SOUTH PORTLAND—Scarborough’s softball team might not even need “Disney Magic” this spring.

That’s because the Red Storm appear to be an absolute juggernaut and they have the calendar on their side.

In each of the past four odd-numbered seasons, Scarborough has captured the Class A crown and if Friday’s effort, in the regular season opener at rival South Portland was any indication, you can go ahead and crown the Red Storm now.

Scarborough scored twice before the Red Riots managed to swing a bat, went up, 7-0, after two innings and had enough runs, 14, to induce the mercy rule after three, but the onslaught never ended. The Red Storm tacked on four runs in the fourth and behind a grand slam from freshman Laura Powell, scored eight more in the fifth before the curtain finally came down on a 26-0 triumph.

Scarborough produced 19 hits, led by three apiece from junior third baseman Maggie Murphy and junior first baseman Kaleigh Scoville, 12 different players touched home and sophomore pitcher Lilly Volk was dazzling, yet was overshadowed by her team’s offense as the Red Storm got off to a staggering start.

“Everybody got an opportunity to come up a couple times,” said longtime Scarborough coach Tom Griffin. “That was good for team morale. We want to get kids involved. The energy on the bench is part of the game and helping us be successful. They’re all part of this, even if they’re not always on the field.”

Fast start

Scarborough was unbeatable in the regular season last spring, but lost in the Western A Final to Thornton Academy, 2-1. This year’s squad was highly touted and benefited from its biennial preseason trip to Florida (“Disney Magic”), where it honed its game and more importantly, spent a lot of time bonding.

“It was great and the kids were wonderful,” Griffin said. “We got eight solid games in. We played a doubleheader against a team from Massachusetts, a team from Vermont and teams from Maine. I think the biggest mission is to pull the team together. We were together 24/7. I want them to come back caring more about each other than themselves, really supporting each other and pulling together as a family and understand we’re in this together. We do a lot of activities that help generate that. We had team meetings every night and talked about what went on that day and the mistakes we needed to correct. One day we had 27 things to go over. We tried to get that list down every day. The last day we got it down to five. The challenge is to learn as we go and to correct our mistakes and get silly things like missing signs and taking bad angles to balls out of the way. When we get back, we let our training take it from there.”

South Portland was ousted in the quarterfinal by Bonny Eagle last spring, but hoped to bounce back this spring behind new coach Alexis Garrison.

Last year, the Red Storm won both meetings, 13-4 at home and 6-4 at South Portland, to make it three in a row in the series and take a 17-4 all-time lead (see sidebar, below).

Friday, on a chilly and windy day typical of late April, especially at Wainwright Farms, Scarborough was overwhelming from the start.

Red Riots sophomore starting pitcher Kaitlin Bouchard got Murphy to ground out to second leading off, but senior second baseman Ashley Gleason singled to right, senior leftfielder Sophia Burnham singled to right to put runners at the corners and a Bouchard wild pitch brought home Gleason with the only run the Red Storm would need. Sophomore designated player Abbie Murrell singled down the leftfield line to score Burnham and while senior catcher Brittany Plowman popped out to short and Volk grounded out to second after Scoville singled to right, Scarborough was on its way.

Volk gave up a single to South Portland senior shortstop Laurine German leading off in the bottom of the first, but she got senior second baseman Abby Young to pop out to Plowman on a bunt attempt, fanned junior third baseman Miranda Gleason and got senior centerfielder Paige Carter to pop out to Ashley Gleason.

The top of the second featured more Red Storm offense.

Junior shortstop Chloe Gorey led off by drawing a walk and took second on a wild pitch. When freshman rightfielder Chloe Griffin reached on an error, Gorey came home to make it 3-0. After Murphy beat out a bunt single, Ashley Gleason doubled to right and Griffin came home. Burnham drew a walk to load the bases, but Murrell lined to short, which resulted in a double play. The Red Riots weren’t able to get out of the jam, as Plowman reached on an error, scoring Gleason. Scoville followed with a shot over the rightfielder’s head, scoring Burnham and Plowman. When Scoville tried to score, she was thrown out, but the lead was up to 7-0.

Volk set South Portland down in order in the bottom half, getting senior Sarah Micucci to pop out in foul ground to Murphy, striking out junior leftfielder Madison Houlette and inducing Bouchard to ground out to third.

Scarborough blew the game open in the third.

After Volk drew a walk, freshman Sarah Berube pinch-ran. Gorey drew a walk and Griffin singled to load the bases. Murphy followed with a single to center, scoring Berube and Gorey for a 9-0 advantage. Gleason followed by hitting the ball back to the mound, but a wild throw scored Griffin and another wild throw by senior catcher Kiley Kennedy scored Murphy to make it 11-0. After Burnham grounded out and Murrell popped out, Plowman doubled to center, scoring Gleason. Volk walked to load the bases. An error in the outfield brought home Plowman and Scoville and the lead was up to 14-0. Junior Tori Hale pinch-hit for Griffin and drew a walk to load the bases once more, but Bouchard escaped when she got Murphy to ground into a force play.

In the bottom half, Volk struck out junior rightfielder Taylor Bachelor and Kennedy and after German reached on a bloop double to center, she fanned Young.

Bouchard was replaced by junior Allie Souza to start the fourth, but Scarborough didn’t relent.

Freshman Lindsey Kelley pinch-hit and singled to left. She moved to third on an error. Burnham blooped an RBI single to right and was replaced by Berube. Sophomore pinch-hitter Hannah Ricker then reached on an error and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. After Plowman popped out for the first out, Scoville singled in a run. Volk popped out for the second out, but Powell’s first varsity at-bat resulted in a triple to right, which scored two more runs, pushing the lead to 18-0. Hale then lined out to end the frame.

In the bottom half, Volk’s final inning, she got Miranda Gleason to pop out, Carter to ground out and after Micucci beat out an infield hit and stole second, she fanned Houlette.

The Red Storm’s final inning at the plate produced its biggest production, eight runs.

Murphy got it started with a double down the leftfield line. Kelley followed with a single to left, scoring Murphy. Kelley took second on the throw. Berube blooped a single to center and Ricker reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. An infield hit by Plowman scored one run. Scoville reached on an error to score another and Volk walked with the bases loaded to make it 22-0.

That brought up Powell and despite the wind blowing in from left, she absolutely crushed a pitch, got the ball up in the jetstream and it sailed over the fence for a grand slam.

“This is the best freshman class we’ve ever had,” Ashley Gleason said. “The freshmen are unreal. (Laura) hit one out in Florida too.”

Hale struck out looking and Murphy popped out, but Kelley and Berube both reached on errors before Ricker struck out to end the inning.

With the 12-run stipulation for the mercy rule long achieved, Scarborough simply needed three outs to make the win official and Volk was replaced by Murrell, who got Bouchard to line out to second, Bachelor to swing at strike three and Kennedy to ground out to second to end it.

Scarborough managed 19 hits, paced by three apiece from Murphy and Scoville and two each by Burnham, Gleason, Kelley, Plowman and Powell. Gleason, Murphy and Plowman all doubled, Powell and Scoville tripled and Powell hit the lone home run.

Berube, Gleason, Plowman and Scoville all scored three runs. Burnham, Gorey, Griffin, Kelley, Murphy and Ricker each touched home twice and Powell and Volk had one run apiece.

Powell led the way with six RBI. Scoville had three. Murphy and Plowman each drove in two and Burnham, Gleason, Kelley, Murrell and Volk all had one.

For Scarborough, it was just business as usual.

“We practice hitting all the time,” Plowman said. “We go through situations. We’re ready. Our whole lineup, we have power. If someone struggles, the next hitter can pick them up. We come in confident every single game. We want this pretty bad. An odd year is our thing. As seniors, losing last year was tough, so we just want to win. Every time we go to Florida, it just seems like we come together.”

“We just practice like we play,” Ashley Gleason said. “We have great coaching. It doesn’t get any better than the coaches we have. They’re just so experienced. They understand the game. They start us at a young age. Our team gets along really well. We really focus. We’ve really connected. We really get along well. Hopefully we keep getting better and better.”

“I challenged the girls from our first meeting and asked, ‘Who will be the big bat?'” Tom Griffin added. “We’ll have a great season, but we have to have kids who want to be in those situations and I think we have kids who want that.”

Volk allowed just three hits and didn’t walk a batter in four scoreless innings as she earned the win. She struck out six. Murrell fanned one in a hitless inning of relief.

“All our pitchers can throw,” Plowman said. “If one has an off-day, the next one can come in and kill it. It’s not an issue for us.”

“I have four kids and they can all throw well,” Tom Griffin said. “They’re confident. We’ll throw all four and try to mix it up. The unfortunate part is that one kid won’t get enough innings to be all-state. They all have each other’s back. Fortunately, they’re all players. When they’re not on the mound, they’re swinging the bat and out in the field.”

For South Portland, German had two hits and Micucci one. Micucci also had a stolen base. Bouchard gave up 14 runs (just five earned) on 10 hits and seven walks in her three innings. Souza surrendered 12 runs on nine hits in two innings of relief.

No time to celebrate

The teams meet again May 23 in Scarborough, but that’s an eternity, considering what both have to contend with in the interim.

South Portland hopes to get in the win column Monday, but has the tall task of going to Thornton Academy. The Red Riots then host Noble Wednesday and go to Sanford Friday of next week.

Scarborough has no time to rest on its laurels. Monday, the Red Storm play Gorham in their home opener. Wednesday, they visit Bonny Eagle. Monday, May 4 brings a showdown at home against Thornton Academy.

This team will be tested at some point, but Scarborough will be very tough to beat, whether the month is April, May or June.

“Our defense needs work,” Ashley Gleason said. “We graduated some really good players and we’re moving people around, filling holes. Once we figure that out, we’ll be fine.”

“I think we just need game experience,” Tom Griffin said. “When we have a challenging game, hopefully the kids will relax a little bit. I hope they’ll stay within themselves. We have to incorporate the freshmen. They’re learning very quickly, which I’m pleased with. As the season goes on, they’ll play major roles. We’re lucky this year. The pieces are falling together. We have a chance every year and hopefully we’ll have another chance this year.”

That chance is obvious and the Red Storm are enjoying the ride.

“We always have fun,” Plowman said. “There’s not a day that goes by that we’re not having fun in practice or in a game.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter:@foresports.

South Portland sophomore pitcher Kaitlin Bouchard delivers a pitch.

Scarborough freshman rightfielder Chloe Griffin stretches to make contact.

South Portland senior catcher Kiley Kennedy makes contact.

Scarborough sophomore Abbie Murrell takes a swing. 

Scarborough sophomore centerfielder Hannah Ricker goes all out to get to the ball.

Scarborough sophomore pitcher Lilly Volk shows her form during Friday’s win. Volk threw four scoreless innings to earn the victory.

Just about every girl in this photo played a role in Scarborough’s win Friday.

Longtime Scarborough coach Tom Griffin gives instructions.

Previous Scarborough-South Portland results

@ Scarborough 13 South Portland 4
Scarborough 6 @ South Portland 4

Scarborough 15 @ South Portland 5

@ Scarborough 14 South Portland 6
Western A Final
South Portland 5 Scarborough 1

@ South Portland 3 Scarborough 1
Western A Final
Scarborough 1 South Portland 0

@ Scarborough 5 South Portland 0
Western A Final
South Portland 5 Scarborough 2

Scarborough 2 South Portland 0 (9 innings)
Western A Final
Scarborough 2 South Portland 0

@ Scarborough 1 South Portland 0
Western A semifinals
@ Scarborough 1 South Portland 0

Scarborough 1 @ South Portland 0
Western A Final
Scarborough 7 South Portland 1

@ Scarborough 4 South Portland 3

Scarborough 9 @ South Portland 0
Western A Final
South Portland 1 Scarborough 0

@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 1
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 3 South Portland 0

Western A semifinals
@ Scarborough 3 South Portland 0

Sidebar Elements

Scarborough sophomore pitcher Lilly Volk and senior catcher Brittany Plowman are all smiles during the Red Storm’s 26-0 domination of South Portland Friday afternoon.

Joe Carpine/ photos

More photos below.


Scarborough 26 South Portland 0 (5)

S- 257 48- 26 19 0
SP- 000 00- 0 3 9

Top 1st
Gleason scored on wild pitch. Murrell singled to left, Burnham scored.

Top 2nd
Gorey scored on error. Gleason doubled to right, Griffin scored. Gleason scored on error. Scoville tripled to right, Burnham and Plowman scored.

Top 3rd
Murphy singled to center, Berube and Gorey scored. Griffin scored on error. Murphy scored on error. Plowman doubled to center, Gleason scored. Plowman and Scoville scored on error.

Top 4th
Burnham singled to right, Kelley scored. Scoville singled to right, Berube scored. Powell tripled to right, Ricker and Scoville scored.

Top 5th
Kelley singled to left, Murphy scored. Plowman reached on infield single, Kelley scored. Berube scored on error. Volk walked, Ricker scored. Powell homered to left, Plowman, Scoville, Volk and Powell scored.

Repeat hitters:
S- Murphy, Scoville 3, Burnham, Gleason, Kelley, Plowman, Powell 2
SP- German 2

S- Berube, Gleason, Plowman, Scoville 3, Burnham, Gorey, Griffin, Kelley, Murphy, Ricker 2, Powell, Volk

S- Powell 6, Scoville 3, Murphy, Plowman 2, Burnham, Gleason, Kelly, Murrell, Volk

S- Gleason, Murphy, Plowman

S- Powell, Scoville

Home run:
S- Powell (grand slam)

Stolen bases:
S- Powell
SP- Micucci

Volk, Murrell (5) and Plowman; Bouchard, Souza (4) and Kennedy

Volk (W, 1-0) 4 IP 3 H 0 R 0 BB 6 K
Murrell 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 1 K

Bouchard (L, 0-1) 3 IP 10 H 14 R 5 ER 7 BB 0 K 1 WP
Souza 2 IP 9 H 12 R 12 ER 1 BB 2 K 1 WP

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