SCARBOROUGH—So much for a quick pitcher’s duel to open the season.

Friday afternoon at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, Scarborough hosted Falmouth in the first game of the 2023 campaign and instead of pitching and defense carrying the day, it was the Red Storm’s resilience that ultimately won out.

Neither Navigators senior ace Eli Cowperthwaite or Red Storm junior starter Harrison Griffiths had their best stuff, but both did their best to keep their teams in it.

Scarborough pushed across a run in the bottom of the first when senior rightfielder Ashton Blanchette stole home, but in the top of the second, Falmouth scored twice, with one run coming on a bases loaded walk to sophomore shortstop Josh Polchies and another on an RBI ground out by junior second baseman Brennan Rumpf.

The Red Storm then answered in their half, going on top to stay on a two-out, two-run triple by Blanchette.

Scarborough added two unearned runs in the bottom of the third, but wasn’t home free yet, as the Navigators scored a run on a wild pitch in the fifth, then cut the deficit to 5-4 in the sixth on an RBI single from senior rightfielder Peyton Mitchell.


The Red Storm then got a huge insurance run in the bottom half and even though Falmouth loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, junior Zak Sanders was able to slam the door and Scarborough held on for a 6-4 victory.

The Navigators left 15 runners on base and made five errors, while Blanchette led the way for the Red Storm with two hits and two RBI.

“We’re happy with the win,” said Scarborough coach Wes Ridlon. “It was good we were able to grind it out. It doesn’t have to be pretty. We capitalized when we had opportunities.”

Here we go

Scarborough was upset by Marshwood in the quarterfinal round of last year’s Class A South playoffs, while Falmouth reached the semifinals before falling a run short against South Portland.

This spring, both teams believe they have what it takes to make a deep run in a very deep league.


Last season, the host Navigators doubled up the Red Storm, 4-2.

Friday, on a sunny but chilly afternoon (50 degrees at the start), Scarborough turned the tables.

But it sure wasn’t easy.

Or tidy.

Scarborough junior pitcher Harrison Griffiths delivers a pitch to Falmouth sophomore Josh Polchies to start Friday’s season opener. The Red Storm held on for a 6-4 victory. Hoffer photos.

Griffiths started the game by getting Polchies to fly out to deep center, then he fanned Rumpf swinging, but junior catcher Ethan Hendry lined a single past Red Storm senior second Jason Liponis, then, after Hendry took second on a passed ball, freshman first baseman Jacoby Porter drew a walk. In a sign of things to come, Falmouth couldn’t capitalize, as sophomore third baseman Tyler Simmons chased strike three for the third out.

Falmouth senior starter Eli Cowperthwaite delivers to Scarborough senior Ashton Blanchette.

In the bottom half, Blanchette led off against Cowperthwaite and reached second on an error, when Polchies fielded his ground ball, but threw it away. Liponis then bunted for a hit down the third base line and after Cowperthwaite fanned junior first baseman Mason Porter looking at an off-speed pitch for strike three, Cowperthwaite picked Liponis off first, but as Liponis extended the play in a rundown and was ultimately tagged out, Blanchette raced home to break the ice. Sanders, who started the game in centerfield, then drew a walk, but junior designated hitter Lewis Moynihan struck out swinging to end the inning.


The Navigators quickly answered in the top of the second.

After Mitchell grounded out to junior Tyler Archambault at short, Cowperthwaite was hit by a pitch and subsequently stole second. Sophomore third baseman Ethan Jason then walked and senior centerfielder Miles Gay reached on an error by Liponis at second to load the bases. That brought up Polchies, who drew a walk to score Cowperthwaite. Jason then came home when Rumpf grounded out to short. Hendry also grounded out to short, giving Archambault all three putouts, but the visitors had gone on top, 2-1.

The lead wouldn’t last.

In the bottom half, senior leftfielder Owen Fellows battled back from an 0-2 count, ran it full, then singled down the leftfield line to get things started. Cowperthwaite tried to pick Fellows off, but threw the ball away, sending him to second. After Cowperthwaite got Archambault to strike out swinging, junior catcher Tyler Kenney walked on a 3-2 pitch. With sophomore third baseman Matt Fallona at the plate, Cowperthwaite managed to pick Fellows off, running to deep short to tag him out. Fallona then singled to left to set the stage for Blanchette, who ripped a shot to left-center. The ball got down and rolled awhiel, allowing Kenney and Fallona to score on a triple.

Scarborough senior Ashton Blanchette dives into third base with a two-run triple as Falmouth sophomore third baseman Ethan Jason awaits a throw.

“Ashton has been there before,” said Ridlon. “He’s a senior captain and he had some big at-bats. His speed is a game-changer.”

Liponis grounded out to short to end the inning, but the home team had the lead for good, 3-2.


Falmouth threatened in the top of the third, as after Jacoby Porter struck out on a 3-2 pitch, Simmons singled through the hole between short and third on the first pitch, then took second on a wild pitch. Mitchell struck out on a pitch in the dirt with Simmons running and he was thrown out at third. Mitchell, who wasn’t tagged after swinging and missing, took first, but was stranded when Cowperthwaite chased strike three.

The Red Storm tacked on two more runs in the bottom half, thanks to three Navigators’ errors.

After Mason Porter struck out on a 3-2 pitch, Sanders reached on an error by Jason at third. Moynihan then flew to center, but Gay (perhaps losing the ball in sun) couldn’t handle it for another error, putting runners at the corners. Fellows then lined to center and Gay caught up to the ball on the run, but couldn’t hold it for a another error and Sanders scored.

That ended Cowperthwaite’s day on the mound, as Rumpf came in pitch.

Rumpf immediately was called for a balk and Moynihan came home. Rumpf settled in and fanned Archambault looking and got Kenney to line out to second, but the damage was done, as Scarborough extended its lead to 5-2.

Griffiths began the top of the fourth by catching Jason looking at strike, then fanning Gay on a 3-2 pitch, but a clean inning wasn’t to be, as Polchies grounded back to the mound only to see Griffiths fail to come up with the easy play and the error extended the inning. Rumpf then singled to center and when Sanders juggled the ball, the runners moved up to second and third on the error. Hendry had a chance to get Falmouth right back in the game, but he failed to hold up on a checked swing and struck out.


Rumpf had a relatively easy bottom half, getting Fallona to watch strike three and after Blanchette beat out an infield single on a grounder to short and went to second on a balk, Rumpf got Liponis to ground out to short before inducing Mason Porter to do the same to end the threat.

The Navigators scratched and got a run back in the top of the fifth.

After Jacoby Porter drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, Griffiths was pulled in favor of sophomore Erik Swenson, who threw consecutive wild pitches, with Porter coming all the way home to score on the second. Simmons then drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch and junior pinch-runner Tony Severino stole second. Mitchell struck out looking, but Cowperthwaite walked and after Jason struck out on a 3-2 pitch and Severino and Cowperthwaite pulled off  double steal, Gay walked to load the bases, but Swenson escaped by fanning Polchies.

The bottom half saw the only 1-2-3 inning of the contest, as Rumpf struck out Sanders swinging, caught Moynihan looking at strike three, then got Fellows to ground back to the mound.

Falmouth then drew a little closer in the top of the sixth.

Rumpf flew out to right for the first out, but Hendry walked, ending Swenson’s day in favor of Sanders.


Sanders walked Jacoby Porter, but got Simmons to line out to right. Mitchell then came up clutch with an RBI single to right, scoring Hendry and putting runners at the corners. Cowperthwaite hoped to deliver the tying run, but Sanders struck him out to keep Scarborough on top.

In the bottom half, the Red Storm got the run right back.

Archambault led off by beating out an infield single to shortstop. After Kenney bunted into an out, a wild pitch moved Archambault to second and a balk put him at third. Fallona then grounded out, but the insurance run came home on the play and while Blanchette struck out swinging, Scarborough took a 6-4 lead to the seventh.

Where the Navigators put the tying and go-ahead runs on, only to come up empty one final time.

Sophomore Isaac Laliberte pinch-hit leading off and drew a walk. Jason then returned as a runner and after Gay lined out to center, stole second. Polchies watched strike three, but Rumpf’s potential game-ending grounder to short was mishandled for an error, keeping Falmouth alive and putting runners at the corners. Rumpf promptly stole second, then Hendry walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases.

That brought up Jacoby Porter, who made contact, but bounced out to second and after 2 hours and 45 minutes, the Red Storm could finally exhale and celebrate their 6-4 victory.


“None of our pitchers had their best stuff, but they all competed,” said Ridlon. “We gave up a lot of walks and a lot of extra outs, but we survived to the end. We have a lot of young guys, so this is a good confidence boost.”

Blanchette was the lone player to have multiple hits, with two. He also scored a run, drove in a pair and had a stolen base.

Archambault, Fallona (one RBI), Kenney, Moynihan and Sanders also touched home plate.

Scarborough stranded four baserunners.

Griffiths earned the win, going four innings, plus one batter in the fifth, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits, walking four, hitting a batter and striking out eight.

Swenson surrendered one run in 1.1 innings of relief, not allowing a hit, walking four and fanning three.


Sanders earned the save with 1.2 shutout innings of relief. He gave up one hit and walked three while striking out two.

Falmouth got RBI from Mitchell, Polchies and Rumpf, while Cowperthwaite, Hendry, Jason and Porter scored runs.

The Navigators were doomed, however, by stranding 15 men on base.

Cowperthwaite took the loss, giving up five runs (two earned) on four hits in 2.1 innings. He walked two and struck out four.

Rumpf pitched 3.2 innings of relief, surrendering one run on two hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.

“Eli has been a staple on our staff,” said Falmouth coach Mike D’Andrea. “He’s won some big games for us and he’ll do it again. He kept us in it and Brennan did a great job in relief.


“I don’t want to take anything away from Scarborough, but we couldn’t have played any worse than we did today. From start to finish, we played poorly on defense. We played a poor game but we still had a chance to win at the end. We were never out of it. We just couldn’t get the runs home. Kudos to Scarborough. They got out of jams every inning. They made the big plays and pitches.”

Just getting going

Falmouth plays its home opener Tuesday versus Massabesic as it looks to get on track.

“We’ll hit delete and go back to work,” D’Andrea said. “The good news is we can fix it. We just need to improve.”

Scarborough is also back in action Tuesday at Sanford.

“We just want to get better as the season goes on,” said Ridlon. “We’ll try to throw more strikes, put the ball in play and take advantage of extra outs.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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