SOUTH PORTLAND — South Portland baseball coach Mike Owens knew his starter Nick Swain had pitched well. He also knew Kennebunk had its best hitters coming up, down one run, with a runner at third.

It was time to bring in the ace, senior Andrew Heffernan.

Heffernan needed 24 pitches – 20 thrown for strikes – to get the final seven outs in order as South Portland (9-2) won its sixth straight Class A South game 4-2 Tuesday afternoon at the Wainwright Athletic Complex

As a sophomore, Heffernan closed the Class A championship win in 2021 but the Merrimack College recruit had not been used in relief this season.

“I thought this game was going to difficult and we had Nick against their number one,” Owens said, referencing Kennebunk starter Colin MacDonald (five hits, four runs, six strikeouts). “I thought Nick did a good job but it seemed they were starting to time him up. … I just felt like that game was kind of in the dire straits and we had a chance to go get the win and you want to get wins when you can.”

With Timmy Teguis on third after his RBI triple scored George Lazos to cut the lead to 3-2, the change was made. Heffernan got leadoff hitter James DiGiovanni to pop weakly to first to end the fifth, three groundouts in the sixth and struck out the side in the seventh.


“I love those situations. I get to come in and I have my guy Swain’s back,” Heffernan said. “Just execute the pitches in a high-pressure situation.”

Said Kennebunk Coach Andrew Coulombe,

“We made (South Portland) bring in arguably the best pitcher in the league to beat us. As frustrating as it is to lose a game, you have to feel good about knowing that you made him do that.”

Kennebunk (4-7) is ranked 14th in the A South Heal point standings. Twelve teams make the playoffs.

“We feel like we have all the ingredients to be a really competitive team. We haven’t seemed to put all of it together,” Coulombe said. “We’ve got to do it soon, though.”

South Portland’s success starts with its pitching. Red Riot pitchers have walked 10 batters in 11 games, none against Kennebunk. Swain (3-0, 16 2/3 innings) and Heffernan (3-1, save, 28 1/3 innings) have each walked two hitters. Heffernan has not allowed an earned run.


“We know our pitchers are going to throw the ball in there and if they don’t get them out, we’ll get them out,” said senior shortstop Johnny Poole.

South Portland jumped ahead 2-0 in the third inning when Heffernan drove an outside 1-2 fastball to right field for a single, scoring Jaelen Jackson (walk) and Poole (single).

Kennebunk cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth. Max Andrews led off with a long triple and scored on a groundout.

Swain helped get the run back in the bottom of the fourth. He led off with a double and scored on freshman outfielder Hudson Iacuessa’s RBI single.

Heffernan (2 for 3) led off the fifth with a triple and scored on Nolan Hobbs’ sacrifice fly.

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