Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Matt DiFilippo email@example.com
Madison is making its first appearance in the Class C state softball final since 1998. The Bulldogs’ opponent is Bucksport, a team that is appearing in its third consecutive state championship game.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan MAKING AN IMPACT: Madison pitcher Emily McKenney has been a force both at the plate and in the circle to help the Bulldogs reach the Class C state championship game for the first time since 1998. The Bulldogs face Bucksport at noon Saturday in Brewer.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
at Brewer High School
Bucksport (19-0) vs. Madison (20-0), noon
So how will Madison deal with that difference in state final experience?
“We’ve had a lot of very good games this year,” Madison coach Al Veneziano said. “At this point in the year, we’re just going to go out and play softball. This time of year, it’s your game that you’re playing.”
That approach has worked beautifully for the Bulldogs all season. They’re 19-0, and they’ve won their three playoff games by a combined score of 32-6. The face Bucksport at noon, Saturday at Coffin Field in Brewer.
Pitcher Emily McKenney has allowed only 33 runs in 19 games, and she’s also a big offensive threat at the No. 3 spot in the lineup. But McKenney is far from the only offensive presence on the Madison roster. Center fielder Kirsten Wood and second baseman Sierra LeBlanc do a great job from the top two spots, and Erika Parker, Aly LeBlanc, and Sam Bruce are strong in the middle of the order. The 7-8-9 hitters — Cristie Vicneire, Kayla Booker, and Savanna Kandiko — combined for three hits and four runs in the Western C final against Dirigo.
That balanced offense will be facing the best pitcher it has seen this season. Bucksport’s Cassidy Adams struck out 19 in one game this season, and the Golden Bucks (19-0) have given up only 25 runs this year.
Adams, who is heading to the University of New England in Biddeford, is one of the five finalists for the Miss Maine Softball Award, given annually to the top senior player in the state. Since moving to Class C before last season, Bucksport has not lost a game.
“We need to get up and make sure we’re ready to hit,” Veneziano said.
Bucksport, which had its school graduation Friday night, had scored 15 runs in three playoff games, but absolutely has the potential to bust out with big innings. Madison, meanwhile has performed well in the circle, at the plate, in the field, and on the basepaths. The Bulldogs are hoping that more of the same will be enough for a win today.
“I think we’ve played very consistently throughout the whole year,” Veneziano said. “The kids have a lot of confidence. They got a lot of confidence from (Thursday) night. Hopefully, it will continue on Saturday, and with this quick a turnaround, it certainly should.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243