WATERVILLE — Despite having been outside for only one day prior to Wednesday’s season opener, Paige Trask appeared to be in midseason form at Coombs Field.

The lone returning starter for Winslow’s softball team, Trask went 4 for 4 with four runs batted in and two runs scored while also tossing a complete-game five-hitter with 10 strikeouts as the Black Raiders kicked off the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B slate with an 8-6 win over rival Waterville. It was the type of effort first-year coach Kasey Larsen expects from Trask — the lone senior starter for Winslow on a team which fielded two freshmen, two sophomores and four juniors in its lineup against the Purple Panthers.

“We kind of knew coming into it that she was going to be a leader,” Larsen said. “We had that conversation with her, that we’re really going to rely on her to (carry) these younger players who haven’t had a lot of experience. We couldn’t have asked for more out of her.”

Winslow raced out to a 4-0 lead after just an inning and a half, with the first of Trask’s two triples driving in a single run in the first and her two-run single capping the Black Raider scoring in the second. It was a quick start for a team that had practiced strictly indoors until finally — for the very first time — getting outside on its own field for the first time on Tuesday.

“We’ve been working hard, so it was nice to just to come outside and play,” Trask said. “We’ve just been working and doing whatever we can to act like we’ve been outside. We can only do so much.”

But it was in the pitching circle where Trask’s true value showed.

Waterville put together a three-run rally in its half of the second inning, thanks to a pair of Winslow errors, but Trask recovered nicely. Instead of letting the situation balloon out of control, she retired 11 of 14 batters from the third through sixth innings, conceding only an RBI single to Waterville senior Hannah LeClair in the fourth. In seasons past, Trask admitted, she might not have reacted as well when faced with adversity from the opposition’s offense.

Winslow pitcher Paige Trask throws against Waterville on Wednesday in Waterville. (Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming)

“You just have to have confidence, no matter what,” Trask said. “Just pitch it, that’s what I say. Just pitch and don’t worry about it.”

Freshman catcher Harly Pomerleau’s first opportunity to catch Trask was an eye-opening one, she said.

“I think she pitched great,” Pomerleau said. “It’s really good to have an older athlete like that for a catcher to learn from. Her fastball — they couldn’t touch her fastball.”

Winslow extended the lead to 7-3 in the fourth. Junior first baseman Mariah Morrison clubbed an inside-the-park home run to right field, while Trask delivered an RBI triple and later came around to score herself on Pomerleau’s single to right-center field.

“I ‘d like to keep it consistent throughout the entire batting order, but it is nice to see that they feed off each other,” Larsen said. “It seems like once one person jumps on it, they do get the train moving. It’s nice that it worked.”

Waterville rallied with a pair of runs in the seventh and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Yuliya Paquette, but Trask’s 10th strikeout of the day ended things.

The Purple Panthers were without four starters and a utility player due to school trips during April vacation week, but Waterville coach Tom Toner liked much of what he saw from a team that already had two weekends’ worth of scrimmages under its belt plus numerous outdoor practices on Colby College’s turf field.

“It was a little bit of a lack of experience for us today,” Toner said. “They never gave up, though. They never stopped fighting, right to the end. That was good to see.”

Winslow’s Leah Knight makes it safe to second base as Waterville’s Hannah LeClair, left, and Maddie Evans cover the base during Wednesday in Waterville. (Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming)

LeClair went 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored for Waterville. Senior pitcher Molly Wasilewski did not pitch poorly for the Purple Panthers, scattering seven hits while striking out nine and walking only one. She was done in by the four errors committed behind her, as well as some batted balls which were misplayed into extra base hits.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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