OAKLAND —A day after what could have been a demoralizing loss, the Messalonskee High School baseball team regrouped. With aspirations of a deep playoff run, the Eagles couldn’t dwell on their first loss of the season.

Friday afternoon, Messalonskee took an 11-1, five-inning victory over Mt. Blue. It was a game the Eagles needed to prove to themselves that a 13-1 loss to Oxford Hills on Thursday was a blip and not the start of a trend.

“Just a wakeup call, that’s all it is. Baseball is a hard game. I know we’re a good team. We’re just as good as Oxford Hills, I truly still believe that. I’ll actually quote my dad (Tim Mayo) on this one. He said we played our worst game against the best team. We showed up today,” said Messalonskee senior pitcher Andrew Mayo, who started and earned the win Friday.

Messalonskee (5-1) opened the season with four consecutive wins, including a 12-3 win over perennial power Bangor. The victory over the Cougars was a showcase of everything the Eagles did well in those four straight victories: timely hitting, aggressive base running, and strong pitching.

“You’re not going to win a lot of games making eight errors in the field. I really wasn’t happy with the way we started from inning one, from pitch one, to be honest,” first-year Messalonskee coach Eric Palin said of Thursday’s loss to the Vikings. “I talked to our guys after that game. I said let’s reflect on some of the mistakes we made today, go to bed tonight, wake up tomorrow morning and this game never happened. Forget about it.”

Messalonskee scored five runs in the second inning, the big hit a two-run double from Garrett Card. The Eagles added five more runs in the third and another in the fourth. Eight of Messalonskee’s 11 runs were unearned, as the Eagles took advantage of six Mt. Blue errors.

“Us as a team, we want to be aggressive at the plate. Usually you’re seeing between two and four errors a game at the high school varsity level. So if you’re hitting the ball on the ground, you can squeak out two, three, four more base runners per game. We put the ball in play a lot better today,” Palin said.

Messalonskee’s James Smith (14) crosses the plate safely after Mt. Blue catcher Evan Downing drops the ball on a force play Friday in Oakland. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Mayo pitched the first four innings for Messalonskee, with Nate Love throwing the fifth. The pair combined to strike out eight. After striking out one Mt. Blue (1-4) hitter his first time through the order, Mayo struck out five of the next six he faced. The one hitter to make contact off Mayo in the third and fourth innings, Jack Kearing, hit a soft pop-up to first base.

“Sometimes I start rough, just trying to get the feel for the mound, how my arm’s feeling, what pitches are working what day. By the later innings, I figured out what was working well and kept going to those same spots and same pitches. Slider was working well. Changeup, fastball, it was all working well today,” Mayo said. “I’m trying to get in as much work as I can, and keep my arm it the best shape for the entire season. We’re only what, six games through? So that’s 10 games left plus the playoffs. We’re looking good as a staff right now.”

Added Palin: “Andrew’s a competitor. He’s one of those guys, like a lot of pitchers, who doesn’t always have his best stuff in the first inning but he’s always going to battle. Second, third, fourth innings, that’s when his other pitches start to work. His changeup starts to drop and slow down. His curveball also starts to slow down, starts to break a little more.”

Aiden Decorolis had Mt. Blue’s only hit, an RBI double in the top of the second inning to score Jackson Joyce with an unearned run.

Card scored three runs for the Eagles.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

 

 

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