SOUTH PORTLAND — It may not have been the most impressive victory of the season for South Portland High’s softball team. But it likely was the most important.

Three days after suffering their first loss of the season to top-ranked Scarborough, the second-ranked Red Riots rebounded to defeat Biddeford 5-0 Thursday afternoon behind the one-hit pitching of Alexis Bogdanovich.

“Had we lost this game, I think it would have really brought down our spirits,” said catcher Stephanie Thibeault. “The win is big for us, right now, at this time of season.”

The Riots (11-1) scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to break it open. Until then, Biddeford’s Sarah Gilblair had matched Bogdanovich pitch for pitch.

The Riots got an unearned run in the first on a two-out error but had only three more base runners through the fifth — one of whom was thrown out trying to steal by Tiger catcher Amethyst Hersom.

But Bogdanovich allowed only two runners the entire game — a walk to Kelsey Morton in the second and an infield single by Heather Fecteau in the fifth, a looping hit that dropped behind the pitching circle.

Bogdanovich struck out 11 as the fifth-ranked Tigers (8-3) had trouble catching up with her fastball.

“She had a lot of movement,” said Thibeault, the Riots’ catcher. “Her drop was dropping and her curve was curving. Sometimes they have a mind of their own. But today they didn’t.”

Gilblair kept South Portland’s hitters off balance by changing speeds and keeping the ball on the outside corner. But the Riots finally broke through in the sixth.

With one out, Gilblair walked Bogdanovich and Thibeault. Katlin Norton then drove an 0-1 pitcher over Fecteau’s head in center field. Thibeault almost ran past Bogdanovich as the two raced home. Bogdanovich scored standing, and Thibeault slid under Hersom’s tag on a close play.

Amanda Linscott followed with a ground single to left, scoring pinch-runner Stephanie McDonough.

Kalie Swiger reached on an error, with Linscott going to third. She scored on a sacrifice fly by Brittany Harrison.

“It was a big relief,” said Bogdanovich. “Knowing you have those extra runs means there’s more room for mistakes.”

“We know Alexis is going to keep us in every game,” said South Portland Coach Ralph Aceto. “But those runs were huge. We’ve got to give her some support.”

For Biddeford, it was a tough loss, but a better showing than the Tigers had against top-ranked Scarborough in a 16-0 loss eight days earlier.

“The kids had good attitudes,” said Coach Leon Paquin. “This one we fought to the end. Now we’ve got to come right back (against Cheverus today). Now the test is to see if we can play like we did (against the Riots).”

“This was a very big win for us,” said Aceto. “I think we still had that loss in the back of our minds at the beginning and it took a little while for us to wake up. This win was very important. Biddeford’s right up there in the Heal points. But right now, every win is a big win.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com