Wednesday evening, for the third time in five years, the Scarborough Red Storm and South Portland Red Riots softball teams squared off for the right to go to the Class A state final.
The game was played too late for press. Please see our Web site, for a full game story.
The top-ranked Red Storm (15-1 in the regular season) advanced by virtue of easy wins over Noble (12-0, in six innings) and Bonny Eagle (6-0) in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. Scarborough’s two-headed pitching monster of junior Melissa Dellatorre and freshman Mo Hannan combined for a no-hitter against the Knights. Senior Catie Funk homered and Hannan threw a five-hitter and drove in two runs against the Scots.
The Red Riots (who went 13-3 during the regular year to earn the No. 3 seed) had to rally to squeak past No. 6 Gorham 3-2 (in eight innings) in the quarterfinals, then cruised past No. 10 Thornton Academy (which had upset defending regional champion Biddeford) 9-0 in the semifinals. Against the Rams, junior Katlin Norton had the game-winning hit. Versus the Golden Trojans, sophomore Alexis Bogdanovich had three RBI, threw a four-hitter and struck out 10.
The teams have met in five of the past six postseasons. In the 2005 Western A Final, South Portland sprung a 1-0 upset for its lone regional title. Two years ago, in the same round, Scarborough enjoyed a 7-1 triumph en route to its first Class A championship.
The Red Storm also eliminated the Red Riots in the 2003 semifinals (3-0), 2004 quarterfinals (3-0) and 2008 semifinals (1-0).
The winner will battle the Eastern A champion, either Cony (18-0) or Skowhegan (17-1) in the state game Saturday at 12 p.m., at Brewer High School.
South Portland has not faced either team before. Scarborough beat Skowhegan 2-0 in the 2007 state final.
Cape Elizabeth, led by senior standouts Colleen Martin, Emily Richardson and Trish Thibodeau, hoped to go all the way this spring, but had their dream derailed by a recent nemesis Saturday.
The Capers went 15-1 in the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed behind Maranacook in Western B. After a 4-0 blanking of No. 7 Oak Hill (Thibodeau threw a no-hitter) in the quarterfinals, Cape Elizabeth hosted No. 3 Fryeburg in the semifinals.
Back on May 25, the Capers beat the Raiders and their standout senior ace, Hannah Hill, 3-1. Fryeburg eliminated then-defending state champion Cape Elizabeth from last year’s regional final, 1-0.
In the regular season win, the Capers escaped a jam in the top of the first, got a run in the bottom half and never looked back.
They weren’t as fortunate Saturday.
Hill led off with a solid single to center and with one out stole second on a close and controversial play. With two outs, Hill came home on an error and Fryeburg was in good shape.
Hill allowed just one walk in the first two innings and the Raiders took control in the third, scoring twice on three hits.
Then, in the fourth, Fryeburg made it 7-0, thanks to a four-hit uprising. Cape Elizabeth got a run back in the seventh, but it was far too little, too late as its season ended at 16-2 with the 7-1 defeat.
“We gave up six runs in 17 games and gave up seven in that one,” said Capers coach Joe Henrikson. “How do you figure it? It was pretty stunning. It started bad and went downhill from there. They were tough. Hannah was fired up. She was upset we beat her before. If we could have gotten out of the first inning without giving up a run, it could have been different.
“We practiced that morning and hit well. I felt good going in. The stolen base in the first inning was the turning point, in my opinion. It was a fantastic year, but it’s a tough way to end.”
Cape Elizabeth’s seniors went 67-10 and won the school’s first championship. Replacing that group won’t be easy.
“Coco and Trish and Emily were phenomenal players,” said Henrikson. “The best I’ve ever had without question. They had a great record. Four of their 10 losses came to Hannah Hill.
“Pitching’s the name of the game and we don’t have another pitcher like Trish. It’ll be difficult next year. We’ll come back to the pack, but don’t write us off. Gray will be the favorite. Greely and Wells should be tough.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com.
Fryeburg’s Ellen Head slides safely into second while Cape Elizabeth senior Emily Richardson goes airborne to avoid her during the teams’ Western B semifinal softball showdown Saturday.
Cape Elizabeth senior catcher Colleen Martin beat the throw to first during Saturday’s game. Baserunners were few and far between for the Capers as their season ended with a 7-1 loss.