SCARBOROUGH—For one afternoon at least, Scarborough’s softball team appeared beatable, but in the end, the Red Storm refused to go down to defeat against the squad which ruined their season a year ago.
Hosting Thornton Academy Monday afternoon at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, in a rematch of last year’s state final, Scarborough, which outscored its first three foes by a composite 40-2 margin, found itself in a battle for the first time.
After Red Storm sophomore starter Lilly Volk and Golden Trojans senior ace Bailey Tremblay traded zeroes for two-and-a-half innings, Scarborough broke through in the bottom of the third, when junior shortstop Chloe Gorey crushed her first home run.
Thornton Academy didn’t buckle, however, and drew even in the top of the fourth, when junior first baseman Maizie Lee broke up Volk’s perfect game with a double and came home on Tremblay’s single to tie the game, 1-1.
Scarborough went back on top in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to a combination of good hitting and small ball. Freshman Laura Powell scored the go-ahead run on Volk’s bunt and Gorey added an RBI single for a 3-1 advantage.
That lead wasn’t safe, however, as with one out in the sixth, an error allowed junior second baseman Libby Pomerleau to come to the plate as the tying run and Pomerleau crushed a home run to left to make it 3-3 and momentarily take the air of the partisan Scarborough crowd.
After Volk escaped that frame, the Red Storm answered in the bottom half, as sophomore designated player Abbie Murrell doubled to center and one out later, after junior first baseman Kaleigh Scoville blooped a single to right, as Scoville was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, sophomore centerfielder/flex player Hannah Ricker daringly raced home and Scarborough went back on top, 4-3.
Volk slammed the door in the seventh, registering her ninth and 10th strikeouts, and the Red Storm held on for their fourth win without a loss this spring, handing Thornton Academy its first setback in five outings in the process.
“We expected (a game like this),” said longtime Scarborough coach Tom Griffin. “They’re a good team, but we executed. We got hits and moved runners when we needed to move runners. We put the ball in play. It was a character builder. We’ll learn from it.”
Since the teams started playing in 2004, Scarborough has dominated the rivalry, winning 15 of 16 meetings (see sidebar, below), including a 5-1 triumph in Saco last year during the regular season, but Thornton Academy finally broke through at the most optimal time, upsetting the Red Storm, 2-1, in the Western A Final.
Scarborough, which has won each of the past four odd-year state championships, entered 2015 as the favorite, with the Golden Trojans viewed as the squad most likely to challenge.
Thornton Academy started with a 12-2 win at Portland, then handled visiting South Portland (11-4), host Gorham (5-2) and visiting Bonny Eagle (10-4).
The Red Storm, meanwhile, left their opposition in the dust, demolishing host South Portland (26-0, in five innings) and having little trouble with visiting Gorham (9-2) or host Bonny Eagle (5-0).
Scarborough hadn’t had to test itself in a close game, but would get that opportunity Monday, in a well-played contest that felt more like June 4 (especially considering the weather, 71 degrees at first pitch) than May 4.
Volk was unhittable the first time through the Golden Trojans’ lineup.
In the top of the first, Volk got Lee to ground out to shortstop, struck out Pomerleau and got Tremblay to ground out to second.
Tremblay was equally effective in the bottom half, getting junior third baseman Maggie Murphy to ground sharply to first, striking out senior second baseman Ashley Gleason and getting senior leftfielder Sophia Burnham to line out to third.
Volk then struck out the side in the top of the second, getting senior shortstop Brooke Cross to chase strike three, junior third baseman Kaylee Burns to strike out swinging and sophomore designated player Kaya O’Connor to look at strike three.
Murrell led off the bottom half by drawing a walk. Ricker came in to run and after senior catcher Brittany Plowman fouled out to the catcher on a bunt and Scoville popped foul to first, Ricker stole second, but Tremblay escaped the frame by getting Volk to take strike three.
In the third, Volk retired senior catcher Keira Fitzgerald on a grounder to second, junior leftfielder Hayden Campbell on a pop to short and junior centerfielder Barrett Campbell on strikes.
Scarborough then broke through in the bottom half.
Leading off, Gorey got a hold of a Tremblay pitch and launched a drive to left. With the wind blowing out, the ball had no trouble clearing the wall and the Red Storm had a 1-0 lead, even if Gorey wasn’t sure she’d gone deep.
“I thought it was a double when I hit it and I was excited for an extra base hit,” Gorey said. “I was running hard. I was so surprised. I’ve never hit one before.”
The Red Storm threatened for more, as after freshman rightfielder Chloe Griffin fouled out to first, Murphy doubled down the left field line and Gleason beat out a bunt single, but Tremblay got Burnham to pop out to short and after Gleason stole second, Murrell struck out to keep the score 1-0.
The Golden Trojans then got their offense going in the fourth.
Leading off, on a 3-2 pitch, Lee ripped a shot to left that Burnham couldn’t quite reach and the ball rolled to the fence for a double. After Pomerleau fouled out to the catcher, Tremblay smacked a single to right and Lee scored easily to tie the score. After Cross sacrificed Tremblay to second, a wild pitch moved Tremblay to third, but Volk caught Burns looking at strike three to keep the game 1-1.
Scarborough quickly retook the lead in the bottom half.
Leading off, Plowman singled to center. Freshman Laura Powell pinch-ran and moved to third on a single to center off the bat of Scoville. Volk then laid down a bunt toward Burns at third, who threw to first for the out, but Powell raced home for a 2-1 lead as Scoville took second. Gorey was next and she laced a single to right to score Scoville for a 3-1 advantage. Gorey stole second, but Griffin lined to Tremblay and with Gorey off the bag, Tremblay threw to Cross to complete the double play.
Volk returned to dominant form in the top of the fifth, getting O’Connor to ground back to the mound, Fitzgerald to pop out to first and Hayden Campbell to pop to short.
In the bottom half, Murphy popped out to Tremblay, Gleason popped out to second and Burnham grounded out to third.
While the Red Storm appeared on the verge of putting the game away, an error in the sixth inning gave the Golden Trojans life and they took advantage.
After Volk got Barrett Campbell to strike out, she induced a grounder to third off the bat of Lee, but Murphy’s throw was high and got past Scoville’s glove to allow Lee to reach. Pomerleau then got a hold of a Volk offering, sent it deep to left and the ball carried over Burnham’s head and over the fence to make it, 3-3.
Tremblay followed with a single to right and suddenly, Thornton Academy threatened to take the lead, but Volk settled down and induced Cross to pop out to short and got Burns to look at strike three.
Scarborough answered in the bottom of the sixth.
Leading off, Murrell crushed a pitch to the wall in right-center and barely beat the throw to second for a leadoff double. Ricker came on to run, a coaching decision which would loom large. After Plowman lined to out left, with Hayden Campbell making a nice shoestring catch, Scoville hit a fly ball behind first, down the rightfield line. Lee and freshman rightfielder Louisa Colucci momentarily hesitated and the ball dropped in. Colucci threw to second to get Scoville, but Ricker, who was going full tilt as soon as the ball landed, roared around third and scored for a 4-3 lead.
“I was just being aggressive,” Ricker said. “I heard my team cheering. Getting batted in was great.”
Ricker scoring the eventual winning run didn’t come as a surprise.
“Hannah saved us countless times last year,” Volk said. “Every time we needed a run, she scored. Every time.”
“I wanted to utilize (Hannah’s) ability to do the little things,” Tom Griffin said. “She’s a smart kid. We took a chance and it worked out well. I like that my kids are confident. They were sure we could push a run across. We can score at any point of our lineup.”
While Tremblay got Volk to pop out to second to end the frame, the Red Storm had the lead.
While Burnham was seen warming up in the bottom of the sixth, Griffin stayed with Volk in the seventh and she rewarded his trust, battling back from a 2-0 count to get O’Connor to ground out to second, getting Fitzgerald to look at strike three, then catching Hayden Campbell looking at strike three to end it.
“We’ve been ready for this game, for a game against a team at our level,” Volk said. “We showed what we can do.”
“It’s nice to know that we can find a way to win,” Gorey said. “We wanted to prove ourselves because we knew with our depth that we could win. We knew they were a really good team as well, so we were excited.”
“We needed to get pushed,” Tom Griffin added. “If you don’t have it and you get to the playoffs, you can get on your heels. I told the kids to have some fun with it. It’s a time to celebrate our work. We talked about it. We’ve waited a long time to play them. We knew they’d come at us hard. Who knows? This might be the only time we get to play them all year. There’s no guarantee we’ll see them in the playoffs. We’re satisfied with the outcome today.”
Volk earned her second win by allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits. She didn’t walk a batter and fanned 10. She also threw a wild pitch.
“It was challenging, but I had to take a deep breath and take it one pitch at a time and not worry about the previous pitch,” Volk said. “I had to stay confident. At the same time, I didn’t take the lead for granted. I played it like a 0-0 game in my head.”
“Lilly pitched a great game,” Griffin said. “She gave up a few hits, but kept her composure and bounced back. I’m very pleased with her.”
Offensively, Gorey and Scoville both had two hits. Gorey, Powell, Ricker and Scoville scored runs. Gorey had two RBI. Gleason, Gorey and Ricker all stole bases.
For Thornton Academy, Tremblay fell to 4-1 after giving up four runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings. She struck out three.
Offensively, Tremblay had two of the Golden Trojans’ four hits. Lee scored twice, while Pomerleau touched home once. Pomerleau had two RBI, while Tremblay finished with one.
Thornton Academy is back in action Friday when Noble pays a visit. The Golden Trojans play at Sanford Monday.
Scarborough is at Noble Wednesday, then hosts Sanford Saturday.
As impressive as the Red Storm have been this spring, they know they can still get better.
” I think we have such a strong team throughout the order and in the field,” Ricker said. “We trust every player to make a play or get the hit.”
“We can always get better,” Gorey said. “We can still work on everything.”
Scarborough sophomore Lilly Volk prepares to deliver a strike. Volk struck out 10 and earned the victory.
Thornton Academy senior ace Bailey Tremblay delivers a pitch.
Thornton Academy’s Barrett Campbell swings at a Lilly Volk offering.
Thornton Academy senior Brooke Cross receives a throw at second base.
Scarborough senior second baseman Ashley Gleason catches a pop fly.
Scarborough junior Maggie Murphy slides into second for a third inning double.
Thornton Academy junior Maizie Lee comes home to tie the game in the fourth.
Scarborough sophomore Lilly Volk bunts in the fourth inning. Volk was thrown out at first, but a run scored on the play.
Scarborough freshman Chloe Griffin takes a swing.
Scarborough senior catcher Brittany Plowman congratulates sophomore pitcher Lilly Volk after the Red Storm held on to win.
Scarborough 5 @ Thornton Academy 1
Western A Final
Thornton Academy 2 Scarborough 1
@ Scarborough 5 Thornton Academy 2
Western A semifinals
@ Scarborough 2 Thornton Academy 0
Scarborough 8 @ Thornton Academy 3
Western A semifinals
@ Scarborough 4 Thornton Academy 0
@ Scarborough 3 Thornton Academy 0
Scarborough 6 @ Thornton Academy 0
@ Scarborough 6 Thornton Academy 1
Scarborough 2 @ Thornton Academy 0
Scarborough 4 @ Thornton Academy 0
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 1 Thornton Academy 0
@ Scarborough 1 Thornton Academy 0 (10)
Scarborough junior Chloe Gorey nears the plate as her teammates wait to congratulate her after a third inning home run during Monday’s 4-3 victory over Thornton Academy.
More photos below.
TA- 000 102 0- 3 4 0
S- 001 201 X- 4 8 1
Gorey homered to left, Gorey scored.
Tremblay singled to right, Lee scored.
Powell scored on Volk bunt. Gorey singled to right, Scoville scored.
Pomerleau homered to left, Lee and Pomerleau scored.
Scoville singled to right, Scoville thrown out at second, Ricker scored on throw.
S- Gorey, Scoville
TA- Lee 2, Pomerleau
S- Corey, Powell, Ricker, Scoville
TA- Pomerleau 2, Tremblay
S- Gorey, Volk
S- Gleason, Gorey, Ricker
Left on base:
Tremblay and Fitzgerald; Volk and Plowman
Tremblay (L, 4-1) 6 IP 8 H 4 R 4 ER 1 BB 3 K
Volk (W, 2-0) 7 IP 4 H 3 R 2 ER 0 BB 10 K 1 WP