The Skowhegan Area High School baseball team had a new experience when it played a pair of exhibition games Saturday on the Mahaney Diamond FieldTurf at the University of Maine. Only one of the Indians, first baseman Isaac Wacome, had played on an artificial surface prior to Saturday, Coach Rick York said.

“Isaac Wacome played on that field at a summer camp,” York said. “It was a special treat for the guys.”

The Indians split a pair of games, defeating Old Town and losing to Cape Elizabeth.

The exhibition games gave York the chance to see his team in various situations, and York tried to make it as similar to a regular season scenario as possible. For example, if a hitter went to the plate with runners on first and second with nobody out, York wanted to see if the hitter could get down a bunt.

“You try and get the kids being aggressive,” York said. “In that situation, you still have to see if the kids can execute (a sacrifice).”

Skowhegan opens the regular season on April 20 at Oxford Hills.

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It hasn’t been easy for Messalonskee softball coach Leo Bouchard to evaluate his young team this preseason. Illness and injuries have left the Eagles shorthanded as they play exhibition games. In a recent exhibition game at Oceanside, Messalonskee’s top two pitchers, sophomores Kai Smith and Kassi Michaud, were out with the flu.

“We’ve got some kids down,” Bouchard said. “We’re getting through as best we can. Kids are coming off the bench and doing the best they can.”

In four games, Bouchard used four different lineups. Bouchard said the injuries have made it difficult to consider a regular season lineup, and some position battles are left unresolved.

“It’s the little things we’re trying to figure out,” Bouchard said. “We trying to find that chemistry.”

The Eagles open the regular season on April 18 against Brewer. They have another exhibition game scheduled Thursday against Medomak Valley.

“I’m hoping to have a couple kids healthy by then,” Bouchard said.

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Lawrence is set to host the first track and field meet of the season Thursday, as long as the weather cooperates. The forecast calls for scattered showers throughout the day.

“Our fingers are crossed. Right now it’s a go,” Lawrence coach Tim Alberts said.

The Bulldogs will host Skowhegan, MCI, Nokomis and Bangor. Alberts said his team approaches this meet almost like an extension of the preseason.

“We use it as a training (meet). We’ve got a lot of new kids. We just go out, have fun and work hard,” Alberts said. “The pressure’s off, from that standpoint.”

A few Bulldogs will use Thursday’s meet to try new events.

“We’ve got a lot of kids we’re putting in events where we and they are saying ‘Really? Should we be doing this?’ ” Alberts said.

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Cony will host one of its largest track and field meets of the season Thursday, when it welcomes Maranacook, Mt. Blue, Winslow and Gardiner.

“It’s not out of the question of the question that we could have 300 kids here,” Cony co-coach Jon Millett said. “It’s a pretty big meet. There will be some pretty good-sized teams here.”

And some will enter the meet with different approaches.

“The big goal is to get as many kids as we can qualified for the KVACs and states,” Millett said. “We have five regular season meets so every single meet is critical to getting kids qualified. We can’t approach these meets lightly. Every one of them is big.”

Added Winslow coach Shawn Carey: “There are not many regular season meets so you are looking for kids to perform. We’ll move people around a lot. We have some returners and we are looking forward to seeing how they’ll do. We’re looking for good first outcomes for them.”

Staff Writer Bill Stewart contributed to this report.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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