STANDISH — Perfect season, nearly a perfect game and undoubtedly a perfect ending Saturday for the Cony High School softball team.

Junior Sonja Morse nearly pitched a perfect game as she faced the minimum number of batters in Cony’s 2-0 victory against South Portland for the Class A softball state championship.

Morse lost her no-hitter with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Danica Gleason singled solidly up the middle. But with the tying run at the plate, Gleason was picked off first base to end the game. The win completed a perfect 20-0 season for the Rams who won their first state softball championship since 1983. Western Maine champ South Portland, which saw it 16-game win streak snapped, finished 17-3.

Morse was aware she had a no-hitter going but tried not to think about it.

“I was just thinking go pitch by pitch because if I thought about it I would have messed it up,” she said.

Morse struck 10 and issued just one walk, in the fifth inning. But pinch runner Abby Young wandered off second base thinking there were three strikes on the batter to end the inning instead of two, and was picked off.

“One of our players jumped forward like she was going into the dugout and she started leaving and I threw it to second,” Morse said.

The Rams struggled against hard-throwing junior Erin Bogdanovich, who allowed three hits and struck out 13. But the lanky left-hander struggled with her control in the fourth inning, when the Rams scored both their runs. Bogdanovich loaded the bases, sandwiching three walks around a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout. That brought No. 9 hitter Cecelia Fuller to the plate and the Cony senior delivered a sharp single to right to score Morse and Alyssa Brochu.

“I had to hit the ball,” Fuller said. “I had to do it.”

The opposite field single wasn’t by design, she said.

“It just happened that way,” Fuller said. “It was good, but I didn’t really plan on it.”

Cony’s other good scoring chance came in the fifth when catcher Nicole Rugan tripled to right field, but she was thrown out at home on Morse’s sharp ground ball to third.

“I had her going on contact,” Cony coach Rocky Gaslin said.

Morse kept the Red Riots off stride with a rise ball, a screwball, a change and her fastball.

“She kept us off balance,” South Portland coach Ralph Aceto said. “We knew she was going to throw us the rise ball. She threw a good one. My hat’s off to her.”

Added Rugan: “She came out with fire. She was right on it. Her changeup was on. It didn’t matter if it was in the dirt or not, it caught them off guard.”

The Rams began to get their timing down against Bogdanovich by the middle innings. It didn’t translate into hits, but they fouled off several pitches and made her work. She threw 133 pitches in all compared to 89 for Morse. Alyssa Brochu lined out hard to left field to end the sixth inning and center field Olivia Indorf robbed Fuller of extra bases with a nice over-the-shoulder catch to open the seventh.

“She throws really hard,” Morse said of Bogdanovich. “But all we really needed to do was keep our hands back and then go right through the ball because there wasn’t a lot of movement going on.”

Morse fanned Bogdanovich to open the bottom of the seventh and got Laurine German on a fly ball to left. Gleason, the Red Riots’ No. 3 hitter, drilled a shot past Morse’s head, bringing Indorf to the plate. German was nearly picked off twice as Rugan dug low pitches out of the dirt. The first time, she decided not to throw to first.

“The coaches got a little mad because I didn’t throw the ball right away,” Rugan said. “I guess at that point we were up two and there were already two outs so it was just being conservative.”

On the next pitch, German took a secondary lead and Rugan picked her off first and she was eventually tagged out trying to reach second base,

“It feels unbelievable,” Brochu said of the win. “It’s such a good way to go out senior year. We’ve all graduated and everything and it’s kind of hard to stay focused, but we all did it and we prevailed.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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