SOUTH PORTLAND — Olivia Indorf spent most of the game working out of jams.
So it was fitting South Portland High’s senior pitcher would have to get out of one more in the top of the seventh.
With Thornton Academy’s Morgan Dube at third base, Indorf bore a two-out fastball in on Brooke Cross and then raced in to catch the weak pop a few feet in front of home plate to secure Monday’s 4-3 Western A softball win.
“I feel like for the most part I do well under pressure,” Indorf said. “I just knew at that point it was time to stop being nervous and making mistakes and it was time to get it done.”
Both teams are now 1-1. South Portland lost its opener game at Scarborough on Friday.
“This is something we can build on,” South Portland Coach Ralph Aceto said. “We’re closer to where I think we can be and as we go on, we’ll just keep building and building and I think we’ll be OK.”
Thornton was coming off a 10-1 win against Portland but was held to just two hits, struck out 11 times and stranded eight runners in scoring position.
“We were presented with opportunities all game long. We’ve just got to execute,” Thornton Coach John Provost said.
All four of South Portland’s runs were unearned and it was the Red Riots’ shaky defense that led to Thornton scoring two runs in the top of the sixth at cold and blustery Wainwright Athletic Complex to take a 3-2 lead.
Cross started it with a one-out infield single and eventually scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, 2-2
Keira Fitzgerald, who had walked, scored the go-ahead run when freshman first baseman Kaitlin Bouchard could not hold shortstop Laurine German’s low throw on a grounder by Kaylee Burns. German redeemed herself when she and Bouchard executed well on a grounder by Taylor Lux to end the threat with Thornton runners at second and third.
South Portland received similar help in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead.
Michaela Willwerth started the inning with her second hit of the game off Thornton starter Bailey Tremblay (seven hits, four strikeouts, two walks). With one out, junior Abby Young beat out a slow roller up the third base line. Willwerth never hesitated on the play and, seeing third uncovered, took off for the extra base. Thornton first baseman Erin Brayden’s throw was on target but no one was there to catch it, allowing Willwerth to hustle home.
With two outs, German hit a high, twisting fly to left that popped out of Shelby Ross’s glove, allowing Young to score the winning run.
“I’m glad I hit it. I was getting nervous. I mean I struck out looking at the (season-opening) Scarborough game,” German said. “I did not want that to happen again. Yeah, it was a pop fly but I’m glad I got that runner in.”
South Portland took a 2-0 lead in the third with a two-out rally that started when German reached on a throwing error by Burns, after Burns had made a nice back-handed snag of a sharp grounder to third. Miranda Gleason and Sarah Micucci followed with RBI singles.
Brayden got Thornton on the board with a booming triple that scored Tremblay with no outs in the fourth.
Indorf bore down and struck out both Brooke and Alicia Cross after both fouled off two bunt attempts and got Fitzgerald on a grounder to second.
“A runner at third base with no outs and we can’t get a bunt down,” Provost said. “Two batters and eight pitches and can’t get a bunt down. It’s just the little stuff. A two-out error that led to their inning.”
In the fifth inning, a Thornton second-and-third threat was squashed when Gleason tracked down a hard-hit fly to left-center by Tremblay for the third out.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: