SOUTH PORTLAND – Sometimes it takes one hit to get things rolling. For South Portland it came in the sixth inning.
The Red Riots used a six-run sixth Friday to break away from a tough Noble team for a 6-0 victory in an SMAA softball game.
Erin Bogdanovich gave up one hit, struck out 11 and walked none. She also went 2 for 4 with a sacrifice fly. Freshman Miranda Gleason went 3 for 3 with a triple and a run for the Red Riots (3-1).
“We needed one person to make that play,” Bogdanovich said, “and we’d all follow after that.”
That one person was Michaela Willwerth, the No. 6 hitter, who led off the sixth with a single that dropped into shallow left field. Gleason then sent a grounder into center field, putting runners on first and second. Pinch-hitter Sarah Micucci drove the ball into shallow center for a single to load the bases. Kelsey Morton laid down a bunt to bring in Willwerth for a 1-0 lead. Laurine German’s drive into center for a two-run triple brought in Gleason and Miccuci to make it 3-0. Bogdanovich flew to right, driving home German for a 4-0 lead.
“We just finally got the leadoff batter on and that gave us confidence,” Danica Gleason said. “Then (Miccuci) goes in and gets a hit. We fed off that; hitting’s contagious.”
Danica Gleason caught the hitting bug next, driving a liner to deep center for a triple. Then Olivia Indorf sent the ball over the left-field fence to make it 6-0.
Sam DiBiase hit the center-field fence for a double before the inning ended when Tori Cormier grabbed Willwerth’s drive in the infield and made the throw to first.
“We just started swinging the bats,” said South Portland Coach Ralph Aceto. “The bottom of the order, which was killing me the whole game, figured, ‘Well we can’t wait (for the top of the order) anymore; we’ll have to do it ourselves.”‘
Why so much early trouble?
“That’s a really good ball club,” Aceto said. “They’re everything I’ve read about them, and then some.”
Starting pitcher Amber Kelly was sharp for the Knights (2-2).
“She was throwing a first-pitch strike,” Aceto said. “First couple of innings we were watching that pitch go by, and now we’re in a hole.”
Kelly allowed two hits, struck out two and walked one in two innings. She was ejected for a comment to the umpire following her strikeout that ended the Noble third.
Senior left-hander Laura Willey came on, making her first career appearance as a varsity pitcher. She held South Portland to two hits until the sixth, with no strikeouts and two walks.
“I don’t think we could have played a better game,” said Noble Coach Rick Melanson. “We were playing one of the best teams in the state and Bogdanovich is one of the reasons they’re so good. We’re a better team now than we were at 4 o’clock.”
The Riots feel the same way.
“A game like this shows we have to focus on the little things,” Danica Gleason said, “and build on what we’ve started.”