Mustangs slow Greyhounds

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GARDINER – For awhile Saturday morning, it seemed like a collision at first base in the first inning was the only way the Lisbon softball team was going to touch Monmouth pitcher Brittany Hilton.

Hilton no-hit the Greyhounds through the first four innings and finished with a two-hitter in a 1-0 Monmouth victory in a game played at Gardiner High School.

“She’s a tough cookie, and she wanted this game,” said Monmouth coach Rachel Bernier. “She’s worked hard pitching. She knows this was a biggie, and she knew she wanted the ball.”

The Mustangs (8-1) got the lone run in the first when Chelsea Grant scored on a fielder’s choice. Hilton collided with Lisbon first baseman Heather Parry on the final out of the inning and landed hard in the dirt. She dusted herself off and took to the mound.

“My leg was just really tense,” she said. “I just stretched it out. That helped. It did bother me at first, but Berns taught us well about mental toughness and that really helped.”

Hilton struck out eight, including six of the first nine that she faced. She only walked two and gave up two hits to Kristen Laffley.

“Just looking at the book, they had their two hits and one run in the first inning,” said Lisbon coach Mike Fortier. “Then they were shutdown the rest of the way. We played some solid defense and had some good pitching. We didn’t get our first hit until the fifth inning. She threw an outstanding game. Both pitchers threw really well.”

Lisbon’s Emily Moore had a superb outing as well. She allowed the two hits in the first inning and allowed just one other baserunner, walking Grant in the third. She struck out five.

“I’ve got to give credit to the Lisbon pitcher,” said Bernier. “She did a great job.”

Monmouth’s only run came when Grant singled with one out. She stole second and took third on an Alex Gauthier single. When Moe Beaulieu grounded out to second, Grant scored.

“In the past, we’ve had runners in scoring position with no outs and not been be to put them across. That’s frustrating when you have six, seven or 10 runners on in a ballgame. That’s not healthy. I told the kids that we didn’t have a lot, but we did capitalize on that one opportunity, and that’s what we need to do.”

That was enough for Hilton. Lisbon’s Laffley gave Lisbon (9-4) its first hit in the fifth with two outs. Vickie Osmond drew a leadoff walk in the sixth but a nice diving catch by Moe Beaulieu and a nice defensive play at short by Jen Lola nearly turned a double play.

“Unfortunately it just didn’t happen for us,” said Fortier. “We were pleased with the way we played defense and the way that Emily threw. We would have liked to have strung a few hits together and scored a run or two. Unfortunately, that’s not the way that it went.”

Lisbon’s best bid came when Sam Purcell walked with two outs in the seventh. Laffley followed with a single. With runners at second and third, Hilton got Erica Merritt to ground out to first to end the game.

“I was a little nervous,” said Hilton. “I didn’t want to break down. Once again, that mental toughness that Berns always talks about kept us in there. But it was stressful. I just wanted to keep my composure.”

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