LISBON — The Monmouth Academy baseball team was on a roll, winners of nine straight contests heading into Saturday’s Class C South semifinal against top-seeded and undefeated Lisbon. 

The last loss for the Mustangs was a setback to the Greyhounds on May 13 and was Monmouth looking for retribution.

Monmouth starter Corey Armstrong sends a pitch to the plate in the first inning against Lisbon on Saturday in a Class C semifinal game in Lisbon. Times Record photo by Bob Conn

Instead, it was Lisbon that just kept rolling, earning an 8-0 victory and a spot in the Wednesday’s Class C South regional final at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish (6:30 p.m.). 

The Greyhounds will face sixth-seeded Sacopee Valley, which went on the road to down defending Class C state champ Hall-Dale on Friday, and turned around quickly on Saturday for a 5-4 road win over No. 2 Maranacook. 

Lisbon (18-0) went back to the script that has worked all season — jumping ahead early then relying on solid pitching and defense to cruise to a win. 

Monmouth starting pitcher Corey Armstrong found the going tough. He hit Lisbon’s first two hitters — Hunter Brissette and Noah Austin — with pitches, then allowed an RBI single by Lucas Francis for a 1-0 Greyhound lead. Armstrong continued to pitch wildly, plucking both DJ Douglass and Justin Le as Lisbon grabbed a 3-0 lead after an inning. 

In the second, Armstrong hit two more Greyhound hitters as Lisbon’s lead doubled to 6-0. 

For Lisbon, Austin was stellar, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh and allowing just one hit in 6 2/3 innings. 

“We did what we had to do. We had good defense, made some fantastic plays, and had some timely hits,” said Lisbon coach Randy Ridley. I was surprised that Armstrong’s control was off, but on defense when they hit the ball, we made the plays.”

“We gave up too many runs early, too many runners, and Corey just couldn’t find it, and we left him out there too long,” said Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi after his Mustangs finished 14-4. “Ryan (Burnham) kept us in it, but we didn’t hit. It wasn’t a good performance for us today. Lisbon is a good team and you can’t give them extra outs and base runners. There is a reason they are 16-0.

Austin started off strong, picking up the first of his two strikeouts during a 1-2-3 first. 

With Lisbon leading 1-0, Jack Tibbetts’ grounder was misplayed for an error as Austin scored, and when Le was hit by an Armstrong pitch, Neil LaRochelle trotted home for a 3-0 lead. 

After scoring his run, Austin immediately went behind the Lisbon dugout to see how his arm felt after being hit.

“That pitch hit me right on the elbow and I wasn’t sure if I could pitch, so I went and threw some pitches and I felt good,” said Austin. “I was able to hit my corners.

Austin allowed a runner when he walked Trevor Flanagan with one out in the second. But he retired the next two Mustangs on shallow pop ups. 

We know Noah will throw strikes and pitch to contact, and our defense has been fantastic all season, said Francis, who singled for the second time in the second inning, sending Austin hustling to third after he was hit with a pitch for a second time. 

LaRochelle was struck moments later by an Armstrong offering, ending the righty’s day (1 1/3 innings, six runs, six hit batters). Burnham relieved and allowed an infield single to Tibbetts to score Austin, and Levi Levesque lifted a deep fly ball to right field for a sacrifice fly to plate Francis. A Burnham balk made it a 6-0 game. 

Lisbon tacked on two more runs in the fourth, with Douglass and Daytona McIver picking up two-out RBI singles. 

From there it was all about Austin, who kept setting the Mustangs down. After retiring Monmouth in order in the sixth, Ridley considered removing the senior. 

“Noah pitched a great game, and no one had a clue of his no-hitter through six,” the longtime Greyhound leader said. “We were thinking of resting his arm. He just pitched that well.”

Armstrong led off the seventh with a clean single to center field to break up the no-no, and a two-out walk to Matt Fortin ended Austin’s day. Douglass relieved and retired the final Mustang on a fly ball to Francis at shortstop. 

“You don’t want to lose on our home field, and we were able to get things done,” said Francis, who was the lone repeat hitter (2-for-4, RBI, run scored). 

Burnham pitched 2 1/3 innings for two runs, one strikeout, two walks and a hit batter. Cam Armstrong retired seven of the eight hitters he faced. 

“We came together and did a good job. We have some younger kids and some older guys that jelled together. Today was just not our day,” said Palleschi. 

Brissette was 1-for-3 with a double, stolen base and run, while Tibbetts was 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run. Le reached base three times (two walks, hit by a pitch). 

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.