NORTH BERWICK — For three years Noble High senior pitcher Amber Kelly has helped the Knights be among the top five or six softball teams in Western Class A.

But she and the rest of Noble’s seniors did not have a playoff win on their resume. Until Tuesday. The No. 8 Knights stopped No. 9 McAuley 2-0 in the Class A preliminary round with Kelly pitching her ninth shutout this season.

“I was just hitting my spots and making sure my defense made the plays behind me, which they did,” Kelly said.

Kelly struck out nine, walked one and worked out of two-on, two-out jams in the sixth and seventh innings, limiting McAuley (8-9) to four singles.

“One of our goals was to win a playoff game and we did it,” Noble Coach Rick Melanson said. “I’m so happy for the girls.”

The past two seasons Noble received a bye out of the preliminary round and lost the No. 4 vs. No. 5 quarterfinal each year (once at home, once on the road).

This year’s quarterfinal sends Noble (12-5) to unbeaten and top-seeded Scarborough on Thursday.

“We’re going to have to see which team comes to play Scarborough because they’re the top team and we’ve just got to bring our ‘A’ game,” Kelly said.

In the regular season, Scarborough beat Noble 15-5. Kelly did not pitch due to sickness.

“During the regular season we hit very well off of them,” Noble senior shortstop Tori Cormier said.

“This time when we face them it’s just about good defense because the last time we faced them Amber wasn’t pitching. If our defense is good then I think we’ll be right in there with them.”

McAuley junior pitcher Taylor Whaley nearly matched Kelly, allowing five hits.

With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third, Kelly worked a leadoff walk and moved to third on two infield groundouts.

Cormier came through with a sharp RBI ground single up the middle.

In the second inning, Cormier struck out with runners at second and third and no outs and Whaley got out of the inning with a pop-up and a ground ball.

“I was trying to redeem myself for the at-bat I’d had before,” Cormier said. “There was a runner at third and I didn’t want to let anyone down.”

Noble added a run in the fifth when sophomore Kayla Lessard’s two-out single to center scored Kailey Coleman, who had reached on an infield hit and moved up a base on Whaley’s only wild pitch of the game.

“We knew it was going to be a low-scoring game,” McAuley Coach Robbie Ferrante said. “We had three chances but two were with two outs and they scored their runs with two outs. They got the key hits. That was the difference.”

While Noble expected to be in the playoffs, McAuley was coming off a two-win season in 2013 and had four freshmen in its starting lineup on Tuesday.

“I’m really proud of my team,” Whaley said.

“I think we did what people didn’t expect us to do. My goal at the beginning of the season was just to make the playoffs and I’m proud of them for doing that.”