MADISON — It’s always interesting when Carrabec is playing Madison. Make it a playoff game, like the one Thursday afternoon, and you’ve got a big crowd with a lot of screaming on both sides.

The only thing missing was a close game. Carrabec hung in long enough to give the Bulldogs one of their toughest games of the season, but Madison pitcher Emily McKenney fired a four-hitter with nine strikeouts as the top-seeded Bulldogs posted a 9-1 victory in a Western C softball quarterfinal game.

“We hit the ball,” Carrabec coach Craig Knight said. “We didn’t have a lot of hits today, but Emily doesn’t give up a lot of hits. Emily was better than we were today, and I’ll give her all the credit in the world. There’s a reason why she’s the player of the year (in the conference).”

Madison (16-1) hosts No. 4 Telstar in a game tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday. No. 8 Carrabec finishes at 7-9.

There were enough fans from both sides that Madison held a 50/50 raffle for the first time all season (the winner got $50). McKenney said the key was to stay calm amidst all the tumult.

“It’s our biggest rival, so they always have a tendency to get in all of our heads,” McKenney said. “I knew I had to come out confident, or things weren’t going to go my way. So I tried to just ignore all the music, and all the sound, and everything else, and just try to stay in my zone.”

Madison finished with 14 hits overall. Every starter had at least one hit, and McKenney, Kayla Bess, Savanna Kandiko, Erin Whalen, and Madeline Wood had two apiece.

“My kids stepped up,” Knight said. “They really did. You’ve got to got to give Madison all the credit, though. They hit the ball tonight. They didn’t play small ball. They came up and hit the ball.”

Carrabec’s Baylee Atwood had two hits, both on perfectly placed bunt singles. Combined with her 4-for-4 day on Tuesday against Maranacook, Atwood was 6 for 7 in the playoffs.

“I don’t think there’s anybody faster than she is,” Madison coach Chris LeBlanc said. “She laid down two perfect bunts, and away they go. It could be a big inning, but what we stressed is, do not let one runner impact that inning. Don’t let it get to your mind.”

Madison scored twice in the first on an RBI double to deep left by Aly LeBlanc and an RBI single by Cristie Vicneire. The score stayed 2-0 through three innings. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with two down in the second, but LeBlanc’s liner up the middle was snared by Carrabec pitcher Jessica Vaillancourt.

Madison scratched out another run in the fourth when Kayla Bess singled home Kirsten Wood. The Cobras got that back in the fifth when Skyla Murray’s hard single up the middle brought home Liberty Chestnut with two outs.

Madison already led 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth when freshman Madeline Wood broke the game open with two out. Wood bats ninth as a sort of “second leadoff hitter” for the Bulldogs, but this time the crushed one that one-hopped the fence in center field for two more runs and a 6-1 lead.

“She’s a good hitter,” Coach LeBlanc said. “We really look forward to her, and what she’s going to do later on. She has that potential. She did a great job as well.”

Madison scored three more runs in the sixth to ensure the rematch with Telstar (11-4). The teams met on May 20, and pitcher Jessica Dirago tossed a shutout as the Rebels dealt Madison its only loss of the season.

“We’ve got to come out and play our game, and we’ve got to get up there and have confidence that we can hit her,” LeBlanc said. “Very good pitcher. She has a low delivery. Well-coached team. It’s going to be a one or two-run ballgame.”

“I think we just have to ignore what happened the first time,” McKenney said. “I think that they definitely played their best game, and so did we. If we come out this time and play our best game again, I think we have a chance, but it’s really going to be a toss-up.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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