The first recruit was Megan Murrell, a power-hitting catcher from Scarborough who would become one of St. Anselm College’s career batting leaders.

Three years later came Maggie Murphy and Kaleigh Scoville, two more former Red Storm players. And then this year came Abbie Murrell, Megan’s younger sister and a powerful pitcher.

These four former Scarborough High softball players never won a state championship in high school. But now they will be trying to win an NCAA Division II national championship with the Hawks, beginning Thursday in Salem, Virginia.

“Honestly, I can’t wrap my head around it right now,” said Megan Murrell, who ranks first in career RBI (104) and doubles (41) and fourth in home runs (18) for the Hawks. “This means the world to us.”

St. Anselm (41-10-1) will play Southern Arkansas (57-9) in the opening game of the double-elimination tournament at 4 p.m. Thursday. And the Scarborough kids will probably have a say in the outcome.

Megan Murrell, the senior catcher and cleanup hitter, leads the Hawks this season in home runs (eight) and RBI (49) and is third in batting average (.356). She was a first-team all-Northeast-10 Conference selection this year.

Murphy, the sophomore left fielder and No. 2 hitter, is second in stolen bases (20), third in runs scored (38) and fourth in batting average (.338). She was a second-team all-conference pick this year.

Scoville, a sophomore reserve first baseman, started 12 games and is the team’s primary pinch-runner, with eight runs scored. Abbie Murrell, a freshman pitcher, went 3-1 with one save and a 3.15 ERA.

“It’s like having a piece of home, having them here,” said Megan Murrell. “It’s amazing, to share this experience with three girls I shared high school experiences with. It’s cool in so many ways.”

Hawks Coach Jill Gagnon said she didn’t recruit the Scarborough players by design, but certainly knows what she’s getting with them.

“They come from a winning culture and that’s what we’re trying to build,” said Gagnon. “They know what they have to do and they have experience in the big games.”

Gagnon discovered Megan Murrell at a softball camp in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 2013. It wasn’t Murrell’s hitting that caught her attention.

“She was on a team that was playing against my team,” said Gagnon. “And I noticed she was pretty loud, really upbeat and kind of controlled the game. For a kid to be able to do that at 16 and with a group of girls she had just met three hours prior, I thought that was impressive. I thought, ‘This kid has something.'”

So the two talked and soon enough, Murrell committed to St. Anselm, located in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Murphy and Scoville were looking to also play in the Northeast-10, though neither knew the other committed to St. Anselm.

“And knowing Meg was there was an added bonus,” said Murphy.

Finally, Abbie Murrell decided to join her older sister. “Abbie saw how I enjoyed all the years here,” said Megan. “And she wanted that same experience.”

Megan Murrell caught all 12 of her sister’s pitching appearances. “The first time she stepped on the mound, I thought this was crazy,” said Megan Murrell. “It’s my senior year and my sister is pitching to me.”

The Hawks have won 18 of 19, the lone loss a 2-0 decision to Pace University in the Northeast-10 semifinals. As a team they are hitting .316. And their ERA is 1.94.

“We have a lot of confidence right now,” said Gagnon. “We know everyone is going to be good, if they weren’t they wouldn’t be playing at this level. I think the most challenging thing for us is that we’re going up against programs that are there every year, every other year. Where we can compete with them is that we’re resilient. We’ve been down multiple times but you can’t count us out.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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