SCARBOROUGH—South Portland/Westbrook softball coach Drew DiMauro believes his first-year co-op team can compete for a state championship.

And after holding off perennial powerhouse Scarborough Friday afternoon at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, his team is starting to believe as well.

South Portland/Westbrook brought the thunder early, grabbing a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning before an out was registered, as senior third baseman Grace Wallace hit a two-run double off Red Storm sophomore Natalie Moynihan.

Scarborough immediately tied it up in the bottom half, on an RBI double from junior second baseman Jamie Kemper and an RBI single from junior shortstop Samantha Cote, but in the top of the second, South Portland/Westbrook broke it open with a five-spot.

An RBI single from junior Chloe Whitten put the visitors on top to stay and after junior centerfielder Haley Ball drove in another run with a bunt single, a series of Red Storm errors allowed South Portland/Westbrook to stretch its lead to 7-2.

Scarborough got an unearned run back in the third, but in the top of the fourth, senior first baseman Madison Cole hit an RBI single, then South Portland/Westbrook junior pitcher Andrea DiMauro crushed a two-run double to make it 10-3.


But the Red Storm are never out of a game and to the surprise of no one, refused to go quietly.

After sophomore third baseman Sophia Rinaldi hit an RBI single in the fifth, she made things very interesting in the seventh, driving a three-run home run over the fence in left-center, but with the potential tying run on deck, sophomore Baylie Littlefield slammed the door and South Portland/Westbrook prevailed, 10-7.

South Portland/Westbrook improved to 10-3 with its biggest victory of the season and in the process, dropped Scarborough, a longtime nemesis of both schools, to 8-4.

“It’s a big confidence-boost,” said Andrea DiMauro, the winning pitcher, who also played a big role with her bat. “We’ve been in every game so far, but to see that we can push to the finish line is big for us. As the season goes on, we’ve jelled even more, gotten even closer and we want it for each other.”

In the hunt

The 2023 season has brought about plenty of change for both programs.


The change for the Red Storm is seismic, as legendary coach Tom Griffin stepped away after 32 triumphant years, which included 498 victories and eight state championships. Griffin has been replaced by one of his former players and a longtime assistant in Liz Winslow, who has kept the program near the top of the heap.

Scarborough, which lost to Windham in the semifinals last spring, started with home wins over Gorham (5-4) and Cheverus (7-3), then rallied for a stirring 6-4 victory at Windham before dropping a heartbreaker at reigning Class A champion Biddeford (6-5). After beating host Noble (10-4) and Falmouth (21-0, in five-innings) and blanking visiting Marshwood (3-0), the Red Storm lost at Gorham (6-5). Five-inning wins over visiting Deering (22-1) and Bonny Eagle (15-1) followed, but Tuesday, Scarborough lost at Thornton Academy, 5-3.

South Portland, meanwhile, also has a new coach this spring and more importantly, has joined with Westbrook as a co-op team. The squad has gotten strong contributions from players from both teams and got off to a great start, beating host Massabesic (16-5, in six-innings), visiting Portland (10-0, in five-innings), host Bonny Eagle (18-2, in five-innings), visiting Deering (16-0, in five-innings), host Portland (12-3, in six-innings) and visiting Massabesic (12-2, in five-innings). After meeting its match at home against Biddeford (10-5) and at Kennebunk/Sanford (5-2), South Portland/Westbrook enjoyed five-inning wins over visiting Falmouth (14-1) and at Cheverus (15-5) and after a 13-2 home loss to Windham Monday, the squad bounced back Wednesday with a 14-2 (five-inning) home victory over Thornton Academy.

Last season, Scarborough beat both South Portland (9-3) and Westbrook (17-1, in five-innings) on the road. The Red Storm last lost to the Red Riots in the 2012 Western A Final (5-1) and had never lost to the Blue Blazes since moving up to Class A for the 2004 regular season.

Friday, on a chilly afternoon (60 degrees and dropping at first pitch) with a brisk win blowing out, South Portland/Westbrook got out to a fast start and went on to victory.

The tone was set by Ball, who took a strike, then lined a shot the other way, to the wall in left-center, and she raced into third with a triple. Junior leftfielder Ella Nickerson then drew a walk and stole second and senior third baseman Grace Wallace crushed the ball to the fence in deep center, easily scoring Ball and Nickerson. Wallace was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple, but the visitors had the jump.


“We’ve practiced hitting a lot, day-in, day-out, and knowing we can hit encourages us,” said Wallace.

Moynihan then got senior catcher Delaney Whitten to line out to center and fanned Cole for the third out.

In the bottom half, Moynihan greeted DiMauro with a sharp double to left-center and Kemper followed with a drive over the head of Ball in center for an RBI double. Cote then singled down the rightfield line and just like that, the game was tied. Senior first baseman Angelina Pizzella, the Red Storm’s lone senior and the lone honoree in a Senior Day ceremony prior to the game, then grounded out to Wallace at third, with Cote moving to second. Junior catcher Alana Sawyer also bounced out to Wallace, with Cote taking third, then junior centerfielder Meghan Robinson grounded the ball down the third base line, but Wallace made a nice backhanded stab and threw across the diamond just in time for the third out to keep the score tied.

“I was just reacting and doing my best,” Wallace said.

“It’s great knowing we can make those plays,” Andrea DiMauro said.

Undaunted, South Portland/Westbrook took the lead right back with a five-spot in the top of the second.


DiMauro got things started with a bloop single to right. Junior Phoebe Dodge came on to run and she took second when freshman shortstop Emma Boulette singled through the hole between short and third. After freshman rightfielder Rachel DiMauro chased strike three, Chole Whitten came up huge, singling to right to score Dodge and put runners at the corners. Ball was next and she bunted in front of the plate. Moynihan came in to play the ball and threw home, but it was too late, as Boulette scored to make it 4-2. Scarborough had a chance to limit the damage, but a ground ball from Nickerson resulted in an error at second, allowing Whitten to score and putting runners at the corners again. After Nickerson stole second, Wallace struck out swinging, but Delaney Whitten beat out a grounder to short, with Ball coming home on the play, and when the ball was subsequently thrown away, Nickerson scored as well. Cole bounced out to second, but the score was suddenly 7-2.

In the bottom half, Andrea DiMauro caught Rinaldi looking at strike three and got sophomore rightfielder Gabriella Pelletier to bounce out to short, but sophomore leftfielder Sophia Nelson singled to center and Moynihan followed with a single up the middle. The Red Storm had a chance to get back in it, but Kemper popped out foul to Cole at first, right in front of the dugout, for the third out.

Moynihan held South Portland/Westbrook in check in the top of the third, despite a leadoff double to left-center by Andrea DiMauro and a walk to Boulette, as Rachel DiMauro’s grounder to the right side hit Boulette, meaning she was out and the play was blown dead, and after Chloe Whitten struck out swinging, Ball flew out to center to end the threat.

In the bottom half, Andrea DiMauro hit Cote with a pitch, then Cote went to third when Pizzella reached on an error. Sawyer popped out to first, but Robinson grounded out to score Cote, then Robinson reached on an error and stole second. She’d be stranded, however, as Rinaldi grounded out to third and Pelletier bounced out to second, keeping the score 7-3.

Back roared South Portland/Westbrook in the top of the fourth, seemingly breaking it open with three runs.

Nickerson led off with a bloop single to right-center and after Wallace popped out to second, Delaney Whitten hit a shot off Cote at short for an infield single. Cole then singled up the middle, scoring Nickerson and putting runners at the corners. Andrea DiMauro then helped herself by going the other way, doubling to right-center, easily scoring sophomore courtesy runner Sophia Sardella and Cole.


That was it for Moynihan, who was replaced by Robinson, who got Boulette to line to right, where Pelletier made the stab, then quickly threw to Cote at second for a double play to end the frame, but Scarborough’s deficit was now seven runs, 10-3.

In the bottom of the fourth, Nelson led off with a bunt single, but Moynihan lined out to Cole at first, who doubled off Nelson. Kemper then flew out to center.

Moynihan had her lone 1, 2, 3 inning in the top of the fifth, getting Dodge, who had come on to replace Rachel DiMauro, to ground back to the mound, fanning Chloe Whitten, then getting Ball to chase strike three as well.

The Red Storm threatened to get back in the game in the bottom half, but only managed to push one run across.

Cote led off with a single off the glove of Chloe Whitten at second. Pizzella then singled to center. Sawyer hit the ball hard, but it was right at Wallace, who stepped on third for the force out. After Robinson grounded into a short-to-third force out, Rinaldi came up with a clutch single to right, scoring sophomore courtesy runner Bridget Dunfee. Pelletier then ended the threat with a ground out to third, with Cole making a nice scoop at first to retire the side with the score 10-4.

In the top of the sixth, Nickerson grounded out to short and after Wallace drew a walk, Delaney Whitten hit the ball hard, but it was right at Cote, who registered the out, then threw to first to double up Wallace to retire the side.


In the bottom half, DiMauro fell behind Nelson 3-0, but fought her way back to a full count, then got Nelson to line out to second. Moynihan singled through the hole, but Kemper grounded into a short-to-second force out, then Cote bounced out to short to send the game to the seventh.

There, Cole led off by reaching on an error, but Andrea DiMauro grounded into a force out, Boulette did the same, then Dodge grounded out to short for the third out.

Scarborough did not go easily in the bottom half and made South Portland/Westbrook sweat before the door finally slammed shut.

Pizzella struck out swinging leading off, but Sawyer singled into the hole, then Robinson hit a shot which took a bad hop past Boulette and wound up as a double. Rinaldi was next and she got all of DiMauro’s final offering of the day, sending a high drive deep to left-center, which easily cleared the wall for a three-run home run.

Drew DiMauro then pulled his daughter in favor of Littlefield, who immediately surrendered a bloop single to right off the bat of Pelletier. Littlefield then fanned Nelson, which brought Moynihan up not as the tying run, but as just another hitter and with the pressure off, Littlefield got Moynihan to chase the first pitch and ground out to Wallace at third to bring the curtain down on South Portland/Westbrook’s 10-7 victory.

“(Scarborough’s) a really good team and they don’t quit,” said Andrea DiMauro. “They have a good offense. We just had to focus on one out at a time.”


“I’m never comfortable against that lineup,” Drew DiMauro said. “I have all the respect for Liz and her program. I think they have a wonderful team. I think they’ll be a competitive team down the stretch. I think we did just enough to get out of here with a win today.”

South Portland/Westbrook got three hits from Andrea DiMauro and two apiece from Ball and Delaney Whitten.

Nickerson scored three runs, Ball touched home twice and Boulette, Cole, Dodge, Sardella and Chloe Whitten all scored once.

Andrea DiMauro and Wallace both had two RBI, while Ball, Cole, Chloe Whitten and Delaney Whitten had one apiece.

South Portland/Westbrook left five runners on base.

Andrea DiMauro earned the victory, surrendering seven runs (six earned) on 13 hits in 6.1 innings. She didn’t walk a batter, hit one and struck out two.


Littlefield came on to earn the save, allowing one hit and fanning one.

“We’re trying to not give teams looks at all of our pitchers,” Drew DiMauro said. “I was being a little coy, but we wanted to get the ‘W.'”

Not quite enough

For Scarborough, Moynihan had three hits and scored a run, while Rinaldi had two hits, a run scored and four RBI.

Cote and Nelson also had multiple hits.

Dunfee scored twice, while Cote, Kemper and Robinson also touched home.


Cote, Kemper and Robinson finished with one RBI apiece.

The Red Storm left nine runners on base.

Moynihan took the loss, giving up 10 runs (six earned) on 11 hits in 3.1 innings. She walked two and struck out four.

Robinson was nearly perfect in relief, not allowing a hit or a run in 3.2 innings, walking just one and fanning two.

“We almost got it,” Winslow said. “This isn’t a surprising outcome, it’s just unfortunate on our end. The girls know they’re capable of coming back against anybody and putting runs on the board. The difference today was we gave up some early hits and runs. We played fundamental defense and took good swings, but they had timely hitting.”

Finishing kick


Scarborough (currently ranked fourth in Class A South) hosts Portland Monday, goes to Massabesic Wednesday, then plays Kennebunk twice at home, on May 26 and May 30, to finish up.

“It’s quite a league this year,” said Winslow. “Anybody can beat anybody. There’s going to be a surprise team coming down the stretch. It could be us, it could be (South Portland/Westbrook), it could be Gorham, it could be anybody. We have a tough stretch, Kennebunk twice. I hope we’ll be battle-tested for playoffs. I think we’re right up there.”

South Portland/Westbrook (ranked sixth in the region) has three games remaining. After going to Noble Monday, the squad has its home finale Wednesday versus Marshwood, then closes the following day at Gorham.

“I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it’s been a great experience this year,” said Wallace. “It feels like the two schools have come together really well and it feels like one team. We have to believe in ourselves and stay confident and know that we deserve to be here.”

“We know we have the talent to make a big run and this game helped proved it to us,” said Andrea DiMauro. “Our big word right now is ‘poise.'”

“We’re still building and getting these girls to believe they’re a championship-caliber team because I think they are,” Drew DiMauro added. “They all support each other and pull for each other. I’m just trying to help the girls stay poised. I’m hoping this is the convincer that they do have a chance to contend for a title. A win like this helps them buy in.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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