LEWISTON — Ashley Alward was already feeling good entering Skowhegan’s first game of the season, but a six-run cushion before she even took the mound only added to her confidence.

Alward took over things from there for the Indians, taking a perfect game into the fourth inning and finishing with a no-hitter in a 10-0 Class A North softball win over Lewiston at Lafayette Street Field on Friday afternoon.

“It’s always nice to get off to a quick start like we did,” Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson said. “We got some opportunities, capitalized, and put six on the board, which makes life a lot easier. But then Ashley was extremely good on the mound, and we come up with a bunch of timely hits.”

As well as the Indians (1-0) started off, it was a “rough” start for the Blue Devils (1-1), according to head coach Mike Child.

Sydney Ames led off with a single up the middle for Skowhegan, then a pair of walks loaded the bases. Lindsey Warren singled in the first two runs, then Wylie Bedard singled another two batters later. A run scored on a groundout before Annie Cooke drove in two more with a double to deep left to make it 6-0.

“That six-run first inning kind of just demoralized the girls,” Child said. “You keep trying to tell them to stay up, stay up, be positive, stay up, you can always come back.”

Lewiston pitcher Dani Cyr induced a groundout and a pop-up to get out of the inning, and those two outs started a string of 10 out of 11 batters retired that lasted into the fourth.

“I thought Dani got her composure back,” Child said. “She had a tough first inning there, a tough start.”

Alward was on-point from the start. She struck out the first two batters she faced before fielding a grounder by Meagan Gosselin for the third out of the first inning. She then struck out the side in both the second and third.

“I felt really good. We just came off a week in Florida, we played a lot of games, and we practiced a lot in the offseason just as a team and it felt really good going in,” Alward said. “Even if I didn’t have the strikeouts, I knew my defense would be behind me.”

Alward cleanly fielded a bunt attempt by Jordyn Rubin to lead off the fourth, which started off her second time through the Lewiston lineup. Gemma Landry and Gosselin both walked on full counts to follow, and both runners moved into scoring position, but Alward struck out Emily Mousseau to get out of the inning.

“I knew that at some point somebody’s going to either hit the ball or something’s not going to go perfect,” Alward said. “But just got to kind of dig out and know the defense has my back behind me.”

Alward, who walked and struck out in her first two at-bats against Cyr, added to her own run support in the top of the fourth. Sydney Reed drew a walk on a full count with two outs to bring up Alward, who blasted a two-run home run to left-center for an 8-0 advantage.

“It’s been a struggle this preseason, so it felt very good to get back to where I was,” Alward said.

Alward drove in two more runs with a two-run double that Lewiston right fielder Abby Chartier couldn’t make a running catch of in the sixth. Cyr then struck out the final four batters of the game, bringing her total to eight punchouts. She allowed nine hits and five walks.

Alward struck out four batters over her final three innings to finish with 13 strikeouts. She also induced four pop-ups and a solid-but-safe fly out from Gosselin.

“You got to give her all the credit in the world, she pitched a (heck) of a game,” Child said.

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