Four weeks ago, Portland’s softball team let a two-run, seventh-inning lead slip away in a loss at South Portland.

The eighth-ranked Bulldogs avenged that loss Tuesday in a Class A South preliminary-round playoff game at Payson Park.

Jess Brown threw a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts, and freshman Mackenzie Bryant and sophomore Laini Legere each had clutch RBI hits in the late innings to help Portland prevail 2-0.

The Bulldogs (10-7) advance to face top-ranked, defending state champion Scarborough (16-0) in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. Thursday.

“The girls wanted this one because we gave it to them last time,” said Portland Coach Robbie Ferrante.

Brown and South Portland starter Hattie Tetzlaff were dominant in the first four innings as Brown gave up just one hit and Tetzlaff didn’t surrender any.

In the top of the fifth, the Red Riots threatened when Ashlee Aceto doubled leading off and Sydney Sherburne reached on a one-out bunt single before stealing second. But Brown got Kaylee Whitten to pop to first and struck out Tetzlaff to end the inning.

“It was a lot more pressure on Laini and I,” Brown said. “I had the mentality that I wasn’t letting anyone come home.”

With light rain falling, the Bulldogs got their first in the bottom half of the fifth as Alexis Fiore, another sophomore, hit a one-out triple.

“I just wanted to make contact,” Fiore said. “I was just looking for the right pitch.”

Tetzlaff struck out Amanda Moffo for the second out, but Bryant lined a single just past Whitten’s reach at short to score Fiore.

Rende led off the sixth by reaching second base on an outfield error and Meghan Livingston followed with a bunt single to put runners at the corners, but Livingston was called out for leaving first base too early, Brown struck out Chloe Grant, then got Maeve Kelley to ground out to first to get out of another jam.

“Jess is an all-star pitcher and she knows when she has to reach back,” Ferrante said. “We put the ball in her hands and let her carry us.”

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Brown doubled to left-center and Legere tripled to center for an insurance run.

“I just wanted to make solid contact after not doing that my first two at-bats,” said Legere. “We needed that run because of the way the last game against South Portland turned out.”

Unlike the last meeting, Brown quickly ended matters in the seventh, tacking on two more strikeouts to give her 199 for the season.

“The last game against them was a nightmare,” said Brown, who didn’t walk a batter. “I’m glad it turned out differently.”

Tetzlaff took the loss for South Portland, allowing two runs on four hits. She struck out eight.

The Red Riots, who have just one senior, finished a year of growth at 8-9.

“We had our chances,” said South Portland Coach Ralph Aceto. “We just had a couple of blunders. We’ll get rid of those as we get a year older.

“I’m pleased with the season. The girls fought hard all year. They’re a great group of kids. I expect we’ll go farther next year.”

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