MONMOUTH — Lisbon’s Nick Austin stood at the plate, already having fouled off a pitch on an attempted suicide squeeze play with the Greyhounds trailing 6-5.

The next pitch from Trevor Flanagan came toward Austin, with Monmouth Academy second baseman Nic Foulke coming in at full speed toward the plate.

It didn’t matter. Austin executed the bunt perfectly and Cole Bolduc crossed the plate for the tying run in the seventh inning. Lucas Francis scored in the ninth to give the Greyhounds a come-from-behind 7-6 Mountain Valley Conference baseball win Wednesday.

“The suicide squeeze was what we needed in that situation,” Lisbon coach Randy Ridley said. “It is not an easy play. I think he saw (Foulke) coming, and it was a great bunt and a great play.”

“We knew it was coming. Randy and I have coached against each other for years, and Mat did a good job. If he doesn’t slip, maybe he comes up with it and it is a double play to end the game,” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said.

For Austin, he ignored the distractions and put down a perfect bunt, just out of the reach of the diving Foulke, with the ball spinning inside the third-base line.

“We practice bunting a lot, so I just tried to get it down in a spot that we could score,” Austin said. “This is a huge win for us. We have really worked hard to get the top seed and we got it done. We have had games this year that we have had to come back, and we weren’t successful. Today we were.”

Tyler Halls relieved starter Lucas Francis (six innings, five strikeouts, six walks, four hits, one earned run) and went 2 1/3 innings, striking out five. Sean Scott relieved in the ninth, retiring the final two Mustang hitters. Francis, Halls and Scott faced the minimum 12 Monmouth (9-7) hitters over the final four innings.

“This is huge for the kids, for their mental toughness,” said Ridley, whose 12-4 squad will play in the MVC title game at Oak Hill High School on Friday. “Tyler Halls came in and pitched well, and Sean Scott finished it out. We really stuck together and took it to the next level.”

“We didn’t execute when we needed to and left some extra guys on base, but we played them hard for nine innings and I thought the kids responded very well after sliding the last two,” Palleschi said, a day after his team lost big to Winthrop.

Both teams scored a run in the first inning, with Ryley Austin doubling to score Noah Austin for Lisbon, and Avery Pomerleau touching home on a groundout by Travis Hartford.

The Greyhounds regained the lead in the third. With two outs, Halls and Ryley Austin singled, followed by a run-scoring double by Nick Lerette. An error scored the final run of the frame for a 3-1 Lisbon advantage.

Through three frames, Monmouth was held to one hit by Francis. But the floodgates opened in the fourth as Foulke drove in a run, the first of his two hits (2-for-4), and Hartford picked up two RBIs with a bases-loaded single, one batter after Nick Dovinsky was hit by a pitch to force in a run.

The Mustangs upped their advantage to 6-3 in the fifth. Monmouth also used a suicide squeeze play, with Corey Armstrong just beating the tag at the plate.

Monmouth starting pitcher Hunter Richardson went 4 2/3 frames in his first stint on the mound, throwing 103 pitches with two strikeouts and three walks. Flanagan relieved, permitting two runs in the fifth before Richardson came on with the bases loaded and two outs. He retired pinch hitter Nick Havlicek on a fly ball to center field to keep the Mustangs in the lead.

“Hunter did a good job there, and we saved those seven pitches for that situation,” Palleschi said.

Flanagan took over again to begin the seventh and kept Lisbon off the board for two innings before the rally in the ninth. Flanagan finished with four innings on the mound with one strikeout and three walks.

Hartford was 2-for-5 with three RBIs to lead the Monmouth offense, with Gould adding a single and a run.

Halls, Ryley Austin and Francis each had two hits for Lisbon, while Nick Austin, Lerette and Noah Francis added a base-knock apiece.


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