Todd Cifelli to join the discussion, and a few moments after that, Joyce and Cifelli walked to the Windham dugout to inform their bench that they had forfeited the game.

With that one pitch, Boyle, who was on the mound when the game resumed in the 11th inning on Wednesday, had technically thrown in his 13th inning in three days. American Legion rules limit pitchers to 12 innings in three days.

Windham coaches assumed that since there had been a day off in between (the game was originally scheduled to resume Tuesday but was postponed due to rain), Boyle, who had thrown seven innings in Sunday’s win over Locke Mills, was in the clear. But since the game had been suspended, everything — lineups, substitutions, pitching limits — carried over as if the game was being completed Monday night.


The ending enraged Windham players and fans and set off a muted celebration on the Pastime side. The victory gives Pastime a bye to the double-elimination state tournament in Augusta, where it will face Zone II champion Red Barn of Augusta at 10 a.m. next Wednesday. Zone regular-season champion Windham will have to defeat Zone II runner-up Madison in a play-in game on Saturday in order to earn a berth in the state tournament.

“It was an opportunity to end the game, a game that’s gone on for a long time,” Jordan said.

Both teams, who had been warned about trash talking during the game, lined up for a quick, terse handshake afterwards (as Legion rules require). Clearly some bad blood could carry over if they meet again in Augusta next week.

“It’s just an unfortunate way to end,” a calm Brody Artes, Windham’s coach, said afterwards. “Our kids battled hard for 15-plus innings. It’s just tough to end on a technicality like that.”

“I think what threw us off was the missed day from (Tuesday),” Artes said. “(Wednesday) would have been the fourth day. We thought (Boyle) would have been fine.”

It was Jordan’s concern over how his own pitcher, Luke Cote, would be affected by the rule that led him to double-check it and later apply it to Boyle. In fact, he had a conference with Joyce before sending Cote back out for the 14th inning to make sure the right-hander had two innings of eligibility left. Cote set Windham down in order in the 15th, which was to be his final inning.


“At the beginning of the game I had the book out. I checked with the umpires to see if we were basing this on the Tuesday game status or the extra day status, which would have cleared Luke to pitch more than he did or was going to,” Jordan said. “We had heard that (Boyle) had gone seven on Sunday.”

Boyle and Cote wiggled out of several jams, the latter with some assistance, to extend the game.

Boyle allowed the leadoff runner to reach in three of his first five innings Wednesday, but picked one off of second base and stranded two others at second with two out. He allowed just two hits and a walk and hit a batter in his five innings.

Cote, who threw one inning on Sunday and 4 1/3 innings of one-run relief on Monday, got into serious trouble in his second inning on Wednesday, through no fault of his own.

A dropped routine fly ball to left, a sacrifice bunt, and a bobbled grounder to second put Windham runners at first and third with one out in the 12th. Cote then loaded the bases with an intentional walk.

With two left-handed batters due up, Jordan brought in southpaw Corbin Hyde, who kept Pastime alive with a pop out and a strikeout on a knee-buckling curve.


“I just wanted to throw strikes,” Hyde said. “I had a feeling (on the last out) he was looking for the fastball. It was 2-and-2 and I’d throw him the deuce and if it was a ball, I still had one more pitch.”

“We had said that we wanted to use Corb very short, 25-30 pitches, and then get him out of there in case we had to go Saturday,” Jordan said. “We were going to save him for a situation where the game could be lost or we could wrap up a win.”

Hyde allowed a two-out single, stolen base and wild pitch in the 13th, but again stranded the winning run at third with a strikeout.

“There were two parts to our offensive attack. We wanted to get runners on to start and we wanted to get clutch hits to finish it off. We did the first,” said Artes, whose team stranded five runners Wednesday and 17 overall. “We definitely left a lot of runners on.”

Cote returned in the 14th to issue a leadoff single to Shawn Francoeur. After a sacrifice and intentional walk put runners at first and second, Ethan Petty hit a potential double-play ball to third. Pastime didn’t turn it, but still got the end result it wanted because Francoeur was ruled out for interference running between second and third.

“Luke Cote was huge for us,” Jordan said. “We couldn’t have asked for more than what he did on the mound.”

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