Tyler Halls reacts after his seventh-inning one-run double drove in an insurance run against St. Dominic Academy last season.

Tyler Halls reacts after his seventh-inning one-run double drove in an insurance run against St. Dominic Academy last season.

LISBON — Somewhere there are two runner-up medallions waiting for Nate Havlicek and several of his Lisbon baseball and football teammates to add them to their trophy cases.

Havlicek, a senior, doesn’t know the whereabouts of the medallions, which he received as part of Lisbon’s 2016 Class C South runner-up baseball team and Class D state runner-up football team. Nor does he care, because those losses, both of which came on the final play of the game, still sting.

“I didn’t even take (the baseball award) home. I was so mad,” said Havlicek, an infielder in baseball and lineman in football. “I didn’t even take my football one home this year, either. I hate (being) runner-up. It’s just the first loser in my eyes.”

The Greyhounds already accomplished a much more exalted first on Wednesday when they beat Monmouth, 12-5, for their first Class C South baseball title. They also earned themselves a trip to their first state championship game since 1988, when Lisbon was in Class B.

Lisbon will face Orono for the state title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.

Wednesday’s victory helped Lisbon bury last year’s shocking 7-6 regional final loss to Sacopee Valley, which trailed the Greyhounds, 6-4, going into the seventh inning. 

“(Last year’s loss) motivated us a lot,” Havlicek said. “Every day in practice we worked hard. We talked about our goals for the season.”

“We knew we were going to make it back to that regional game and we knew that we had more experience than Monmouth,” senior pitcher/outfielder Tyler Halls said. “I think we just came out flying and really stomped on the gas.”

It’s not surprising that the Greyhounds, led by five senior starters, would be playing with a greater sense of urgency. In addition to being one inning away from a regional title last year, they came painfully close to earning some hardware in the fall.

The soccer team came within one win of earning the school’s first regional title, but fell to Monmouth, 1-0, in the C South final. A few weeks later, the football team lost in the state championship game, 20-14, when Maine Central Institute scored a touchdown on a botched field goal attempt as the clock ran out.

“They’re very self-motivated,” Lisbon coach Randy Ridley said. “To see them get to this point is huge. They’ve made it to the regional final in soccer. Football made it to the state game. This team is pretty much from those soccer and football teams combined, so I think they’re really excited to do this together as one group, to try and get the one state title that they really want as a group.”

The Greyhounds went into the baseball season as the consensus favorite in C South. They went 12-4 during the regular season, then got a measure of revenge against Sacopee by beating them in walkoff fashion, 4-3, in the quarterfinals. They followed that with convincing wins over Traip (9-0) and Monmouth.

Some teams might crumble under the weight of painful losses followed by high expectations, but Lisbon seems to have gotten stronger.

“The way that they reacted to the loss last year, I had a feeling that they were going to come back this year and remember how they felt, just the way they left that field,” Ridley said. “At the beginning of this year, they were saying ‘Coach, we’re going to get back there,’ and I said ‘Let’s just take it one game at a time, and if we get there, we get there.’ I thought when it came to playoff time, they were going to turn it up another notch, and they have.”

“The key has been our chemistry,” Havlicek said. “We all work good as a team. We only lost two seniors last year, so we’ve all been together since sixth grade playing together. We’ve been through it all.”

A win on Saturday won’t erase the pain of the close calls, the Greyhounds said, but it would give them a measure of redemption, and give the seniors a great sendoff.

“I don’t think it will compare to football because football is just a different kind of sport,” said Halls, the Greyhounds’ quarterback last fall. “But baseball would definitely be a nice way to close out our senior year.”

“I was telling the team (after Wednesday’s win) I just don’t want to leave empty-handed,” said senior Noah Francis, a first baseman and fullback. “Let’s finish this run and let’s leave with something, leave a legacy at the school. Let’s finish on top.”

Lisbon pitcher Lucas Francis, right, talks with third baseman Noah Austin during a game against St. Dominic Academy last season.

Lisbon pitcher Lucas Francis, right, talks with third baseman Noah Austin during a game against St. Dominic Academy last season.

Lisbon catcher Nick Lerette shows the ball to the home plate umpire after tagging out Carrabec’s Jacob Atwood during the Greyhounds’ 4-2 win in Lisbon last season.

Lisbon catcher Nick Lerette shows the ball to the home plate umpire after tagging out Carrabec’s Jacob Atwood during the Greyhounds’ 4-2 win in Lisbon last season.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.