SOUTH PORTLAND – Alexis Bogdanovich and Katlin Norton have known each other forever, it seems. Great friends, they’ve played softball together since Little League — Bogdanovich the pitcher, Norton the catcher.

Now seniors at South Portland High, they realize they have a chance to end their playing days together in style.

The Red Riots (16-0) are ranked first entering the Western Maine Class A quarterfinals today and will attempt to become the first team to repeat as Class A state champion since Leavitt won back-to-back titles in 2002-03.

“It’s a really good feeling,” said Norton, who has accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Maine. “Only thing is, we don’t want to seem cocky because we’re not.

“We know it’s going to be tough and there are going to be some good teams we need to go through in order to get there. But having the state championship and (being) undefeated definitely gives us a lot of confidence … we just have to keep playing the way we know how to play.”

The Riots can win in so many ways, with Bogdanovich, who’s headed to St. Anselm next fall, and Norton in the middle of it. As a pitcher, Bogdanovich put up stunning numbers this season: 10-0, 0.30 ERA, 111 strikeouts and only four walks in 69 innings. As hitters, with Norton fourth in the lineup and Bogdanovich fifth, they can be devastating.

Norton hit .596 with 10 extra-base hits, 25 RBI and 25 runs scored. Bogdanovich hit .564 with two home runs, 23 RBI and 13 runs scored.

“Those are two spots you don’t have to worry about,” said Riots Coach Ralph Aceto. “They’ve been our top two hitters the last three years. They instill confidence in you as a coach and, in fact, instill confidence with the whole team, having them in the middle of the lineup.”

And when Bogdanovich is pitching to Norton, she has great confidence the right pitch will be called.

“We think a lot alike,” said Bogdanovich. “I can usually tell what pitch she’s going to call, so I have the ball gripped in my hand even before she calls it.

“I know having her there gives me great confidence. She can tell before the game what pitches are going to work and what ones aren’t.”

Norton has seen great growth in her friend.

“Her technique has always been pretty much the same,” said Norton. “The biggest place I’ve seen her grow is mentally. She doesn’t show any emotion. She doesn’t show when she’s mad out there, she doesn’t show when she’s happy. She’s just calm, cool and collected.”

And that’s what the Riots will have to do in order to repeat.

“We’ve talked about this,” said Bogdanovich. “It would be great (to repeat). We just know we have to keep working hard.”

In Western Class B, Fryeburg Academy again is the favorite — surprisingly so. The Raiders (16-0) have won the last three regional titles but this year were expected to be chasing Greely, the team they’ll face in today’s quarterfinals.

Instead, the Raiders again displayed great skill in the field, at the plate, on the bases and in the pitching circle, where freshman lefty Sarah Harriman went 15-0 with a 0.48 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 102 innings.

They had five starters hit over .380, led by sophomore catcher Carla Tripp, who hit .548 with 25 runs scored and 26 stolen bases.

“We’re ready,” said Raiders Coach Fred Apt. “And we’ve got Greely, which is really interesting. They’re really good and they’re going to come in with nothing to lose. We better be on top of our game.”

Medomak Valley earned the No. 1 seed in Eastern Class B with a 15-1 record, the lone loss an 11-4 decision to No. 5 Camden Hills on May 21.

The Panthers have a potent offense but rely equally heavily on steady defense and pitching.

In Western Class C, all signs point to yet another Telstar-Georges Valley regional showdown. Those schools have won each of the last six regional crowns, including the last two by Telstar.

The top-ranked Rebels beat No. 2 Georges Valley 1-0 in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game earlier this week.

“It was a whole lot of fun,” said Buccaneers Coach Rusty Worcester. “It was just a well-played, crisp game.”

The Buccaneers (14-0) pounded teams this year, scoring 187 runs in 14 games. They had five batters hit over .460, led by outfielder Kennadi Grover (.591, 26 RBI, 28 runs) and first baseman/pitcher Jill Bradbury (.512, 18 RBI, 26 runs). Bradbury was 6-0 with a 1.00 ERA and sophomore Rachel Frye was 7-0 with a 1.29 ERA. 

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

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH