BATH — Many high school softball teams are competing with goals of state titles, playoff appearances or just general improvement.

Morse is playing for something far bigger than wins or losses — a teammate with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects infection-fighting cells of the immune system.

Morse junior Madison Potter, 16, was diagnosed with the cancer on Feb. 24. Since then, the Shipbuilders and the Bath community have rallied around Potter and her family.

“It was kind of overwhelming to see the support at first. I wasn’t really expecting it,” said Potter, who lives in Bath with her parents Shannon and Derek. “I’m just so grateful for it. It’s really meant a lot to me during this and just shows how loving everyone in the area is.”

Potter had some abnormal swelling in her lymph nodes just after Christmas. She was given multiple PET and CAT scans before being diagnosed with lymphoma. She has been undergoing treatment in Scarborough.

“It’s definitely been tough, but everything so far since has been positive news,” said Derek Potter.

Madison is in the fourth of six chemotherapy stages. If all goes well, her treatment will end July 6.

Potter is grateful for the opportunity to play softball this spring.

“It just gives a sense of normalcy and gives me something to look forward too,” she said. “I’m really happy. I love softball and I’m happy to be able to be a part of this family.”

Morse senior co-captain Brook Kulis became emotional when talking about her teammate.

“We just wanted her to know that we love and care about her so much. Morse softball is a family,” she said.

The Shipbuilders worked with Mail It 4U, a local shipping service in Bath, to produce bracelets and masks with the saying ‘#MaddieStrong’ printed on them. On the back of the bracelets appears the words, ‘you’re not alone.’ So many bracelets have been handed out that another 1,000 have been purchased, Morse head coach Wilfred Laffley said.

“It’s times like these where the family aspect of softball puts itself on display, as well as the town of Bath,” said Laffley. “The girls have done a great job in supporting their teammate in any way that they can.”

Potter’s chemotherapy treatment schedule can be strenuous at times, but she has only missed a handful of practices and has dressed for all games this season.

“I know it takes a lot out of her, but she’s been here pretty much all the time, which just attests to her as a person,” said Laffley. “During her freshman season (2019) she would be our pinch runner whenever our pitcher got on, something she has continued to do this season.”

Members of the Morse softball team have worn masks this season in support of teammate Madison Potter, who has been battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Even the visiting teams are showing support. Against Lincoln Academy, the Eagles donned the same masks as the Shipbuilders, but in their school colors. The gesture surprised the Shipbuilders.

“To know that strangers that you’ve never met will go out of their way like that to support you is a really good feeling,” Potter said.

Added Shannon Potter: “That was the first time I’ve seen her get emotional through all this. I think that it really hit her in that moment. I am so thankful for what they did.”

Though this season is unique on its own behalf, Potter says she has grown closer with her team.

“We haven’t been able to see much of each other, but I still feel like I’ve gotten close with everyone on this team,” she said.

Added Laffley: “Wins and losses aren’t at the forefront this season. Some things are bigger than softball and sports in general.”

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