SOUTH PORTLAND — It’s become a June tradition for South Portland High and senior pitcher Nolan Hobbs. The Red Riots host a Class A South baseball semifinal on a Saturday at Wainwright Athletic Complex. Hobbs gets the start. South Portland wins.

“This was the third straight year I’ve started the regional semifinal,” Hobbs said. “We won both the other times, so I felt like I was ready for it, ready for the moment. I was excited to get after it on the mound today.”

Hobbs allowed only three hits through six scoreless innings, while Johnny Poole (2 for 3, two runs) and Andrew Heffernan (2 for 3, two RBI) provided a spark at the top of the batting order as South Portland beat sixth-seeded Marshwood, 4-1.

No. 2 South Portland (15-3) advances to its fourth straight regional final on Tuesday at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. For the third straight season, the opponent will be Thornton Academy. The fourth-seeded Golden Trojans (13-5) beat No. 1 Falmouth, 3-2, on Saturday.

In 2021, South Portland shut out Thornton, 3-0, then went on to win the school’s first baseball state title since 1952. Last year, Thornton roughed up South Portland ace Heffernan in an 8-1 win, then won its first baseball championship.

Hobbs’ ninth strikeout ended the sixth inning, stranding runners at second and third to keep the score 3-0.


Hobbs improved to 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA, with 44 strikeouts over 35 1/3 innings.

“He’s pitched in so many big games for us, so we knew he was going to rise to the occasion,” said Red Riots Coach Mike Owens. “I thought his breaking ball was real sharp early, and his fastball had its best life all season.”

Marshwood got to Hobbs in the seventh. Ben Garrepy led off with a double and Ronan Garrett hit a one-out single to end Hobbs’ day. Reliever Nick Swain got the final two outs, including a sacrifice fly by Noah Fitzgerald.

Marshwood (12-7) reached the semifinals for a second straight season.

“We’ve built that culture of being a family, battling, never quitting, fighting for that guy next to you,” said Marshwood Coach Eric Wells. “It’s been that way with this group of guys. We knew it was going to be a great test today.”

South Portland jumped ahead quickly with two runs in the first. Poole, the leadoff hitter, slashed a single inside the left-field line. He scored from first on an RBI double by Heffernan, who advanced to third on the throw home. Heffernan scored on Richie Gilboy’s grounder to second.

In the third inning, Poole hit a slightly higher line drive down the line for a double and scored on a Heffernan single.

“I have a lot of great players behind me. It starts with me to get it going, and I did it today and I’m going to keep doing it,” Poole said.

South Portland made it 4-0 in the sixth. Freshman Hudson Iacuessa led off with a double, and pinch-runner Griffin Tetzlaff scored on a two-out single by No. 9 hitter Jaelen Jackson.

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