The Riots’ Henry Curran struck out 13 unlucky Eagles when Windham swung into South Portland on Thursday for a little dustup on the diamond, earning the W behind the fiery bats of his teammates. Nick Troiano had a single, a two-RBI double and three runs, and Sam Solomon blasted a two-RBI shot of his own, this one a triple, to secure the momentum for the Riots.

South Portland advanced to 7-1 on the 9-3 win. The Riots followed up with another victory, 12-4 at TA, on Saturday, the 16th, and meet Sanford on Tuesday the 19th, after Current Publishing’s print deadline.

The result dropped Windham, meanwhile, to 3-5. The Eagles then had the weekend off, before losing an extra-innings heartbreaker 3-2 at Portland on Monday. They travel to Marshwood on Tuesday.

“That’s a good team over there,” said South Portland head coach Mike Owens. “We did enough to win today. We have some stuff that we definitely need to clean up, and it wasn’t perfect, but it’s always nice to go out and do enough to win.

“We’re still trying to get over the hump a little bit and put teams away when we have our chance to, early. We kind of let [Windham] creep back in and made it more a game than it needed to be at that point.”

“We feel good about some stuff,” said Windham head coach Brody Artes. “The Curran kid is the best in the league, and we strung together some hits today, and we hit the ball well. He’s a good pitcher, and limited us, as far as he could, today, for sure.

“We had some mishaps in the field that led to several runs, but the 9-3 score could’ve been anywhere closer to 6-3 or 5-3, if we’d done what we needed to do in the field. We’ve got to tighten up there, for sure, but hopefully we’re consistently aggressive for the second half of the season.”

Windham opened the top of the first looking strong: leadoff hitter Mike Gilman, just a freshman, clubbed a ball into left to get on base, then reached scoring position when Tanner Laberge blasted another single in the same direction.

The Eagles couldn’t convert, though, as their last two batters of the ups, Timmy Greenlaw and Zach Alpern, both struck out looking – two of Curran’s eight Ks through the first three innings alone.

For their part, South Portland wasted no time wringing Windham starting pitcher Eli Williams and the rest of the Eagles in the field for runs: Leadoff Riot Matt Beecher dropped a quick single in shallow centerfield, then reached third on Sam Troiano’s just-fair double down the left-field line.

Both Beecher and Sam Troiano crossed home when Nick Troiano followed up with a double of his own, this one to right field. Nick Troiano scored on Anthony Degifico’s first hit of the day, a single into left, and suddenly the Riots were on top 3-0.

Curran picked up three more Eagle Ks, one-two-three, in the top of the second, then two more in the top of the third. South Portland added another trio of runs in the bottom of the third – Degifico and Ben Conti scored on Solomon’s triple, and Solomon crossed the plate when Windham first baseman Timmy Greenlaw couldn’t quite keep his glove on a Beecher slice up the line.

The Riots were in firm control – and would stay that way – but the Eagles did finally strike, grabbing two in the top of the fourth. Tanner Laberge singled, Greenlaw followed with a double and Cameron McCartney brought them both home again with a bouncy grounder into center to make it 6-2.

“It was really about our approach today,” said Artes. “We’ve been preaching about being confident, and about being deliberate early in counts, and making sure we’re aggressive. We were that today, and the success that we got was because of that.

“When we get into two-strike counts, it’s going to be tough for us to make an adjustment and put the ball in play – that’s just not us. But if we’re aggressive, we can make things happen, and that was us today.”

Windham would add one more before the end, Tyler Johnson scoring on a Laberge double into left in the fifth, but the South Portland continued to outpace the visitors, notching three more of their own for a 9-3 final.

“We’ve been really working on staying back and driving the ball the other way,” said Owens. “We did a pretty good job of that early. I think most of our hits were back up the middle and the other way. We put some pressure on them with our running game, which has been a big point of emphasis all year.

“And with our speed and putting balls on the ground, we made them make plays. Those are things we’ve been talking about, and I was happy to see that we executed a little bit.”

Owens praised a number of his players’ performances. “I thought Nick Troiano had a good game. He did a great job behind the plate and came up big with some RBI singles. I thought Anthony Degifico had some good swings up at the plate.”

Owens nodded to Curran’s work on the mound as well, but noted that, even with 13 Ks and no walks on the day, Curran wasn’t actually throwing his highest-octane pitches. “He’s been real good for us all year. I don’t think he had his best stuff today – I think he’d be the first to [say] that. But he’s good enough that, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he’s going to grind and give us a chance to win.”

South Portland ace Henry Curran threw 13 Ks and zero walks for the Riots in their 9-3 win over visiting Windham on Thursday.Windham starter Eli Williams hurls a pitch forward for a South Portland opponent on Thursday. The Eagles fell to the Riots, 9-3.South Portland’s Matt Beecher scoots back to first, manned by Windham’s Timmy Greenlaw.Nick Troiano crosses home for South Portland, their first run of nine on Thursday against visiting Windham.South Portland third baseman Matt Beecher awaits the throw as Windham runner Tanner Laberge dives into his slide.Windham’s Tyler Johnson rounds third on his way home. The Eagles fell in their visit to South Portland on Thursday, 9-3.


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