Lisbon freshman Hunter Brissette, center, has benefited from the guidance of senior teammates Noah Austin, left, and Lucas Francis, who also were major contributors for the Greyhounds as freshmen. Brewster Burns photo

LISBON — Hunter Brissette found himself in a big spot in the Class C South regional final against Sacopee Valley, and the freshman delivered with a triple.

The moment wasn’t too big for Brissette, who has proven all season long that his youth won’t stop him from playing a major role for the Lisbon baseball team.

He’s had two role models in seniors Lucas Francis and Noah Austin, who were once in Brissette’s shoes.

Francis and Austin were freshmen starters three years ago for a Lisbon team that also made it to the regional final, and also faced Sacopee Valley, but those Greyhounds were victims of a Hawks walk-off win.

Brissette was the sparkplug for Lisbon’s win Wednesday, lacing a two-run three-bagger, then scoring the tying run on an Austin double. Francis then singled in Austin for the eventual winning run.

“We needed a rally, and he came in, he took advantage of his opportunity and one of the better pitchers in the class, he killed him to right field and started a rally for us,” Francis said.

It was all part of what Brissette has called an “exciting” season.

He has batted leadoff and manned third base since the first game of the season. Greyhounds coach Randy Ridley said, “From the get-go I had all the confidence in the world in him being a good leadoff hitter for us. No second-guessing, no nothing. It just felt right.”

Brissette said he was initially a little nervous batting leadoff, but he guesses it was around the Greyhounds’ fourth or fifth game of the season that he really felt comfortable and that he belonged.

Lisbon freshman Hunter Brissette, left, chats with seniors Noah Austin, center, and Lucas Francis during practice at Lisbon High School in preparation for Saturday’s Class C state championship game. Brewster Burns photo

Francis and Austin knew even sooner.

“Just seeing him (at the) start, when we were in here for tryouts and whatnot, you could tell he’s a very good baseball player,” Austin said.

“Hunter, you could just see him. He’s got a quick swing, he’s got quick hands, he’s fundamentally sound, and he goes 110 percent every rep,” Francis said.

Brissette said he didn’t go into tryouts thinking he would be a starter, but when Ridley told him it was a possibility, Brissette “really tried and worked, put in the extra work.”

Francis said Brissette “means business” when it comes to baseball, and that he doesn’t really need any kind of push from coaches or teammates.

Still, Ridley had his duo of four-year varsity veterans reach out to Brissette at the beginning of the season.

“I talked, and I said, ‘Look, Hunter’s going to be our leadoff hitter, he’s going to start at third base, he’s going to be nervous. Keep him relaxed, and tell him, hey, look, if we didn’t have confidence in you we wouldn’t put you here. If we didn’t believe you could do it, you wouldn’t be leading off and playing third,'” Ridley said. “He was nervous the first game of the year, but I think he’s settled in nicely as the year’s come along.”

Brissette said he has benefited from the two seniors’ guidance.

“They’ve helped me out a lot, just telling me to relax and all that stuff,” Brissette said. “It helped me quite a bit because I was a little bit tense, and they would always come to me before games, even the (regional final on Wednesday), they came to me and just said it was a regular game and just relax.”

Surprisingly, Ridley said batting leadoff — one of the most stressful spots in the lineup — relaxes Brissette, and the freshman said he’s “usually pretty comfortable” being the first up to bat.

Brissette admitted he got a little nervous before the Greyhounds’ playoff opener against Old Orchard Beach, but he’s felt more at ease in the semifinals versus Monmouth and the regional final win over Sacopee Valley — despite all the fans at the latter.

He’s proven that the stage isn’t too big for him. He went 2-for-4 with a two-run double against OOB, 1-for-3 against Monmouth with a double, steal and a run (along with being hit by a pitch in his first at-bat). He added two hits in the regional final.

Lisbon freshman Hunter Brissette, left, chats with seniors Noah Austin, center, and Lucas Francis during practice at Lisbon High School in preparation for Saturday’s Class C state championship game. Brewster Burns photo

“I just try and get on because I know our two, three, four (hitters) and everybody behind me can get me in,” Brissette said.

Just like Francis and Austin said, Brissette is trying to not to make Saturday’s state final against Orono any bigger than a regular game. The two seniors had to calm their teammates nerves when they were losing in the regional final. It didn’t surprise Ridley that they flashed that leadership and that their teammates responded.

“The experience they have of being in that situation has been a great thing for these kids,” Ridley said.

Saturday’s state final will be the final game of Francis’s and Austin’s high school careers, but for Brissette it could be a coming-out party.

“Hunter’s going to be a big name here in a few years, I guarantee that,” Francis said. “Hunter’s the real deal. And once he matures a little bit more — he’s mature for his age, but once he gains more knowledge, because we’re confident I guess, he’s going to do great things.”

Lisbon freshman Hunter Brissette, center, has benefited from the guidance of senior teammates Noah Austin, left, and Lucas Francis, who also were major contributors for the Greyhounds as freshmen. Brewster Burns photo


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: