SKOWHEGAN — Messalonskee High School softball coach Leo Bouchard wasn’t surprised that his team beat Skowhegan on Monday afternoon. It was how the Eagles did it — a 13-0 victory shortened to five innings because of the 12-run rule — that shocked Bouchard.

“There’s no way I expected to come up here and mercy rule Skowhegan. I expected this to be a 4-2 game, 5-3 game, something along those lines,” Bouchard said.

For a few innings, it was the close game Bouchard expected. Then the defending Class A state champs sent 15 hitters to the plate in the fourth inning, scoring 10 runs, and the rout was on. The Eagles (3-0) haven’t given up a run in 17 innings to start the season, outscoring opponents 36-0.

“They had good at bats. You have to give them credit,” Skowhegan (1-2) coach Lee Johnson said. “They fouled a lot of pitches off, put a lot of balls in play and got some timely hits when they needed them. That’s the sign of a good team.”

Skowhegan starting pitcher Ashley Alward struck out eight over the first three innings, but Messalonskee started to figure her in the third when Kirsten Pelletier’s two-run single gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead.

“That’s what we try to do. We’ve got to get timely hits to score runs in close games, and in the third inning it was a really close game. You didn’t know which way it was going to go,” Pelletier said.

Things really started to work for the Eagles in the top of the fourth. Messalonskee had a stretch of 12 consecutive hitters reach base in the inning. Mackenzie Charest’s bases loaded single, accompanied by a Skowhegan error, scored three runs to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead. Messalonskee had five hits in the inning, and with one out Alward turned the ball over to Sydney Ames.

“Our key was slowing the bats down and finding the ball. (Alward) was throwing hard and we were swinging too hard. As hard as she was throwing, the ball was still in the strike zone longer than our bats were. We needed to slow down, make contact and let the ball do the work,” Bouchard said.

Messalonskee’s scoreless streak almost ended in the first inning when the Indians loaded the bases with one out. Pelletier got a strikeout and a soft line drive to shortstop Madisyn Charest to get out of the inning.

“They surprised us a little bit, getting on base at first, but we battled through it. My defense made some great plays,” Pelletier said.

“If you can score early, you can change the complexion of a game. But when a good team gets the lead, then everybody relaxes, and they’re all good hitters. (Messalonskee) got themselves into a confident situation,” Johnson said.

Pelletier gave up three hits and two walks while striking out seven for the win.

“Again, it’s defense and pitching,” Bouchard said. “Yeah, you’ve got to score runs, but if you can’t prevent them, there’s going to be a problem.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM