LISBON — Lisbon catcher Justin Le’s strength is his ability to handle the Greyhound pitching staff, nearly always calling the right pitch at the right time.

On Monday against Monmouth Academy, Le’s bat caught up to his catching.

Le smacked a pair of run-scoring singles as Lisbon captured an 8-3 Mountain Valley Conference baseball win, giving the Greyhounds a perfect 8-0 first half of the season.

The Mustangs fell to 5-3 with Mountain Valley slated to visit on Wednesday.

Le came through in a pair of key situations. Locked in a tight 4-3 game in the third, the sophomore singled sharply to left field with two outs to plate teammate Levi Levesque (2-for-4, double, RBI). In the fifth, Le grounded an RBI single through the Mustang infield, with DJ Douglass trotting home for a 7-3 advantage.

“It felt good. I hadn’t been hitting the ball very well, but today I hit it pretty well and it all came together,” Le said.

The catcher also had a solid outing behind the plate as pitcher Noah Austin went the distance on just 70 pitches. He retired the final 15 Monmouth hitters and had five innings during which he threw only 34 pitches overall.

“I think we can go undefeated with the way our pitchers are throwing the ball and the way we are fielding,” Le said. “(Noah’s) curveball was on today and he was hitting the corners. We are good defensively, and with him pitching, he lets them hit and we make the plays.”

“Justin is very solid behind the plate and his hitting is starting to come around,” Lisbon coach Randy Ridley said. “He has a very good on-base percentage. He calls great pitches behind the plate, sets up well, has a solid arm. He came through today. That is what it takes, getting a little bit of confidence.”

Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi liked the way his team played in the field, and didn’t mind his Mustangs being aggressive with the bats.

“Noah throws that way. He is always around the plate and gets you swinging on your front foot,” Palleschi said. “We could have been more patient (at the plate), but we have always been a team that is aggressive, swinging early and often.”

Lisbon started strong, scoring three runs in the first off Mustangs starting pitcher Brock Bates. The Greyhounds used three walks, a hit batter, an infield single and an RBI base hit by Neil LaRochelle. Bates threw 35 pitches and was relieved to start the second by Ryan Burnham.

“Brock wasn’t loose coming out of the gate, and you can’t spot a team like that three runs and play catch-up all day,” Palleschi said.

Austin cruised through a 1-2-3 second inning, but ran into trouble in the third. He hit Tom Neal with a pitch to open the frame, and No. 9 hitter Dylan Lajoie smacked a single to center field to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Hayden Fletcher, who went 2-for-3, singled for Monmouth’s first run, and Cam Armstrong hustled to first for an RBI infield single, with the throw bounding out of play as Lajoie and Fletcher scored to tie the game.

Burnham retired the first four Greyhounds he faced, but a single by Jack Tibbetts, a double by Levesque (RBI) and a single by Le made it a 5-3 Lisbon lead after three.

Austin cruised from there, setting down the final 15 Mustangs and tossing a four-hitter with five strikeouts and no walks.

“It was a great effort considering he hadn’t pitched since the first game of the year, nursing a jammed shoulder in our second game against Boothbay,” Ridley said of Austin. “I wanted him to be healed up before he got on the mound again, and others like DJ, Neil and Levi have stepped up and done the job. He came in after a month and stepped up well. He is a gamer.”

Lisbon tacked on two more runs in the fifth, and Lucas Francis singled in the sixth, stole a pair of bases and scored on a groundout by Tibbetts. Monmouth committed its only two errors in the frame.

“We did a good job battling back. Defensively, minus one inning, we played well, which is a good sign,” Palleschi said. “As long as we can play defense more consistently and start squaring up some balls like we were early in the season, I think we can be right there.”

Hunter Brissette, Austin, LaRochelle and Douglass each singled as Lisbon pounded out 10 hits against Bates, Burnham (four innings, seven hits, four runs, three strikeouts, one walk) and Trevor Flanagan (one inning, one hit, one run).

Lisbon visits Mt. Abram on Wednesday.

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