STANDISH — It’s no secret that the Scarborough High softball team has been on a mission this spring, spurred by three years of championship-game losses.

Wednesday night the top-ranked Red Storm moved one step closer to completing that mission.

Scarborough took control with five runs in the first inning and defeated second-seeded Portland 8-3 in the Class A South championship game at St. Joseph’s College.

The Red Storm (19-0) will play Skowhegan (17-2) in the Class A state final at noon Saturday at Cony High in Augusta, looking to end three years of frustration since the program’s last state title.

“I’ve got to say this is amazing,” said senior pitcher Abbie Murrell. “It really feels rewarding. We’ve worked so hard for the past four years. We’ve picked it up a couple of notches (this spring) and worked so hard.”

Since winning the Class A state championship in 2013, Scarborough has lost in a regional final, a state championship game and last year another regional game.

This year, said Coach Tom Griffin, “We really felt all year that there was some separation between us and the rest of the league, and I think we proved that. Now we have to go out and finish it.”

The Red Storm, playing in their 11th consecutive regional final, wasted no time against Portland (16-3), which was playing in its first regional title game since 2004.

With two outs in the bottom of the first and runners on first and third, Sam Carriero hit a ball that dropped six inches in front of the plate and then started spinning … and spinning … and spinning.

Portland catcher Liani Legere tried to pick it up but it simply squirted away and Chloe Griffin, who was on third, slid in with the first run.

“Never seen that before,” said Tom Griffin. “I’ve coached almost 30 years and I’ve never seen a ball like that. That ball was like a top spinning. Crazy.”

Lindsey Kelley then reached to load the bases and Hannah Ricker dropped a liner into right-center that scored all three runs. Ricker later scored on an outfield error.

“We knew we had a mountain to climb,” said Bulldogs Coach Robbie Ferrante. “Good team like that, we gave them five outs and they jumped on us. That’s why they’re a great team.”

Portland settled down but Scarborough never let it back in. Lilly Volk hit an RBI single in the second. Laura Powell hit a long home run over the equipment shed some 225 feet out in left field. Courtney Brochu tripled, then scored on a single by Bella Dickinson in the fifth.

“I’m glad we had a shot at them,” said Ferrante. “But they just have too much. They keep coming and coming after you.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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