When Jerry Kill was alive, he would watch South Portland High softball games from beyond right field, leaning against the fence and invariably wearing a black sweat suit. And invariably he would get calls on his cell phone from other parents, asking him what the count was, the inning and the score.

Kill passed away suddenly last August. But his presence will continue to be felt at South Portland.

Last Wednesday, the Riots dedicated a new red-and-white scoreboard in left field in Kill’s memory. His initials were etched into the infield behind the pitcher’s circle. Kim Kill, his widow, flicked the switch to turn on the scoreboard during a pregame ceremony.

“There are no words for this,” said Kim. “This is just amazing.

“When they came to me and asked me what I thought of the scoreboard, I thought it was perfect. Everyone would call Jerry during the games to find out what was going on. He’d be out there watching the game, keeping track, the Heal points, everything.”

Kristin Kill, who shared a love of softball with her father, was also present. The pregame ceremony was emotional for her, she said, “because he should be here.”

“This is incredible,” she said. “And it’s kind of funny to me, because after every game my dad would come over to me and say that he wished they had a scoreboard here. It’s nice to have one. We’re very appreciative of it.”

Kristin Kill just finished her senior year at Niagara University, where the softball team, like South Portland’s, wore a “JK” patch on its uniform. She said it was difficult returning to the field this year because of the loss of her dad.

“It was hard to think how I was going to go back on the field and play and be successful at this game that I shared so much with him,” she said. “But it was weird. I remember when I was younger he would hold the bat with me when I was learning how to hit. And it was like that, every single time I was in the field or at bat.

“I knew he was always there. I was kind of comforted by that. Sometimes it kind of spooked me and I’d tear up and I needed a moment, but my team was always there for me.”

Kim Kill couldn’t think of a better place to raise their three daughters. “When we were looking for a house in 1991, we chose South Portland because of its athletics for girls,” she said. “We wanted to be involved. Jerry was always here when they were campaigning to raise funds for the field, when they were in the planning stages for the field.

“Whether there was one of our daughters or not on the field, he was usually here watching a softball game.”

 

MARIKA STAYTE, Greely’s senior center fielder, is having a tremendous season.

She ended the regular season hitting .449 with 27 RBI and 12 stolen bases. More impressive: She didn’t struck out this season.

And she plays a heady center field, with no errors.

 

IN A SPAN of 24 hours last week, Cheverus beat top-ranked Scarborough, then lost to second-ranked South Portland.

Asked what those two games meant, Stags pitcher Theresa Hendrix, who is from Scarborough, said, “I think it means it’s nobody’s game, that whoever brings it is going to win.”

 

THE SMAA softball championships will be held Saturday at Scarborough High. The semifinals, based on the top four teams in the final Heal point standings, will be at 8:30 a.m. The final is scheduled for 11.

The MPA playoffs begin next Tuesday with preliminary- round games in three classes. In Western Class A, that game will involve Sanford and Bonny Eagle, with the winner moving on to play Scarborough. Western Class B is a little less clear and may not be decided until today when Wells plays at Old Orchard Beach in a makeup game.

 

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

[email protected]