LEWISTON — Saturday’s Class C South softball semifinal between Spruce Mountain and Monmouth Academy was a battle that dragged into an extra eighth inning. The Phoenix came out on top, winning 7-5.

The semifinal upset against a longtime rival is the best feeling coach Lisa Dube has had since she started coaching 10 years ago for the third-seeded Phoenix (15-3).

“To finally beat Monmouth, it’s been a long time coming,” Dube said. “I told these seniors, ‘You’ve got to believe in yourselves.’ It’s been a process since they were freshmen.

“We never gave up and we had a great season, and we deserve to be here.”

In a game played on the turf field at Lewiston High School, the second-seeded Mustangs (13-5) and Phoenix were tied 1-1 through the first two innings. In the bottom of the third, Riley Smith doubled, followed by a single from Madi Herr. Both went on to score a run, giving Monmouth a 3-1 lead.

“Madi’s a fourth-year starter senior, who plays primarily second base but stepped in to shortstop when she had to,” Monmouth coach Dave Kaplan said. “She’s hit .450 this year, all-star, great player and great kid.”


Neither team added any runs in the fourth inning or fifth inning. In the top of the sixth, the action picked up thanks to Rylee Turner’s double, moving Leah Burgess to third base. Burgess scored off a sacrifice from Mallory Clark, putting the Phoenix down by only one.

In the top of the seventh, Burgess had another big play. With one out and the bases loaded, Burgess sank the ball into the outfield, and earned two RBIs when Samantha Martin and Ashley Nelson both ran home.

On the play, Monmouth senior catcher June Foyt went down to the turf after a missed catch without a face mask on a throw home led to the ball hitting her in the eye, and took her out of the remainder of the game. Mustangs coach Dave Kaplan said Foyt’s absence was apparent in the eighth inning and it was a blow the team couldn’t recover from.

“I really, really thought that when June went down that was kind of a crushing blow, but they still fought back and tied it,” Kaplan said. “We’ve got a very young team, and I’m so proud of them.”

Jaydn Pingree scored a third run that inning off a hit from Turner, giving Spruce Mountain a 5-3 lead.

“I was sitting in the dugout (before the play), and I actually told Lisa (Dube), ‘I actually feel like I don’t have a body right now.’ Like I saw my season ending right in front of me and I knew I was in the position to do something,” Burgess said. “I knew that I needed to put my whole brain into it to actually get it done.”


Jaydn Pingree said that entire set of plays was “stressful” to be a part of, but when she was at bat, she knew she would be able to hit the ball and contribute.

“You just gotta believe in your teammates,” Pingree said. “I’m very proud, many doubted us and we just went to show that we belong in a regional game.”

After Spruce’s big top of the seventh, the Mustangs answered by adding two runs and tying the score at 5-5. To kick it off, Lily Palleschi walked. Then, Rileigh Chase doubled and logged an RBI as Palleschi came home. The second run was scored off an RBI by Riley Smith to bring Chase home.

Going into Saturday’s semifinal game, Kaplan said he told the team to stay loose, and “go out there and give it everything you have, because there’s no tomorrow if you lose.”

He told the team to carry that mantra into the eighth inning, and yelled on the field to the team that it was a 0-0 game from the top of the extra inning.

Dube said she just reminded the team, “you’ve got this,” heading into the eighth inning, and told them to believe in themselves just as she has said all season.


“We’ve improved every time we’ve played them (Monmouth) to having a run,” Burgess said. “We played them last year in the semifinal game and it was 1-0 and we knew that it was our time to do this.”

In the dugout, the Phoenix were loudly chanting throughout the batting lineup, which is something they’ve been doing since sixth grade, Burgess said.

“It just creates a sense of community, a sense of love for the team and we want to keep continuing together,” Burgess said.

Jazmin Pingree led off the eighth with a single, moved around the bases and scored on a passed ball to make the score 6-5. Next at bat, Santika Hodgkin ran home from second base off an RBI by Samantha Martin to close out the scoring and give Spruce the upset victory.

“We heard some drama throughout the early week about the Hall-Dale versus Monmouth regional repeat, and that made us really hungry for today’s game,” Burgess said.

Kaplan said he’s going to miss Foyt and Herr’s fire and competitive spirit now that they’re graduating. He’s proud of the Mustangs for keeping their composure throughout the game and stuck together until the end, especially when Foyt went down with an injury.

Looking to the next game, Burgess said the Phoenix have always been closely competitive with Hall-Dale and Monmouth, and she’s looking forward to another battle.

“I’m excited to play them, they’re the next rival that we’re ready to compete with,” Burgess said of Hall-Dale, the No. 1 seed which also won Saturday.

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