Hunter Brissette of Lisbon follows through on a single to left field during a game against Telstar on Wednesday at Lisbon High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

LISBON — Randy Ridley tries not to think about what could’ve been last season. Still, the feeling stings.

“I truly believe that we really had a solid chance of repeating and defending our title last season, and the guys think that, too,” said Ridley, whose team earned a 10-0 victory Wednesday over Telstar in a game shortened to five innings. “It was out of our control and there was nothing we could do about it, we don’t even really talk about it anymore.”

On June 15, 2019, Lisbon sank Orono 4-0 to win the Class C state title in Bangor. With many key contributors set to return for the 2020 season, Lisbon was well-positioned to defend its crown.

However, that opportunity never came, as the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 spring sports season.

Now, nearly two years removed from that Class C championship, the Greyhounds (2-0) are trying to focus on what lies ahead.

“I keep telling them we’re going to make our mark this year, we just have to put in the work to earn the results,” Ridley said.

Riley Turner of Lisbon starts his swing during a game on Wednesday against Telstar at Lisbon High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Junior Hunter Brissette, who was just a freshman during the undefeated 2019 season, agreed.

“We all know what we could’ve done last year, but the boys aren’t trying to dwell on something in the past that was out of our control,” said Brissette, who threw a no-hitter Wednesday. “Our motivation for this season comes from that, and I think I am speaking for the whole team when I say we want to get back to it.”

Brissette was dominant Wednesday, losing his perfect game on a dropped third strike in the fifth. 

“I went out there with the mentality to throw strikes and let my fielders take care of the rest,” said Brissette, who struck out 16. “I guess that ended up being the right way to go, and Justin (Le) called a great game behind the plate.”

The Greyhounds return four of their nine starters from the 2019 championship squad, but Ridley said he “pretty much (has) a brand new team.”

“We’re really young this year, most of the rest of our starters from 2019 were seniors last season,” said Ridley. “We only have just two seniors, but these underclassmen have been working their tails off to fill the holes we have as a result of graduations.”

Ridley has been relying on his two seniors in Neil LaRochelle and Justin Le to fill that leadership void.

Bryce Poulin of Lisbon, left, slides under a tag from Telstar’s Bodie Leach during Wednesday’s game at Lisbon High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“It’s just about setting the right example on and off the field,” said LaRochelle, who went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs Wednesday. “Everyone should want to be here and have fun while doing it, so I make sure to show the guys I’m always having fun while playing ball.”

Added Brissette: “A few of us actually played on a travel ball team pretty much throughout last summer. I used that time to work on my game and get back in the flow of things after having an unplanned break from baseball.”

Ridley said he hopes the team’s dedication and drive will pay off in June. 

“We have a bunch of kids who want to win, and they know that they’re all in it together, which is something I always try to emphasize,” said Ridley. “We had that same mentality two years ago, now it’s about executing our play between the lines.”

The Greyhounds certainly did that  Wednesday, as they racked up 10 runs on seven hits to earn their second victory of the season. They still not allowed a hit this season. 

“We have a lot of depth in our rotation this season,” said Brissette. “There’s about four or five guys on our team that could go out on any given day and pitch a gem, which is a huge advantage down the stretch.”

 

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