SACO — With baseball teams starting to play again after two weeks of rain, the push to the playoffs for teams on the bubble is heightened.

Thornton Academy is one of those teams. Sitting in eighth place in the Heal point standings, the Golden Trojans could have used a win over No. 5 South Portland on Tuesday.

They came close, but South Portland used its experience and the steady pitching of senior Andrew Richards to pull out a 2-1 victory in a Telegram League game.

Thornton also got a strong pitching performance from sophomore Jeff Gelinas, who had a no-hitter through four innings and finished with a four-hitter. Matt DiBiase broke up his no-hit bid with a single to right in the fifth inning.

Gelinas took a 1-0 lead into the sixth, but the Red Riots (10-4) put together two hits and a sacrifice fly to score two runs.

Gelinas threw 92 pitches while Richards, who gave up five hits, threw just 84.

“Andrew kept us in position to win the game,” said South Portland Coach Mike Owens. “Their pitcher threw a heck of a game.”

It may be the last few games of the regular season, but the mind-set should be like playing in the postseason. That’s the focus Owens wants.

“We want to play like it’s a playoff game,” he said.

The Riots have games remaining against Gorham and Deering. They want to finish strongly to get ready for the playoffs.

“Gelinas pitched great,” said Thornton Coach Ray Petit. “We just didn’t hit.

“Usually when Jeff pitches, we hit the ball and struggle defensively. Today, we played solid defense but didn’t hit.”

One player who hit for the Trojans (7-6) was Dillon Dunbar, who went 2 for 3 with two doubles and drove home his team’s run in the second. Jon Pate walked with one out before Dunbar doubled to center field to score Pate.

The lead stood until the sixth as Gelinas, looking for his first win of the season, was in the midst of retiring 12 in a row.

The Riots got runners on third in the first and the fifth, but Gelinas bore down and got an infield pop fly in the first and a tapper to first to end the fifth.

South Portland rallied in the sixth. Paul Reny led off with a single up the middle. After a strikeout, Zach Horton walked.

Evan Indorf singled to right to score Reny and send Horton to third. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Dominic Desjardins.

Thornton got the leadoff man on in the sixth and seventh innings. The sixth ended with Thornton runners getting tagged out in rundowns, and the Riots ended the game with a double play.

South Portland didn’t end its hitting slump, but put together enough hits to win the game.

“We’ve been in a hitting funk for two weeks,” said Owens. “We’re allowing the pitcher to get ahead of us in the count.”

Owens said Richards wasn’t as sharp as usual early on but fought through it.

“Thornton was aggressive with the bats at the start,” Owens said.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]