Bucksport High School softball coach Mike Carrier hasn’t been surprised by senior center fielder Madysen Robichaud’s clutch hitting in the playoffs.
“She has nerves of steel. She really does,” said Carrier.
Miss Maine Softball finalist Robichaud has been the offensive catalyst behind Bucksport’s three Class C North playoff victories, which have propelled the Bucks to their third straight regional championship and fifth in six seasons including 2011, when they were in Class B.
The Bucks,19-0, will take on Madison, 18-1, on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Coffin Field in Brewer in the Class C state final. It will be a rematch of last year’s final won by Madison 3-1.
The game had originally been scheduled for noon but Friday’s rain pushed the game back.
In the other state finals, Skowhegan, 17-2, and 19-0 Scarborough will square off for the Class A championship in Augusta at noon; Old Town (17-2) will look to defend its Class B state title against Fryeburg Academy (16-3) at 12:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s College in Standish and 19-0 Penobscot Valley of Howland will try to snap defending four-time state champ Richmond’s 88-game winning streak in the Class D final at St. Joseph’s at 4 p.m.
Robichaud had two triples and a single and drove in a run in Bucksport’s 9-2 win over Piscataquis Community High School of Guilford in the quarterfinals, a two-run homer in the 8-3 victory over Orono in the semis and another two-run blast, this one with two outs in the seventh inning, to beat Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln in the regional final.
“She is unbelievable,” said Carrier. “In the outfield, she’s a beast. She has one of the best arms around. And she’s hitting well over .500.”
Robichaud is a four-year starter.
“And she has gotten better every year,” Carrier added.
“Every time she gets up to bat, you know something good is going to happen,” said Bucksport senior second baseman Emily Hunt.
Robichaud, who hit a team-leading six homers, was the Penobscot Valley Conference’s Class C Player of the Year.
She said she has worked “real hard” on her hitting and has altered her approach and it has paid off.
“I’m a lot calmer this year,” she said. “I used to always think the harder I swung, the better I would hit. But now I have a nice, easy level swing and that has gotten the job done for me.”
She also has a positive outlook.
“Always work as hard as you can and look up to what you can be and not what you can’t be,” she added.
The Bucks will have their hands full with the Bulldogs.
Bucksport junior ace Katelin Saunders will be facing a Madison team that has scored 32 runs in its three Class C South playoff wins.
Madeline Wood, who tossed a four-hitter in last year’s state game, is back in the circle for the Bulldogs and threw a five-inning three-hitter in their 12-0 regional championship game win over Winthrop. She struck out nine and aided her own cause with three hits and four runs batted in.
This matchup is intriguing because Richmond has scored at least 10 runs in 16 of its 18 games but will find itself facing a hard-throwing freshman pitcher in Leine McKechnie who has struck out over 200 hitters including 19 in an eight-inning, 3-0 win over Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook in the regional final.
Leadoff hitter Lexi Ireland had a double and two singles against Southern Aroostook and Kortney McKechnie, Leine’s older sister, had a single that jumpstarted the three-run rally in the eighth.
Richmond senior pitcher Meranda Martin will be seeking her fourth straight state championship game victory and she will be backed by a potent offense that includes Sydney Tilton and Bryanne Lancaster, who combined for five hits and 10 RBIs in the 14-6 regional title game victory over Greenville. Tilton had a homer and Lancaster tripled.
Penobscot Valley is the last team to beat Richmond, 4-2 in the 2012 state title game.
Old Town junior righthander McKenna Smith has been dominant in the playoffs and will try to continue that trend against Fryeburg Academy.
Smith hasn’t allowed a run over 22 playoff innings and has given up only five hits with 35 strikeouts.
The Penobscot Valley Conference Class B Player and Pitcher of the Year has also been one of the Coyotes’ offensive catalysts with three hits, including a double, in the last two games. Sophomore Olivia Albert also has three hits in the wins over Hermon and Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston.
Old Town is going after its third state title in six years.
Fryeburg Academy is making its first appearance in a state game since 2012 when it lost to Old Town 4-1. That capped a string of five straight Class B state-game appearances for the Raiders.
Fryeburg reached the state final in dramatic fashion, rallying for four seventh-inning runs to beat Wells 6-5 in the regional final. Chloe Coen drove in the tying and winning runs with a two-run single.
Junior Ashley Alward has thrown a pair of shutouts for Skowhegan in the playoffs, including a five-inning perfect game in a 12-0 semifinal win over Bangor. Alward and the Indians, who don’t have a senior, beat Oxford Hills of South Paris 5-4 in the regional final.
Sydney Ames and Lindsey Warren have been among Skowhegan’s top hitters.
Miss Maine Softball finalist and University of Maine-bound Lilly Volk has been outstanding in the circle for Scarborough and Hannah Greenleaf, Hannah Ricker and Laura Powell have been among the offensive catalysts.
Skowhegan lost to Biddeford 12-7 in the state game last year, its third state game appearance in four years, and Scarborough lost 1-0 to Messalonskee of Oakland in the 2015 final. Skowhegan last won the state title in 2014, a year after Scarborough claimed its last state crown.