Sacopee Valley, the No. 4 seed, hung around long enough, though, and won in walk-off fashion, scoring three runs in the seventh frame for a 7-6 victory and a berth in Saturday’s Class C state title game, also at St. Joe’s.

The Hawks will face George Stevens Academy, while No. 6 Lisbon finishes at 13-6.

Trailing 6-4 in the seventh after Lisbon scored an insurance run in the top of the frame on a sacrifice fly by Nick Lerette, the Hawks (16-3) finally hit Lisbon pitcher Tyler Halls, who had permitted just three hits through six innings. Sacopee singled four times in the frame, including D.J. Shea’s long single to center field with the bases loaded to win the game.

The rally negated a superb Lisbon start, with the Greyhounds claiming a 5-0 lead on three hits (Ryley Austin, Austin Fourner RBI double, Chris Normand two-run single), a Sacopee Valley error, and two walks and a hit batter by pitcher Brandon Burnell.

“I thought the five runs we got would relax us a little bit, but it is a different feel getting up that big early with a good team like Sacopee Valley that just kept battling back and battling back,” Lisbon coach Randy Ridley said. “We had some key hits, but it just wasn’t enough.”

A key for the Hawks came in the bottom of the first frame. Halls struggled with his control, walking the bases loaded in the first inning. He nearly escaped, but a throwing error on a grounder by Burnell allowed all three base runners to score to get Sacopee Valley to 5-3 after an inning. Combined, Halls and Burnell threw 80 pitches in the opening frame.

Sacopee Valley drew to within a run in the second. Halls walked three more Hawks, with Kyle Jordan’s bases-loaded free pass forcing in Cameron Cyr.

“He struggled very early and had trouble adjusting to the mound,” said Ridley of Halls, who threw 152 pitches in going the distance. “He made adjustments and threw a lot of pitches, more than I like. He was doing his job and never complained about being tired or fatigued.”

“The mound is high, but I am not going to use that as an excuse. I just had trouble finding it today. That’s on me” said Halls, who seemed to adjust by holding the Hawks scoreless in the four innings prior to the seventh. “I knew if I put it down the middle that my team would make plays.”

On the other side, Burnell took control after his opening 43-pitch frame. He retired nine out of 10 Greyhound hitters from the second to the fourth, and escaped a two-on, one out jam in the fifth.

“(Burnell) threw strikes a lot better and more consistently, and we hit the ball, but just right at people,” Ridley said.

The Hawks had a chance in the fifth to draw even, as Burnell walked and Peter Cates singled. But, Halls struck out the final two hitters of the frame, finishing with 10 strikeouts.

The rally

After Lisbon upped its lead to 6-4 in the seventh, Roderick Maynard reached on an infield single and Burnell dropped a single into shallow right field to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Lisbon’s third error of the contest on a ground ball by Cates scored Maynard, and Cyr singled to right field to tie the contest.

“We knew that we could come back, and we always seem to come back in that last inning,” said Shea, who came to the plate with the bases loaded after Halls intentionally walked Devin Day.

Shea drove an 0-1 pitch to deep center field to score pinch runner Travis Weeks to give the Hawks the win.

“I was so nervous. I am still nervous. I knew that I had to get it into the outfield, and I was able to do it,” Shea said.

“Sacopee hit it where we weren’t, and there was nothing we could do about it. Their hardest hit ball was the last one,” Ridley said. “Hopefully this carries over to next year. It was a great run.”

“It wasn’t expected for us to be here. We will be back here next year and win states,” Halls said.

Burnell went the distance for Sacopee Valley, striking out four, walking two and hitting four Lisbon batters. The Greyhounds finished with four hits, with Austin scoring a pair of runs.


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