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

But unlike their loss to Orono in the 2017 state final, the Greyhounds held on to their lead this time and claimed the championship with a 4-1 victory.

Austin struck out 11 in the first six innings and took a four-run lead into the seventh inning. But Orono’s Dustin Shaw reached on a single – just Orono’s third hit of the game – and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

At that point, memories of the Red Riots’ seventh-inning comeback two years ago rushed into the heads of players, coaches and spectators, 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,’” Lisbon’s Lucas Francis said.

After a pair of walks, Austin got the third out on a liner back to the mound to secure the title and cap a 20-0 season.

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

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

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

The Greyhounds felt confident with Austin on the mound.

“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. After getting an infield hit in the first inning, he singled to center in the third and moved to third on a Francis single. Neil Larochelle grounded out, but Austin scored to give Lisbon a 1-0 lead.

Levi Levesque singled to start the fourth inning for Lisbon, then advanced all the way to third by a sacrifice bunt by DJ Douglass. Justin Le drove in Levesque with a triple to left field, and Daytona McIver followed with an RBI double to make it 3-0.

One out later, Austin was intentionally walked, and after a wild pitch advanced both runners, Francis also got an intentional walk. Larochelle singled to center field to drive in McIver, but Orono’s Caleb Ryder threw out Austin 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.

“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.”

Orono pitcher Cam Shorette held the Greyhounds hitless after that, but Lisbon had all the runs it needed.

“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.”

Francis and Austin were on the 2017 team that lost a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning against Orono. They didn’t want that to happen again.

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


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