MADISON — The Madison softball team is off to a strong start in the Western Class C playoffs.

The top-seeded Bulldogs cruised to an 8-0 win over No. 8 Lisbon in a quarterfinal game Thursday at Colin Campbell Field.

Sophomore Madeline Wood led the way for Madison (16-1), hurling a two-hit shutout.

“I know we had to come out strong, because they have strong hitters and this could be do-or-die for us,” Wood said. “I just tried to hit my spots and tried to hit my changeup.”

Using a heavy dosage of her changeup, Wood struck out 12 batters and walked one.

“My fastball isn’t that fast,” Wood added. “I really need to have my changeup to throw off the hitters so they’re not laying on my fastball.”

The Bulldogs didn’t slouch offensively, either. Madison racked up six of its eight runs in the first two innings. Erin Whalen and Tori McLaughlin highlighted the first inning for the Bulldogs. Whalen smacked a double to left field before scoring on McLaughlin’s two-run triple, giving Madison the quick 3-0 lead.

“It was good, because we had a little layoff and were going to scrimmage earlier in the week, and we weren’t able to do that,” Madison coach Chris LeBlanc said. “We had a couple of good days of practice, but nothing is as good as live (pitching). It was exciting to come out and get the three runs (in the first inning). We can hit the ball, we can bunt the ball and you need to be able to do that when you’re in (the playoffs).”

Whalen, Kayla Bess and Sydney LeBlanc each had RBI singles for Madison in the second inning to push the lead to 6-0.

Aly LeBlanc plated Sydney LeBlanc on a fielder’s choice in the third inning, while Whitney Bess knocked home Ashley Emery on an RBI single in the fourth inning to cap the scoring.

Lisbon’s two hits came from Arianna Kahler and Monica Austin. Kahler’s single led the game off for the Greyhounds (9-8), while Austin singled in the seventh. Of Wood’s 12 strikeouts, seven came after the fourth inning.

“She definitely kept her composure,” Aly LeBlanc — who served as Wood’s catcher — said. “Her changeup was on. She was hitting her spots really well. At times she would get a little bit worked up and tried to pitch fast, so we had to call time out and just tell her to relax. But she really held her composure well.”

Lisbon showed fight to the very end, a fact not lost on coach Terri Tlumac.

“They showed up and the girls came out aggressive, making contact with the ball,” Tlumac said. “Defensively, (Madison) had some great hits, you can’t take that away from them. A hit is a hit. The girls continued to battle, even into the last inning, getting some runners on base, trying to make something happen. You can’t ask for anything more than that.”

The victory was a taste of revenge for the Bulldogs. Their lone loss of the season came at the hands of Lisbon back on May 8, a game Madison lost 9-7.

“We definitely wanted revenge,” Wood said. “That was the one blemish on our season.”

The Bulldogs will host No. 5 seed Monmouth in the semifinal round Saturday. The Mustangs (10-7) beat Dirigo 8-5 on Thursday. Madison beat Monmouth 13-3 on May 18.

Dave Dyer — 621-5639

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer