MONMOUTH — Monmouth and St. Dominic Academy battled down to the wire in their highly anticipated baseball matchup Tuesday.

The Mustangs, the defending Class C state champions, defeated the Saints, the two-time defending Class D state champions, 4-3.

It was a statement win for Monmouth.

“This was a big win, Heal points-wise, and knocking out the only undefeated team left in the state right now,” Monmouth senior Luke Harmon said. “It was a big win for us, but we made more errors offensively and defensively. But it’s a great win.”

While the game lived up to its billing, both coaches said their teams made mistakes that they don’t normally make. The Saints (12-1) made four errors and had a few base running mistakes. The Mustangs (12-1) made two errors.

“It was a competitive game, two quality teams. Both of us probably didn’t play our best games today and sometimes that’s what you get,” St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman said. “We made one more mistake than they did and it cost us. It was a good learning experience for the guys, playing a quality team.”


St. Dom’s had a chance to get a run in the opening inning when Ashton Hammond was at second with one out. The Saints had a steal play on and Hammond was off to third when Ridge Dionne’s line drive got caught by Sam Calder, Monmouth’s shortstop, who threw to second baseman Tyler Johnson at the bag to double up Hammond.

Ethan Pelletier led off the top of the second with a single but got caught trying to steal second base later in the inning. In the top of the third, with two outs, Thomas Casserly got thrown out third with Timothee Ouellette at bat.

“We were trying to be aggressively early,” Blackman said. “We thought we could run on them, but we couldn’t cash in on the back end of it.”

Monmouth only had one hit through two innings but got the game’s first runs in the bottom of the third. Kyle Palleschi reached first when he was hit by a pitch. Brothers Jake and Luke Harmon had back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs.

St. Dom’s nearly got out of the jam when the Saints turned a 6-2-3 double play without giving up a run. However, freshman Noah Schultz beat out an errant throw to first, which allowed both Harmons to score for a 2-0 lead.

Luke Harmon had to leap over Dionne, the Saints catcher, to score the run.


“I jumped and prayed,” Luke Harmon said. “I guess my teammates said I did a flip, I don’t know. I am not good at diving, but I knew I had to dive head-first.”

Schultz ended up at third on the play, but Rory Foyt popped out to end the inning.

Ouellette led off the fourth with a ground-rule double to right field. Dionne reached first on an error to send Ouellette to third. Then Ouellette got caught stealing home when Dionne was in a pickle. Dionne reached second and later scored on a fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Monmouth responded in the bottom of the inning after a few mistakes by the Saints. Kyle Palleschi reached on an error, allowing Isaac Cote to score. Jake Harmon’s single scored Johnson for a 4-1 lead.

“They have been consistent all year,” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said of Jake and Luke Harmon. “They are fun kids to have, great kids, they work hard every day. It shows on the field, and they do a great job.”

Kyle Palleschi, Monmouth’s starting pitcher, and St. Dom’s starter Ben Dumais had relatively clean innings in the fifth and sixth.


St. Dom’s attempted to rally in the seventh when Ethan Pelletier doubled and Dumais got hit by a pitch with one out. Curtis Wheeler doubled to bring both runners home. But Palleschi got the next two batters out to end the threat and the game.

“The last three games, the back end of the lineup has set the tone for us,” Blackman said. “The top of the lineup couldn’t get that key hit that we needed with men on base. I will give a lot of credit to our lower three.”

Kyle Palleschi said he trusted his teammates and himself.

“They started hitting the ball. They knew how to score to get back in this,” Kyle Palleschi said. “I knew that, too, and I kept trusting my guys. They got some hits and I was like, ‘I need to keep throwing strikes.’ I trusted the guys behind me and Rory made a play to end the game.”


Ryan Bussiere, the Saints’ starting third baseman, left the game in between the top and bottom of the fourth inning when he passed out in St. Dom’s dugout.

The game paused for roughly 20 minutes while Bussiere was checked out by the Monmouth trainer and others. He walked to a cart, which took him off the field.

“We think it was heat exhaustion,” Blackman said. “We think he was dehydrated and passed out. So, hopefully, he’s doing OK back home.”

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