SCARBOROUGH — Pitching in a much more high-leverage situation than she’s used to in the seventh inning, Scarborough’s Lilly Volk admitted she felt the pressure Saturday against South Portland.

But the sophomore composed herself and made her biggest pitch of the game when she needed it most.

With a runner on second and South Portland cleanup hitter Kaitlin Bouchard at the plate, Volk’s fastball on the outside half was grounded softly to second for the final out as the Red Storm survived a late rally and remained unbeaten with a 5-4 victory in an SMAA softball game.

“They had the momentum and we had to shut them down,” Volk said. “You have to treat every batter the same. One little poke and it gets through, and then it’s a tie game.”

Volk cruised through the first five innings and Scarborough (13-0) led 5-0 going into the sixth, when South Portland (9-5) scored twice thanks to a Sarah Micucci triple.

The Red Riots got their first two batters on base in the seventh before Volk made what seemed to be a game-clinching play, diving to catch Laurine German’s pop-up and throwing out Stephanie Aceto at second base for a double play.

But Abby Young walked to keep the inning alive, and Micucci came up with another big hit, smashing a double to center to make it 5-4.

“I knew our bats would come around,” South Portland Coach Alexis Garrison. “We’ve been averaging over nine hits a game and we knew we had to jump on her.”

It was a far cry from the opening game of the season on April 24, when Scarborough took advantage of an undermanned South Portland team and routed its rival 26-0, not a typical score for two teams who have won five of the last six Western Class A titles.

“They weren’t ready to play us that first game,” Scarborough Coach Tom Griffin said. “I’m sure they were embarrassed about that, and that was no indication of how good a team they are.”

“They brought it this time,” Volk said. “We were pushed to our limit.”

South Portland’s top pitcher, Aceto, was unavailable in the first meeting. Saturday, she gave up five runs in the first two innings.

Kaleigh Scoville and Chloe Gorey had run-scoring singles during a four-run first inning, and Sophia Burnham hit her second sacrifice fly of the game in the second to make it 5-0.

But Aceto, who threw 165 pitches in a nine-inning loss to Biddeford on Wednesday and also pitched Friday night in a win against Portland, shut out the powerful Scarborough offense from there, pitching out of several jams as the Red Storm stranded 10 runners.

“We had several chances to put them away and we just didn’t,” Griffin said. “When you have a very good offensive team and keep them hanging in there, it’s a dangerous thing. Lesson learned.”

The loss was also a lesson for a South Portland team that has rebounded from a 1-3 start and took the two top-ranked teams in Western Class A to the brink in a matter of four days.

“It’s always a little tense coming out to Scarborough,” Garrison said. “This game was a confidence builder, and after this and the Biddeford game, it shows we can play with anybody.”


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