SCARBOROUGH—Following Friday afternoon’s victory over Scarborough at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, a Kennebunk/Sanford assistant coach remarked that it’s never easy to win there.

And more than anyone else involved in Maine high school softball, he would know.

That assistant, Tom Griffin, better known in Scarborough as the creator of the Red Storm dynasty, is helping a new team emerge as a title contender and as was the case for decades, his squad boasts an ace pitcher.

One who is more than capable of working out of trouble.

That pitcher, sophomore Julia Pike, helped herself in the top of the first by leading off with a double, then coming home to score the only run she and her team would need on an RBI double from senior catcher Emily Hutchins. Later in the inning, sophomore second baseman Talia Kellum added an RBI single to make it 2-0.

After Pike stranded single runners in the first and second innings, she got out of a one-out, bases loaded jam in the bottom of the third and in the top of the fourth, an RBI ground ball from sophomore rightfielder Mel Rousselle added a run.


Pike then left two runners on in bottom half and in the top of the fifth, Kennebunk/Sanford scored again, on an error.

The Red Storm loaded the bases again to no avail in the fifth, then Pike stranded single runners in both the sixth and seventh to put the finishing touches on a 4-0 victory.

Pike struck out 14, scored two runs and helped Kennebunk/Sanford improve to 13-2 on the season, dropping Scarborough to 10-5 in the process.

“I’m so happy for (Tom),” said Kennebunk/Sanford coach Eddie Pike. “He was here a long time. It will be a long time for a coach to win like that. He’s brought a calm demeanor and perspective to us. He does a good job augmenting what we do. He brings a wealth of experience.”

Opportunity lost

Scarborough 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 Scarborough lost at Thornton Academy, 5-3, and at home to South Portland/Westbrook, 10-7, before bouncing back with wins over visiting Portland (9-8) and host Massabesic (16-3, in five-innings) earlier this week.


Kennebunk/Sanford, meanwhile, in its first year as a combined program, won its first eight games, suffered a one-run loss to Biddeford (4-3), won three more, then lost by a run to Windham (1-0) before edging Thornton Academy (3-2) Wednesday.

Last year, host Kennebunk eked out a 2-1 victory over Scarborough, its first over the Red Storm this century.

Tom Griffin, the longtime, highly successful Scarborough softball coach, is serving as a volunteer assistant with the Kennebunk/Sanford co-op squad this season. He addressed the team prior to Friday’s contest. Hoffer photos

Friday, on a 61-degree afternoon, with the wind blowing out, Pike managed to work in and out of multiple jams to lead the squad to another victory over both schools’ one-time nemesis.

Pike got things going with her bat, as she led off against Scarborough sophomore Natalie Moynihan and hit a line drive to right, where Red Storm sophomore rightfielder Sophia Nelson raced in and just couldn’t come up with the ball, allowing Pike to take second with a double. Hutchins then went the other way as well, hitting a double to right-center that rolled to the fence to easily score Pike to put Kennebunk/Sanford ahead to stay. Courtesy runner Azline Maurais stayed put when junior shortstop Dakota Stone took strike three, but Kellum followed with another hit to right, this one a single, to score Maurais for a 2-0 advantage. Junior leftfielder Hannah Mueller struck out swinging and with senior third baseman Madi Shepard at the plate, Kellum tried to steal second, but Scarborough junior catcher Alana Sawyer fired to junior shortstop Samantha Cote, who applied the tag to end the frame.

In the bottom half, Pike got Moynihan to line out to center, but junior second baseman Jamie Kemper hinted at a big game to come by lining a single through the hole on a 3-2 pitch. Cote watched strike three, then Pike fanned senior first baseman Angelina Pizzella for the third out.

Scarborough sophomore starter Natalie Moynihan delivers a pitch.

Moynihan settled in and was unhittable in the top of the second, getting Shepard to chase strike three, catching Rousselle looking at strike three, then fanning sophomore designated player Katherine Orendorf to quickly retire the side.


Pike then matched Moynihan in the bottom half, striking out the side as well.

After getting Sawyer to chase a high fastball for strike three, Pike fanned junior centerfielder Meghan Robinson and after allowing a single to sophomore third baseman Sophia Rinaldi, she caught sophomore leftfielder Gabby Pelletier looking at strike three.

Kennebunk/Sanford threatened to add to the lead in the top of the third, as sophomore first baseman Sky Holder, the number nine hitter, drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, moved to second when Pike bounced out to second, took third when Hutchins reached on an error by Kemper at second, then after Maurais came on to run again and stole second, Stone walked to load the bases, but Kellum hit a sharp grounder to Kemper, who atoned for her error by tagging out Holder, then throwing to first just in time to complete the inning-ending double play, keeping the deficit at two.

Kennebunk/Sanford sophomore pitcher Julia Pike fires to the plate.

In the bottom half, Scarborough had a great chance to pull even or possibly go ahead, but instead, it came up empty.

Nelson struck off leading off, but Moynihan lined a single past Holder at first and Kemper followed with a sharp double over the head of junior centerfielder Julissa McBarron. After Cote fought off several tough pitches, she drew a walk on a full count offering, bringing up the dangerous Pizzella in an optimal spot to do some damage.

But Pike bore down, getting Pizzella to hit a harmless pop fly to Kellum at second before catching Robinson looking at strike three to escape danger.


Kennebunk/Sanford then added a run in the top of the fourth.

Mueller led off with a single to center and took second on a wild pitch. After Shepard walked, Mueller stole third, then Shepard took second on a wild pitch. Rousselle fought back from an 0-2 count to work it full before grounding to second and while she was thrown out, Mueller came home with the third run. Orendorf struck out looking and Holder grounded back to the mound, but the visitors had a little breathing room.

In the bottom half, Robinson led off with a double to right, then Rinaldi laid down a bunt in front of the plate and on the play, a throwing error by Hutchins allowed her to reach safely, with Robinson moving to third. Kennebunk/Sanford felt that Rinaldi’s bat hit the ball twice, which would have killed the play, but the ruling was upheld and Pike had to rely on her right arm to get out of the jam.

And that talented right arm came through big-time, as Pike fanned Pelletier, Nelson and Moynihan, all swinging, to keep the score 3-0, but it didn’t stay that way long, as Kennebunk/Sanford brought home another run in the top of the fifth.

Kennebunk senior catcher Emily Hutchins makes contact.

Pike started the rally again by drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch and she promptly stole second. Hutchins lined out to right, but with Stone at the plate, Pike stole third and when Sawyer’s throw got away from Cote, who was injured on the play, Pike came home with the run. Stone and Kellum then grounded out to second, but the score was now 4-0.

The Red Storm had another great chance to score multiple runs in the bottom of the fifth, but again, couldn’t produce a key hit.


After Kemper led off with her third hit of the day, a single past Shepard at third, sophomore Bridget Dunfee, who had come on to replace Cote, struck out looking, but a wild pitch moved Kemper to second, then Pizzella drew a walk on a  3-2 pitch. Sawyer followed with a bloop single to right to load the bases, but Robinson struck out looking, then Rinaldi made solid contact, but hit the ball right at Mueller in left for the third out.

Moynihan set Kennebunk/Sanford down with relative ease in the top of the sixth as after walking Mueller, she got Shepard to strike out swinging at a 3-2 pitch, then with Rousselle at the plate, Sawyer threw out Mueller stealing before Rousselle grounded out to Pizzella at first.

In the bottom half, Pelletier was thrown out by Pike trying to bunt and Nelson grounded the ball off the pitcher to Stone, who threw her out. Moynihan kept hope alive by lining a single past a diving Kellum, but for the first time all game, Pike solved Kemper, striking her out, for the third out.

Kennebunk/Sanford went quietly in the top of the seventh, as Moynihan fanned Orendorf, got Holder to ground out to second, where Kemper made a terrific backhand play, then got Pike to ground back to the mound.

After catching Dunfee looking at strike three to start the bottom of the seventh, Pike allowed a single up the middle off the bat of Pizzella, but she got Sawyer to chase the first pitch and fly out to deep center before getting Robinson to ground into a short-to-second force out to bring the curtain down on the 4-0 victory.

“This was big,” said Julia Pike. “We knew the type of athletes Scarborough has. We knew what we were up against.”


“This game meant a lot to us,” Eddie Pike said. “We play them again Tuesday here and the first game was a big one.”

Pike scored twice (and stole two bases), while Maurais and Mueller also touched home.

Hutchins, Kellum and Rousselle all drove in runs.

Kennebunk/Sanford only left three runners on base.

Pike continued to dazzle by working around nine hits to throw a shutout. She walked two and struck out 14.

“It’s really hard to shake it off if I walk a batter, but I have to,” Pike said. “When there are runners on base, it gives me a fire in my belly. I trust my fielders. Trust is everything. They trust me to throw the ball and get strikeouts. Our teamwork is amazing. We’ve talked about our energy and communication and we pulled it off today. ”


“We knew Scarborough would put the bat on the ball,” said Eddie Pike. “Julia’s strikeouts are up there, but she’s done a really good job limiting the big hit. Emily does a great job too behind the plate. She calls the game. Julia executed and it was the players behind her did too. That’s good to see.”

Waste not, want not

Kemper led Scarborough’s nine-hit attack with a double and two singles. Moynihan also had multiple hits.

The Red Storm were doomed, however, by leaving 12 runners on, including at least one in every inning.

“We out-hit them, I think we played fundamental defense and I think in most ways, we outplayed them, but Pike’s tough,” said Scarborough first-year coach Liz Winslow. “I’m happy with the way we played. We knocked on the door and we knocked on it loud. We walk out of here a confident team. They just got key hits early and we couldn’t get runs across.”

Moynihan gave up just four hits and four runs in seven innings. She walked five and fanned eighth.


“Once Natalie starts putting the ball on the corners, she’s a different pitcher,” said Winslow. “She’s one of the best athletes we’ve ever had here. I have a lot of confidence in her.”


The teams close the regular season against each other in the same location Tuesday, then it’s time to think about making a championship run.

At press time, Kennebunk/Sanford was third in the Class A South Heal Points standings, while Scarborough was fifth.

“We’re clicking,” Julia Pike said. “We feel together. We want to see (Biddeford and Windham) again and see how we do.”

“If we put the bat on the ball, which is easier said than done against (the top pitchers), I like our chances,” said Eddie Pike.

“We’d love to have homefield,” Winslow said. “I think we’ll be in a fairly good spot no matter what happens Tuesday. We’ve got a team of sophomores and juniors. We’re young and we have kids playing in positions they’ve never played before. Getting 10 wins in a league like this is a heck of a season for a really young team. I’m proud of these guys no matter where we end up. No one will want to see us down the line.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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