Sunday, Windham Volunteer Fire Department (27-1) followed Windham

By Chuck Condley Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Sunday, Windham Volunteer Fire Department (27-1) followed Windham Harbison-Walker (1995) and Windham D & A Oil (1996) in bringing the championship trophy home from Butler-Rodman Park in Alliance following a 12-5 victory over previously unbeaten North Ridgeville Hall's Towing (30-1).

Hall's Towing had a little history themselves, having won the H League title in 1995 and finishing second last year.

But Windham, just as they have all season, kept the pressure on North Ridgeville, getting at least one hit in every inning for a total of 17 base hits for the game.

"We really hit the ball well today," said Windham manager Jeff Stanley.

"This is the third in a row for Windham and I couldn't be prouder of this team. We have tried to outwork our opponents and all that hard work has paid off."

Windham scored four times in the third inning to break a 2-2 tie and added a solo tally in the fifth to grab a 7-2 lead. But North Ridgeville fought back with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the margin to 7-5.

The Firemen, however, bounced back with four in the top of the sixth and Hall's Towing was unable to answer.

"We have had trouble holding leads this year," said Stanley. "We were able to get those runs back and the kids just never let up."

Windham wasted little time taking the lead as Russ Hensley led off the game with a triple and scored on a single by Tony Marstiller.

Hall's Towing took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first as their leadoff hitter Dan Nelson also tripled and scored on a ground out. With two outs, starting pitcher Mike Clapham drilled a solo home run over the left field fence.

Windham tied it in the second as Ryan Williams singled. Pinch runner Kyle Hostetler went to second on a single by William Boxler and scored on a wild pitch.

In the third, Hensley doubled and scored on a single by Marstiller. James Lade then tripled home Marstiller and came around to score on an error by the North Ridgeville catcher. Bill Burns singled and scored on a single by Justin Bortz.

In the fifth, Josh Garrett doubled and scored on a single by Bortz to make it 7-2.

Hall's Towing, who had just three hits since the first inning, came to life in the bottom of the fifth.

Singles by Nelson, Steve Potting, Andrew Tyson and Carl Jackson, along with a pair of walks, cut the Windham lead to 7-5.

The Firemen, however, were not about to let this one slip away as they put the game away by sending nine men to the plate and scored four runs in the top of the sixth.

Marstiller singled and scored on a single by Lade, Bortz knocked in a pair of runs with a two-out single and Williams singled home another run to make it 11-5.

Windham tacked on its final tally in the seventh on a single by Hensley and a two-out single by Garrett.

Lade, who started the game before being relieved by Bortz in the third, re-entered the contest in the sixth and retired five in a row before an error and walk put runners on first and second for North Ridgeville in the bottom of the seventh. But Lade, who fanned the first two batters in the seventh, struck out Jackson to end the game.

"We have been able to get all the kids in the game and, with free substitution after the fifth, we have been able to move kids in and out depending on the situation. This has really been a team effort from all the players and coaches.

"My assistant manager Rob Garrett was a manager the last couple of years. This year they combined our two teams and he has been so much help to me. He and I are on the same page ... he's like the left hand, I'm the right."

For Rob Garrett, this is the second state championship he has been involved in. Back in 1970, he played on the Windham Globe-Alloy team that captured the F League state title.

"All my coaches, including Clair Simpson and Jerry Miller have been very supportive as have been the fans. This championship is for all of them."

Bortz was named Most Valuable Player with a three-hit, four RBI performance. Hensley had a triple, double and single; Marstiller added a double and three singles; Lade had a triple and single; and Garrett had a double and single to pace Windham.

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