SKOWHEGAN — Midway through the second inning Friday afternoon, the Skowhegan outfield engaged in discussion about the performance of the team’s starting pitcher Sydney Ames. Right fielder Annie Cooke looked over to Alyssa Everett in center and said, “You do your thing, and we’ll just stand here.”

Ames did just that.

While not having her best stuff, the senior scattered four hits while striking out 10 to lead Skowhegan to a 10-0 win over visiting Lewiston. Ames stranded 10 Blue Devils on base, seven of them in scoring position, to keep her earned run average at a sparkling 0.00 through the first two games of the season.

Skowhegan first baseman Mariah Dunbar makes the out as Lewiston runner Gemma Landry hustles to the bag during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Friday in Skowhegan. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

“That’s a competitor,” Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson said. “One of her biggest strengths is being competitive.”

“Normally, I pitch better without pressure,” Ames said. “Today, it just worked out that way that I held the pressure in my head and said, ‘No one’s scoring.’ I tried to work through it and not focus on the runners on base.”

Ames hardly needed to be her dominant self after pitching a five-inning perfect game with 13 strikeouts in Wednesday’s season opener at Mt. Ararat. Skowhegan scored 26 runs in that game, and the offense hadn’t cooled much by the time Friday rolled around. Eight of the nine spots in the Skowhegan lineup both reached base and scored at least one run, bolting out to a 9-0 lead through just three innings.

Senior first baseman Mariah Dunbar went 2 for 4 with a two-run single as part of a four-run first inning, while freshman shortstop Jaycie Christopher was 1 for 3 with a two-run double to provide all the scoring in the second.

“We’ve started off hitting well at the beginning of the season,” Dunbar said. “I think it will just get better from here. We’ve been working on it a lot.”

It’s been tough sledding for Lewiston (0-2) to open the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A season, having already faced heavy preseason favorites Bangor (a 9-1 loss Wednesday) and Skowhegan in a span of three days to open the slate.

Walks hurt starting pitcher Jordyn Rubin, who surrendered six runs despite allowing only two hits in her two innings of work. Isabelle Cormier came on to start the third, and after getting touched up for four hits and three innings in her first inning of work, the Blue Devil sophomore settled in and limited Skowhegan to just one run the rest of the way courtesy of an RBI single from Sydney Reed in the fifth.

“We’re a young team and we’re trying to figure it out,” Lewiston coach Ryan Cormier said. ”It’s still the beginning of the season, but we have the girls that will fight through this. We’ll move forward.”

Trailing 9-0 in the fourth inning, a one-out double from Kallie May put a pair of Blue Devils in scoring position before Ames posted back to back strikeouts to get out of the frame unscathed.

In the fifth, Lewiston loaded the bases through a walk, a Gemma Landry single and a Skowhegan error, but Ames battled Madison Laflamme to a 2-and-2 count before getting her to harmlessly bounce out to Emma Duffy at second to escape the jam.

“We’ve just get to get the butterflies out of our system. In the preseason, we were cranking the ball,” Ryan Cormier said. “We can definitely hit the ball. We’ve just got to find those gaps out there and move on.”

Even in the seventh, a walk and a single put two more Lewiston runners on with two outs before Ames ended the game by getting Skylar Gelinas to pop out in foul territory for the game’s final out.

“I tried every single (changeup) I had, but nothing was working,” Ames said. “I worked through it for the most part. Having that defense behind me, I felt more confident and comfortable on the mound.”

“She threw pretty well, and she always competes,” Johnson said. “There were a couple of pitches she was having trouble with, but she found a way to get what she did have working for her.”

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