OAKLAND — Anybody waiting to see how the pitch count rule will work in practice, we offer a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game Monday between Skowhegan and Messalonskee. Seven pitchers saw the mound in the game, a 10-3 Messalonskee win, as coaches in each dugout anticipated games stacking up due to rainouts last week and anticipated rain later this week, and wanted to get a taste for their pitching depth without taxing any of it.

“We were uncertain if we’d have to get four games in this week because of the (rainout) backup last week. This was the first chance to see that pitch count in action, keeping guys below that 20 (pitch count) so they’re available the next day,” Messalonskee coach Ray Bernier said.

Messalonskee starter Dustin Brown was perfect for three innings, before Skowhegan’s Adam Turcotte led off the top of the fourth with a double down the left field line. When Brown walked two of the first three hitters in the fifth and his pitch count approached 70, Bernier lifted him in favor of Tyler Noonan. Parker Poulin and Tyler Lewis also each threw an inning of relief for the Eagles.

“It was Dustin’s first start, so I didn’t want him to go too long. I kept him around 70. And we want to see guys early in the season, what they can do in situations,” Bernier said.

It was much of the same for Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc, who pulled starter Michael Berry after four innings and 80 pitches, getting Ryan Savage and Colby Miller each an inning of work.

“The two guys who came in (Savage and Miller) struggled earlier, but they seem to be getting it now,” LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc felt all three pitchers threw well, although the Indians were undone by three errors that led to seven unearned Messalonskee runs. After Lewis reached on an error in the bottom of the first, four of the next five Eagle hitters reached base. Josh Joy’s two-run double gave Messalonskee a 2-0 lead. Noah Tuttle and Percy Carey also drove in runs to stake the Eagles to a four-run lead.

“Early April baseball, that’s what you’ve got to do. Field conditions aren’t always so great. You’ve got to take advantage of those quirky errors. I’m just happy the guys took advantage of them when they got them,” Bernier said.

Ahead 6-3 in the sixth inning, Messalonskee added four insurance runs. Following an error, Joy and Tuttle each hit two-run singles. LeBlanc said the errors were a result of the lack of practice time.

“Every time we’ve been outside, it’s to play a game. We’re still learning as we go along. We don’t quit, so that’s all I can ask of them,” LeBlanc said.

Marcus Christopher’s groundout to first scored Turcotte with the first Skowhegan run in the fourth inning. Aiden Louder’s RBI single cut Messalonskee’s lead to 6-2 in the fifth inning. The Indians added another run in the sixth when Garrett McSweeney scored on a balk.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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