South Portland Red Riots Spring Athletes of the Year

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(Ed. Note: This story will appear in our July 13 southern print edition)

Male Athlete of the Year

BRENDAN HORTON, Senior-Baseball

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CITATIONS

* SMAA All-Conference, Cumberland County, first-team, outfield

Horton produced some clutch hits and put up some very impressive numbers to lead the Red Riots to a playoff berth this spring, putting a fitting cap on his inspirational high school career.

Horton grew up in South Portland and started playing baseball not long after learning how to walk. He made the varsity team as a freshman. While he also played football and hockey at South Portland, Horton did his best work on the diamond, especially this season.

Horton had three hits, a run scored and an RBI versus Kennebunk, singled, scored a run and stole two bases against Bonny Eagle, singled, doubled and drove in a pair of runs against defending state champion Cheverus, tripled twice, singled, scored twice, drove in a run and had a steal against Noble, had two hits and scored a run in a win over Deering, had two hits and two RBI against Marshwood and doubled, singled and drove in a run against Westbrook, a victory in the season finale which got South Portland into the postseason.

In a playoff loss to Biddeford, Horton bowed out with a triple.

He finished with an average of .417, delivering 20 hits, including six doubles and a pair of triples. He scored seven runs and drove in eight.

“I was happy with my numbers, but I wished the team had done more,” Horton said. “It was great we (beat Westbrook) and made the playoffs.”

Horton was named to the All-Conference team.

What makes his performance even more impressive is that Horton has battled cancer for much of his time in high school. He missed two hockey seasons, but hasn’t let his illness affect him on the diamond.

“I feel fine,” Horton said. “I just show up and play. Sports has been my refuge. I just want to be better than anyone else.”

Horton also enjoys playing disc golf, is competing with the Morrill Post American Legion team this summer and plans to attend and play baseball at St. Joseph’s College next year, where he’ll join his older brother, Zach (South Portland’s Winter 2009-2010 Male Athlete of the Year). He’s undecided on a major.

What’s for certain is that this young man has faced challenges more daunting than a 95-mile-hour fastball and triumphed time and again. Expect even more great things down the road.

Coach Mike Owens’ comment: “Brendan was an outstanding all-around athlete. He excels in three sports, but baseball is his favorite. He grew up around the game and has an excellent baseball IQ which helps him succeed in an abundance of different baseball-related scenarios. He is a great competitor who can’t stand to lose and usually performs his best in key moments against better competition. He works extremely hard and demands a lot from his teammates. He led our team in batting, was all-conference and was our biggest offensive threat in the middle of our lineup.”

2011 winner; Adrian Reid (Track)

2010 winner: Adam Burpee (Lacrosse)

2009 winner: Ben Linscott (Lacrosse)

2008 winner: Will Furbush (Baseball)

2007 winner: Eugene Arsenault (Lacrosse)

2006 winner: Thomas McCoubrey (Track)

2005 winner: Justin Collett (Baseball)

2004 winner: Scott Guillerault (Baseball)

2003 winner: Anthony Dambrie (Track)

2002 winner: Greg Norton (Baseball)

Female Athlete of the Year:

ERIN BOGDANOVICH, Junior-Softball

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CITATIONS

* SMAA All-Conference, first-team, pitcher

* Captain

Bogdanovich comes from a storied athletic family and as the baby, has more than held her own. This spring, she played a huge role in South Portland’s rise from expected also-ran to regional champion and she’s only getting better.

Bogdanovich grew up in South Portland the daughter of Ed (a legendary Maine athlete who still holds track records decades after competing) and Jeanne (who led South Portland to a girls’ basketball crown in 1977) and the younger sister of Eddie (who starred in basketball at Portland) and Alexis (who pitched the Red Riots to the 2010 Class A softball title and was last year’s Spring Female Athlete of the Year before going on to compete in college) and took to softball at a young age. She also played soccer, basketball and ran track, but softball is where she’s starred. Her freshman and sophomore seasons, Bogdanovich played centerfield and occasionally filled in for Alexis on the mound.

“We push each other,” Bogdanovich said, of Alexis. “She motivates me.”

This spring, Erin had centerstage and made the most of it.

In a season opening win over Bonny Eagle, Bogdanovich threw a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts. She also homered and singled twice. She allowed just three hits and struck out 10 in a loss to Thornton Academy, took a no-hitter into the seventh before settling for a two-hitter with seven Ks against Noble (a game in which she also had two hits), four-hit Sanford, while adding three hits of her own, threw a six-hit shutout at Massabesic, had three hits and scored three times in a win over McAuley, three-hit Kennebunk, one-hit Marshwood, struck out 10 versus Cheverus, one-hit Westbrook while also delivering two hits and two RBI, two-hit Windham and also hit a grand slam and two-hit Gorham in the finale, while also delivering a two-run triple.

In the regular season, Bogdanovich went 11-1 with a 1.01 earned run average. In 80 innings, she walked just 10 batters and struck out 103. Her hitting was just as dazzling. She batted .588, had an on-base percentage of .701, scored 33 runs, drove in 15, hit two home runs and went 17-of-18 in stolen base attempts.

Bogdanovich was just as dominant in the playoffs, two-hitting Sanford while striking out 10 and driving in a pair of runs in the quarterfinals, three-hitting Thornton Academy in the semifinals, then allowing just two hits in an upset win over Scarborough in the regional final. South Portland lost to Cony in the Class A Final, but Bogdanovich only allowed three hits in that one.

“It was a very close team,” said Bogdanovich. “Everyone picked each other up.”

Bogdanovich was a first-team All-Conference selection.

Bogdanovich also belongs to South Portland’s Interact Club, is playing for the Worcester Hawks travel softball team and hopes to compete in college (she’s in the selection process). First, she hopes to win a second state title, this time closing it out on the mound.

That’s a realistic goal. Bogdanovich promises to have a memorable senior season. There aren’t many players anywhere in the state with her drive and talent.

Coach Ralph Aceto’s comment: “Erin picked up right where (Alexis) left off and got us back to the Promised Land with her pitching and her hitting as well. We depended on her to step up and take a leadership role. She did that very well. She’s a great kid to have around. She continually works hard, not just in the regular season. She’s obviously a big game player. She enjoys the competition and strives to be the best.”

2011 winner: Alexis Bogdanovich (Softball)

2010 winner: Katlin Norton (Softball)

2009 winner: Danielle DiBiase (Softball)

2008 winner: Julie DiMatteo (Softball)

2007 winner: Christina Aceto (Softball)

2006 winner: Kristin Kill (Softball)

2005 winner: Krystal Shannon (Softball)

2004 winner: Lindsay Coit (Lacrosse)

2003 winner: Nichole Cousins (Softball)

2002 winner: Morgan O’Donnell (Softball)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.