MADISON — The 2023 season has been anything but normal for the Madison softball team.

It’s a rebuilding season for the Bulldogs, already an unusual occurrence for a team with six Class C championship game appearances — and four state titles — dating back to 2013.

But Madison is nearly two weeks removed from losing longtime head coach Chris LeBlanc — also the school’s athletic director and principal — due to a medical leave of absence.

Still, the Bulldogs continue to fight. Madison showed its resilience on Wednesday, with a 7-6 victory over fellow Mountain Valley Conference foe Dirigo. Down 6-5 entering the sixth inning, catcher Hope Nadeau drove in Raegan Cowan with an RBI single to tie the game 6-6. Moments later, shortstop Kenzie Robbins scored Nadeau with an RBI double to center field for the 7-6 win.

“It definitely feels good to win,” Cowan said.

“Especially winning one that’s not a blowout,” Robbins added.


The Bulldogs are now 2-1 since losing LeBlanc, also picking up a 26-3 win over Wiscasset/Boothbay on Monday. Madison is currently seventh in the Class C South standings.

“We’re growing up every day,” said Madison assistant Heath Cowan, who is also the head coach of the University of Maine at Augusta women’s basketball team and friend since high school of LeBlanc. “We’ve competed with just about everybody that we’ve played with. The teams we’ve lost to, we’ve been tied (during the game) or lost a one-run game.”

Cowan said he’s kept in touch with LeBlanc since his absence.

“Coach LeBlanc is probably one of the best softball coaches in the state,” Heath Cowan said. “Him and I have been friends since high school, we’ve coached a lot together. We can’t wait for him to come back. We look forward to having him back in the dugout, with all of his idiosyncrasies. I think the girls are looking forward to having him back, too. We’re not doing anything different, anything Coach LeBlanc wouldn’t have done. We’re just trying to hold things together for him until he’s back.”

It was far from an easy victory for the Bulldogs, who made three errors in the first inning to fall behind 3-0.

“We just tried to chuck (the first inning) away, move on, don’t hang your head about it, it’s in the past,” Robbins said. “You can’t change the first inning. You just go from there.”


Madison managed to tie the game 3-3 in the bottom of the inning, thanks to RBI singles from Robbins, Ella Haynie and Iceiss Stonick, and scored another run in the third to take a 4-3 lead. Dirigo answered in the fourth inning with three runs, highlighted by a two-run double from Nikole Turnbull to take a 6-4 lead.

Raegan Cowan and Robbins said the Bulldogs have been doing their best to push forward without their head coach in the dugout.

“It’s definitely something to get used to, but I think we’re doing good,” Raegan Cowan said. “Losing your coach is never something you want (to deal with), but we’re trying to fight for him.”

“It’s definitely an adjustment,” Robbins said. “This win was definitely a good step (in the right direction).”

Comments are no longer available on this story