STANDISH – Katlin Norton said, simply, it was time. Time to step up. Time to deliver the hit.

She did.

Norton, South Portland High’s junior right fielder, hit an RBI double in the top of the sixth inning, sending home Danica Gleason to back the outstanding pitching of junior Alexis Bogdanovich as South Portland defeated Bangor for its first Class A state championship.

Bogdanovich allowed just three hits while striking out 14 as the Riots beat Bangor 1-0 at St. Joseph College’s Ward Field on Saturday afternoon.

“This is amazing,” said South Portland catcher Stephanie Thibeault. “I couldn’t ask for anything else. I’ve wanted this since I was little. To do it my senior year is crazy. We weren’t even supposed to be here.”

Well, South Portland (19-1) and Bangor (18-2) — both seeded second in their regions — put on a spectacular display of championship softball.

“This is what you expect when two of the top teams in the state come together on a beautiful day,” said Bangor Coach Don Stanhope.

Bogdanovich, dominant from the first inning when she struck out the side, had a no-hitter for 51/3 innings. Bangor senior Sam Bedore, winner of the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year, was just as effective, holding South Portland to two hits in the first five innings.

Then the Riots struck for the game’s only run.

Freshman shortstop Danica Gleason reached on a one-out infield error. Up stepped Norton, who won the regional championship with a mammoth home run and who had twice flied out deep in this game.

On a 2-0 count, she ripped a hard liner into the gap in left-center field. Bangor left fielder Sadie Redman dove for the ball, which landed inches in front of her, then deflected off her glove toward center field.

South Portland Coach Ralph Aceto looked up and saw Gleason halfway to third already and waved her home. “I know she can run,” said Aceto. “And the way Alexis was pitching, one run was going to win it. I was going to make them throw her out at home.”

Gleason scored without a throw. South Portland led, 1-0. And Norton, who had 33 RBI in the regular season, had another big hit.

“That was the inning, that was the place, that was the time,” said Norton. “I didn’t want to go to extra innings. And with a 2-0 count, I knew I was going to see a good pitch. Whatever ball came in, I was going to hit it.”

Bogdanovich wasn’t about to give the run back. She had surrendered up a pair of hits in the sixth but was back in control in the seventh. She struck out the first batter, then gave up a single to Eliza Estabrook, who promptly stole second with a great fade slide.

But Bogdanovich reached back to strike out the next batter, then fielded a bunt and threw to first baseman Olivia Whitton for the final out, setting up a wild celebration.

“I was just thinking to myself, ‘This runner cannot get on base,’ ” said Bogdanovich, who walked one and hit a batter. “I think I threw that ball as fast as I could.”

Everyone on the Riots agreed that this was Bogdanovich’s best start of the season, and that’s saying a lot considering she finished with a 15-1 record.

“She absolutely brought it today,” said Aceto. “She was dominant. After that first inning, I turned to (assistant) Marc Sandoro and said her ball had a little more jump today.”

She threw her fastball past the Rams, and mixed in a changeup to keep them off-balance.

“We didn’t catch up to her in time,” said Stanhope. “We had chances in a few innings but that was it.”

“We just couldn’t hit the ball today,” said Bedore, who struck out eight. “We were a little nervous. I think we were afraid to lose and that’s not the way we played this year. It just wasn’t our day.”

Instead it belonged to the Riots.

“We worked our butts off all year,” said Thibeault. “We deserved this.” 

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

[email protected]