MADISON — Win or lose, Madeline Wood will leave Madison Area Memorial High School on Saturday afternoon as one of the most accomplished female athletes in school history. The senior, who graduated June 2 with the rest of her class, led the Bulldogs’ softball team to the Class C South regional title on Wednesday, and Madison meets longtime nemesis Bucksport for the Class C state title at noon Saturday at Brewer High School. The Bulldogs seek their second straight state crown and third in the last four years.

It’s hardly new territory for Wood, who joins Destiny Howes as the lone seniors on the Madison roster.

“People look up to her,” Madison head coach Chris LeBlanc said of Wood, whose inside-the-park home run lifted the Bulldogs to a 1-0 win over Calais in the 2014 state championship game. “She’s a competitor; what you see is what you get. Nobody is going to work harder.”

Wood has been the starting pitcher for Madison for each of the last three seasons and amassed an impressive 54-2 record over that span. She was the captain on a soccer team that reached the regional finals, and in 2016 she played point guard on the girls basketball team that reached the Class C South regional championship game.

In 12 seasons across three different sports, Madison teams on which Wood was a member advanced to at least the regional quarterfinals every time, two other times going one round further. She’s been on seven regional finalist teams, including at least one in every sport over the last two years.

Part of her success certainly comes from not being in awe of the occasion.

“When you step back and really look at it, you realize only eight teams are left playing for a state softball championship and this is big,” Wood said. “But in the moment, you’re just like, ‘OK, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do and just go out and win it.’ ”

LeBlanc thinks the ability for coaches in all sports at a small school like Madison to work together ensures that players like Wood have the ability to shine on more than one stage.

It might take away from a practice here or there, but it also promotes chemistry among the core group of girls bouncing from sport to sport, season to season.

Wood has been a huge contributor both in the pitching circle and at the plate for the Bulldogs this season. She is 18-1 this season with a 1.90 earned run average, including 105 strikeouts in 102 innings pitched. Offensively, capped by Wednesday’s two-hit, four-RBI effort in the regional championship game against Winthrop, Wood is second on the team in three categories: Batting average (.515), runs scored (31) and RBIs (29).

“I think what makes this (softball) group different is how hard we’ve worked toward this goal through all the 10U, 12U and 14U teams,” Wood said. “We want to win. This is my last high school game ever, and you always want to go out with a bang.”

And while Wood has been a significant performer for the Bulldogs, single-sport athlete Howes has been no less important. Howes accepted a position change after playing right field on the Bulldog squad that won it all last spring. A clutch hitter, she was moved into the designated player role and batted .283 with a .393 on-base percentage this season.

LeBlanc said he certainly wasn’t looking forward to what could have been an uncomfortable conversation with Howes, but that she couldn’t have handled it any better than she did.

“I focused on her strengths and her contributions. I didn’t even finish the conversation before she said, ‘We’re a better team with somebody else in right field,’ ” LeBlanc said. “It’s a sign of her maturation. She put in a lot of work in the offseason, because this is the one sport that she plays. She was always there all the way up through working on her game — and she understands that, even with that, what you did last year doesn’t mean it’s what you’re going to do this year. She was able to play right field last year and make that team a better team.”

For her part, Howes was adamant that whatever was best for the team was her priority from the get-go.

“It was a little bit different at first, where I’m not out in the field, it was almost like I’m not entirely into the game,” Howes said. “Knowing that Emily (Edgerly) being in right field is better for the team, it’s gotten us further. She’s only a freshman, but she’s worked hard for that position, too.”

And now, Howes and Wood are ready for a proper send-off on Saturday afternoon. Neither is a stranger to success, and having their final memory of Madison be holding a state championship trophy once more would be fitting.

“Winning for us is nothing new. We’ve done it two times in the last three years,” Howes said. “We’re going for it.”

After all, these two seniors have earned it.

“It would be outstanding. It’s something we could do for them,” LeBlanc said of winning the state championship Saturday. “You’d be sad for everybody (if we lost), but they don’t get a tomorrow. It would be icing on the cake for them. They’ve experienced it before, but how many can say they’ve won three of them?”

Travis Barett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.