Scarborough 1

South Portland 0

One run was all it took. Meaghan Myers’ home run was the difference in the game as the Scarborough Red Storm edged South Portland, 1-0, in SMAA softball action on Monday afternoon at South Portland.

Red Riots pitcher Julie DiMatteo and Red Storm pitcher Kelsey Griffin matched each other pitch for pitch throughout the entire game.

“This is the type of pitching match-up we expected,” said Scarborough coach Tom Griffin. “These are two of the best in the state.”

Myers came up to bat with two outs in the sixth and ripped a line drive down the right field line that rolled all the way to the wall. Scarborough’s senior catcher ran hard out of the box and came all the way around to score without a play at the plate.

The tone was set early when DiMatteo fanned the game’s first batter. She finished the day with five strikeouts. She allowed a base runner in the first, but escaped the inning without allowing a timely hit or a run.

In the bottom half of the inning, Kelsey Griffin proved equally effective. She struck out the first batter she faced and she finished with 13 strikeouts.

“She moves the ball really well,” South Portland senior Christina Aceto said about Griffin. “She’s got great pitches and they are all accurate. It’s hard to get a good at-bat against her and be successful. What I tried to do is if I got down in the count, just stay defensive and get the bat on any pitch I can and force her to throw a strike. But she’s a great pitcher.”

DiMatteo surrendered her first hit in the second inning when she allowed two straight infield singles after retiring the first two hitters. She escaped from that jam when she got Reegan Brackett to ground out to third.

“(DiMatteo) is a quality kid and a quality pitcher,” Tom Griffin said. “We knew it wouldn’t be easy. We just had to be patient and make good swings.”

Kelsey Griffin set the Red Riots down in order in the bottom of the second picking up two strikeouts along the way. Not to be outdone in this duel of top-notch pitchers, DiMatteo retired the side in order in the third. Griffin again got the Riots in order in the bottom half of the third adding two more strikeouts to her ever-growing total.

Griffin did find herself in a bit of a jam in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Christina Aceto led off with a single up the middle. After Jamie Harmon popped out to third, DiMatteo came to the plate. DiMatteo bunted her way on and Kelsey Flaherty then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Aceto and DiMatteo to second and third. But Griffin ended the scoring threat when she struck out Stephanie Thibeault to end the inning.

With the game still scoreless in the sixth, DiMatteo made quick work of the first two Red Storm batters before Myers came to bat. She drilled the ball down the right field line just past South Portland’s Lauren Tuttle. The ball rolled to the wall and Myers scored easily. DiMatteo got the next hitter with a strikeout to end the inning.

“I think it was a good boost,” Myers said of her homer. “I mean we were making contact and then we didn’t really get anything going. I think that just helped our team to come out and play really good defense the next couple of innings. It gave us a good boost.”

Down by just a run, the Riots continued to battle. In the bottom of the sixth, Harmon singled with two outs and DiMatteo walked to put the tying run at second. Griffin ended yet another South Portland threat with yet another strike out.

Scarborough’s batters tried to tack on an insurance run in the seventh. Reegan Brackett was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning and the Red Storm went to the home half of the seventh clinging to their one-run advantage.

Griffin finished the game in style with three straight strikeouts to seal the shutout and the win for the Red Storm.

“We kind of expected this to be competitive,” Tom Griffin said. “Julie’s a quality pitcher and they’re a competitive team.”

With the loss the Red Riots start the season 0-2. They were scheduled to face Thornton Academy on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t really matter how you start but where you end, that’s the way we’re going to look at it,” Aceto said. “(DiMatteo) did a great job today. We just need to do a better job getting runs across the plate for her. But that will come. We’re a young team.”

Scarborough is off to a 2-0 start following this win. They were scheduled to take face Portland on Wednesday.

“We came here knowing that we needed to win this,” Myers said. “We just needed it to help us as a team and hopefully go on some sort of run. That will help our self esteem and boost our mentality. It’s a great win for us.”

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