STANDISH – Madison High School Coach Colin Campbell wasn’t surprised when his team scored eight runs in the first two innings of its state Class C softball final Saturday against George Stevens Academy.
The Bulldogs, Campbell said, used aggressive play to get to the state final and did again against the GSA Eagles, rolling to a 13-4 victory at the St. Joseph’s College field.
“We just intend to go out and put people away early. We want to put them right back on their heels,” said Campbell.
Madison, which also received a solid pitching performance from senior Andrea Heald, forced the Eagles of Blue Hill to make eight errors, as the Bulldogs put down several bunts which resulted in GSA throwing miscues.
“We’re used to playing good defense, that’s been one of our hallmarks all year,” GSA Coach John Greene said. “When that part of your game falls short, you start to press. We got a little tentative.”
Greene said the Eagles were not nervous, but did become bothered after the first inning after a few close calls went the other way.
“If those calls go the other way, maybe the game could have gone the other way too – the kids got a little unnerved by that,” he said. “But, a close call is a close call.”
The Western Maine champion Bulldogs, who captured their first state title since 1979, finished with a 17-1 record with Heald pitching every game. Eastern Maine titlist GSA ended with an 18-2 mark.
The Bulldogs gave an early indicator of how the game would unfold when Heather Niemann led off the first with a bunt down the third-base line and advanced to third on a throwing error.
“That play put a big charge into us. We came out hitting the ball, running and making them throw the ball,” Campbell said.
Madison scored four runs in the first and four in the second. Andrea Clark plated a run with a fielder’s choice in the first, while Vicki LeBlanc had a one-run double and Andrea Clark a two-run single in the second.
Six of Madison’s first eight runs were unearned.
After GSA scored one run in the fourth, the Bulldogs answered with five runs in their half of the inning to put the game away.
“Once they got the lead, they got more aggressive. They really made us pay for our tentativeness,” Greene said.
Heald no-hit the Eagles for three innings before being reached for the run in the fourth and three more in the sixth. She allowed five hits while striking out nine and walking five.
Heald, who did a good job of keeping the ball down and away from the Eagles, said her concentration wavered a bit when her team had the big lead. However, she finished strong by striking out the side in the seventh.
“I just wanted to go out there and get it done (in the seventh),” Heald said. “(Going out) I did say I wanted those three people, but I didn’t think I’d end up striking out all three of them.”
Campbell said he wasn’t concerned when the Eagles reached Heald for the four runs.
“She’s a veteran,” he said. “At this point in time, I don’t have to tell her anything. She’s knows what is expected of her and did just what she had to do.”
Greene said the Eagles had faced top EM pitchers such as Bucksport’s Jennifer Wardwell, but were hampered by falling behind early.
“We weren’t overwhelmed by what she (Heald) could do, it’s just that we couldn’t take advantage when we had the opportunities,” he said.
Becca Heavrin slammed a double to left to drive in two GSA runs in the sixth and another run came across on Jamie Bowden’s infield groundout.
LeBlanc, Penny Rogers, and Andrea Clark each had two hits for Madison with LeBlanc and Clark driving in three runs each.
Bulldogs 13, Eagles 4
George Stevens Acad. Madison girls
Name ab r h bi Name ab r h bi
Wilson, lf 3 0 0 0 Niemann, cf 3 2 1 0
Schneider, lf 1 0 0 0 V. LeBlanc, 3b 4 1 2 3
Eaton, cf 3 1 1 0 Rogers, lf 3 3 2 0
b-Astbury 1 0 0 0 L. LeBlanc, ss 2 1 0 1
Smith, 1b 4 0 0 0 Heald, p 4 1 0 0
Culvert, c 3 1 0 1 a-Luce 0 1 0 0
Mattson, 3b 3 1 1 0 Clark, 1b 4 2 2 3
Fontaine, p 2 0 1 0 Becker, rf 4 1 1 1
Heavrin, p 1 1 1 2 Cornforth, 2b 3 0 0 0
Dodge, ss 3 0 0 0 Luce, c 0 0 0 0
Bowden, 2b 1 0 0 1 Christop’r,dh 4 1 1 0
Marcinkus, rf 2 0 1 0
Totals 27 4 5 4 Totals 31 13 9 8
a-ran for Heald in fourth
b-struck out for Eaton in seventh
George Stevens Academy 000 103 0 – 4
Madison 440 500 0 – 13
E – Smith, Culvert 2, Mattson 3, Fontaine, Dodge; Clark, Becker 2B – Heavrin; V. LeBlanc LOB -George Stevens 6, Madison 6 SB – Bowden, Eaton; Niemann, Rogers S – Niemann, Cornforth
PITCHER IP H R BB SO
Fontaine (L,9-2) 4 8 13 2 1
Heavrin 2 1 0 0 0
Heald (W,17-1) 7 5 4 4 9
HBP – L. LeBlanc by Fontaine WP – Fontaine TIME -1:45