FAIRFIELD — If Haley Holt can keep this up all season, Lawrence High School is going to have to name the softball field’s power alley in left-center field after her.

Holt went 4 for 4 with three doubles, all of them skipping off the fence in the identical spot in left-center as part of a three-RBI day for the senior catcher in Lawrence’s season-opening 13-1 win over Maine Central Institute on Friday afternoon. It was a thunderous introduction to Class B on behalf of the Bulldogs, who dropped down from Class A for this season.

The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game was halted after five complete innings via the mercy rule.

Sophomore outfielder Megan Curtis scored three runs, as did Holt, and freshman second baseman Sarah Poli collected three of Lawrence’s 17 hits on the day.

“It’s a good start,” Holt said. “It feels good. We did really well in the preseason. We’ve had the opportunity to get outside a lot with our field being ready as early as it was. I think (today) was important, because we have a really well-rounded team.”

Samantha Marshall pitched a two-hitter for Lawrence, allowing just a single run in the third after hitting the leadoff batter and getting nicked for Jillian Frost’s run-scoring single to center.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: The choice in this category was obvious, with Holt providing all the offense the Bulldogs would need.

After dropping to seventh in the batting order last spring with a slumping bat, Holt opened 2018 in the three-hole and delivered.

“It’s really important to be mentally tough and be able to handle yourself well,” she said of rebounding from last season. “Even if you take a couple of bad swings, you’ve got to keep your head up. It’s funny, because it was the opposite way last year.”

Speaking of opposite, the lefthanded-hitting slugger was dialed in to the opposite field Friday.

“I just hit it where it’s pitched,” Holt said. “That’s just where it goes. If they give it to me inside, I’ll pull it. But if it’s low and out, I’ll just extend and let it go.”

TURNING POINT: After Marshall made quick work of MCI in the first, Lawrence scored six runs in the home half of the inning.

The Bulldogs brought 10 batters to the plate in the frame, bolstered by consecutive run-scoring knocks from Holt, Gretta Knowlton (2 for 4) and Molly Folsom.

“I like that we were hitting the ball hard when we hit it,” Lawrence coach Joey Marcoux said. “We got very few little rinky-dink hits. When we hit it, we hit it.”

Five times in the first, Lawrence batters bunted the ball right out in front of home plate, forcing MCI to play quick, aggressive defense.

To their credit, the Huskies — missing three starters due to injury or vacations — only committed one error in the inning, though they were unable to turn surehandedness into immediate outs.

“They’re going to hit the ball,” MCI coach Tony Stewart said of Lawrence. “This was a great game for us to kind of figure out what we have.”

Lawrence scored three more runs in the second, two in the third and two in the fifth to end the game. In every inning in which they scored, the Bulldogs put the leadoff hitter on base.

“I have a lot of confidence in all of the kids,” Marcoux said of his deep lineup. “I like the makeup of the team. I’ve got the senior leadership and a couple of freshmen starting mixed in there. It’s good.”

STARTING OFF: After sitting behind Lilly Herrin all of last season, the starting pitching job this year belongs to the senior Marshall.

She responded by striking out four, allowing only two hits and one walk. She never faced more than four batters in any inning, using a rising fastball, a changeup and a curve to keep Husky hitters off-balance.

“I had a lot of confidence in my team behind me,” said Marshall, who also went 2 for 4 at the plate with a double. “I knew we were going to play as a team and stick together through it until the end. It’s all about confidence between me and my catcher.”

Marshall is a different pitcher than Herrin. Instead of relying on overpowering fastballs the way Herrin did, Marshall’s approach centers on location and changing speeds.

Holt’s praise of Marshall’s first outing of the season was glowing.

“She has a ton of natural movement,” Holt said of catching her. “That’s my favorite thing about her. Everything moves, even her fastball. With Sammy, she makes it so that the hits are fieldable.”

“She’s got to have the movement on the ball and she’s got to have it dance to the corners a little bit,” Marcoux said. “This year, it’s all Sammy. It’s, ‘Here you go, this is your season. It’s your senior year, so let it ride.'”

UP NEXT: Lawrence is right back in action on Saturday morning with an 11 a.m. start at Erskine Academy. It will be the season opener for the Eagles. … MCI travels to Class C Maranacook on Monday.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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