MONMOUTH — By strategic design, there’s no fence surrounding Chick Field. Perhaps it has both helped and hurt Monmouth baseball over the years, because hitting a home run usually requires reaching the parking lot.

Alex Curtis accomplished that Thursday afternoon and erased upset-minding Carrabec’s surprising Class C West quarterfinal lead with one mighty swing.

The senior’s clout off freshman Dustin Crawford traveled at least 350 feet through the air before beginning a triple-digit roll. That stand-up grand slam revived No. 1 Monmouth from its early doldrums and provided the foundation for a 5-4 victory over No. 8 Carrabec.

It was the Mustangs’ second one-run victory over the upstart Cobras of North Anson this spring.

“My coach just told me, if you see your pitch, hit it, and it was almost right down the middle,” Curtis said.

With the Mustangs down 3-0, Brandon Goff led off the bottom of the third with a single before Crawford walked Hunter Richardson and Kyle Fletcher on eight consecutive pitches.

That led to twin conferences — one between Crawford and Carrabec coach Troy Dunphy and another involving Curtis and Monmouth skipper Eric Palleschi.

“I told Al, ‘He just threw eight in a row. If it’s there, don’t miss it. You know you’re going to get a strike. Make sure it’s your strike.’ And he did,” Palleschi said. “I don’t know how many fences hold that. I don’t know of a field that holds that. Maybe Dirigo.”

“You couldn’t have caught it if you were sitting in the back of a pickup truck in the parking lot,” Dunphy quipped.

Conventional wisdom at that point said that Monmouth (16-1) would make a hasty getaway and begin preparations for Saturday’s semifinal at home against Sacopee Valley.

But Carrabec (8-8), which dropped its varsity program for a year in 2011, wasn’t done.

The Cobras pulled even in the fourth. Crawford singled with one out and advanced when Christian Miller reached on a dropped third strike. Walks to Levi Murray and Paul Kaplan pushed home the equalizer and summoned Mr. Baseball finalist Fletcher to the mound as the third Monmouth pitcher.

Fletcher struck out Boog Dunphy looking to escape the jam.

“It’s just what I’ve been doing all year and I’m trying to get used to it,” said Fletcher, who followed Nate Gagne and Nick Sanborn. “I’m used to starting games. You’ve got to find a way to get in your rhythm.”

Phil Rowe’s leadoff single and a two-out double by Goff restored Monmouth’s lead in the bottom of the fourth.

From there, the go-for-broke approach that put the Cobras in position to spring the upset came back to bite them.

In the sixth, singles by Miller, Murray and finally Dunphy with two out appeared enough to plate the tying run. Pinch runner Gabe Dunphy stumbled while rounding third, however, and the Mustangs pegged him at the plate.

“We’re a gutsy team. This is the first time we’ve been in this situation,” Troy Dunphy said. “The only time we scored any runs when we were coming up through was to be gutsy.”

Carrabec fell on the sword again in the seventh.

Will Crawford cranked a leadoff double, but a Sanborn-to-Richardson-to-Jariah Caissie connection caught him trying to snag a triple.

“Safe, out, you’ve got to send him,” his coach said. “When it’s this close of a game, you do that.”

Fletcher nicked Trent Richardson with a two-out offering before Dustin Crawford’s fly out to Goff in center ended it.

Carrabec stole seven bases and took advantage of an uncharacteristic four Monmouth errors.

“First time we played them, they played us tough,” Fletcher said. “They’re very quick and scrappy. They’re a good team, and we figured they would come up here and put up a good fight.”

Miller had an RBI single and later scored on Gagne’s wild pitch to make it 2-0 in the second.

Kaplan and Boog Dunphy walked to ignite the third before Gagne gave way to Sanborn. After a wild pitch advanced the runners, Kaplan booked it home on a delayed steal for a 3-0 advantage.

Carrabec ran into a double play to end the inning, a sign of Monmouth life that perhaps fueled the go-ahead rally.

“We had to battle a little bit, which is good,” Palleschi said. “We haven’t played in a week. They went through graduation, so their routine is off a little bit.”

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