MADISON — Of all the reactions that went with Saturday’s Western C softball semifinals being moved to Monday, the happiest had to be from Madison pitcher Emily McKenney.

“I really, really hate playing in the rain,” McKenney said, laughing. “I absolutely hate it. It’s the worst thing ever. So I was really excited when I didn’t have to.”

McKenney and the Bulldogs were clearly in their element Monday afternoon. McKenney pitched a four-hitter and drove in four runs with a double and a three-run homer as top-ranked Madison defeated No. 4 Winthrop, 14-2, in a game called in the bottom of the sixth inning by the mercy rule.

Madison (18-0) faces No. 2 Dirigo (13-5) in the regional final at 3 p.m., Wednesday, at St. Joseph’s College. The teams met once this season, with Madison posting a 2-1 victory in Dixfield.

The Bulldogs had 14 hits Monday, including four for extra bases. Samantha Bruce went 3 for 3 and drove in three runs, and Kirsten Wood, Sierra LeBlanc, Erika Parker, and Aly LeBlanc each added a pair of hits.

Although Madison had defeated Winthrop 7-2 in the final game of the regular season, McKenney said she was worried because of the results of the 1 vs. 4 matchup in the Eastern A softball semifinals.

“Actually, I was really nervous because I just watched Skowhegan beat No. 1 Brewer on Saturday,”

McKenney said. “So I was like, ‘OK, we definitely have to come out strong, and really go at it.’ I kind of just wanted to give everything I had and lay it all out on the line.”

Madison jolted the young Ramblers with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Wood led off with a single to cap an eight-pitch at-bat, and scored on a two-out error. Aly LeBlanc and Bruce followed with singles to put the Bulldogs on top, 3-0.

“I thought we had to do that,” Madison coach Al Veneziano said. “I thought we had to come out and make something happen in the first inning — play defense in the first inning, and then make something happen at the plate.”

“I feel like if I get on, then I’m hyped up, and everybody gets hyped up,” Wood said. “I was really excited when I got that first hit, and I thought, as a team, we progressed a lot from there.”

Wood made the defensive play of the game in center field in the top of the second inning. With the wind blowing out, Winthrop’s Abby Helm hit a deep fly ball. Wood snagged the ball on the run about a step before hitting the fence.

“She’s done that for us all year,” Veneziano said. “She’s got great speed out there.”

Down 4-0 in the top of the fourth, the Ramblers (10-7) got on the board thanks to a leadoff double by Cat Ouellette and two groundouts. Madison took back the momentum in the bottom of the inning, when McKenney swatted a 3-1 pitch over the center field fence for a three-run shot and a 7-1 Madison lead.

“I’ve been struggling so bad this season, and it’s gotten into my head,” McKenney said. “It made me feel so much better after that home run. I was just relaxed, and everything was OK.”

Madison scored twice more in the fifth and five times in the sixth to invoke the 12-run rule.

Center fielder Danielle Pease is the only senior on Winthrop’s roster.

“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to be a .500 team, and try to make playoffs,” Winthrop coach Bob Ouellette said. “That’s exactly what we did. I don’t remember the last time Winthrop girls made it even to playoffs, let alone played two games in them. We’ve got a big group coming back next year.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

 

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