Messalonskee softball didn’t get to show its best stuff in the season opener against Skowhegan. The Eagles have been making up for that since then.

The Skowhegan game went 10 innings before Messalonskee fell, 3-2. The Eagles were missing two starters who were on college trips in that game, and coach Leo Bouchard told his players that in the next game, they should treat it like those players were injured.

“That’s the way we responded in the Lawrence game,” Bouchard said. “The girls really stepped it up, the girls that weren’t hitting were, and everything fell into place.”

After defeating Lawrence 13-2, the Eagles went and romped to a 16-1 win over Mt. Ararat. Junior pitcher Kirsten Pelletier, in her first year as the full-time starter, has a 0.30 ERA in 23 innings, and the offense has been just as good. Messalonskee has hit four home runs — three by Kristy Prelgovisk and one by MollyAn Killingbeck — and three other players have swatted balls off the fence.

Bouchard said Cassidy Baker and Kelsey Dillon are the two most improved hitters in the lineup, but the whole batting order is producing.

“They’re a year older, but it’s their confidence level,” Bouchard said. “You cannot coach confidence, and that’s what these kids have.”

The team chemistry also has Bouchard speaking in positives, and that’s impressive in itself, because he thinks the team has had good chemistry for a few years.

“Somebody’s always picking somebody up,” Bouchard said. “They’re that kind of kid that you’d love to have as a daughter. They’re all that way.”

• • •

For Monmouth and coach Dave Kaplan, the season hasn’t gone according to plan.

Most of that has been out of Monmouth’s control. The Mustangs couldn’t get on their field for a long time because of the bad weather. Now that they can get on the field, it’s being used on most days.

“We’re set back like everybody this year,” Kaplan said. “We have not had a practice on our infield all year. Not one. I’ve never gone to April 29 without having a practice on my field.”

The Mustangs did get a game on their field when they beat Winthrop on Monday. Preseason was another matter.

“We got creative in the gym,” Kaplan said. “We used the middle school front yard for fly ball work. It’s a challenge.”

In that game against Winthrop, the Mustangs started five junior varsity players. Kaplan said several players were on trips during April vacation, so he’s working them back into the lineup.

“For kids that really have no varsity experience at all, they stepped in and they performed real well,” Kaplan said.

• • •

Skowhegan, meanwhile, has played only once since defeating Messalonskee. The Indians edged Mt. Blue 8-4 on Monday.

In preseason, Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson said his team would have to manufacture runs more than it did last year. The Indians aren’t experts at that yet, but they’re getting there.

“In the first game against Messalonskee, we got a lot of sacrifices down,” Johnson said. “We’re still working on it. They’re still trying to get more comfortable with it. But we’re heading in the right direction.”

For the second year in a row, the Indians are using Eliza Bedard, a left-hander, at second base. It’s something you don’t often see in baseball or softball, because a lefty has to turn their body around to make the throw to first. Johnson said Bedard’s mobility made her the choice for second base.

“She has really good range, and she reads the ball pretty good,” Johnson said. “Also, (with) second basemen, there’s a lot of balls that are little flares that she seems to be getting a lot of.”

In one respect, a lefty second baseman is actually an advantage. When the first baseman charges on a bunt, Bedard covers first base. That means she can see the whole field without having to turn her body, and also has an easier throw across the diamond if the runner on first tries to take third on the bunt.

“To be honest, we actually looked at her at shortstop,” Johnson said. “But that was a little bit harder because of the longer throw.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.