SOUTH PORTLAND – Her uniform drenched in rain, Alexis Bogdanovich admitted that at certain points, the Western Class A softball semifinal became a bit of a struggle for the top-ranked South Portland softball team Saturday.

“It was hard for both teams, especially fielding the ball,” Bogdanovich said of the afternoon rains. “Any play was going to be tough. And it’s hard to grip the ball when you’re pitching.”

But Bogdanovich and her teammates didn’t complain about the outcome — a 14-2 victory in five innings against fourth-seeded McAuley at Wainwright Field.

On a soggy day in which towels and field-drying agents were staples, the Red Riots had no way around attempting to stay dry. But South Portland (18-0) didn’t get distracted by its game plan.

Given their last game against the Lions (13-5), the Red Riots understood the importance of creating early offense.

“We know that in our last game we didn’t get up early and it was a struggle the whole game, because we only had one run and it carried us through the whole game,” Bogdanovich said, referring to her team’s 1-0 victory May 31 at McAuley. “But anything could happen, so scoring those runs really helped our confidence.”

South Portland, the defending Class A champion, used a breakout third inning to earn a berth in the regional final. South Portland will face Scarborough, a 2-0 winner against Thornton Academy, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

McAuley Coach Robbie Ferrante pointed out both teams were subject to the weather.

Still, he said, “we knew what we were up against. They jumped on us right away and that changed everything.”

The Red Riots scored four runs on three hits and an error in the first inning, including Amanda Linscott’s two-run double that drove in Danica Gleason and Bogdanovich.

Two innings later, South Portland sent 12 batters to hit against three pitchers — starter Jen Field, and relievers Gabrielle Townsend and Samantha Libby — and scored six runs on five walks and four hits.

“Once we start hitting, we get on a roll,” Bogdanovich said. “It’s easier when someone ahead of you gets on base, because it gives you more confidence to get on base and help your team.”

Kaitlin Norton went 2 for 2 with a double and four RBI, and Bogdanovich drove in two runs.

Samantha Schildroth got the Lions’ first hit off Bogdanovich (seven strikeouts) in the fourth, a triple to right field, driving in Sara Mercier for McAuley’s first run. Schildroth scored on a wild pitch.

South Portland then scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game on the 12-run rule.

“This year we’ve played some games in the rain,” Ferrante said, “and one time this year we had five games (in a week) because of the rain. So we’re used to this.

“In the situation of the game, if this would have been early in the game and a 1-1 tie, (the officials) would have called it and we’d have to go back Monday. But the kids didn’t quit.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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