SACO — With three freshmen and two sophomores in his starting lineup, Scarborough High softball coach Tom Griffin wasn’t sure how his team would react to a stressful game.

Monday, the Red Storm got one. And he said, “They passed the test.”

Freshman Katie Roy and junior Hannah Gower hit home runs to back the gritty pitching of junior Bella Dickinson as Scarborough became the only unbeaten team in Class A South, holding off previously undefeated Thornton Academy, 5-4.

The win was Scarborough’s 52nd straight and likely will lift the Red Storm (12-0) into the top spot in the region. And being No. 1 at the end of the regular season is important to Griffin.

“That No. 1 seed is right in our hands if we play well down the stretch,” said Griffin. “We want to play on our field. And if we get to the final (at St. Joseph’s College), we want to be hitting last. No. 2 is still good. But the No. 1 seed, you’re in the driver’s seat.”

Thornton Academy (14-1) was without its slugging cleanup hitter/first baseman Abby Miner, who suffered an ankle injury Friday.

“Not an excuse,” said Coach John Provost. “Yeah, we were missing Abby, but everyone needs to step up and pick up the pace.”

Scarborough led early, with single runs in the first two innings. But the Trojans took a 3-2 lead in the third when pitcher Olivia Howe hit a two-out, three-run homer well over the center-field fence.

Griffin pulled his players together and had one message: “I told them we would see what they were made of, how they responded. I challenged them.”

And the Red Storm responded. Winning pitcher Bella Dickinson hit an RBI double in the fourth – missing a three-run homer by inches off the fence – to tie the game.

Then Gower hit her first home run of the year to lead off the sixth, a shot over the left-field fence.

“I didn’t think it was going to go that far,” said Gower. “Then I looked just a little bit and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that just happened.’ ”

Thornton, meanwhile, stranded two baserunners in the fifth and another in the sixth. “Lots of stranded baserunners,” said Provost. “Opportunities in mulitple innings.”

The Red Storm got a run in the top of the seventh when Roy’s infield looper couldn’t be handled, allowing freshman Caitlin Noiles to score to make it 5-3.

Thornton made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Amanda Bogardus singled, Howe was walked and Hannah Collins followed with a line single to center field, scoring Bogardus.  Howe and Collins moved up to second and third on a throwing error. But Dickinson got the final out on a grounder to second baseman Courtney Brochu.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for so long,” said Gower. “It’s just been building and building and building. And even being a young team, like coming out and proving ourselves after losing so many people, we’re like a family. We all have each other’s back. And it all came together and it showed today.”

“I think going in we were ready for it,” said Dickinson. “And to come out with a win was great.”

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