SCARBOROUGH — South Portland Coach Ralph Aceto recently said you need to play a perfect game to beat the Scarborough High softball team.
On Saturday afternoon, he discovered what happens when Scarborough plays a perfect game.
Scarborough pounded out 16 hits and played flawless defense to back up Bella Dickinson’s no-hit pitching in a 12-0 win over the Red Riots in a Class A South semifinal. The game was called after five innings because of softball’s 12-run rule.
“If they can play better than that, I don’t know,” said Aceto, whose team lost 3-1 to Scarborough on May 13. “From the last time we played them to this time, they’ve definitely taken another step.”
Scarborough, 18-0 and riding a 58-game winning streak, will play Thornton Academy or Noble in the regional championship game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph’s College. Fifth-seeded South Portland ended its season 12-7.
“That was as good as it gets,” said Scarborough Coach Tom Griffin. “Bella was on and in control, when the ball was hit we made the plays defensively and we hit the ball hard. We played the perfect game.”
Dickinson allowed just two base runners – on a walk in the first inning and a hit batter in the fourth – while striking out eight. She also made a fine defensive play on a comebacker by Meghan Livingston in the third.
“We just couldn’t get anything off Bella,” said Aceto. “She was tremendous in the circle. I can’t say enough about her.”
Freshman center fielder Caitlin Noiles led the offense with three hits and five RBI, including a home run in the first, while sophomore Mollie Verreault drove in four runs with a home run and single.
“We just really brought it with our energy,” said Verreault. “I think that played a big part of why we were successful.”
Noiles’ home run in the first was a towering drive to center field. She had been struggling at the plate, but over the last two weeks put in extra work with assistant coach Liz Winslow in the batting cage. She narrowly missed a grand slam in the third, her double with the bases loaded hitting high off the left field fence.
“I just needed some help,” said Noiles. “They really helped me get my confidence back.”
Scarborough scored three in the second, on RBI singles by Verreault, Hannah Gower and AJ Swett, then six in the third inning when Verreault hit her three-run home run and Noiles her three-run double.
That was more then enough for Dickinson. “I think it helps us relax when Bella is on,” said Noiles. “It slows the game down.”
Scarborough ended the game in the fifth on RBI singles by Noiles and Courtney Brochu.
“Definitely getting our bats going early was a key factor,” said Dickinson. “And we had a really good practice yesterday. We did the little things in practice and that adds up. And we had really good energy and that got everything going.”