BANGOR — Noah Austin had it going on the mound, but Lisbon had to battle through flashbacks late in the Class C baseball state championship Saturday against Orono.

But, this is 2019, and in 2019 the Greyhounds finished the deal, and claimed the state championship with a 4-1 victory over the Red Riots.

Lisbon pitcher Noah Austin delivers a pitch during the Greyhounds’ 4-1 win over Orono in the Class C baseball state championships game on Saturday in Bangor. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Austin struck out 11 Orono batters in the first six innings, and took a four-run lead into the seventh inning. But Orono’s Dustin Shaw reached base with a single, just Orono’s third hit of the game, and ended up scoring on a wild pitch.

At that point, memories of the Red Riots’ seventh-inning comeback to beat the Greyhounds in the 2017 state championship rushed into the heads of players and coaches.

And the fans, including one who yelled to the Orono players, “We’ve been here before, guys, let’s do it again.”

“I was thinking, ‘Oh, my God, not again,’” Lucas Francis said.

After a pair of walks, Austin got the third out on a liner hit back to him to secure the state championship for the Greyhounds and cap a perfect 20-0 season.

The state title is Lisbon’s second, the other one coming in 1979.

“It’s amazing, it’s crazy,” Austin said. “I couldn’t even imagine it. I wish we could have won it 2017, too, but this is great. I’m so happy for everybody.”

Austin was locked in from the start, striking out the side in the second and third innings, then fanning two more in the fourth inning.

The senior and Travis Roy Award-winning hockey player said he was thinking of which pitch he would expect at the plate and threw the opposite. Austin even faked shaking off pitches called by his catcher, Justin Le, before going back and throwing the first pitch called.

Everyone around Austin felt a certain confidence with him on the mound, especially with him dealing as he was.

“He’s done that all year,” Lisbon coach Randy Ridley said. “Especially in the playoffs he’s stepped up. He’s a bulldog, he’s going to come at you with every pitch he possibly can do and throw it for strikes. He throws to contact because he trusts his defense, and he found something in that lineup that he could really utilize that outside pitch and that curveball to keep them off balance all the way through.”

Austin also performed at the plate.

Lisbon’s Jack Tibbets twists away to avoid getting hit by a pitch during the Greyhounds’ 4-1 win over Orono in the Class C baseball state championship game on Saturday in Bangor. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Hunter Brissette and Austin both reached base in the first inning, Brissette by error and Austin by infield single, but no runs came of it.

In the third, Austin singled to center and was moved to third on a Francis single. Neil Larochelle grounded out but Austin was able to score to give Lisbon a 1-0 lead.

By the time the top of the fourth inning came around, Austin had taken over and cemented himself as the best player on the field.

Levi Levesque singled to start the fourth inning for Lisbon, followed by a sacrifice bunt by DJ Douglass that moved the runner to third. Le sent a ball into deep left field past a running fielder to record a triple and drive in Levesque. Daytona McIver followed with an RBI double to make it 3-0. After a strikeout, Austin was up for a third time with a runner on second.

Orono decided to intentionally walk Austin to bring up Francis. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, forcing Orono to walk Francis to load the bases.

“That’s a big respect with one on and our three hitter coming up,” Austin said. “Pick your poison … It feels really good as a hitter.”

Larochelle singled to center field to push home McIver, but Orono’s Caleb Ryder made a laser-focused throw to get Austin out at home to keep the deficit at 4-0.

“We knew we had to be opportunistic and take some chances,” Ridley said. “Second time through the order — it always seems with this team that once we get through the order we know what the other guy is going to do and we jump on him. It was a great throw by the center fielder. They made the third out at home, but I’m going to take chances and you better make a perfect throw, and they did.”

With a 4-0 lead, the Greyhounds felt a bit more relaxed with three innings left.

“You can’t get comfortable, but it’s kind of what we’ve done all year,” Francis said. “Rely on our defense, and it definitely takes a little weight off knowing we have a couple runs in and our feet are in the water.”

Orono’s Cam Shorette settled into the game after Lisbon’s fourth-inning outburst, and didn’t allow hit for the rest of the game.

“I don’t think we saw his best game today, and part of that is obviously Lisbon,” Orono coach Don Joseph said. “He didn’t seem to have his hard stuff or his hard slider. Lisbon was ready for him. You have to give Lisbon a lot of credit, they’re tough hitters. … I wish he could have had a better fare, but he’s a gamer.”

The game was moving quickly for both teams, so much so that Ridley didn’t know it was the bottom of the seventh so soon.

Lisbon’s Hunter Brissette hustles into second base during the Greyhounds’ 4-1 win over Orono in the Class C state championship game on Saturday in Bangor. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I didn’t even realize it was the seventh inning until we came in and someone said, ‘Just three more outs, boys,’” Ridley said. “It was going so smooth and so quick I didn’t notice it.”

Francis, along with Austin, both were on the 2017 Lisbon team that lost a 3-0 lead to Orono in the seventh inning to lose the Class C state championship. They didn’t want that to happen again.

“It’s not the first thing I thought of, but Noah was dealing all game, untouchable all game, and when that first guy got a hit I wasn’t worried, but then Noah lost his confidence and we built him back up,” Francis said. “Noah battles, and we don’t like to think of that but it’s definitely in the back of your head.”

Austin said he was “aiming” the ball instead of throwing for strikes and got himself in trouble. The game was on the line, and so was either revenge or a repeat of the team’s heartbreaking loss two years prior.

“When we came into the seventh, I was telling all the guys, ‘Three outs, stay calm, we have to get this win,’” Austin said. “Me and Lucas both were on that team, and I knew we had to stay in there and throw strikes. We had the bottom of the order coming up, and as long as it didn’t roll over to the top of the order we were in good shape because they would have seen me for I think a fourth time.”

Austin got the final out and all the demons flew out the window, as Lisbon locked won its first undefeated season.

“It feels good to get one,” Francis said. “It doesn’t feel real right now … I’m on the verge of tears.”

 

Lisbon poses with the championship trophy after beating Orono 4-1 to win the Class C baseball state title on Saturday in Bangor. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal