Scarborough bats too much for Sanford ace as streaks continue

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Scarborough sophomore Chloe Griffin is greeted by senior Maggie Murphy after hitting a third inning home run during Monday’s showdown versus Sanford. Griffin’s blast helped the Red Storm erase an early 3-0 deficit and propelled them to a resounding 13-4 victory, their 43rd straight in the regular season.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Scarborough 13 Sanford 4

Sa- 102 000 1- 4 4 1
Sc- 002 038 x- 13 13 2

Top 1st
Jones beat out infield single, Main scored.

Top 3rd
Jones singled to center, M. Wilson scored. Jones scored on error.

Bottom 3rd
Griffin homered to left, Murphy and Griffin scored.

Bottom 5th
Gorey homered to left, Murphy and Gorey scored. Griffin scored on wild pitch.

Bottom 6th
Griffin doubled to left-center, Verreault and Murphy scored. Scoville homered to left, Griffin and Scoville scored. O’Reilly singled to left-center, Carreiro scored. Volk scored on wild pitch. Murphy beat out infield single, O’Reilly scored. Hale scored on error.

Top 7th
Thompson scored on wild pitch.

Repeat hitters:
Sa- Jones
Sc- Murphy 4, Scoville 3, Griffin

Runs:
Sa- Jones, Main, Thompson, M. Wilson
Sc- Griffin, Murphy 3, Carreiro, Gorey, Hale, O’Reilly, Scoville, Verreault, Volk

RBI:
Sa- Jones 2
Sc- Griffin 4, Gorey, Scoville 2, Murphy, O’Reilly

Doubles:
Sc- Griffin, Scoville

Triple:
Sc- Murphy

Home runs:
Sc- Gorey, Griffin, Scoville

Stolen bases:
Sa- Coleman, Jones, Main
Sc- Murphy 3, Griffin, Scoville, Verreault

Left on base:
Sa- 5
Sc- 9

Jones, Allen (5), Jones (6), Allen (6) and Blouin; Murrell, Volk (4) and Ricker

Sa:
Jones (L, 1-1) 4 IP 6 H 4 R 4 ER 3 BB 6 K
Allen 1 IP 1 H 1 R 1 ER 2 BB 1 K 1 WP
Jones 0.1 IP 4 H 7 R 7 ER 1 BB 2 K 1 WP
Allen 0.2 IP 2 H 1 R 0 ER 2 BB 0 K 1 WP

Sc:
Murrell 3 IP 3 H 3 R 2 ER 2 BB 3 K 2 WP
Volk (W, 2-0) 4 IP 1 H 1 R 1 ER 2 BB 3 H 3 WP

Time: 2:13

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s juggernaut softball team is never out of a game and the Red Storm rarely lose one either.

Monday afternoon at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, Scarborough faced a rare stern challenge, but after a slow start, reminded everyone why its lineup is second to none.

Visiting Sanford, the last team to beat the Red Storm in the regular season and in Scarborough, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI infield single from senior ace pitcher Jen Jones, who shut Scarborough down the first two innings.

When Jones had another RBI single, then scored on an error in the top of the third, it appeared the Red Storm were on the ropes, but instead, they were primed for a dazzling offensive explosion.

Scarborough’s comeback began in the bottom of the third, when sophomore rightfielder Chloe Griffin crushed a two-run home run off Jones to cut the deficit to a run.

The Red Storm, who stayed close to thanks to a strong relief effort from junior ace Lilly Volk, went on top to stay in the fifth, as senior shortstop Chloe Gorey sent a two-run bomb of her own over the leftfield fence and a Griffin scored on a wild pitch for a 5-3 advantage.

It was still a game entering the bottom of the sixth, but there, Scarborough blew it open by scoring eight times, highlighted by a two-run double from Griffin and a two-run home run from senior first baseman Kaleigh Scoville.

Volk allowed a run in the seventh, but the Red Storm put the finishing touches on their 13-4 victory, as they extended their regular season win streak to 43 games and their home win streak to 27 in the process.

“It’s just one game early in the season,” said longtime coach Tom Griffin, who earned his 395th victory with the program. “We want to get better every day. It’s good for confidence. We know we can go out and compete.”

First test

Scarborough was unstoppable a year ago for 19 games before losing, 1-0, to Messalonskee in the Class A state final.

This spring, the Red Storm have what it takes to finish the job and opened with a decisive 18-0, five-inning victory at Bonny Eagle. In that win, Volk threw a one-hitter and hit a grand slam. Junior Abbie Murrell also homered.

Sanford, behind 2015 Gatorade Player of the Year Jones, one of the state’s premier pitchers, went 14-2 last spring, but was upset by Noble in the Western A quarterfinals. The Spartans opened by downing visiting Portland, 7-1, Thursday.

Last spring, the Red Storm beat visiting Sanford, 6-1.

The Spartans were actually the last team to beat Scarborough in the regular season and on the Red Storm’s home field, a 3-2, eight-inning decision May 6, 2013.

Monday, Scarborough did what it almost always does, especially during the regular season and at home.

Win.

Sanford got off to a quick start, as senior centerfielder Nicole Main led off against Murrell by singling to right-center. Main stole second and when senior leftfielder Jordan Wilson reached on an error, runners were at the corners with no one out. Murrell fanned sophomore shortstop Marli Wilson, but Jones came through by bouncing a single off Red Storm senior third baseman Maggie Murphy to score Main for a 1-0 lead. Murrell escaped further damage by striking out senior first baseman Morgan Coleman and getting senior rightfielder Isabelle Johnston to line to right, where Griffin made a nice running catch to keep it 1-0.

Scarborough looked as if it was going to pull even in the bottom half when Murphy led off with a triple to left-center, but on a wild pitch, Murphy tried to score and junior catcher Abby Blouin threw to Jones, who tagged Murphy out on a close play.

“That hurt a little bit,” Tom Griffin said. “That was a mistake with nobody out and all those good hitters coming up. We want to be aggressive, but she just misread it. It wasn’t for lack of effort. She responded and had a great game at the plate against a quality pitcher.”

Murrell settled down in the second, striking out Blouin, getting senior second baseman Lauren Thompson to ground out to third and sophomore third baseman Molly Boissonneault to fly out to left.

The Red Storm threatened again in the bottom of the second, as Scoville singled sharply to center and stole second, but Murrell struck out on a 3-2 pitch and Volk couldn’t hold up on a high pitch and fanned as well. After sophomore centerfielder Laura Powell walked on a 3-2 pitch, Jones caught sophomore leftfielder Lindsey Kelley looking at strike three to escape.

Sanford added to its lead in the third.

Murrell got Main to ground out to first and retired Jordan Wilson on a bunt to sophomore second baseman Katie Verreault, but Marli Wilson walked and moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball. That set the stage for Jones to come through again and she ripped a single to center on a full-count pitch for a 2-0 lead. Jones stole second, then moved to third on a ball four wild pitch to Coleman. Coleman stole second as well and Jones came home on an error by Verreault. Coleman tried to score too, but she was gunned down at the plate by Scoville to keep it 3-0.

Scarborough came to life in the bottom of the inning.

Verreault struck out leading off, but Murphy singled sharply to right-center and stole second. Gorey fouled out to third, but Griffin came through in a big way with a blast over the leftfield wall to cut the deficit to 3-2.

“It was pure joy,” Griffin said. “I was super-excited. I haven’t hit a home run in high school. It was a big hit.”

“Chloe’s home run gave us momentum and got us going,” Murphy said.

The hosts weren’t done, as Scoville doubled to left-center and Murrell walked on a full count pitch, but Volk looked at strike three.

When Blouin walked leading off the fourth, Murrell’s day was done and Volk came on in relief. Blouin was caught stealing by Ricker and Volk made quick work of Thompson, getting her to ground out back to the mound, and Boissonneault, catching her looking at strike three.

Jones preserved the lead in the bottom half, as Powell popped out to third, Kelley grounded out to Boissonneault at third, who made a nice play, and Verreault flew out to right.

A terrific diving defensive play by Powell robbed Main of at least a double leading off the top of the fifth. Jordan Wilson then grounded out to short and Marli Wilson looked at strike three.

Scarborough took the lead for good in the bottom of the frame.

Murphy started the rally with a walk.

“(Maggie’s) struggled in the past as a leadoff hitter, but she was great today,” Tom Griffin said. “She puts the ball in play and causes havoc.”

Murphy came all the way around to score when the next batter, Gorey, made solid contact and ripped a fastball over the wall in left for a 4-3 Red Storm lead.

“We don’t get down,” Murphy said. “The entire team worked hard to pick each other up. It’s great to play with a team like that.”

Sanford coach Mike Bailey then replaced Jones with freshman Julia Allen, who walked Griffin. Griffin took second when ball four got away from Blouin. Scoville then grounded to senior shortstop Courtney Camire, who tried to throw out Griffin at third, but she was safe. Scoville tried to take second, but was thrown out for the first out. Griffin then scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3. Murrell walked and Volk singled as Scarborough threatened to score more, but Powell struck out and Kelley lined out to Thompson to end the inning.

Volk got Jones to pop out to second and fanned Coleman to start the sixth. Johnston walked to bring Blouin to the plate as the tying run, but she grounded out to third.

The Red Storm made life miserable for two pitchers in the bottom of the sixth and ended all doubt.

Jones came back to start the inning and struck out Verreault, or so we thought, but strike three eluded Blouin and Verreault reached first. After Verreault stole second, Murphy reached on an infield single and stole second to put runners at second and third. Gorey looked at strike three, but Griffin again got a hold of a pitch and while this one short-hopped the fence in left-center for a double, Verreault and Murphy scored for some breathing room.

Scarborough went up 9-3 a batter later, as Scoville, who pounded the ball all day, crushed a pitch high and deep to left. The ball hit the top of the fence, then bounced over for the Red Storm’s third home run of the game.

Murrell blooped a single to left and was replaced by sophomore courtesy runner Sam Carreiro, who moved to second when Volk walked. Sophomore Felicia O’Reilly pinch-hit for Powell and hit a single to deep left-center, scoring Scarborough’s 10th run and chasing Jones, who was again replaced by Allen.

After senior Tori Hale walked to load the bases and Verreault popped out, a wild pitch brought home Volk. Murphy’s infield single scored O’Reilly and after Gorey reached on an error by Boissonneault, Hale scored to make it 13-3. Griffin walked to load the bases, bringing up Scoville with a chance to end the game via the 12-run “mercy rule,” but Scoville grounded out to third to send the game to the seventh inning.

There, Volk, despite a little wildness, slammed the door.

Thompson led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Boissonneault flew out to right, but another wild pitch moved Thompson to third. Main popped out to second for the second out, but Allen walked and Volk’s third wild pitch of the inning scored Thompson. Volk then fanned Jordan Wilson swinging to end it and after 2 hours and 13 minutes, Scarborough had a 13-4 victory.

“We have a lot of respect for (Jones), so it gives us confidence to know we can go up a top-notch pitcher and perform even when we’re down,” Murphy said.

“We have confidence in each other,” Chloe Griffin said. “We know the next girl will pick us up if we don’t do the job. The next girl will have our back. We hit 1 through 16. It’s awesome.”

“We had runners the first couple innings, but couldn’t score,” Tom Griffin added. “We wanted to put the ball in play, move runners and see if they could play defense.”

Volk earned the win in relief, her second victory this spring, by allowing just one run on one hit and two walks in four innings. She struck out three and threw three wild pitches.

“Lilly has always been a great performer,” Murphy said. “She comes in and shuts people down. She performed and was a great benefit to the team.”

“We have a three-headed monster here, three outstanding pitchers (Lilly, Abbie and Chloe Griffin), and we’ll use all of them and rotate them around,” Tom Griffin said. “It was Lilly’s turn to come in in relief. She’s competitive and the kids have confidence in her. She comes out and throws strike. She has a lot of poise. We can use her as a starter and in big situations like that. We know what she can do.”

Murrell, who got a no-decision, allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits in three innings. She walked two, fanned three and threw a pair of wild pitches.

The offense was sparked by four hits from Murphy, three from Scoville and a pair from Griffin.

Griffin and Murphy scored three runs apiece, while Carreiro, Gorey, Hale, O’Reilly, Scoville, Verreault and Volk all touched home once.

Griffin had four RBI, Gorey and Scoville two apiece and Murphy and O’Reilly one each.

Six of Scarborough’s 13 hits went for extra bases.

“We tried to make some adjustments at the plate and do some different things,” Tom Griffin said. “That was one of better games where we made adjustments. We were ready. A few minor things made a difference for us. We’re confident in our ability to make adjustments, keep hands high, keep weight back, moving up at the plate. All of those things came into play against a pitcher like that. Some teams, we can come in and pound the ball, but against a pitcher like her, we had to put the ball in play. Last year, we were fortunate to beat her, but we struck out 14 times, so we had to put the ball in play. We’ll have to face her again.”

Murphy also had three stolen bases, while Griffin, Scoville and Verreault all had one.

All four seniors, Gorey, Hale, Murphy and Scoville, played key roles in the win.

“Last year is definitely in the back of our mind and is a reminder of how hard we have to work to get back on top,” Murphy said. “We have to do little things, like not getting too anxious and focusing on what we need to get done.”

“I have quality seniors,” Tom Griffin said. “They’ve made major contributions to the program. You never know how seniors will act. Sometimes they try to hard or get out of focus with all the other senior activities, but they’re determined. They’re leading the way.”

The Red Storm stranded nine runners, but it didn’t matter.

Sanford’s offense was paced by Jones, who had two hits, two RBI, a stolen base and scored a run. Main, Thompson and Marli Wilson also scored. Coleman and Main also stole bases for the Spartans, who stranded five runners.

Jones fell to 1-1 after allowing 11 earned runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings her two stints on the hill. She walked four batters, fanned eight and threw a wild pitch.

Allen surrendered two runs (one earned) on three hits in 1.2 innings of work. She walked four, threw two wild pitches and had one strikeout.

“We battled and that’s all I can ask of my girls,” said Bailey. “I think we lost our focus a little bit. That’s a good team over there. They it the ball well and we made a couple errors. What makes them so good is 1 through 9, they’re such good hitters. There are no free outs.”

A long grind

Sanford hopes to bounce back Wednesday when it welcomes Noble in a playoff rematch. The Spartans are at Massabesic Friday.

“We’ll battle back from it,” Bailey said. “We have some things we need to clean up.”

Scarborough goes to improved Deering Wednesday and hosts Cheverus Friday, then has another test Monday at South Portland.

“We can be as good as we want to be, as long as we work hard,’ Chloe Griffin said. “I don’t think there are any limits as long as we work hard every practice.”

“Our challenge now is to stay at a high level and not come down even if the pitching quality is a little different for awhile,” Tom Griffin said.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Scarborough sophomore second baseman Katie Verreault goes all out to make a throw to first base.

Scarborough senior shortstop Chloe Gorey tags out a Sanford base-stealer.

Scarborough junior Lilly Volk throws a strike. Volk came on in relief of Abbie Murrell in the fourth and earned the victory.

Scarborough sophomore centerfielder Laura Powell takes a swing. Powell made a fabulous defensive play when the game was still in doubt.

Scarborough senior first baseman Kaleigh Scoville steals second in the second inning, as Sanford senior shortstop Courtney Camire takes the throw.

Scarborough senior Chloe Gorey, left, junior Abbie Murrell and sophomore Katie Verreault celebrate after a key defensive play.

Scarborough’s bench was spirited during the comeback.

Scarborough pitcher Lilly Volk is congratulated by catcher Hannah Ricker.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.