DIXFIELD — A clash of MVC softball titans lived up to its billing Wednesday, as Dirigo defeated Monmouth 6-5 in a game neither team will forget anytime soon.

“That’s a great team, and we’ve known that,” Dirigo coach Scott Robbins said of Monmouth. “They have been a good team for a long time, and we knew this was going to be a good game and this would be a tough one to win.”

Both teams provided fireworks in the seventh inning, the last by freshman Abby Luczynski, who came up big and sealed the Cougars’ come-from-behind victory. With the bases loaded, the young hitter drove the first pitch she faced into right field for a bases-clearing, walk-off triple.

“I honestly thought it was going to get caught until I saw (the right fielder) going backward,” Luczynski said.

Dirigo (7-2) came to bat in the bottom half of the seventh facing a 5-3 deficit. Emily Woods led off with a double, and Nikole Turnbull followed with a single. With one out, Aleiah Ward drew an intentional walk to load the bases to get to Luczynski.

“They walked one of our best hitters — who, they know who she is, she is a good hitter — to get to the freshman,” Robbins said. “Our freshman produced. That was huge. I couldn’t be more proud of her and the whole team.

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Monmouth (7-2) entered the final inning down 3-1. With two outs and a runner at second base, Riley Smith tripled to bring home Hayli Paradis and cut the deficit to 3-2. Madi Herr hit an RBI triple to tie the game.

After Shannah Parson’s walked, Lily Palleschi sent a ball down a right-field line for a two-run triple to give the Mustangs a 5-3 advantage.

“It was gut-check time, and they took the challenge and they ran with it,” Monmouth coach David Kaplan said.

“I take huge positives after that seventh inning, huge positives,” Kaplan added. “We know we can come back.”

Dirigo pitcher Lana Waite allowed another walk but then struck out the next batter to end the top of the seventh.

“I was really stressed. I was hoping we could get the out,” Waite said.

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Waite, a sophomore, pitched a complete game to earn the win.

She helped her cause in the bottom of the first when she singled home Woods for the game’s first run and a 1-0 Dirigo lead.

Parsons, Monmouth’s pitcher, provided the first extra-base hit of the game with a double in the top of the second. She later scored on a sacrifice fly by Bella Lyons to tie the game.

Parsons struck out four, walked four, hit a batter and allowed 10 hits.

Behind her, the Mustangs struggled controlling the ball in the infield. Alyssa Ellis, after doubling to lead off the bottom of the second, scored on a fielder’s choice, helped by two Monmouth throwing errors.

“Throwing the ball around the infield, that’s something we don’t typically do,” Kaplan said. “We will overcome that, too.”

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In the bottom of the fourth, Dirigo’s Keira Reny appeared to get caught in a pickle down the third base line, but Monmouth lost control of the ball, which allowed Reny to score and extend the Cougars lead to 3-1.

“I knew when it was 3-1 for a stretch, I told the girls every time we come in to go up to bat, three isn’t going to win this, three isn’t going to end it,” Robbins said. “Credit them for coming back like that.”

Waite was in control through the first six innings when she only allowed two hits, striking out nine and walked six. She finished the game with 11 strikeouts.

“I really tried to hit the outside corner a lot; that’s really my goal because a lot of people had a hard time hitting that spot,” Waite said.

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