The Scarborough High School softball team showed why it is the powerhouse that it is on Saturday afternoon in annexing its third straight state Class A championship.
Junior righthander Bella Dickinson fired a two-hitter and hit a key three-run triple and senior second baseman Courtney Brochu belted a grand slam to lead the Red Storm to its 60th consecutive victory, 11-1, over Skowhegan at wind-swept Coffin Field in Brewer.
Scarborough wound up 20-0 while Skowhegan finished at 19-1.
It was the fifth time Scarborough has beaten Skowhegan in a state title game since 2007.
Scarborough led just 3-1 after five innings but the Red Storm erupted for seven runs in the sixth inning to cement the win.
Ten of Scarborough’s 11 runs were scored with two outs.
The hard-throwing Dickinson struck out 12 and walked two while throwing 113 pitches, 72 for strikes.
Senior catcher Sydney Reed was the only Skowhegan player to hit her as she walloped a homer in the third and a single in the fifth.
“She’s definitely the best pitcher we’ve faced this season,” said Skowhegan senior pitcher Sydney Ames, who went the distance and allowed 11 hits. “She had speed and she placed the ball well.”
“She’s the hardest thrower we’ve seen all year,” Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson said.
Dickinson’s opposite-field triple came in the second inning.
The first two hitters were retired but Mollie Verreault doubled to right center and Hannah Goweer and Ava McDonald, the eighth and ninth hitters in the order, drew walks on 3-2 pitches.
Dickinson went the opposite way, launching her triple near the right field line.
“I think I was a little late on it, actually,” grinned Dickinson.
“It was an outside pitch and I put it where it was supposed to be. She just got a hold of it,” said Ames, who hadn’t allowed an earned run in three Class A North playoff wins.
“That definitely gave us momentum,” Brochu said. “That settled us down a little bit. Everyone was a little bit nervous because of the atmosphere at a state championship game. As soon as she got that hit, it sparked everybody and we felt confident and comfortable.”
Reed cut the lead to 3-1 when she pulled a 2-1 pitch over the right center field fence for her first homer of the season.
But Dickinson bore down after that, striking out five of the next six hitters until she walked Ames with two outs in the fifth. Reed followed with a base hit and an ensuing outfield error put runners on second and third with two outs.
Dickinson pitched out of the jam by striking out the next hitter with a 1-2 changeup.
“That homer really put a fire under me. I wanted to do better for my team,” explained the 5-foot-4 Dickinson.
She also said she felt Skowhegan was starting to time up her fastball so she threw more changeups after the Reed homer to “catch them off-balance.
“That has been my go-to pitch. It was okay today,” Dickinson added.
“Once she got her changeup going, it was lights out,” Scarborough coach Tom Griffin said. “You can’t time it up and it makes her fastball [look] two miles an hour faster.”
“That was probably one of the best games she’s ever thrown,” said Red Storm catcher Sylvia Foley. “She was hitting her spots really well. Her ball was moving. I’ve never seen it move like that before.”
Scarborough’s sixth-inning rally was started by Katie Roy, who sliced a one-out double to right.
Pinch-runner Abigail Roy moved to third on a grounder back to Ames and she scored when Gower hit a little spinning pop fly single that dropped between Ames and first baseman Mariah Dunbar.
“That was crazy. I never thought I would be safe on that. It shows that you have to [run] things out,” Gower said.
McDonald reached on a bunt single and Dickinson walked to load the bases before A.J. Swett delivered a run with a high bouncer that resulted in an infield single.
Caitlin Noiles walked to force in another run before Brochu drilled her grand slam to right center for her first homer of the season and second of her career.
“When I went up there, I thought ‘this may be my last at-bat in my Scarborough High School career.’ I calmed myself down, treated it as just another at-bat and once I hit it, I said, ‘Oh my gosh, it could go [out].’ I couldn’t believe it,” smiled Brochu, one of just two seniors on the Scarborough roster.
Brochu had a single to go with her homer and Verreault had a single to accompany her double.
The Red Storm also played exceptional defense, making just one error.