LISBON — If Lisbon’s baseball team is playing, don’t expect a peaceful, quiet day at the diamond.
Totally Greyhounds games, their bench remains enthusiastic and coordinated, shouting out cheers — or as the players call them, “chirps.” Players on the field say the engaged bench has played a role in their recent playoff run that includes wins over Oak Hill, Monmouth and maranacook,
Now, Lisbon (20-0), with its rowdy and passionate bench, will try to cap off its perfect season with a win over Bucksport (19-1) in the Class C state championship game Saturday at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
“(The chants) bring a good confidence boost every game,” Lisbon junior Jack Ramich said. “Getting good chirps, it brings confidence to the team on the field that we’re right there, and we’re there for them.”
Some of the chants include, “leave it for the worms” when an opposing pitcher throws the ball in the dirt, “beard trimmer” when an opposing pitcher throws a pitch high and inside, and “What do we love? Free bases,” when a teammate is walked.
The coordination of the cheers is, according to Lisbon coach Randy Ridley, unique to this year’s team.
“The other groups have just been positive and loud. This one here, the things they say are more coordinated, it’s just not cheering on the team,” Ridley, who has coached the Greyhounds for 22 seasons, said.
Ridley stresses to the players, though, that the “chirps” are meant to encourage their teammates, not to degrade the opposing team.
“I don’t see (the cheering) as derogatory to the other team, just (us) being loud and our obnoxious selves,” Ridley said. “I want us talking about our team, being positive with our group, cheering on our team. That’s where we’re really at our best at being loud is when we’re going towards our team.”
There are times, however, when the cheering toes the line of making fun of the other team, which Ridley is quick to thwart. He bluntly tells his team to stop making certain comments, and that gets the players in check immediately.
This intensity from the bench is a source of pride for the Greyhounds, who are playing for their second state championship since 2019.
“I think that definitely we’re a lot rowdier than the other benches,” junior Levi Tibbetts said. “That’s something that we really take pride in because that’s a way you can control the game by just being present … it’s a big part of staying engaged in the game for the subs and the starters.”
“One guy says something and everyone else says it,” Tibbetts added. “It all started at the beginning of the season. We said ‘beard trimmer’ because we’ve got a couple guys on the team with beards … so when they throw it high and in, we yell ‘beard trimmer.’”
ON-FIELD CONTRIBUTORS, TOO
The passionate cheering isn’t for nothing; it helps players — no matter how much they play — stay ready and engaged for when their name is called.
“Not a single person on that bench is not focused,” Ridley said. “They are focused all the way through the game, so when they do get that opportunity, they haven’t just been sitting down watching it, they’ve been into it, getting a feel for the game. So, once they step in, it’s just natural.”
Two players who showcase this are Jack Ramich and Bryce Poulin, who had huge playoff performances against Oak Hill in the quarterfinals and Maranacook in the regional final, respectively.
In a quarterfinal win against Oak Hill on Friday, Ramich showed what Lisbon’s depth is all about. He wasn’t in the starting lineup, but he played all but one pitch and contributed two important doubles, leading to two RBIs.
“Riley Turner was having some back problems, so coach (Ridley) told me to go in right after the first pitch to get Riley out of the game,” Ramich said. “And after that, it’s just, that was my time to show off my skills, pretty much.”
Two games later, in Tuesday’s regional finalPoulin replaced Ramich early in the game and later drove in two runs on a double to left field.
“They were all cheering me on, they all had the faith in me to get the job done, and I came through,” Poulin, a junior, said.
Ridley added: “He (Poulin) stepped into the hitting department after not really hitting all year long … but he stepped right up in a big position.”
The Greyhounds have gotten contributions from virtually every player throughout this playoff run, whether they be a bench player or a top-of-the-lineup hitter.
“I think it gives us a lot of momentum when the entire team can hit,” Tibbets said. “Sometimes the top of the lineup doesn’t have a hot start, and if we can pick it up with the sixth or the seventh hitter, and then that brings the top of the lineup up again with runners in scoring position… that’s huge for us scoring runs.”
Win or lose on Saturday, Lisbon is going to be loud, they are going to be intense, and they are going to support each other.
“I’ve had some real close-knit teams, these guys are pretty tight,” Ridley said. “They’re there for each other. They are there for each other, they pick each other up, they’ve done a great job of doing that.”
Varsity Maine baseball poll: Edward Little joins Lisbon and Oxford Hills in top 10