BREWER — The Madison High School softball team had won three state Class C championships in the last five seasons entering Saturday’s title game against Dexter. The Bulldogs hadn’t won any of them in Brewer.
Madison was 0-2 in state title games at Coffin Field, losing to Bucksport in 2013 and 2017. But the third time was the charm for Madison coach Chris LeBlanc.
The Bulldogs received a combined five-hitter from junior lefty Lauria LeBlanc and freshman right Brooke McKenney en route to a 7-1 victory.
LeBlanc said they took a different route to the field at the suggestion of assistant coach Heath Cowan.
“I said ‘this isn’t the way we normally come in’ and he said, ‘maybe that’s the reason [we’ve lost],” grinned LeBlanc, whose 19-1 Bulldogs defended their state title and have won three championships in the past four seasons.
Dexter, appearing in a state game for the first time since 2011, concluded a 14-6 campaign.
The Bulldogs took the lead scoring two runs in the second inning and adding four in the fifth to break the game open.
Katie Worthen lined a single to right-center to lead off the second and stole second. Emily Edgerly sliced an 0-2 fastball down the right-field line for a run-scoring double and the relay throw to the plate sailed over the catcher’s head which allowed Edgerley to cross the plate.
“The coaches always have us working on hitting inside pitches and outside pitches. Outside pitches are better for me than inside,” Edgerly smiled.
Dexter pitcher Avery Herrick said the pitch was on the outside corner and Edgerly did a nice job going with the pitch and hitting it to the opposite field.
“That’s the best case scenario with an outside pitch. She took it [other way] so well,” Herrick said.
“That was important,” McKenney said. “That hyped us up and got us going the whole game.”
Madison parlayed four hits and two Dexter errors into its four-run fifth-inning rally.
Jen Dean lined a single to right and raced to third when the Dexter third baseman threw wildly to second on Jerzey Tewksbury’s sacrifice bunt.
Landyn Landry then grounded single to right field to deliver Dean.
“It was a changeup and I knew I had to stay back on the ball and get the run in,” said Landry, one of three freshmen at the top of the Madison order.
Freshman catcher Lillian Levesque grounded an RBI single to left and McKenney followed with a run-producing grounder to third before a throwing on the Dexter shortstop produced the inning’s final run.
The Bulldogs turned in an exceptional defensive performance with shortstop Landry making a pair of gems. She got down to snare a little popup in front of her and turned it into a double play in the second inning and went into the shortstop hole to make a backhanded play and throw the runner out at first in the fourth.
“Everybody had a great game. Everyone came through,” said Lauria LeBlanc.
Madison added an insurance run in the sixth when Emily Blauvelt singled and pinch-runner Grace Linkletteer scored when she stole second and the throw from the catcher sailed past the bag and the center fielder.
LeBlanc allowed three hits through four innings with two strikeouts and two walks before McKenney came on and allowed two hits and one run over three innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
Dexter scored its run in the sixth when Cheyenne Beem singled and eventually scored on Regan McNally’s single to left.
Dexter committed four errors and went 1-for-16 with runners on base.
“We had runners in scoring position but we couldn’t come up with that big hit,” said Dexter coach Jason Hardy. “And we had some uncharacteristic errors that cost us.”
“They were very disciplined at the plate and in the field. And we didn’t execute on defense,” said sophomore Herrick. “Their pitchers weren’t as fast as some we’ve seen but they hit their spots well.”
Herrick pitched a seven-hitter with five strikeouts and no walks.
“She’s one of the best pitchers we’ve faced this year,” Landry said.
Madison received hits from seven different players while Peyton Grant singled twice for Dexter and Caitlyn Hardy doubled and walked three times.