AUGUSTA – Even at the beginning of the year, as his Scarborough High softball team struggled to find its footing, Tom Griffin was confident it could come together.

“Everything we’ve done has worked toward winning these last two games,” said Griffin. “And so many of those little things came into play.”

And it helps to have Mo Hannan.

The junior pitcher threw her fourth shutout of the postseason, allowing two hits and striking out 10 as Scarborough beat Messalonskee 5-0 to win the Class A state championship Saturday at Cony High.

It was Scarborough’s third championship since 2007, each coming in an odd-numbered year.

“I’m just so thrilled for these kids,” said Griffin. “You’ve got to be around them every day to appreciate how hard they work and how much they really care about each other, and how much they support each other.

“They come to practice every day with such a positive attitude. They just have fun.”

The championship game had its tense moments — it was scoreless through four innings — but the Red Storm players were confident.

“I really think it was just a matter of time,” said catcher Abby Rutt. “It’s always nice to get a quick start but without a doubt it’s going to happen.”

It happened in the top of the fifth, when the Red Storm finally got to freshman pitcher Kai Smith, who had kept Scarborough off balance by mixing her pitches and locations.

Megan Murrell led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. Hannan then drilled a double into the left-center field gap, knocking in Murrell with the first run.

“I took a deep breath when I went up,” said Hannan. “And I thought to myself if we’re going to do it, this is the time.”

After Dominque Burnham lined out — with Messalonskee shortstop Hannah Jalette making a fine catch — Rutt singled to left to knock in Hannan. Erin Giles followed with another double into the gap, and it was 3-0.

Scarborough added two in the sixth — those “little things” coming into play.

Grace Farnkoff led off by getting hit by a pitch on the inside of her right knee. In obvious pain, she hobbled to first but stayed in the game. She was sacrificed to second, then Lauren Aceto grounded a single to left. Farnkoff raced home, executing a perfect fadeaway slide to avoid the tag of catcher Alyssa Eugley and score the fourth run.

“I kind of worked (the pain) off,” said Farnkoff, who wasn’t through playing a big role in this game. “We practice that slide all the time. And I kind of like doing it, so I figured I might as well just go for it.”

Hannan then singled in Aceto with the fifth run.

The Eagles’ best chance came in the sixth inning before Farnkoff stepped up again.

With runners on second and third and two outs, Alei Collier drove a pitch into the gap in left-center. Farnkoff raced over and made a backhanded catch.

“She made a heck of a play,” said Messalonskee Coach Leo Bouchard. “That was two runs, runner on second, and maybe Scarborough would have been a little rattled. We had no luck today whatsoever.”

“She saved my life,” said Hannan.

“I knew I had a chance,” said Farnkoff. “I was thinking about diving but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to. Mo’s awesome. It’s the least I could do for her.”

Hannan got the final out on a strikeout, then leaped into the arms of Rutt.

“Just a nice way to end it,” said senior first baseman Alana Peoples. “Last year we had the heartbreak (losing to South Portland in the regional final) and we kind of promised ourselves we were going to come back and win it. And we did.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH