STANDISH — Emily McKenney achieved more in the circle this season than many pitchers accomplish in their entire high school careers.
One accolade had always eluded her, though – winning her last game of the season.
McKenney and her Madison teammates lost to Bucksport in the Class C state championship game last season, but Saturday left St. Joseph’s College as champions following a 1-0 victory over previously undefeated Calais.
“Last year was definitely tough, losing. We lost last year on bunt situations, so this year that was definitely the key to all of our practices,” McKenney said. “We took last year and learned from it, and definitely progressed this year.”
“It’s amazing. We’ve worked so hard for this,” added center fielder Kirsten Wood. “A lot of us are three-sport athletes and we were never able to do it, so this feels amazing because I’m a senior. It’s my last game; it’s good to go out with a bang.”
McKenney allowed just three hits while striking out nine and walking one on 96 pitches – 69 of which were strikes.
“I’d be hard-pressed to find anybody that has put in the time year-round and the work that she does throughout the year,” Madison Coach Chris LeBlanc said. “Statistically I would say in my tenure … she’s in the same category as Denelle Surman.”
Surman led the Bulldogs (19-1) to four straight state titles from 1994-97 – the last time Madison won a state title. Surman was on hand Saturday and talked to the team prior to the game.
Olivia Smith of Calais (19-1) matched McKenney nearly pitch for pitch, but one of the three hits she allowed was an inside-the-park home run by No. 9 hitter Madeline Wood in the fifth.
RICHMOND 11, LIMESTONE 5: Freshman pitcher Meranda Martin struck out 11 as the Bobcats (17-0) won their second straight title with a victory at Brewer High.
Limestone (18-1) entered with a team average of .460 and an on-base percentage of .563. The Eagles were held under 15 runs only four times in the regular season.
“She’s the best pitcher we’ve seen all season,” Limestone Coach Andrew Kirby said. “We don’t typically see speed like that. She can mix up her pitches and we’re not used to that, either. We knew she was going to be fast and the girls like to hit off faster pitchers, but that speed is something that we haven’t seen all season at all.”