MONMOUTH — Because Brooke McKenney has been in one pressure situation after another, even pitching part of a Class C state championship game win as a freshman, she wasn’t rattled when her Madison teammates struggled around her.

McKenney’s faith in herself — as well as that in her teammates to fight back straightaway — was rewarded in a 7-6, 9-inning Mountain Valley Conference softball victory over Monmouth on Monday afternoon. The Mustangs scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, but Raegan Cowan’s run-scoring triple down the left field line in the top of ninth saved the Bulldogs from a difficult defeat.

McKenney struck out a season-high 18 and allowed just six hits. She didn’t allow a single earned run.

“The experience definitely helps,” McKenney said. “Usually, I’m fairly confident in myself. I just have to think that I can do this, that my catcher has my back and know that my team is going to help me win.”

For Monmouth (9-2), which lost its second straight game, it was same song, different verse.

On Friday, the Mustangs rallied for two in the top of the seventh to tie unbeaten Hall-Dale, only to see the Class C South-leading Bulldogs walk off a win in the bottom of the frame.


Trailing 6-1 into the seventh against Madison (11-1), the Mustangs rallied. A bunt single, an error at second by Cowan, another error in center field by Anabel Linkletter and a third in left by Ghillian Bonito set the table for pinch-hitter Bella Lyons’ two-run single to right to tie the game at 6-6.

Madison softball coach Chris LeBlanc, right, discusses a call with the home plate umpire during a Mountain Valley Conference softball game Monday in Monmouth. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“I don’t like a game like this, especially when we’re up,” Madison coach Chris LeBlanc said. “I’d like to see us put the nail in the coffin and have that killer instinct, but I’m proud that they came back and scored the (winning) run. When you’ve got Brooke on the mound, usually three or four runs you don’t have to worry. But you cannot play and have the mistakes that we had and have the errors that we had.”

With the game reset and back to square one, McKenney went back to work in extra innings. She allowed just a two-out single in the ninth while striking out three.

“Everybody makes mistakes.,” McKenney said of the seventh inning. “It’s just unfortunate when everybody makes their one mistake in the same inning. You just have to shake it off. I have still do my thing and know that the next time they hit a ball, we’re going to make the play.”

“It was gut check time and we came out swinging,” Monmouth coach Dave Kaplan added. “I feel like lightning has struck twice, honestly. We can beat anybody. We can beat Hall-Dale, we can beat Madison. Now we know it. We went toe to toe with them.”

Anabel Linkletter started the top of the ninth win a base hit up the middle, then stole second and advanced to third on Lillian Levesque’s sacrifice fly to center. 


Cowan (3 for 4, 2 RBIs) made all the small ball unnecessary, roping a triple down the left field line to easily score Linkletter.

Monmouth Academy’s Madison Herr keeps her eyes on the ball during a Mountain Valley Conference softball game Monday against Madison in Monmouth. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“We just needed to get it done, forget about (the seventh inning), put it in the past and move forward,” Cowan said. “That’s what we did.”

Familiarity with Monmouth pitcher Brooklyn Federico, who didn’t allow a hit from the second through seventh innings and retired 11 in a row at one point, paid dividends for Cowan. Cowan’s triple came the the Bulldog’s fifth trip through the order.

“We saw her (indoors) during the preseason, too,” Cowan said. “We knew what to expect. I was just looking to hit the ball and hit it far.”

Shortstop Rileigh Chase went 2 for 4 for Monmouth with an RBI and two runs scored. Linkletter was 2 for 5 for Madison and also crossed the plate twice.

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