It always is fun when longstanding Waldo County high school athletic rivals Belfast and Mount View meet, but Friday afternoon’s season-opening diamond games in Thorndike and Knox proved more fun for the visitors than the hosts.

That is because the Lions secured a pair of road victories by winning the softball game 9-3 and prevailing in the baseball contest 8-1.

The Lions (1-0) led 3-2 after the first inning of the softball game in Knox, but then methodically pulled away with one run in the third inning, two more in the fourth and three in the seventh. The Mustangs (0-1) tallied two runs in the first inning and one in the fourth.

In the baseball contest in Thorndike, Belfast (1-0) slowly built its lead, with single runs in the first, second, third and fifth stanzas and two in both the fourth and sixth stanzas. Mount View (0-1) tallied its lone run in the fourth.

Softball

Belfast had too much Victoria Overlock in the pitching circle and a scrappy, consistent offense for the host Mustangs. Overlock allowed four hits, four walks and struck out seven.

The Lions were paced offensively by Hayley Rae (run), Morgan Mansfield (2 hits, 2 runs), Overlock (2 doubles, 2 runs), Killyan Richards (double, 2 runs), Makayla Cummings (3 singles, run, 4 RBIs), Ashland Hall (4 hits), Alexis Porter (hit) and Nicole Small (hit, run).

For the Mustangs, Brianna Moody (double, run), Wendy Gibbs (double, run), Hailey Giggey (single) and Vicki Lufkin (double, run) keyed the offense. Pitching for Mount View was Giggey, who allowed five walks, hit two batters and recorded five strikeouts.

Despite the seemingly lopsided score, Belfast coach Chris Bartlett said both squads played a strong game.

“You could see at the beginning of the game some of those first-games jitters, but once both teams found their feet it really turned into a nice game,” he said. “I’m proud of the way they played and hung in there.”

Bartlett said the performance was what he expected out of the players for an early-season game.

“We still have a lot of things we have to work on,” he said. “We’ve got to get better, but to get a victory under out belts and to start the season that way and have some learning things to take from it, everything is positive.

Baseball

Lion pitcher Damien Benner proved too tough for the Mustangs, as he allowed three hits, walked one and fanned eight. Keying the visitors’ offense were Greg Clark (2 singles, double, run), Scott Kulikowski (run), Damien Benner (2 hits, run), Lew Dyer (hit, 2 runs), Winston Simmonds (2 hits), Larry Dyer (hit), Gabe Desjardins (hit, 2 runs) and Craig Herbert (run).

Belfast coach George Ross was pleased with the Lions’ opening performance.

“We came out and did a nice job,” he said. “We played well defensively. I don’t know if we had an error. Damion Benner is only a sophomore but he pitched a beautiful game to start. [We have] all the plusses right now.”

Ross said he was happy with the team’s hitting and especially the pitching. However, he has a realistic eye on the future.

“We are a very young team and we are going to have our ups and downs,” he said. “This is an up and we are going to enjoy it and then see what [the next game] brings.”

For the Mustangs, Kenneth McGray pitched, allowing five walks and striking out three Lion batters. Keying the host’s offense were Adam Higgins (double), Aaron Elkins (run), Bryan Jungels (hit), and McGray (hit).

Mount View coach Chris Hink said his team did not come out and play like it had in the weeks before the first regular-season game. He said he was disappointed in the Mustangs lack of focus and thought they could do better.

“This isn’t the same that I saw during preseason,” he said. “This isn’t the same team that was coming ready to play. I mean we are playing at home, first game against your rivalry Belfast and you can’t get up to play?” Hink said. “Win or lose, give 110 percent. Win or lose, I’m satisfied with a loss if we are focused. We didn’t have that today.”

However, the ‘Stang coach said his team will be fine.

“I’m confident in the team, [that] they are going to come around and they will start to figure things out mentally,” Hink said. “[It’s] more of a mental game right now and I’m not going to give up on these kids at all because I’m going to give 110 percent for them as well and hopefully they will turn it around.”

Village NetMedia Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at kwaltz@villagesoup.com.