Tuesday, May 21, 2013
By Mike Lowe email@example.com
SCARBOROUGH - Practice hadn't begun yet, but a couple of players on Scarborough's Little League 11-12 state championship team were going through their own drills. Sort of.
LL SOFTBALL 11-12
WHAT: Little League Eastern Regional
WHO: Rhode Island vs. Scarborough
WHEN: 2 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Bristol, Conn.
They were rolling through the openings in the not-yet-completed new outfield fence at the high school varsity field, re-enacting, they said, a scene from the hit movie "The Hunger Games."
"It's the invisible fence," said pitcher Abbie Murrell.
Meanwhile, third baseman Emily Jefferds was playing catch -- while wearing a felt lobster hat, googly eyes, claws and legs bobbing with every movement.
"It's our team hat," she said. "I thought everyone was going to wear them tonight."
Loose? You could say that.
"One of the things about this team," said Coach Paul Murrell, "I think one of the reasons we do so well is they are so loose."
Scarborough will represent Maine in the Little League Eastern Regional that begins Friday in Bristol, Conn. The Mainers will open with a 2 p.m. game against the Rhode Island champion, Cumberland National.
They go into the tournament on a high, having beaten defending champ Hermon, and ready to show just how good they are. Two years ago, in the 9-10 regionals, many of these girls lost three straight one-run games.
They're determined not to let that happen again.
"Last time we were pretty nervous, a lot more intimidated," said pitcher Chloe Griffin, who struck out 55 of the 122 batters in the playoffs and threw a perfect game. "This year we're a little more focused."
"We want to show we deserve to be there," said catcher Hannah Ricker, who was the team MVP in the state tournament. "It's hard. There's a lot of pressure. But Hermon finished third in this tournament last year and we want to do at least as good as they did."
It's a team, said Paul Murrell, with outstanding pitching, led by Griffin, the niece of Scarborough High Coach Tom Griffin, and Abbie Murrell, who has struck out 46 of 83 batters. The team also has great speed -- Lucy Bogdanovich has 12 stolen bases, Laura Powell eight -- steady defense and clutch hitting.
Four players are batting .450 or higher.
And they genuinely like being around each other. At Bar Harbor, site of the state tournament, the team went on a whale watch, collected starfish, played whiffle ball and went shopping, buying, among other things, their lobster hats.
"We're going to wear them to our team dinners," said Jefferds.
"We've really bonded well," said Abbie Murrell. "We joke around a lot and we play well together.
"We now know what to expect. We're not going to be as nervous as we were at 9-10."
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: