SOUTH PORTLAND — At the beginning of the season, the Western Class A softball race figured to be close. And in a span of 24 hours, that was very evident.

One day after Cheverus High handed top-ranked Scarborough its first loss, the No. 3 Stags lost to second-ranked South Portland 10-6 at Wainwright Sports Complex.

The Riots (13-1), whose lone loss came to Scarborough, scored four runs in the third inning and five in the fifth, aided by faulty defense. Cheverus committed four errors.

Asked what it all meant, South Portland Coach Ralph Aceto said nothing has been decided.

“They beat Scarborough, Scarborough beat us, and I don’t think it means a lot,’’ he said. “We’re all going to see each other again somewhere. What it means is that you’re starting to see who the better playoff teams are.’’

But for the Stags, the game meant more.

“If we’re ready and all come to play, we’re as good as anyone,’’ said Coach Amy McMullin. “But if we have a couple of people not come or a couple of letdowns, it’s not going to go our way. We’ve got to learn from today and I think we will.’’

Cheverus (10-4) took a 1-0 lead in the third on an inside-the-park homer by pitcher Theresa Hendrix, one of her four hits. But the Riots responded with four in the bottom of the inning.

With one out, Danica Gleason tripled and pitcher Alexis Bogdanovich walked. Pinch-runner Brittany Harrison stole second, then Stephanie Thibeault hit a grounder back to Hendrix. Her throw home was wide, allowing Gleason to score. As the ball rolled away, Harrison tried to score but was tagged out by Hendrix.

Katlin Norton followed with an RBI single. After a hit by Amanda Linscott, Kalie Sawyer reached on an error with two runs scoring.

Cheverus got back in it with three in the fifth, two on a homer by Audrey Grinnell. But another Cheverus error in the bottom of the inning helped South Portland go on to score five runs, with Danielle DiBiase doubling in two.

While Cheverus’ defense was shaky, South Portland turned two double plays, including one in the fifth that kept the Stags from scoring more.

With the bases loaded, Gleason, the shortstop, fielded a grounder by Anna Snook, stepped on second and threw to first to complete the double play. Grinnell followed with her homer.

“That was a huge play,’’ said Aceto. “We work on (turning the double play) a lot. I tell the kids they just need more confidence to do it.

“The ball just happened to be hit in the perfect spot for Danica.’’

“We knew we had to play good defense,’’ said Gleason. “They can really hit the ball. But we know what to do when we get the ball.’’

McMullin said the Stags hit the ball well – they had 10 hits off Bodganovich, one of the stingiest pitchers in the state – but added, “Whatever defensive team came today, we can’t see that again.’’

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

[email protected]