MADISON — Revenge may be too strong a word to describe the Madison softball team’s thoughts facing unbeaten Telstar on Monday.

But after losing to the Rebels in the regional championship game last spring, the Bulldogs had a little payback in mind. They got it, riding a three-run inning and the clutch pitching of junior Madeline Wood to a 3-1 victory played in unseasonably cold and windy conditions.

There’s a good chance these teams will meet in the regional final again this year because they’ve dominated Mountain Valley Conference opponents so far. That made their only meeting of the regular season Monday even more important because it likely gave front-running Madison (8-0) home field advantage over No. 2 Telstar (7-1).

“This win was huge for us,” said Madison catcher Aly LeBlanc, who belted a two-run double in the first inning. “We ended the season on a rough note against Telstar and we definitely didn’t play our best game last year. So we were pumped to come out for this game and show them where we’re at this year.”

The nearly two-hour bus ride from Bethel may have taken its toll on the Rebels and starting pitcher Olivia York. The Bulldogs jumped on them for three runs in the bottom of the first as Kayla Bess led off with an infield hit and took third on Ashley Emery’s sacrifice bunt. LeBlanc, who struggled in the first couple of games at the plate, followed with a high drive into the wind that bounced off the top of the fence in center to score two runs. Sydney LeBlanc followed with a base hit to right to make it 3-0.

“We had two plays (in the inning) that we practice and we didn’t do it,” Telstar coach Jim Lunney. “So hats off to them. They scored three runs and made it hold up.”


Wood set down the first nine batters of the game but ran into trouble in the fourth when Telstar’s Ashley Savage led off with a single and reached third when the ball skipped past the right fielder. Wood fanned York, the team’s No. 2 hitter, then got some help from the second baseman Emery, who made a nice over-the-shoulder catch to rob Becca Howard of a base hit. She later caught Hayley Peterson looking at a third strike to end the threat.

“We got two outs, then they couldn’t bunt on us,” Wood said. “That’s really key with this team.”

Wood allowed four hits, including one to Peterson to score a run in the seventh, struck out seven and walked one.

“I definitely have matured,” Wood said. “Last year was my first time pitching in those big games, This year I feel a lot more confident in my team and myself.”

York (7-1) settled down after the first inning and allowed just two hits the rest of the way while finishing with a walk and five strikeouts. She got help from her defense, which turned two double plays on line drive outs — the best on Dharma Damon’s off the bat of Wood in the third inning.

“She had to go a long way for that ball,” Lunney said.

The Bulldogs, who had rarely been tested this season, got sound play from their infield, including Whitney Bess at third and Kayla Bess at short.

“Jim’s got a great team,” Madison coach Chris LeBlanc said. “You’ve always got to bring your A game. Games like that are going to get you ready for the games you hope to play down the stretch. We play so much in the summer time that they’re seasoned and they know they have to get up for every single game.”

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