WATERBORO — After losing two of their first three games to SMAA powers Scarborough and Thornton Academy, the South Portland softball players knew they had to change something.

“I think (the losses) got us going,’’ said pitcher Erin Bogdanovich. “It made us realize we needed to pull together. Not only did we need our fielding but our hitting.’’

Well, if Wednesday’s game is any indication, the Red Riots are back.

South Portland, top-ranked in Western Class A, knocked out 13 hits in a 17-0 victory over No. 4 Massabesic. The Riots scored eight runs in the sixth to end the game via the 12-run rule.

“Massabesic is a very good club,’’ said South Portland Coach Ralph Aceto. “They have some nice players and I was impressed with the way they played.

“They just made errors today and we took advantage of them.’’

The Mustangs (5-2) committed four errors, two in the first inning, leading to a South Portland run. Massabesic missed two starters  – Gabby Townsend (knee) and Kassidy Hill (illness) – and looked nervous from the start.

“With Kassidy going down (earlier Wednesday), I think the kids did get nervous,’’ said Massabesic Coach Ray Magnant. “We had to shuffle some kids around. They were playing out of position.

“Then we started making errors and, against a team like that, you can’t do that. They’re looking to put you in a hole. And they did.’’

The Riots scored four times in the second – two-run bloop singles to right by Laurinne German and Danica Gleason – and then slowly added on.

Finally they put it away with eight in the top of the sixth. German, the freshman second baseman, had a two-run single, and Gleason and freshman left fielder Kiley Kennedy each had an RBI single.

“I think we have a lot of confidence in each other,’’ said Gleason, the slick-fielding shortstop. “We’re always picking each other up. We’re a pretty close team.’’

Bogdanovich got the shutout victory, her third straight. She allowed six hits and struck out five.

“These kids are just wicked loose,’’ said Aceto. “They drive me nuts sometimes, they’re so loose. But they play hard when they come out here on the field. And there’s not a bad attitude in the bunch.’’

Aceto knew this would be an up-and-down year. After winning the state championship two years ago and advancing to the regional final last year, the Riots have a very  young squad.

German and Kennedy have made the jump to the varsity from the eighth grade. And, said Aceto, “We’ve got some sophomores and juniors getting used to the varsity level. That’s easier said than done.’’

German had three hits, four runs and four RBI against Massabesic. Kennedy had two RBI. Libby Grant also had three hits for the Riots, and Gleason had a pair of hits and four RBI. Bogdanovich, the leadoff hitter, was on base five times and scored four runs.

“It was nice to get up early,’’ she said. “It gives us the confidence and spirit to win.’’
Regan Adams had two hits for Massabesic.

“I think we played better than the score showed,’’ said Magnant. “We’ll be fine.’

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

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH