SCARBOROUGH – The Scarborough softball team showed no signs of rust from its long weather-related layoff on Monday night, cruising to a 7-1 home win over McAuley.

Like most area teams, the appropriately-named Storm have been held hostage by the rain that has pounded the region for the past week, forcing the team to the sidelines and twice postponing a showdown with No. 1 South Portland. The No. 2 Storm and the Riots were scheduled to clash in South Portland on Tuesday (after The Current’s deadline) if the weather allowed.

But before taking the field against the Riots, the Storm had to take care of business against McAuley (11-2), which came into the game holding down the No. 2 seed in Class A West, a situation that changed at game’s end.

While the Lions managed to outhit the Storm 6-5, costly errors and a monster opposite-field two-run homer from Scarborough’s Erin Giles proved the be the difference.

Giles also picked up the win for the Storm, tossing five innings, allowing just one run while striking out five. Mo Hannan and Dominique Burnham both pitched a scoreless inning for Scarborough.

After the game, Giles said that while the team knew the big date with the Riots was still looming on the schedule, the Storm weren’t going to get caught looking ahead, especially against a strong team like the Lions. “We really try to focus, that’s one of our big things,” she said. “Our coach tells us every time to look at the game (we’re playing), we can’t get ahead of ourselves.”

Scarborough got all the runs it would need for the win in the bottom of the first inning. After Giles mowed down the Lions in the first, the Storm got a leadoff single from Hannan and then Burnham walked. Both runners moved up on a double steal and then Giles drove them in when she reached on an error. Giles came around to score on a long RBI double from Alyssa Williamson and the Storm led 3-0 after one.

Scarborough struck again in the bottom of the third as catcher Abby Rutt reached on an error and Giles walked. Another double steal gave the Red Storm runners on second and third and Marisa O’Toole came through with a sharp two-run single to center to make it 5-0.

McAuley finally got to Giles in the top of the fourth as Kayla Daigle smacked a home run that just stayed fair down the left field line to make it 5-1.

Undaunted, Giles got those runs back and more in the bottom of the fifth. After Rutt reached on a one-out single, Giles connected on a towering opposite-field home run to right to make it 7-1.

After the game, Giles said it was the first time she had hit an opposite field homer and it came as a result of an effort to compensate for the pitching style of McAuley starter Jen Field. “She was throwing outside a lot the entire night,” Giles said. “I’m usually a pull hitter, so I had to try and focus on going the other way with it, because if it’s an outside pitch and I try to pull it, it’s going to be a ground out. I just got it and it took hold and took off (over the fence).”

That blow proved to be the final nail in the Lions’ coffin as the Storm kept them off the board for the final two innings to hold on for the win.

Giles said that a big part of the credit for keeping the Lions off the scoreboard all night has to go to the Storm’s defense. ”(The defense) was definitely good because they (McAuley) weren’t able to string hits together. I mean, they got their hits, but it was nice because our defense was usually able to keep it to just one hit per inning, which was good.”

As for the long layoff, Giles said she didn’t think it hurt the Storm significantly, though the team was anxious to play some games after waiting so long. “It’s been nine days since we’ve played, but we’ve been able to get outside and practice,” she said. “If we get outside, it’s not as bad. But it does take a toll after nine days.”

As for finally being able to face the Riots, Giles said she was looking forward to the chance to take on the team that ended Scarborough’s season in the Western Maine finals last spring. “I think it’s going to be a really great game, we’re both really good teams,” she said.

Scarborough’s Erin Giles had a big game on Monday night, picking up the win over McAuley and smashing a two-run home run as well. (Staff photo by Mike Higgins)

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