STANDISH – Sonja Morse wasn’t quite perfect. But she came close enough to ensure that her Cony High softball team would be.

Morse allowed just two base runners in leading Cony to its first Class A softball state championship since 1983 by beating South Portland 2-0 at Richard Bailey Field at St. Joseph’s College.

The victory completed a 20-0 season for the Rams and snapped a 16-game winning streak by the Red Riots (17-3).

“This is really huge for the program; it’s also great for the school,” said Rocky Gaslin, Cony’s coach. “We needed a state championship there. It’s been a while. And the kids they earned it.

“This is one of those things in life that you earn. And they earned it.”

Morse was in control throughout. She struck out 10 and had the Riots off-balance for the entire game. She didn’t allow a base runner until the fifth, when she walked Sam DiBiase with one out. She didn’t allow a hit until there was one out left in the game, when Danica Gleason lined a single to center field.

In both cases, South Portland’s base runners were picked off, including Gleason to end the game. She slipped as she took a lead off first. Catcher Nicole Rugan threw to first baseman Molly Russell, who in turn threw to shortstop Alyssah Dennett to put the tag on to win the title.

“It just wasn’t our day,” said Gleason.

The day belonged to Morse.

“This is her best performance all year,” said Gaslin. “She’s been tough all year but this is the best. Under these circumstances she did a great job.”

Red Riots Coach Ralph Aceto couldn’t agree more.

“She’s great, she was great, lights out,” said Aceto. “She was very tough. She got us off-balance. She threw a rise ball that we couldn’t lay off. My hats off to them.

“Fair and square, they beat us.”

Morse said she gained confidence very early, after getting through the first inning without allowing a hit and striking out two.

“I definitely felt real confident after that,” she said. “And the rest of the game I just went pitch by pitch.”

Erin Bogdanovich of South Portland allowed just three hits and struck out 13. But she got into trouble in the fourth when she walked three batters. Two of them scored.

Morse drew a leadoff walk on a 3-2 pitch — “That was probably my fault,” said Aceto. “I called a 3-2 change-up hoping to get the third strike” — and was sacrificed to second. She went to third on a wild pitch.

After an out, Olivia Deeves walked, bringing up the No. 9 hitter, Cecelia Fuller. On a 1-1 count, she dropped a single to right field, scoring Morse. Brochu kept running home and slid in safely as the ball bounded away from DiBiase.

“A base hit was all I wanted,” said Fuller. “I was just thinking I had to make contact. Her speed definitely made it easier to go.”

Fuller was clutching a game ball as she spoke. And while it wasn’t her first of the year, “this one is definitely the best.”

And the championship?

“It’s a lot, it’s just like, crazy,” said Fuller.

“The fact that every team wants it and the fact that we got to do it is amazing.” 

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

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH