STANDISH — At this point of the season, nothing the South Portland High softball team does should surprise anyone.

So to call the third-ranked Riots’ 5-1 victory over top-ranked, previously unbeaten and defending state champ Scarborough in the Western Class A championship game an upset would be a disservice to what they have accomplished.

In beating the Red Storm at Richard Bailey Field on the campus of St. Joseph’s College, South Portland displayed the pitching, defense, hitting and poise that has carried the Riots to 16 consecutive wins since opening the season 1-2.

Left-hander Erin Bogdanovich allowed two singles and the Red Riots strung together six hits to score all of their runs in the top of the sixth.

“They’re certainly not a Cinderella team,” said Tom Griffin, coach of Scarborough. “They’ve got quality athletes at every position. And these kids have been successful all the way through. So hats off to them they played one really solid offensive game and deserved to win.”

South Portland (17-2) will play Cony, a 1-0 winner over Brewer to win the East, at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Class A state title game here. Scarborough (18-1) had a 27-game winning streak snapped.

“I told the kids at the beginning of the year, it was all Scarborough or Thornton Academy,” said Ralph Aceto, coach of the Red Riots. “I told them to have some fun. There shouldn’t be any pressure. Have a good time.”

And they did. When third baseman Libby Grant threw across the diamond to first baseman Lindsay Cannon – two of the three seniors, along with Katie Jordan, on the Riots – for the game’s final out, the players in the dugout sprinted onto the field, screaming and jumping into the arms of the players on the field.

“We’re kind of like a comeback team,” said Olivia Indorf, who had three hits. “We just know what we have to do.”

This was the fourth consecutive year South Portland and Scarborough met for the regional championship. Each team has won two: Scarborough in the odd-numbered years, South Portland the even.

Bogdanovich and Scarborough starter Mo Hannan controlled the first five innings, each giving up just two hits. The Red Storm scored an unearned run in the fourth to lead 1-0.

Then came the sixth. Hannan, who missed five games with mononucleosis, threw three pitches. Each one was hit hard for a single, with Indorf’s grounder up the middle knocking in Laurine German with the tying run.

“I haven’t been my strongest all year,” said Hannan. “But I thought I could get through this game. And then that sixth inning, I was worried about those two, three, four batters. And they came up strong. You can’t do anything about it. It was all hits. They got the bat on the ball.”

Griffin relieved Hannan with Alyssa Williamson., who got an out. But Danica Gleason scored on a wild pitch to put South Portland ahead. And then Cannon stroked a single to right, scoring Indorf.

Michaela Willwerth grounded a single up the middle, then Aceto sent up freshman pinch-hitter Michelle Moreau. She only cranked a deep drive to right for a triple, scoring two more runs.

“I was hoping it would go out,” said Moreau. “It just felt good. I was shaking (as she ran the bases).”

Bogdanovich didn’t let the Red Storm back into the game, setting down their final six batters.

“We’re never done,” said Indorf. “We know that we can do anything we put our minds to.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH