STANDISH — In the moments after winning the Class C softball state championship Saturday afternoon, Madison Area Memorial High School coach Chris LeBlanc reflected on the team’s accomplishments. As they began practices in the gymnasium in March, the Bulldogs knew they were a good team.

“We just didn’t know how good,” coach LeBlanc said, celebrating on the Richard W. Bailey field at St. Joseph’s College with his team and Madison fans.

The 3-1 victory over defending state champ Bucksport on Saturday capped a perfect 20-0 season for Madison, which won its second state crown in three seasons. Madison also won the title in 2014, beating Calais 1-0 in the championship game. In between, Madison lost in the 2015 regional final to Telstar. That was the Bulldogs’ only loss of the season last year. While winning another state championship was the main focus this season, Madison made going undefeated a side goal.

“Our main goal was to make it to the state championship. It’s always good to go in with a clean sweep,” pitcher Madeline Wood said. “We got upset last year, so this is really good. We wanted revenge. We wanted a state championship so bad.”

Going undefeated with a state crown also was a goal for the members of the team who won the title in 2014 with a 19-1 record.

“Having that blemish with one loss the last time we won (the state championship), the girls said we’ve got to do it a little bit better. It’s exciting,” coach LeBlanc said.

Added senior catcher Aly LeBlanc, whose triple in the bottom of the sixth inning on Saturday scored Wood with the go-ahead run: “This year, we had very high expectations of ourselves and knew we should win it all, if we played our game.”

The Bulldogs dominated the Mountain Valley Conference in the regular season. Madison allowed more than three runs in a game just three times, and posted four shutouts. The Bulldogs scored 10 or more runs eight times. In the Class C South tournament, Madison was never really tested, outscoring three opponents 31-3, including a 12-0 win over No. 6 Lisbon in the regional championship game.

Coach LeBlanc and his staff will return many of the players from this season’s squad in 2017. Madison will lose just three seniors — Erin Whalen, Aly LeBlanc and Kayla Bess — to graduation. LeBlanc credited them with helping lay the foundation for success as freshmen in 2013, helping Madison win the regional title that season.

“For these guys, these three seniors have put in a lot of time. They were probably 8 or 9 years old when we started the whole summer program and they’ve looked forward to this,” coach LeBlanc said. “They love the game, all three of them.”

Added Aly LeBlanc: “It’s amazing. I’m just very proud of my team.”

Seven Bulldog starters from the state game, including pitcher Wood, are expected to return next season.

“We lose three good ones, but we’ve got a good ASA summer program and we just hope to reload,” coach LeBlanc said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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