The South Portland softball team fell to Biddeford last Friday afternoon in an SMAA tournament semifinal.

The Tigers took advantage of some miscues and timely hits to gain a 2-0 win. The Riots’ Julie DiMatteo gave up just five hits and struck out five but took the loss.

On the offensive side, the Red Riots got a lot of hits, but left too many runners on base. In the first Christina Aceto led off with a single but was stranded. In the second the Riots got Kelsey Flaherty into scoring position but left her stranded at second. In the third they had two runners on but couldn’t get a hit to score them. Lauren Tuttle walked in the fourth and was left on base. In the fifth, Aceto reached on an error and was caught stealing. Jamie Harmon singled in the sixth but didn’t score.

In the top of the seventh, when they needed to score the most, The Riots couldn’t get the big hit they needed. Trailing 2-0 Kayla Ferrara singled with one out. With two outs Melissa Thomes singled and suddenly the Riots had the tying runs on base. Aceto walked to load the bases before Jackie Rice grounded to third to end the game.

“We did hit the ball,” Hartman said. “That’s a good athletic softball team and they did a good job. We hit the ball we just need to make plays. We needed big hits and we didn’t get any.”

Biddeford got on the board early thanks to dropped third strike. DiMatteo got Justine McCurry swinging in the first inning but the ball got away and skipped to the backstop. McCurry found herself standing at first base. Erin Grover bunted to move McCurry to second. Aimee Mortensen singled to move McCurry to third and took second on the throw. That set up Nichole Kimborowicz with a sacrifice fly to bring in McCurry. The Riots escaped without anymore damage.

“Three losses in a row to them and they were all on errors,” said South Portland coach Jim Hartman. “I think we outhit them. I think we had six or seven. We gave up two runs. Julie pitched her butt off. We have some kids out here who are young and still learning how to play at this level.”

The Tigers added to their lead in the third. McCurry got into one and sent it to right field. The ball got by the fielder and rolled to the wall. When the dust settled McCurry was at third. Grover came up next and hit a ball to center field that was just past the dive of Kristina Aceto. McCurry scored on the play. After a strikeout Kimborowicz came up and hit a hard ground ball up the middle that would have scored Grover from second. But Flaherty made a diving stop and threw Kimborowicz out at first to end the inning.

“We weren’t sharp, we didn’t come to play today,” Hartman said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Biddeford they are 15-1. But we stunk the place up from the first pitch to the last. We need to make plays. You can’t let the ball roll around you have to get them. You need to be aggressive and make the plays.”

The Tigers made the plays. That’s how they were able to make their two run lead hold up.

“(DiMatteo) is an outstanding pitcher,” said Biddeford coach Leon Paquin. “She’s very tough. We take advantage of one little mistake every time we play them. Our hits and our hustling on the bases got us the lead. And our defense and pitching did the rest.”

While the Tigers enter the tournament as the number two seed, the Red Riots will be right there at number three. Hartman knows there is a lot of softball left to play and hopes his team will learn from this loss.

“This should be a building block for us,” he said. “It’s all about learning and growing and hopefully this is one of those blips on the map. We’ll see what happens. We have a tough road but we’ll see what happens.”


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