WINTHROP — It looked like the matchup it was supposed to be on paper — for five innings, at least.

Then things got out of hand. And quickly.

The Lisbon baseball team scored nine runs in the sixth inning to break open a tight game and defeat a sloppy Winthrop squad, 15-4, in a Mountain Valley Conference game shortened to six innings in Winthrop.

“This team, I think, today really came together,” Greyhounds coach Randy Ridley said. “We were positive, we were up the whole time of the game, and that’s what we’ve been wanting to do. I think we may have made our next step up for the rest of the season.”

Ramblers coach Marc Fortin said the game was closer than the score suggested, but that the final margin wasn’t an accident, either.

“We couldn’t make a play,” said Fortin, whose team committed six errors. “About the only thing we can take away from this is that we can compete with the top teams. We are one of the top teams. But we just couldn’t make a play, I’m not sure what it is.”

Defensive woes plagued the Ramblers (4-3) throughout the game, but they withstood the early stumbles to work to within striking distance and a 6-4 deficit through five innings when Lisbon’s Noah Austin and Nick Lerette kicked off the sixth with back-to-back doubles, bumping the lead to 7-4. Sean Scott followed with a crisp single to left, scoring Lerette and upping the advantage to 8-4.

There was no stopping the Greyhounds (6-1) from there. Noah Francis followed back-to-back walks with a two-run single, and after two more came across on an error and fielder’s choice, a catcher’s interference call loaded the bases with still nobody out and the Ramblers now staring at a 12-4 hole. Two more runs came in on a sacrifice fly and ensuing rundown, and Nate Havlicek singled in the final run of the frame.

The early damage in the inning came against reliever Andrew Ladd, who had pitched masterfully in a 3-2, 12-inning loss earlier in the season.

“Ladd kept us really off balance the first time around,” Ridley said. “The boys understood, hands back, drive through the ball. Just keep trying to hit the ball up the middle. We really adjusted well.”

The miscues started early for the Ramblers, who gave up two unearned runs in Lisbon’s three-run top of the first, then saw the Greyhounds score another unearned tally in the second. Even with the quick deficits, the Winthrop batters struck back to keep close with their MVC rival. Ladd belted a triple and scored on Bennett Brooks’s sacrifice fly in the first, and Brooks had an RBI single and Matt Ingram had a sacrifice fly as Winthrop made it 4-3 in the third.

Lisbon struck for two more in the fourth on Lerette’s single, but the Ramblers inched closer in the bottom half when Greg Fay came home on Maguire Anaszewski’s bunt.

“This was a close game,” Fortin said. “(It was) 6-4 in the fifth inning, 3-2 in 12. We’re in there, we just didn’t put it together today.”

Not in the sixth, when Lisbon crushed any Winthrop comeback hopes and scratched an itch from its first win over the Ramblers.

“We actually got base hits with runners in scoring position,” said Ridley, whose team left 15 men on base and nine in scoring position in that first matchup. “We couldn’t quite get that hit that we needed to keep going, keep going. Today, we got those hits. … It shows that our mental ability to stay focused throughout the game, no matter what is going on, is very important.”

They got all the hits they needed in one inning, and even if the score didn’t tell the entire story, that was of little consolation to the Winthrop players.

“There’s a deep sting no matter what. You can’t shake it either way,” Ladd said. “We’ve just got to learn from our mistakes, we’ve got to play more crisp and sound baseball. We gave them way too many errors, too much leeway. We can’t give teams leeway, they’ll jump all over us. It was proven here.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

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Twitter: @dbonifantMTM