FAIRFIELD — It’s been almost two years since Nick Mayo took the mound in a baseball game. On Friday at Lawrence High School’s Keyes Field, the Messalonskee senior looked as if he’d never left.

Mayo pitched four innings of no hit ball, and the Eagles took advantage of Lawrence walks and errors to take a 10-0 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference win in a game shortened to five innings via the mercy rule.

Messalonskee, 2-0, has allowed no runs and just two hits in 12 innings to start the season. The Bulldogs are now 1-1.

The 6-foot-8 Mayo did not play baseball last spring, instead focusing on basketball (Mayo earned a scholarship and will play basketball at Eastern Kentucky University next year). Friday’s game was his season debut on the mound, and Mayo got sharper as the game went on. Mayo walked three, all in the first two innings, struck out five and retired the final seven hitters he faced.

“It’s a little different than being on a court. It felt good being back on the mound, being on the field, throwing again,” Mayo said.

Even with the no hitter intact after four innings, Messalonskee coach Peter McLaughlin didn’t hestitate to take Mayo out of the game. Mayo entered the game with a pitch count of 55-65, and with the cold temperatures (wind chills at game time made it feel in the high-30s), McLaughlin made the move to Josh Casey in the fifth inning.

“As a first year coach, I didn’t like having to look at Mayo and say ‘Hey, listen, you’re out.’ He still had the no-no intact and everything, but it’s too early in the season to be thinking about that,” McLaughlin said. “It’s cold. I didn’t want to put too much stress on his arm, especially where he’s been off, out of baseball, for a while. He ended with 62 pitches and threw really, really well today. He had his command around the strike zone. When he missed, it wasn’t by much. That’s exactly what we’ve been working on in practice.”

“(Mayo) was around the strike zone. Obviously he throws hard. I felt that we were kind of deflated after that first inning. Give him credit, he threw strikes. Their defense made all the plays, which they always do,” Lawrence coach Rusty Mercier said. “We couldn’t really play our style, being down that much. We like to bunt, hit and run.”

The Eagles staked Mayo to a big lead before he took the mound, with six runs in the first inning off Lawrence ace Cody Martin. While Messalonskee only had two hits in the first, the Eagles capitalized on three walks, two errors and two hit batters. Jared Cunningham and Zach Mathieu scored the first two Messalonskee runs on wild pitches. Sam Bell’s two run single gave Messalonskee a 4-0 lead, and two more scored on a throwing error.

“Knowing we’re up early, that we’re hitting good, it definitely takes some stress off the shoulders,” Mayo said.

Added Mercier: “We put ourselves in a hole. We didn’t make a couple plays in that first inning and we didn’t throw a lot of strikes.”

The Eagles added four more runs in the top of the third. Connor Garland led off by getting hit by a pitch, stole second, went to third base on a passed ball, and scored on a Bell single. Cunningham, Mathieu and Mayo also drove in runs.

Lawrence’s lone hit, a Brandon Hill single to right field, came with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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