NORTH BERWICK — A seemingly easy afternoon for the South Portland softball team turned instead into a fight to the finish.

After jumping to a five-run lead, the Red Riots had to withstand a late comeback from Noble before sealing a 6-5 victory Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ve been playing strong all season, we just take that one inning off,” Red Riots Coach Bud Voss said. “We’ve really been working on our mental focus from the first pitch to the last pitch, and they really came through today. They faced some adversity, which we’ve faced all year, and they looked composed.”

South Portland improved to 6-6.

“It really gives us a little bit more confidence,” said Ella Nickerson, whose two-run home run helped the Red Riots build a 6-1 lead. “Some of the games we’ve lost were just errors at the wrong time, the wrong places.”

Noble scored a run in the fifth inning and three in the sixth on RBI hits by Molly Druge and Paige Bronkema (doubles), and Sophie Tetreault to cut the deficit to a run. The Knights (5-5) got the leadoff batter on in the seventh when Allie Moore (2 for 4, double, two RBI) singled to right, but couldn’t bring her in.

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“We didn’t quit,” Noble Coach Rick Melanson said. “I was really happy with how we performed at the end, I wasn’t happy with the results at the end. … We moved back in the box a little bit, just to give us a little more time to hit. I thought that we would score some runs.”

Andrea DiMauro, who relieved starter Mia Micucci (nine strikeouts) in the sixth after Tetreault’s single and held the lead. In the seventh she hit Kiersten Davis two batters after Moore’s single but got two straight grounders to Julia Flaherty at third to end the game.

“I’m pretty good (after the leadoff single). I’m just like ‘Got to move on, got to get the next one,'” said DiMauro, who also hit a double. “I just trusted my team the whole time. If I just locate my pitches and put it over the plate, they’ll have my back and make the plays.”

The Red Riots got going early. Nickerson provided the highlight of a four-hit, three-run second when she drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left-center field for a 3-0 lead.

“I was really just looking for a base hit,” she said, “but I was really happy when I hit it that deep.”

Maddie Jamison walked with two outs in the third, and Micucci scored her with a double down the third-base line to make it 4-0.

Noble got a run back in the bottom half when Moore doubled in Bronkema, but the Red Riots increased their lead in the fourth when Elise Connor singled, Nickerson walked and Delaney Whitten scored them both with a single up the middle.

“I think we’ve always known we can hang with anybody,” DiMauro said. “It’s just a matter of going into that game and trusting in each other. I think we really showed how we can play today.”


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