Baseball C South: Lisbon knocks out Monmouth to reach C South final

LISBON — With two outs and runners at first and second, Monmouth had a chance to try to rally in the lead in the seventh inning of Saturday’s Class C South baseball semifinal.

Lisbon catcher Caleb Phillips noticed a batter earlier than Hayden Fletcher was taking a long lead on second base, so when the opportunity presented itself with Sam Calder at the plate, Phillips threw a pitch to second base and the Greyhounds were able to knock out Fletcher in a preview to claim the 3-2 win.

While Lisbon manager Randy Ridley said he wouldn’t have made the second pitch personally, he had complete confidence in Phillips to make the decision.

“When I saw how big of a lead he had, I thought Caleb was going to take a chance,” Ridley said. “In this situation, do I like this thought? I’m not like that, but I will always trust my players. It was a great decision and it worked very well for us. As a coach, you just have to trust your kids to play. Sometimes it burns us, but I want my children to play.

Phillips said he trusted the Lisbon defense to help him out.

“The pitch before (Manny Calder) struck out, Fletcher took a few steps too far,” Phillips said. “The defense knows I make bold and stupid plays, but I trust them. I trust them to catch it. The last (ground) I saw him take a step further than the last time and just sent for him.

No. 1 Lisbon (19-0) will now face No. 6 Maranacook (15-5) – a 2-0 winner on Saturday against No. 2 Sacopee Valley – in the regional final on Tuesday at 6.30pm at St. Joseph’s College.

At the end of the sixth, the Greyhounds were able to take the lead.

With one out, Hunter Brissette singled and advanced to third on a Levi Tibbetts single. The next batter was Phillips, who hit a deep ball to center field that was caught but deep enough to tag Phillips for the go-ahead, making it 3-2.

Fifth-seeded Monmouth (14-5) had chances to score early in the game.

In the second inning, the Mustangs charged on two hits and one hit per pitch, but couldn’t tackle any runners. In the fourth, Monmouth left two runners in the heat. The Mustangs fell eight for the game.

“We just couldn’t execute,” said Monmouth manager Eric Palleschi. “I don’t know how many people we left on the base, but it must have been a group. Situations like that, against good teams, they will come back for you. It hurt us.

With the runs mismatched on the scoreboard, Sam Calder held off the Greyhounds’ offensive attack, setting Lisbon’s formation in order through the first three innings.

Late in the fourth, Lisbon got baserunners and quickly converted them into runs.

Tibbetts hit a deep brace to left center field to score Brissette and give Lisbon a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, starting pitcher Nick Ferrence helped his own cause with an RBI single that extended the lead to 2-0.

“I think Sammy threw a great game,” Palleschi said. “He did a great job keeping them off balance and had secondary throws that worked really well. He did well. Levi had two hits and he hit a few tough pitches. He hit the fastball off the plate and hit it in the middle, and he hit the slider down and away and he went down and caught it.

Monmouth managed to score two runs in the fifth to tie the game 2-2.

Matt Marquis hit a sacrificial fly to score Isaac Olivera, then two batters later Sam Calder hit a fly ball to right field that was dropped in the outfield after a slide attempt, scoring Fletcher to tie the game.

Calder sat Lisbon in order in the fifth inning, including one of his five strikeouts of the day.

Tibbetts was brought in to pitch the sixth inning for Lisbon, relieving Ferrence, who allowed two runs on three hits and struck out four batters.

“Nick looked like he was getting a little tired,” Ridley said. “He was still throwing OK but I think he pushed a little bit. It was an early thought process where I said, ‘OK, I don’t think he’s going to play the whole game.’ My thought at the start of the game was Nick and then someone else Nick pitched well and Levi came in and did his job I’m happy, happy with how this whole team stayed together throughout This one. A great team win.

Saturday’s victory was the second over Monmouth this season for Lisbon, the first by a 5-4 scoreline on May 6.

The victory to qualify for the C South final was emotional.

“It’s huge. Monmouth are a bit of that team now,” Tibbetts said. “Last year we couldn’t beat them and now we’ve beaten them twice this year and that’s just a ton of momentum.”

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