LISBON — Terri Trudel kept telling her team to hang in there.

She wanted her Lisbon softball team to keep working hard, keep believing in themselves and know that good things were on the way.

“I felt like a broken record after games,” Trudell said. “I felt like I was saying the same things over and over. The trust in your teammates and the trust in the team as a whole, once everyone gets their ducks in a row, good things would happen.”

Trudell believed that reversal of fortune was due, but the Greyhounds 1-5 start was making it a tough sell.

“It was pretty frustrating,” senior outfielder Jenna Clifford said. “It definitely felt like we were repeating last year. All our game were so close. Starting off was bad, but like last year, we knew we had it in us. I think this year, we finally made it work.”

Despite the start, Lisbon overcame it and produced a late surge that earned it a playoff spot in Western C. The Greyhounds play at Monmouth Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

“I’m feeling good about it,” said junior pitcher Kailyn Hill said. “We know we can beat them.”

Lisbon went 3-14 last year and was aiming to improve that this spring. The goal was to reach the playoffs. After an opening day win over Wiscasset, the Greyhounds lost five straight. Three of those loses were by one run, including a 1-0 defeat against Telstar.

“At the beginning of the season, after our losing streak, we were wondering (about making the playoffs),  Hill said. “Then we won one game and we were like ‘Maybe we can do this.'”

Lisbon got a second win over Wiscasset. That righted the ship a little. The Greyhounds had been playing teams tough and were just coming up short. The wins were so tantalizingly close that the Greyhounds kept plugging away.

“It was very discouraging and out of all the losses, they were by one run consistently,” Trudell said. “The effort was always there and the work ethic was always there. It was just putting it all together for a complete game. That’s what we needed to do.”

That’s what kept Lisbon working hard and trying. They knew they were close and hoped to turn the tide.

“I think we just looked at every game individually,” said Clifford, who is one of only two seniors along with outfielder Olivia Harrington. “After we had lost five in a row, they were so close, we never got completely down on ourselves. Every game was a new game for us and we wanted to win every inning.”

As the team’s pitcher, Hill knew she couldn’t let down. She kept giving her best, knowing the team around her was doing the same. She’s a member of a solid junior class that includes  Arianna Kahler, Monica Austin, Taylor Plourde, Courtney Lawrence, Loren Grant, Manda Hazelton, Lily Wade and Molly Nicholson.

Lisbon also had four freshmen playing large roles at times in Jasmin Le, Alyssa Hall, Kipri Steele and Kate Philbrick.

“It was hard but I had people behind me and supporting me,” Hill said. “Then we just all clicked. Everything came together — the hitting, the fielding, everything.”

Lisbon lost four more games by two runs or less. The playoff picture wasn’t promising but still within reach. After losing to Monmouth 4-3 in the first game of a doubleheader, the Greyhounds won the second game 5-3. Then came a 12-9 win over St. Dom’s. With a potential playoff berth on the line, Lisbon then beat Dirigo 5-1 to end the regular season.

“I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know how it would turn out,” Hill said of the Dirigo win.”I knew we needed to win.”

Hill struck out eight and allowed just four hits.  Kahler drove in a pair of runs while Nicholson and Harrington led the offense with three hits each. The win vaulted Lisbon up to 10th in Western C and into the playoffs.

“That Dirigo game was huge,” Clifford said. “It was our last game of the season. For me, it was the first game where we felt we all played to our ability. All season we knew we could do that. We would lose by one run but that final game, it all came together. There were no errors and we used our bats. That was good.”

The reward that Trudell had promised her team if they kept trying and kept believing finally arrived.

“After that Dirigo game, I was looking at them and was like ‘How does that feel?'” said Trudell, who’s in her fourth season with Lisbon. “That was what I was talking about all season. At some point, we were going to put it all together and good things were going to happen. It was fun. That’s how it should have been all year, but we kept coming in on the short end of things.”

With their playoff berth, Lisbon gets a rematch at Monmouth on Tuesday. Coming off three straight wins, including one over the Mustangs, Lisbon is a formidable-looking 10th-seed.

“The girls were so pleased with themselves and so overjoyed and excited,” Trudell said. “They know that was the bump they needed to get into the playoffs, which was the goal for this season after being 3-14 last year.”

Monmouth finished the season 10-6 and earned the seventh seed. The Mustangs are a solid club and will be a tough test for the Greyhounds. But with a little winning streak and a taste of success, Lisbon enters the postseason with the momentum they’ve worked all season for.

“We’re hitting our peak at the best possible time,” Trudell said. “We’re moving forward and hopefully that will carry us through on Tuesday. I think we’re that underdog that may go in and surprise people because we are going in with that confidence from three wins at the end of the season.”

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