SOUTH PORTLAND — Henry Curran of South Portland throws a fastball in the mid 80s. Mitchell Powers of Cheverus has a sharp breaking curve. On Tuesday, they opposed each other and turned in a gem of a pitcher’s duel at Wainwright Field.
Curran’s Red Riots were just a little better than Powers’ Stags in a 2-0 win that might have anointed South Portland (7-1) as the team to beat in the Southern Maine Activities Association.
South Portland Coach Mike Owens wasn’t buying it.
“The league is very well-balanced,” he said. “I think it’s hard to say we’re the dominant team. We only got one hit. Scarborough handed it to us pretty good on Saturday. We’re putting ourselves in a good position, no doubt, but I think the way the league is, top to bottom, anyone can beat anyone else.”
Curran (3-0), a junior left-hander, allowed three hits, struck out nine and walked four. Powers, a senior righty, pitched a one-hitter with six strikeouts and four walks.
“I thought it would be a pitchers’ duel. Those are two really good pitchers. We got one hit and they got three. We made our hit count and took advantage of a couple of mistakes by them,” said Owens.
The Red Riots scored an unearned run in the second inning when Cheverus threw the ball into left field, allowing Jacob Brown to score from third after a steal. The Riots then added another run in the third as Robert Graff singled to right field to score Sam Troiano, who had walked, stolen second and moved to third on a ground out.
Curran started off in style by striking out the first three batters. He was a little wild in the second as he walked three batters. Felix del Vecchio led off with a walk. Jensen LaPoint singled to right with del Vecchio going to third. But LaPoint was thrown out attempting to steal second. Curran walked the next two batters to load the bases, but got out of trouble by striking the next batter out and getting the final out on an infield pop.
Cheverus (4-3) had a runner get to third in the next inning, but never threatened again.
“Getting out of those jams early enabled Henry to settle down and he was able to use his curveball effectively late in the game which allowed him to take the next step in the game,” said Owens.
Curran pitched a five-inning no-hitter against Biddeford in his last game.
“This is my first complete game of the season,” said Curran of his seven-inning stint. “My arm felt great. Usually my curve is my secondary pitch, but late in the game it was my go-to pitch.”
Maturity, a lot of throwing and drills in the offseason and getting stronger have made Curran an improved pitcher.
“I’ve been getting mentally prepared before games,” said Curran. “Last season, I did a lot of goofing around before games. I’ve taken lifting weights more seriously this year.”
Last season, he started four games for the Riots.
“Henry has grown up a lot,” said Owens. “He’s coming into his own. He pitched fairly well last year, but wasn’t as dominant as he is now. He hasn’t given up a run yet. Henry has taken that next step forward and trying to hone that consistency and letting our defense do their thing.”
After Curran got the first Cheverus batter to pop out to second in the top of the seventh, the Stags had the next two hitters reach on a walk and a single to center by Powers. With two outs, Brad Carney hit a line shot that second baseman Jon Vickers leaped high to snag to end the game. A couple of inches higher and it would have been 2-1 with a runner on second and third.
“I didn’t realize how big a catch Jon made until we shook hands,” said Curran.
“(Curran) is very good,” said Cheverus Coach Mac McKew. “His curveball was very difficult in the last few innings. Mitchell pitched a great game and gave up only one hit.
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: