SOUTH PORTLAND – On the schedule, Monday’s Scarborough at South Portland softball game was an early-season showdown between the two Western Class A favorites.
By pregame decisions and postgame words it was apparent the coaches were treating Scarborough’s 15-5 win very differently.
For the second straight season South Portland ace Erin Bogdanovich did not start the regular-season matchup against the Red Storm.
Last season Bogdanovich beat Scarborough in the Western championship after Scarborough had won the regular-season matchup.
“It’s early in the season but we go out there and try to win every game we play,” Scarborough Coach Tom Griffin said after his team’s Class A opener.
“I’m not surprised (Bogdanovich did not pitch). We just play it differently.”
South Portland is now 1-1. Red Riots Coach Ralph Aceto said Bogdanovich, a hard-throwing senior lefty committed to pitch at Stetson, has been having some issues with kidney stones.
“I thought it would be a good idea to rest her. And I don’t think Tom (Griffin) needs to see her anymore than he needs to see her anyway. That’s a double reason,” Aceto said.
Aceto added later, “I don’t care about regular season. I know we’re going to be in the playoffs. Whether we’re (seeded) three, two, eight, we’re going to be in the playoffs.”
South Portland star shortstop Danica Gleason made her first-ever start on the mound. She survived three innings of hard-hit balls to trail just 2-1.
“They threw a pitcher who hadn’t pitched since middle school and we were hitting line drives right at them. We knew it was just a matter of time,” Griffin said.
In the fourth, Scarborough strung together three singles and a walk for one run before senior second baseman Marisa O’Toole cranked a three-run triple to deep center for a 6-1 lead.
“Our coach always tells us when you have the bases loaded you have to be aggressive,” O’Toole said. “I looked for a good pitch to hit and just tried to do my best to go with wherever it went.”
South Portland then went to reliever Olivia Indorf and Scarborough continued to pound out hits, finishing with 15 and scoring in six of the seven innings.
Paige Moore-Haskell went 3 or 5 for Scarborough with two RBI while O’Toole (3 runs), winning pitcher Erin Giles, catcher Morgan Murrell, and Maggie Murphy each had two hits, at least two runs scored and at least one RBI.
Murphy hit a two-run, inside-the-park homer in the top of the fifth, slicing a fly down the left-field line and then sprinting around the bases to push the Scarborough lead to 9-1.
South Portland touched Giles for 11 hits but failed to capitalize on chances in the second and third and was stymied by a bottom third of the order that went 1 for 9.
Gleason and Laurine German were both 3-for-4 and catcher Sam DiBiase belted two doubles. Michaela Willwerth added a two-run single in a three-run fifth inning.
German hit a first-inning solo home run that tied the game, 1-1. She turned on a Giles fastball and drove the ball down the left field line past Scarborough’s Moore-Haskell. German, a sophomore, showed her speed and scored standing up.
“We swung the bats well and played defense well early,” Aceto said. “We’ll be fine. Too early in the season to worry about it.”
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: email@example.com