How big is Monday’s softball game between South Portland and Scarborough?

Well, big enough that the starting time has been changed to 7 p.m., and that extra bleachers may be brought in.

Midway through the season, defending Class A champion Scarborough and 2009 regional finalist South Portland have been the best teams in Western Class A. The schools wanted a proper setting for their game.

“We knew this was going to be a big game,” said Scarborough Coach Tom Griffin. “I think a lot of people are going to be curious about the outcome of this one.”

Ralph Aceto, the second-year South Portland coach, mentioned to Griffin two weeks ago that he was fine with the switch.

“This game may decide who the No. 1 seed is, and it might not,” said Aceto. “But it’s a good chance to promote the game of softball.”

 

GREELY’S SOFTBALL field has always been a favorite of Gray-New Gloucester’s Abby Ryan. She showed why last Wednesday, cranking two home runs over the left-field fence.

“I love fields with fences,” she said, noting that fences give her a target.

Ryan, who’s been inhibited by a shoulder issue, was behind the plate as a catcher for the first time this season in Greely’s 9-7 win.

Gray-New Gloucester made four errors.

“We were back on our heels a lot,” said Ryan. “We made a lot of errors that shouldn’t happen. We scored a lot of runs, but not enough.”

 

PAST THE midway point of the Telegram League baseball season, every team has at least two losses, but eight teams — Deering, Westbrook, Scarborough, Bonny Eagle, Cheverus, Portland, South Portland and Thornton Academy — are bunched together with either two or three defeats.

“Never in my years as a coach or player have I seen it this even,” said Westbrook Coach Mike Rutherford.

 

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER has been down in boys’ basketball for years, but the Patriots may have taken a big step toward a turnaround with the hiring of veteran coach Tony DiBiase. DiBiase has an established track record, with 392 wins and three state titles at three schools.

It won’t happen overnight, but DiBiase’s presence will be felt immediately. His teams like to press and play an up-tempo style. Gray-New Gloucester is one of the larger schools by enrollment in the Western Maine Conference. That’s a start for someone looking to rebuild a program from the grade school levels up. It starts at the lower grades, and DiBiase developed that phase of a successful program at South Portland, where he was coach for 17 years.

It will be tougher to do at Gray-New Gloucester. At South Portland, a strong program was already in place when DiBiase arrived. Still, he did a lot of things that kept the Red Riots at or near the top in Western Class A.

 

– Staff Writers Mike Lowe and Tom Chard contributes to this report.