Scarborough’s softball team celebrates as Chloe Griffin scores the game-ending run in Saturday’s 12-0 six-inning, “mercy rule” victory over Oxford Hills in the Class A state final. The Red Storm won the championship in undefeated fashion for the second year in a row.
Scarborough third baseman Emily Jefferds catches a line drive during the Red Storm’s state game win over Oxford Hills Saturday.
Scarborough’s softball team has been the gold standard in the sport for years, but prior to Saturday, there were two things that the program had yet to accomplish.
Winning back-to-back championships and capturing a title in an even-numbered year.
Now, there’s nothing left for the Red Storm to check off the list.
Three days after a scintillating extra inning victory over rival Thornton Academy in the regional final, Scarborough pulled away late to down Oxford Hills in the Class A state final for its 40th straight victory, second consecutive state title and seventh all-time championship.
The Red Storm won all 16 regular season games this spring for the fifth year in a row, extending their league win streak to 89 in the process. As the top seed in Class A South for the seventh year in a row, Scarborough eliminated No. 8 Portland, 7-1, in the quarterfinals, then, in a sign of what was to come in the state game, the Red Storm pulled away late to oust No. 4 Massabesic, 10-0, in the semifinals. Last Tuesday, Scarborough got pushed to the brink by third-seeded Thornton Academy, the only team to test the Red Storm in the regular season, but Chloe Griffin’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed Scarborough to advance, 3-2.
Instead of meeting Skowhegan yet again, this time, the Red Storm squared off against Oxford Hills in the Class A Final at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.
Griffin had to work out of trouble early in the game, including escaping a bases loaded jam in the second.
In the bottom of the third, Felicia O’Reilly reached on a single, was sacrificed to second and scored on an error for a 1-0 lead.
Griffin made it stand up and in the bottom of the sixth, Scarborough produced 11 runs on 11 hits to bring the contest to a sudden end.
The Red Storm finally got to Oxford Hills starter Lauren Merrill the third time through the order. No. 9 hitter Emily Jefferds started the offensive outburst with a single.
“We’re really good at communication and once someone goes in the dugout, good or bad outcome, they told me that (Merrill) was kind of getting tired and slowing down a little bit,” said Jefferds. “They also told me that it was first-pitch strike, so that’s what I looked for right away, and it was, and it helped me tremendously.”
Jefferds gave way to pinch-runner Mollie Verreault. Bella Dickinson followed with a single, then Laura Powell doubled in Verreault. Griffin walked to load the bases, and Hunter Greenleaf, Sam Carreiro and Lindsey Kelley all had RBI singles before O’Reilly popped out for the first out.
Courtney Brochu singled in two more runs, knocking out Merrill and Jefferds singled in two more against reliever Sydney Crocker. Dickinson singled and Powell flied out for the second out. Then, Griffin doubled off the outfield wall to score two runs and Greenleaf’s single drove in Griffin to end the game.
“With a runner (on third), I knew a base hit would score her,” said Greenleaf. “That’s what I tried to do, and in the end that’s what I did. I’m so proud of this team. We’ve worked so hard for this championship.”
“For the seniors, it was big to go out with a bang,” said center fielder Laura Powell.
“I’m happy we got to do it,” Griffin said. “We’ve been together since Little League, so this is awesome, getting to end it together like this.”
“We were able to square up the ball a little bit better as we were going on and once we got something rolling, our kids are dangerous,” added Scarborough coach Tom Griffin, who won the 452nd game of his illustrious career. “It’s contagious. This has been our M.O. all year. Once we get a lead, and get a couple runs in, things just steam-roll from there.
“The girls know they can handle anything. Nothing surprises them. Nothing was going to rattle them. Again, they just know how to handle themselves and they just didn’t panic. One of the things we try to do is make sure that we don’t make a mistake. We were ready to give up a run if we had to, just to keep the game close, because we know that we can score runs.”
Chloe Griffin threw a shutout in her swan song, allowing six hits and striking out six.
The Red Storm will be hard-hit by graduation, as Chloe Griffin, Carreiro, Greenleaf, Jefferds, Kelley, O’Reilly, Powell and Ivy DiBiase all depart.
Weep not for Scarborough, however, with the likes of Brochu and Dickinson leading the way, another run at a title is likely in 2019.
It is an odd-numbered year, after all.
Not that such things matter anymore.
Scarborough has done it all.