Nick Mazurek’s preseason baseball workouts were cut short by a family vacation in Florida.
It turns out he didn’t really need them, based on early returns.
The sophomore pitcher and infielder has led Oceanside High School of Rockland-Thomaston to a 3-0 start heading into Wednesday’s game at Erskine Academy of South China.
The right-hander already has added a no-hitter and a scoreless save to his pitching resume, along with an offensive outburst in which he had two home runs, three total hits and seven RBIs during a three-inning stretch of his team’s other victory.
“He’s off to a pretty good start,” said Oceanside coach Don Shields.
In the team’s season opener against Camden Hills of Rockport just one day after he returned from the Sunshine State, Mazurek relieved starter Ryan Allender with two out in the final inning of a one-run game and the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.
Four pitches later, the Mariners celebrated a 5-4 victory after Mazurek secured the save with a game-ending strikeout.
Two days later, Mazurek made his first pitching start of the spring and threw his first no-hitter since Little League, striking out 13 batters and walking just one in Oceanside’s 6-0 victory over Medomak Valley of Waldoboro.
“Nick throws the ball hard, and he really understands what he’s doing out there,” said Shields. “He makes my job a lot easier because I don’t have to talk to him a lot. He just goes out and does what he needs to do.”
Most impressive about Mazurek’s performance against Medomak Valley was his economical approach. While recording nearly two-thirds of the outs he required for a complete game via strikeout, he threw just 83 pitches.
“When I didn’t strike out batters, I got a lot of first-pitch outs, and the defense did a good job behind me,” said Mazurek, whose father, Rich Mazurek, was the career home-run leader as well as a basketball standout at Rockland District High School. His grandfather Ed Mazurek played for the NFL’s New York Giants in 1960.
Nick Mazurek relied primarily on his fastball against Medomak Valley and retired 13 consecutive batters during one stretch of the game.
“After 65 to 70 pitches, I started to feel it a little bit,” said Mazurek, “but I never really felt absolutely tired.”
Mazurek also snapped a scoreless tie in that game with an RBI single that ignited a six-run fourth-inning rally by the Mariners, but his offensive prowess really took center stage during Monday’s 13-8 win over Belfast in Thomaston.
The right-handed batter had two hits — one was a three-run home run, the other was an RBI single — in the first inning alone as Oceanside erupted to take a 10-0 lead. Mazurek hit another three-run homer in his next at-bat in the bottom of the third en route to a three-hit, seven-RBI game.
“I had two home runs all of last year,” said Mazurek. “Usually the wind is blowing directly into the batter’s face, but [Monday], it was blowing directly out.”
Oceanside hopes to use the fast start fueled by Mazurek as the catalyst for a strong regular season and deep playoff run, though Shields said the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B ranks remain deep this spring — led by defending Eastern Maine champion Winslow.
“I am optimistic,” he said of a roster that has just three seniors but also returns eight starters from a year ago. “We have 10 or 11 guys back, and they really work well together. It’s one of those years when you’d like to think you can make some noise once you get into the playoffs.”
A potentially deep pitching staff that includes Mazurek, juniors Allender, Jimmy Strong and Caleb Jacob and senior reliever Nick Judge will be pivotal to the Mariners making such a run. That group will be aided by a three-year starter behind the plate in senior catcher J.T. Tobin.
“He really understands the game, and it takes a lot of pressure off me,” said Mazurek. “I know I can just throw the ball, and he’ll catch everything I throw.”