AUBURN — After two errors led to two runs in the bottom of the first inning, Lisbon settled itself down. The sixth-seeded Greyhounds cleaned up their defense, moved on from the frame, and their bats then came alive late to No. 2 St. Dominic Academy 4-2 and move on to next week’s regional final.

“It was pregame jitters I guess. We just didn’t get them out of our system yet,” Lisbon freshman pitcher Lucas Francis said. “After that, we were all relaxed, we just played great after that.”

“We just stayed positive,” freshman third baseman Noah Austin added.

Austin Roy led off the bottom of the first with a solid single for the Saints (15-3). He stole second, then was safe at third on a fielder’s choice that Francis threw away, allowing Roy to score. Gavin Bates then reached safely on another throwing error, with Nate Richard across the diamond at third. Justin Keaney singled in Richard to make it 2-0.

That was the high point for the Saints, and things quickly began to spiral in a negative way. Gavin Bates tried following Richard home on Keaney’s single thanks to a high throw to the plate, but the Greyhounds gunned down the greed. A flyout and a groundout then ended the threat.

“We really should have had second, third still no outs, two runs in, with an opportunity to get a few more runs across,” St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman said. “It was good to get up quick, but I think it could have been a little bigger.”

Blackman lamented baserunning errors all game that kept the Saints from ever adding to their lead.

“There was no struggle offensively. It was baserunning errors, that’s what cost the game,” Blackman said. “It was our mental mistakes on the base paths. We were putting the ball in play with authority.”

A pickoff throw ended the bottom of the fourth, which also saw Francis nab the lead runner at third on a fielder’s choice. Austin gunned down a runner at the plate on a grounder in the fifth, which also ended with a Francis pickoff.

“We just needed to be smarter on the base paths, and taking advantage of our opportunties,” Blackman said. “That’s basically where we let one get away.”

The Saints trotted out their own freshman to the mound in Riley Volpe. The lefthander quieted Lisbon (14-5) the first time through the order, allowing one walk (which Nick Lerette eventually scored off of, after a wild pitch, a grounder, and a balk) and working around a two-out error in the first, but the Greyhounds started to make adjustments the second time through. No. 2 hitter Ryley Austin collected the first hit in the third — a harmless two-out single. Austin Fournier then led off with a walk in the fourth, and two batters later Noah Austin doubled to right-center to drive in Fournier and tie the game 2-2.

The game stayed tied until the seventh, with Noah Austin coming up clutch again for the Greyhounds. The freshman led off with a single, moved to second on a Chris Normand sacrifice bunt, then scored on Cole Bolduc’s RBI single. Bolduc later scored on a double from Tyler Halls.

“We came through when it mattered in the clutch,” Lisbon coach Randy Ridley said. “We made good contact all day, just we hadn’t found the holes yet, and finally late in the game we did.”

St. Dom’s led off its half of the seventh with a single by Robert Shelley, but Francis got him back by snaring a Mack Pelletier liner and firing to first for the double play. Fournier then collected Hunter Hughes’ grounder down the first-base line and emphatically stepped on first for the final out.

“We try to get 21 outs,” Francis said. “In the last inning we went in, 18 outs, calm down, let’s just get the next three and then let’s go to St. Joe’s.”

The Greyhounds may be a bit of an underdog by seed, knocking off No. 3 Madison and No. 2 St. Dom’s en route to the regional final at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish next Tuesday, but the players don’t see themselves as a Cinderella story. Lisbon lost just one game by more than two runs all season.

“We know we can compete with any team in this league,” Francis said.

The Saints won both regular-season meetings by a combined two runs. Blackman said the third meeting was undoubtedly going to come down to one or two runs again, which it did. He said this year’s team, after coming off a state title last year, had no expectations. While Saturday’s loss was disappointing, he said his players should be proud of what they did accomplish.

The Greyhounds will take the Saints’ normal spot in the regional final at St. Joe’s. It’s a place the not-so-underdogs believe the belong.

“They know how good they can be. I think they’re starting to realize their potential,” Ridley said. “It’s been a wonderful ride for me.”

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