2018-05-14 / Varsity Maine / Sports

Hall-Dale hands Lisbon first loss

BY ERIC MAXIM
Times Record Staff

LISBON

When looking at the high school baseball schedule at the beginning of the season, Hall-Dale visiting Lisbon on Friday, May 11, was a game that was circled as one to watch.

Both teams entered Friday’s matchup with unblemished records, with the Bulldogs holding the top spot in Class C South and 7-0 Lisbon in fourth.

The Bulldogs broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the sixth inning and came away with a 6-3 victory over the Greyhounds in the Mountain Valley Conference clash.

“That was a fantastic high school baseball game,” Hall- Dale coach Bob Sinclair said. “We came to play baseball today against a good team and came out on top.”

The Bulldogs improved to 9-0 and hosts Mountain Valley today at 4 p.m. The loss drops Lisbon to 7-1, and the Greyhounds head to Monmouth today, also at 4 p.m.

The game lived up to its billing from the first batter. Hall-Dale’s Austin Stebbins grounded a Lucas Francis fastball to short where sophomore DJ Douglass gloved the hard hit ball, firing to first to beat the speedy Stebbins, setting the tone defensively.

Following a Jacob Brown walk and ground out, Akira Warren turned on a Francis fastball, lining it into the left-field corner for a two-out RBI double and a 1-0 lead. Francis retired the next hitter, stranding Warren on second base.

Lisbon wasted no time answering the Bulldogs as Noah Austin hit the first pitch he saw from Hall-Dale starter Dean Jackman to the fence in left for a leadoff double. Francis followed with an infield single, and after an uncontested steal put runners on second and third, Nick Austin lined off the outstretched glove of Alec Byron at short as both runners scored while the ball rolled to the outfield grass.

Jackman retired the next two hitters to end the frame.

“That was important to come out and score two runs after giving up one in the first,” Lisbon coach Randy Ridley said. “We’ve got some young kids out there playing varsity, and they showed some poise.”

Each pitcher settled in, throwing strikes and getting solid defense behind them. Francis retired the Bulldogs in order in the second and third, fanned two in the fourth and received defensive help from Noah Austin. The catcher threw out Warren while attempting to steal second after a Bulldog strikeout to end the inning.

In the fifth, Hall-Dale designated hitter Tim Cookson got the best of Francis. The junior hit a one-out homer to right-center field to tie the game.

“I left that pitch high and he got a hold of it,” Francis said. “Once it got up in the wind, it just kept carrying over the fence.”

“I didn’t think I hit all of it,” Cookson said. “I knew it had a chance to reach the fence, but it kept carrying.”

With the Hall-Dale bench at the edge of the dugout, the next hitter Logan Dupont promptly roped a double to get into scoring position. After a strikeout, Stebbins dropped in an RBI single to break the 2-2 tie. Noah Austin threw his second runner of the contest out to end the inning when Stebbins tried to steal second.

Trailing by a run, Lisbon once again was not fazed. Douglass reached on a two-out single and moved to second on a pitch in the dirt. Francis came to the plate looking fastball, and the senior got one, knocking a single into left-center field, scoring Douglass to tie the game.

“I was looking for a fastball early,” Francis said, fanning his previous at-bat on a Jackman curveball. “He got me with a curveball last time and I didn’t want to see it again, so I jumped on his fastball.”

“Lucas showed me a lot of maturity today,” Ridley said. “After giving up the lead the inning before, he had a great at-bat and bared down for us.”

Bulldogs take lead

Byron reached first on an infield single with one in the sixth. Warren followed with a base hit through the hole at second base on a hit-and-run, and when the throw into the infield slipped away for an error, Byron scored and Warren moved to third.

Cole Lockhart reached on another Lisbon miscue, and Jackman was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Cookson. The right handed hitter sliced a two-run double down the right-field line, plating two more runs and putting the visitors ahead, 6- 3.

“My job as the designated hitter is to put the ball in play,” Cookson said. “I got a good pitch to hit to right.”

“Tim did this for us last year. He came down here to Lisbon and got the game-winning hit for us then,” Sinclair said. “We put the ball in play against a very good pitcher today. We know this is a good team and expected this type of game.”

Francis got the final two outs, but once the dust cleared, the Bulldogs held a three run lead.

With it his game to lose, Jackman took to the mound each of the final two innings. The senior retired the Greyhounds in order in the sixth and worked around a walk and a single in the seventh to nail down the victory.

“Their pitcher pitched a great game today. He kept our hitters off balance with his curveball and spotted his pitches well,” Ridley said. The right-hander allowed eight hits, while only walking one and striking out five in the complete game victory.

Francis took the loss, giving up seven hits, one walk, hit a batter, while striking out seven hitters.

“They are a good team, we could very well see them three more times,” Francis said as his team will end the regular season on the road at Hall-Dale. The two teams may see each other again in the MVC title game and possibly in the Class C playoffs.

Warren and Cookson each had two hits to pace the Bulldogs. Noah Austin had three hits and Francis two in the loss.

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