Ralph Aceto was alone on the softball diamond Tuesday night at Wainwright Field, reflecting on South Portland’s 3-1 victory over Scarborough.

“It was a scary but fun game to be a part of,” said Red Riots Coach Aceto. “Any time you’re a coach you love to have games like that. It as a little nerve-wracking in terms of trying to sneak one across.

“But it was fun.”

This was the latest Game of the Decade in Western Class A, the two top programs facing off for the top spot in the Heal point standings. And it was worth the wait of two postponements.

Pitchers Alexis Bogdanovich of South Portland and Scarborough’s Mo Hannan — who Aceto called “one of the best competitors I’ve ever met” — showed why they’re two of the best in the state.

And the teams showed why it’s going to take a Herculean effort by someone else to prevent a rematch in the regional final in a couple of weeks.

Both teams tried to downplay the significance of the outcome, but Bogdanovich said it “will give us a boost confidence-wise.”

And that wasn’t because both teams were unbeaten coming in. It’s because of who the Riots defeated.

“That’s the program,” said Aceto. “They are the program that everyone strives to be at every year.”

Scarborough, an underdog for the first time in years, came away with a positive feel.

The difference may have been the defenses. South Portland played errorless ball behind Bodganovich. The Red Storm had only one error but made a couple of misplays.

“We didn’t execute, they did,” said Scarborough Coach Tom Griffin. “I like the way we swung the bat. I think we can walk away pretty positively, knowing that we can play with this team. And we got to know we’ve got to learn our lessons and we’ve got to play defense.”

The Riots did the little things. Back-to-back bunts by Stephanie McDonough and Danielle DiBiase were huge in South Portland’s two-run fifth. An alert play by DiBiase, the second baseman, picked off a runner who strayed two steps off second in the sixth, to blunt a rally.

And Aceto praised Libby Grant, who scored the winning run and played flawlessly in the field. 

MT. ARARAT has made a nice run in Eastern Class A. Going into Wednesday’s game at Oxford Hills, the Eagles were settled into the eighth and final playoff spot. Mt. Ararat started the season 2-4, then went 6-1 entering Wednesday.

“I was optimistic going into the season but the girls have really responded,” said Coach Rick Bartlett. “The kids have come a long way. Every game, we’re getting better.”

The Eagles lost a tough one Tuesday to second-ranked Cony, leading 3-0 into the bottom of the sixth when the Rams scored six runs. “A couple of walks, an error and four hits strung in a row,” said Bartlett. “Up until that point, we had played unbelievably. I think we took a big step, knowing that we can play with a team like that.”

Senior Miranda Riendeau-Card has become the team’s top pitcher after playing shortstop last year. She’s still a big hitter, with a .425 average.

She’s getting plenty of help from catcher Taylor Pare, who’s hitting .636.

McAULEY’S HOPES took a slight blow with sophomore pitcher Gabby Townsend shut down for at least the rest of the regular season. She suffered a hip/leg injury pitching in the rain a couple of weeks ago, and pitched in pain since then. She was shut down this week. Jen Field will take over.

“Hopefully we’ll get her back for the playoffs,” said Robbie Ferrante, coach of the fourth-ranked Lions. 

WESTERN CLASS B is shaping up for a wild finish for the final couple of playoff berths. Nine teams get in.

Entering Wednesday, Greely was eighth (48.6328 points), followed by Lake Region (47.0703), Wells (35.3516), Leavitt (33.4375) and Gray-New Gloucester (30.8984).

All have Heal point-worthy games left and it could come down to the final day of the season, June 1, when Greely plays No. 4 Cape Elizabeth and Wells plays No. 7 Falmouth.

For Gray-New Gloucester, the season likely comes down to today’s game with Wells, a makeup.

At least that’s what first-year coach Amanda Harmon is telling her players.

“At this point of the season, we really stress that every game matters,” said Harmon. “I mean, every game is important, no matter who we play. You have to continue to play with focus and determination. Be clean and crisp. But that game is really important.” 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:
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Twitter: MikeLowePPH