STANDISH – The Scots hosted South Portland Saturday afternoon in a game that saw Bonny Eagle struggle to contain the Red Riots (17-3 last year, and Class A state runners-up). South Portland struck early and hard before their fire died for several innings. In the fifth, however, they exploded, scoring eight more to end the game at 12-0.

“[It was] a good way to open up,” South Portland head coach Ralph Aceto said after the game. “Bonny Eagle’s going to be a good club – I have no doubt that they’ll be in the playoffs; they just happened to catch us at the wrong time – the right time for me, I guess.”

“In the beginning, and the last inning, we kind of mixed in an error, and they had a real good hit, and we just kept mixing it in like that,” said Bonny Eagle head coach Sue Rondeau. “It’s unfortunate for us … When they got their bats going, they got some really good hits.

The Riots opened the game with four runs before going silent again. A hit here and there made it appear like they might relight the fire in the next few innings, but they couldn’t get all the way around the bases again until late in the game.

“I think we were a little bit too excited, after we put the four up in the first,” Aceto said of his team’s scoreless middle three innings. “I think the girls got a little jacked up, really thought that we were going to keep doing that. And sometimes they sit on their laurels, and say, ‘OK, we got four, that’s good, we can rest for a while.’ I’ve got to tell them, ‘You know, you can’t get away with that with most of the teams in the SMAA.”

In the top of the fifth, the Red Riots came back to life. Pitcher Erin Bogdanovich ripped a shot to left for a base hit to open the inning, then teammate Danica Gleason knocked out a standing double, advancing Bogdanovich to third. Olivia Indorf next stepped to the plate and promptly nailed a three-run homer deep into right field. After that, the runs piled up, as other players earned bases, and Bonny Eagle pitcher Allison Pike perhaps exhibited some early signs of fatigue. An errant pitch struck Erin Miccuci, and both Kelsey Morton and Laurine German walked.

Rondeau attributed Pike’s fifth inning possibly to nerves. In fact, she noticed some first-game jitters from all her girls.

“We’re here playing South Portland, one of the top teams in the SMAA,” she said, “so I think it’s just a little mental and physical, coming out here for the first game. It’s a good challenge for us.”

Bogdanovich had another hit in the inning, a standing double that drove in two more runs, and so did Gleason, a drive to center that also brought home two more.

Rondeau hopes to hone her team’s batting in upcoming practice sessions.

“Being more aggressive at the plate,” she said. “We have some really good hitters who were just really selective today.

“And then just defensively,” she added. “But like I said, I think it was more just first-game jitters more than anything.”

“We worked hard to concentrate a bit more on getting the ball out front,” Aceto said, “and try to hit the fat part of the bat; not really trying – like I told them, ‘We don’t need to kill it, we just need to meet it, and when you meet it, when a kid’s throwing as hard as [Pike] threw, the ball’s going to take off.”

Aceto looks to strength his offensive play in upcoming practices.

“I still think we’ve got to hit better,” he said. “I was extremely impressed with my outfield play today. I couldn’t be happier; we’ve been struggling all preseason with our field play and just not talking, stuff like that … [So] I think we need to have some better at-bats in those middle innings, like we talked about. We did come out and score four in the first, but I don’t even believe those were earned, because I think we got on on a couple errors. So I think we need to come out strong, and just continue.”

We just never – our defense wasn’t really there – but it’s first game, so it’s going to take time. We definitely have what it takes.”

South Portland, now 1-0, will host Scarborough, who were 20-1 last year, at 4 p.m. on Monday. The Scots, who drop to 0-1, will travel to Gorham, 6-10 in 2012. That game is also at 4 on Monday.

South Portland pitcher Erin Bogdanovich unwinds a throw in the Red Riots game at Bonny Eagle Saturday.
South Portland’s Sam DiBiase swings at a pitch.
Bonny Eagle pitcher Allison Pike gets ready to release the ball.
South Portland’s Michaela Willwerth takes a cut at a pitch.
South Portland’s Miranda Gleason hovers on third, waiting for the chance to dash home.

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