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Scarborough softball dealt rare second straight loss

Red Storm fall at home to Windham, 8-2.

BOX SCORE

Windham 8 Scarborough 2

W- 230 002 1- 8 18 2
S- 000 002 0- 2 3 0

Top 1st
Wilson singled to center, B. Gerry and Wilcox scored.

Top 2nd
B. Gerry tripled to left-center, Foss scored. Kimball doubled to center, B. Gerry scored. Wilson singled to right, Kimball scored.

Top 6th
B. Gerry lined out to right, Fielding scored. Wilcox singled to left, Foss scored.

Bottom 6th
Swett lined out to left, Crosby scored. Verreault scored on passed ball.

Top 7th
Foss singled to center, Files scored.

Multiple hits:
W- Fielding, Foss, B. Gerry 3, Files, Kimball, Wilcox, Wilson

Runs:
W- Foss, B. Gerry 2, Fielding, Files, Kimball, Wilcox
S- Crosby, Verreault

RBI:
W- Wilson 3, B. Gerry 2, Foss, Kimball, Wilcox
S- Swett

Doubles:
W- Fielding, Foss, Kimball
S- Crosby

Triple:
W- B. Gerry

Left on base:
W- 9
S- 4

B. Gerry and Kimball, Files (4); Giguere, Pizzella (3) and Foley.

W:
B. Gerry (W) 7 IP 3 H 2 R 1 ER 1 BB 12 K

S:
Giguere (L) 2.1 IP 11 H 5 R 5 ER 0 BB 2 K
Pizzella 4.2 IP 7 H 3 R 3 ER 0 BB 2 K 1 WP

Time: 1:59

SCARBOROUGH—Wednesday afternoon’s softball game between three-time reigning Class A state champion Scarborough and the visiting Windham Eagles featured an offensive explosion from the winning team and a gem from the winning pitcher, but this time around, it was the Eagles hitting the cover off the ball, not the Red Storm, and it was freshman sensation Brooke Gerry stealing the show in a pivotal late-season showdown.

Gerry made her presence felt on the game’s very first pitch, lining an opposite field single off Scarborough senior starter Jenna Giguere, and by the time the top of the first was over, Gerry had a two-run lead to protect, as junior third baseman Ellie Wilson hit a two-run single.

After Gerry struck out the side in the bottom of the first, she was part of a three-run uprising in the second, as she tripled home a run, scored on a booming double from freshman catcher Jaydn Kimball, then Kimball came home to make it 5-0 on an RBI single from Wilson.

Gerry continued to cruise along through the third, fourth and fifth innings, but sophomore Angelina Pizzella, who came on to replace Giguere in the third, held the Eagles at bay, thanks in part to a highlight-reel diving catch from junior leftfielder Calynn Gendreau.

Then, in the sixth, Windham tacked on two more runs, as Gerry hit a sacrifice fly and sophomore first baseman Ella Wilcox added an RBI single.

Scarborough’s offense is always a threat, however, even down seven runs, and in the bottom of the sixth, after a double, a couple of Eagles errors and a bloop single, the Red Storm got a run back, loaded the bases and brought Pizzella to the plate with a chance to get her team right back in it. Gerry then bore down and struck out Pizzella (a run did score on a passed ball) and got Gendreau to line out to end the threat.

In the top of the seventh, a bloop single from junior shortstop Amanda Foss brought home one more run and Gerry slammed the door on the 8-2 victory by striking out the side.

Windham didn’t just produce 18 hits and get a three-hit, 12-strikeout masterpiece from Gerry, it also won its 10th game in succession, improved to 12-2, beat Scarborough for the first time in 15 years and in the process, dropped the Red Storm to 10-3 and handed Scarborough its first back-to-back regular season losses since 2002.

“This means a lot,” said Gerry, who had just been born the last time the Eagles beat the Red Storm. “We’ve tried so hard all season. Our hard work has paid off.”

Turning heads

Scarborough and Windham entered Wednesday’s contest with glowing records, knowing that the winner would earn an abundance of Heal Points.

The Eagles started the season with a 10-0 home win over Falmouth, then lost at home to Biddeford (16-4). After a 3-1 home victory over South Portland, Windham dropped a 10-9 decision at Thornton Academy, but the Eagles then rattled off nine straight victories: 13-1 (in six-innings) over visiting Bonny Eagle, 15-3 (in six-innings) at Gorham, 7-2 at home over Gorham, 6-0 at Westbrook, 4-0 and 16-0 (in five-innings) in a doubleheader sweep at Cheverus, 14-0 (in five-innings) at Falmouth and 13-0 (in five-innings) and 17-2 (in five-innings) in a home doubleheader sweep of Deering.

Scarborough, meanwhile, opened by dominating host Deering in the opener, 20-0 (in five-innings), then downing visiting Portland, 5-1, rolling past visiting Gorham (10-2), and beating host Westbrook (14-2), Falmouth (15-0, in five-innings) and Cheverus (9-2). After their mindboggling 66-game overall win streak and their eight-year, 111-game regular season run came to an end with a 9-3 (eight-inning) home loss to Thornton Academy in the first game of a doubleheader. the Red Storm bounced right back and began a new streak with a 7-5 come-from-behind victory in the nightcap before prevailing at Westbrook, 8-4, at home in come-from-behind fashion over South Portland (10-6) and at home over Biddeford in the first game of a doubleheader, 11-1. But Scarborough dropped the nightcap, 9-2, and hadn’t played since.

In the teams’ last meeting, May 24, 2019, Scarborough won at Windham, 6-1.

Wednesday, the Red Storm hoped to get back in the win column, but instead, the Eagles beat Scarborough for the first time since May 25, 2006 (1-0, in Scarborough).

Windham set the tone on the first pitch, as Gerry hit a Giguere fastball the other way, through the hole between short and third for a single. Wilcox was next and she too singled through the hole to put runners at first and second. Kimball didn’t waste any time in her at-bat either, singling to center on the first pitch and the bases were loaded. That brought up Wilson, who grounded a little bleeder through the infield that got through to center to bring home Gerry and Wilcox for a 2-0 lead. Giguere would settle down, getting senior rightfielder and captain Ellen Files to pop out to the mound, junior leftfielder Kelsey Gerry to chase strike three on a full count pitch and sophomore second baseman Hannah Heanssler to take an off-speed pitch for strike three.

But the damage was done and in the bottom of the first, Brooke Geary made quick work of the Red Storm, catching senior shortstop Mollie Verreault looking at strike three, blowing strike three past junior centerfielder A.J. Swett and getting senior catcher Syliva Foley to chase strike three as well.

The Eagles went right back to their run-scoring ways in the top of the second.

Afetr Giguere got senior centerfielder and captain Shyler Fielding to pop out to shortstop on the first pitch, Foss blooped a double down the leftfield line, just out of the reach of Gendreau. Brooke Gerry then came through again, lining a triple to left-center, and Foss came home with Windham’s third run. Wilcox lined out to short, but Kimball delivered a deep drive to dead center. At first, it appeared the ball might clear the fence, but it landed up against it for a run-scoring double instead. Wilson then singled to right on the first pitch she saw and senior rightfielder Jordan Crosby’s throw home arrived just after Kimball slid home to make it 5-0. Files then blooped a single to left, but Giguere ended the inning by getting Kelsey Gerry to ground out to second.

“That gave me insurance runs and I knew I had a couple to give and if I did it would be OK,” Brooke Gerry said.

“We can battle and hit,” said Windham coach Fred Wilcox. “I told the girls to be aggressive today. We work on mechanics a lot. They saw the ball well today and their objective was to get the ball in play.”

In the bottom half, Brooke Gerry continued to work her magic, striking out senior first baseman Katie Roy looking and getting Pizzella, who started the game as the designated player, to chase strike three on a full count pitch. Gendreau became the first Red Storm batter to make contact, but her hot shot to center was run down by Fielding to retire the side.

Heanssler led off the third with a bunt single, but was thrown out attempting to steal by Foley. Fielding then ripped a double to deep left-center and that was it for Giguere, as Pizzella came on to pitch. Pizzella fell behind Foss 3-1, but got her to pop out to freshman second baseman Samantha Cote, then Brooke Gerry hit the first pitch she saw on a line, but right at Swett in center to retire the side.

In the bottom of the third, Giguere struck out swinging to lead off, but junior third baseman Maddie Russo blooped a single to right for Scarborough’s first hit. Crosby bunted Russo to second, but Verreault skied a ball toward first in foul territory. Kimball and Wilcox converged on the ball and Wilcox made a sprawling catch to end the inning, but on the play, Kimball landed awkwardly and hurt her knee. After spending several minutes on the ground, Kimball got up, but her productive day had come to an end.

“That was tough,’ Brooke Gerry said. “We’ve dealt with injuries before and we knew we had to come together and play for her.”

Pizzella made quick work of the Eagles in the top of the fourth, thanks in part to her leftfielder.

On the first pitch, Wilcox ripped a shot to left, but Gendreau dove, extended her body and caught the ball inches from the ground. Initially, the umpires were unsure if the ball had gotten free and Wilcox stood on second base, but ultimately she was ruled out.

“That was probably the most incredible catch I’ve ever seen,” said longtime Scarborough coach Tom Griffin. “It was unbelievable. She went completely airborne. That kid’s an athlete. I’m happy about what she accomplished today.”

Sophomore Reilly Russell then replaced Kimball in the order and lined out to left before Wilson grounded out to third.

In the bottom half, Brooke Gerry found herself throwing to Files, who moved to catcher. Gerry struck out Swett swinging and got Foley to ground out to short, but on a 3-2 pitch, Roy earned a walk. Pizzella then hit the first pitch she saw, but flew out to center to retire the side.

Pizzella started the fifth by getting Files to fly out deep to center. She then worked her way back from a 3-1 count to strike out Kelsey Gerry swinging before getting Heanssler to pop out to third.

In the bottom half, Brooke Gerry got Gendreau to line out to center, fanned Giguere and got Russo to pop to short on a 3-2 pitch.

The Eagles’ offense reawakened in the top of the sixth and they tacked on two important insurance runs.

Fielding got things started by beating out a bunt single. Foss then singled to left before a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Brooke Gerry was next and she flew out to right, but it resulted in a sacrifice fly as Fielding raced home and Foss went to third. Wilcox then ripped a single to left to score Foss for a 7-0 lead. Russell popped out to second and Wilson flew out to left, but Windham appeared to have the game in hand.

Not so fast.

Scarborough’s bats came to life in the bottom half, as Crosby went the other way and doubled down the leftfield line to get things started. Verreault then grounded to short, but Foss couldn’t handle the ball for an error and the Red Storm had runners at the corners. Swett then hit the ball hard, but it was right at Kelsey Gerry in left. It did result in a sacrifice fly, as Crosby came home to allow Scarborough to avoid its first regular season shutout since its loss to Windham 15 years ago. Foley then lined to Heanssler at second, who had a chance to turn an inning-ending double play, but instead, Heanssler couldn’t handle the ball for an error and the Red Storm had two on. Roy then spoiled a couple tough two-strike pitches before blooping a single to right to load the bases.

That brought up Pizzella with a chance to get Scarborough right back in the game.

But Brooke Gerry didn’t let it happen, striking her out. On strike three, Files couldn’t handle the ball and while the batter was out, Verreault came home to score and both runners moved up. Gendreau then nearly got her team back in it by hitting a deep shot to right, but it only resulted in a loud out and the Eagles took a 7-2 lead to the seventh.

“Calynn had the game of her life, but she hit the ball right at people today,” Griffin lamented. “A few inches here or there and it could have been a different game.”

“I was a little nervous, but I knew where to go with the ball and threw strikes,” Brooke Gerry said.

“Of course I was nervous, but I couldn’t show it,” Fred Wilcox said. “I told the girls to slow the game down a little bit and get one out at a time.”

Windham scored once more in the top of the seventh, as Files singled through the hole on the first pitch and after junior pinch-hitter Ellie Miller struck out and Heanssler bounced to first, with Files moving up to second base, Fielding singled to center on a 3-2 pitch to put runners at the corners and Foss blooped the first pitch she saw for an RBI single to center. Brooke Gerry lined her third hit, a single to left to load the bases, but Wilcox flew out to left to keep the score 8-2.

And Brooke Gerry then made quick work of the Red Storm in the bottom half to close it out.

First, Gerry struck out Giguere swinging. Next was senior pinch-hitter Alyssa Desveaux and she too struck out swinging. That left it up to Crosby, who struck out to end it and Windham was able to celebrate its 8-2 victory.

“We practiced well yesterday and we knew we had to match their energy,” said Brooke Gerry. “We’ve worked very hard on our hitting all season and it’s finally coming together.”

“This means a lot,” Fred Wilcox said. “We’ve worked hard the past couple years. We’re young, but we work. There’s a lot of good players (on Scarborough). A lot of teams thought they might be a walkover this year, but they still have a lot of great players and I respect them. They fight and we have fighters too. This is absolutely great for confidence. This is big for us as young as we are.”

Brooke Gerry was exceptional, allowing just two runs (one earned) on a mere three hits against a powerful lineup in seven innings. She only walked one and struck out 12.

“Everything was on for me today,” Gerry said.

“(Brooke’s) pretty awesome,” said Fred Wilcox. “I’ve been working with her for five years and she’s progressed every single year. She’ll be dominant in this conference for a long time.”

“(Brooke) was impressive,” Griffin said. “She impressed the heck out of me. She’s the real deal. Not only was she throwing fast, but she had great movement. She’s the complete package that kid. She shut down a strong offensive team.”

The Eagles offense was equally overwhelming, producing 18 hits total, as Fielding, Foss and Brooke Gerry lined three apiece and Files, Kimball, Wilcox and Wilson had two each.

Foss and Brooke Gerry scored twice, while Fielding, Files, Kimball and Wilcox also touched home plate.

Wilson had a game-high three RBI, while Brooke Gerry drove in two runs and Foss, Kimball and Wilcox all brought home one.

Windham had four extra base hits and stranded nine base-runners.

Scarborough didn’t have a multiple hitter. Crosby and Verreault scored the runs. Swett had the lone RBI.

The Red Storm left four runners on.

Giguere took the loss, giving up five earned runs on 11 hits in 2.1 innings. She didn’t walk a batter and struck out two.

“My pitcher didn’t establish her change-up right away, which is a mistake,” Griffin said. “We’ll learn from that. She’s much more effective when she throws that.”

Pizzella was steady in relief, giving up three earned runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. She also didn’t walk a batter, threw one wild pitch and fanned two.

“Windham deserved it,” Griffin said. “They’re a good team. We changed our hitting little bit, what we were trying to do, shortening up. It paid off, but it was too little, too late. My pitchers are working hard, but we don’t have a lock-down kid. (Caitlin Noiles) moved away, unfortunately. We knew we’d have to score runs to win games and today, it wasn’t in the cards to do that.”

In a tip of the cap as to just how dominant Scarborough has been in recent years, the last time the Red Storm lost successive games was May 22nd and 24th of 2002, 1-0 (in nine-innings) to Greely legend Sarah Bennis and 8-0 to Gorham.

June fun awaits

Windham (currently sixth in the Class A South Heal Points standings) finishes with a doubleheader at Portland Friday, then will be on the short list of favorites when the playoffs begin.

“I think our chances are pretty good,” Brooke Gerry said. “We just have to keep playing clean and keep down the errors.”

“We won’t take any team for granted,” Fred Wilcox said. “We hope to have a shot in the playoffs. We’ll come out and work hard.”

Scarborough (second in Class A South at press time) plays a pair at Bonny Eagle Saturday, then closes at South Portland Tuesday.

“Our first goal was to get to 10 wins and we did that the other day,” Griffin said. “We had a shot to finish first if we won this game, so now we’ll have to refocus our goals. If we can finish up 13-3, that would be a major accomplishment for this group. I told the kids that losing this game could actually be a blessing. We don’t know how the seeding will line up. You can be the number one seed and have a much tougher road than in other years. We’ll see how it plays out. We still have a couple weeks to catch up and make some adjustments. We know what we can work on.”

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

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