SOUTH PORTLAND — The South Portland High baseball team has a motto: All Gas, No Brakes.

The No. 1 Red Riots needed a full tank Saturday at Wainwright Complex. No. 4 Marshwood was in the race until the final out of South Portland’s 4-2 win in a Class A South semifinal.

South Portland junior Hunter Owen, who has verbally committed to play for Vanderbilt University, struck out the first two batters in the seventh, but singles by No. 9 hitter Jay Lyman and leadoff batter Eli Janetos (3 for 4) put runners at the corners and pushed Owen over the 110-pitch limit. Gus Lappin earned a one-pitch save, getting Trevor Chase to fly to center.

South Portland (17-1) will face No. 3 Scarborough (14-4) at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the regional final at St. Joseph’s College.

No. 4 Marshwood, the only team to beat South Portland, finishes 12-6.

“The past three years I’ve played, they’ve always given us a fight. No matter where they are in the standings, that doesn’t define that team over there. And talent, for sure, that helps a lot,” said Owen, a hard-throwing 6-foot-5 lefty who struck out 12.

Marshwood battled, putting a runner on base in every inning, with six hits and two walks.

South Portland took a 2-0 lead in the first. Marshwood cut the deficit in half with an unearned run in the third and tied it in the fourth when Connor Caverly rode a fastball over the left-field fence. It was the first earned run this season against Owen.

“We knew any team in this state, we can come in and compete with,” said Caverly, a junior who has verbally committed to the University of Maine as a catcher. “If we’re down, we’re going to keep going. I think today that showed.”

South Portland left fielder Dillan Ray-Bolduc saved a run in the sixth with a leaping backhanded catch at the fence to rob Marshall Smaracko with a runner at second.

“I had a great read,” Ray-Bolduc said. “I put my body on the line, went into the fence and was able to catch the ball. It wasn’t going to go out, but it was probably going to hit the fence.”

South Portland scored twice in the sixth without a hit against Caverly, who came on in relief in the first inning after three batters. Caverly kept the Hawks in the game, allowing three hits and working out of jams in the fourth and fifth. But he walked Lappin to lead off the sixth, and with one out he hit Gerik Bialorucki with a pitch. A balk advanced the runners, prompting South Portland Coach Mike Owens to call for a suicide squeeze bunt.

With Lappin running home on the pitch, Anthony Perron got the bunt on the ground for the go-ahead run.

“I gave us a couple chances earlier in the game to get a sacrifice fly or a get a big hit and we just didn’t come up with it,” Owens said. “It’s a risky play, but it also can be a big momentum swing.”

Perron reached on the play, and after an intentional walk, Caverly hit Noah Lewis to force in the final run.


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