AUGUSTA – Marisa O’Toole led off Saturday’s Class A state championship with a home run as Scarborough took control and never relinquished it on the way to a 9-3 win over East champ Skowhegan at Morton Field.

The Red Storm went home with a 19-1 record and the gold glove trophy, while Skowhegan ends their 2013 at 14-5.

“We got the chance to scout [Skowhegan] the other day,” Scarborough coach Tom Griffin said after the game. “So we knew that their pitcher was going to throw a lot of changeups, and wasn’t going to be all that consistent with it, so we decided to be very, very patient, and try to get the count going our way.”

A tense, nervous atmosphere pervaded the park as O’Toole approached the plate. She, however, had evidently retained her poise, as her deadeye and big swing demonstrated, sending the ball packing over the left-center wall. The home run put Scarborough on top 1-0 not 30 seconds into the game and set a tone of Red Storm control that would last until the final out.

“She’s had an unbelievable run through this playoffs,” Griffin said of O’Toole. “She’s one of the top players in the state – I think she’s obviously proven it these last few weeks.”

Scarborough piled three more runs on their advantage in the second. Megan Murrell dropped a shot to deep centerfield for a standing double. After Mary Redmond jogged in to courtesy run for Murrell, Brenna Kent clubbed a short infield hit and got caught out at first, but Redmond advanced to third. Chloe Gorey then smacked a base hit to shallow center, landing herself on first and bringing Redmond home for a 2-0 Storm lead.

Maggie Murphy then knocked the ball back to the Indians’ pitcher, who couldn’t get the throw to first in time to catch Murphy out; meanwhile, Gorey had raced all the way to third. Back into the box walked a still-hungry O’Toole and shot the ball into wide right field. It flirted with the foul line but landed fair, scoring both Gorey and Murphy and putting the Red Storm up 4-0.

Griffin is amazed by the batting talent on his roster. “We have just a ridiculous lineup, 1 through 9,” he said.

Scarborough notched another three in the fourth. With Gorey on third, O’Toole on second and Paige Moore-Haskell courtesy running for Alyssa Williamson on first, Erin Giles ripped a grounder into left, a scoring two for a 6-0 lead. Murrell’s follow-up grounder leaked out of the Skowhegan second baseman’s glove and rolled into right, tallying Gorey for yet another Red Storm run.

Skowhegan wouldn’t go silently into defeat, however. Andrea Quirion ejected a pitch from the park in the bottom sixth, with the solo shot disappearing over the left-center wall to at least prevent a shutout.

But the Red Storm remained distantly ahead and therefore reasonably self-assured. In the top of the seventh, Griffin opted to give his non-starting seniors and some of his younger players the opportunity to bat – and the girls produced. Sydney Litrocapes drove a grounder into center, reaching first, and Redmond walked, taking first for herself and pushing Litrocapes to second. Moore-Haskell hammered a grounder to the Indians’ shortstop, who fielded the ball successfully and made the throw to third. The fielder dropped it, though, and Litrocapes gained the bag.

So it was bases loaded for Brittany Plowman, who wasted no time in driving to center, ushering home Litrocapes and Redmond and giving the Red Storm a towering 9-1 lead.

“I [especially] wanted to get my seniors up there,” Griffin said. “I wasn’t planning on getting the rest of them up there, but they started getting some baserunners, and I’m so proud of them – that’s our future up there.

“They came [off the bench] and produced two runs, which we didn’t know were going to be that crucial. I mean, in the end, they might not have been but it certainly helped relax us a little bit…knowing that we had such a big lead.”

The Red Storm would need to keep their composure, because Skowhegan did have more to say. The Indians generated a bit of drama in the bottom of the seventh when they put together a string of hits with two outs. They converted two additional runs, but were just too far behind. Scarborough claimed its golden prize.

Williamson had nine Ks for the Red Storm in the win. Kaitlyn Therrieault takes the loss for the Indians.

“I’m so proud of them,” Griffin said. “It’s been a long, long year, and these kids worked so hard. They’ve had a lot pressure on them, just being the number one team, and feeling that, if they didn’t get here, it was going to not be satisfying. I’m just so proud of them.”

The Red Storm hold their gold glove high for all to see.
The 2013 Scarborough Red Storm softball team, Class A state champions.
The Farnkoff sisters, Grace , left, and Mary, kiss the Red Storm’s hard-won trophy.
Marisa O’Toole trots home after her home run to open Scarborough’s championship matchup with Skowhegan Saturday afternoon.
Scarborough pitcher Alyssa Williamson unwinds into her throw Saturday afternoon.
Red Storm first baseman Brenna Kent waits for action.
Scarborough’s Sophia Burnham in the batter’s box.
Red Storm catcher Megan Murrell flips the ball from her glove to her throwing hand.
Scarborough third baseman Erin Giles runs down a Skowhegan player on her way back to second.

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