STANDISH — Madeline Wood drove in four runs and held Winthrop to zero runs in Madison’s 12-0 victory in five innings in the Class C South softball championship game at Richard W. Bailey Field at St. Joseph’s College on Wednesday.

“She just rises to the occasion,” Madison coach Chris LeBlanc said. “She’s a player, you know, mentally tough.”

From the pitcher’s circle, Wood struck out nine and allowed only three hits.

“She’s been doing really good about hitting her spots, and her outside corner was really on today and her changeup was really effective,” Madison catcher Ashley Emery said.

“I just had confidence in my pitches,” Wood said, “and my changeup was working well, I was spotting my pitches and it really worked to throw the batters off.”

At the plate, she went 3-for-4 and scored two runs. She also drove in four runs, all in the 10-run fifth inning that triggered the mercy run and clinched a spot in the state title game for the defending Class C champions.

The Bulldogs scored twice in the bottom of the first inning – Sydney LeBlanc drove in Emery and Virginia Worthen singled home Wood to take a quick 2-0 lead.

“We’re such a young group of kids,” Winthrop coach Chuck Gurney said. “This is the first time they’ve ever been this far, so this was kind of an experience for them. I could see the nerves the first few innings, in the field, at the plate, the bus ride down.”

Madison appeared to start another potentially big inning in the second, when it had runners on second and third with only one out. Emery flew out to Winthrop’s Molly Glaser in shallow left field. Chris LeBlanc sent Marah Hall home, but she was called out at plate, though it looked like she avoided the tag by Ramblers catcher Kaleigh Oberg. Oberg then threw to third, where Aisha Malloy was out for an inning-ending double play.

“I think I hurt us a little bit in that second inning when I took a chance,” LeBlanc said.

Winthrop settled down defensively, and slowed down Madison’s defense in the next two innings.

The Ramblers’ offense, though, struggled to hit the ball out of the infield.

“Our offense couldn’t get going,” Gurney said. “That’s kind of been the story of our season: offense, we struggle with it.”

Then came the bottom of the fifth. Wood started the scoring with a bases-loaded double off the bottom of the left-field fence.

Sydney LeBlanc, Worthen, Destiny Howes, Malloy and Emery drove in runs, and Madison’s lead was up to 10-0.

“In that final inning, kudos to them, they kept hitting the ball where we weren’t,” Gurney said.

Then Wood came to the plate with two runners on and one out. Wood singled home Emery and Whitney Bess to make the lead 12-0 and put the mercy rule in effect.

“We just knew we had to get a couple more, just to make sure we’re comfortable,” Emery said. “But then the bats just kept going and we got excited and just kind of wound up like that.”

The Ramblers (14-6) lose four seniors to graduation, but the rest of the roster returns next year and will be more big-game-tested.

“As I told those underclassmen, we’ll be back,” Gurney said.

The Bulldogs (18-1) will attempt to defend their state championship and and win their third state title in four years Saturday at Brewer High School.

“We feel ready,” Emery said.

Winthrop’s Moriah Hadjduk gets to first base before the ball, as Madison’s Aishah Malloy fails to catch it at the 2017 MPA South Region Softball Championships at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on Wednesday afternoon.

Winthrop’s Moriah Hadjduk gets to first base before the ball, as Madison’s Aishah Malloy fails to catch it at the 2017 MPA South Region Softball Championships at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on Wednesday afternoon.

Winthrop’s Bry Baxter steps back to second base as Madison’s Marah Hall goes for the ball at the 2017 MPA South Region Softball Championships at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on Wednesday afternoon.

Winthrop’s Bry Baxter steps back to second base as Madison’s Marah Hall goes for the ball at the 2017 MPA South Region Softball Championships at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on Wednesday afternoon.

Madison’s Devyn Taylor gets tagged out by Winthrop’s Kaleigh Oberg at the end of a successful triple play at the 2017 MPA South Region Softball Championships at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on Wednesday afternoon.

Madison’s Devyn Taylor gets tagged out by Winthrop’s Kaleigh Oberg at the end of a successful triple play at the 2017 MPA South Region Softball Championships at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on Wednesday afternoon.

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