Two girls collide as one slides to home base during a softball game
A Brewer softball player slides safely into home plate against Hampden Academy in 2008, the last year the Broncos had a winning season. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Just three games into the season, the Hampden Academy softball team appears as though it could do something that hasn’t been accomplished at the school since 2008: produce a winning record.

Since the 2008 team went 10-6, the Hampden Academy softball program had compiled a regular season record of 63-131 entering this season.

The only non-losing campaign during that span occurred in 2012 when the Broncos went 8-8.

But Matt Madore’s team is off to a 2-1 start, with its only loss a 1-0 setback at Skowhegan against the defending state Class A champions.

The Broncos followed that up with a 9-0 win over Mt. Blue of Farmington and an impressive 6-1 victory over rival Bangor, which reached the Class A North championship game a year ago.

Madore returned eight starters off last year’s team, which went 7-9 during the regular season and lost to Bangor 5-3 in a preliminary round playoff game. The list of returnees includes both pitchers, Danielle Masterson and Charlee Chute. They split the duties last season.

“We’re good,” admitted Madore. “We lost 1-0 to the defending state champs so you know you aren’t a bad softball team when that happens.”

Masterson has thrown all three games this season and has struck out 38. She tossed a sparkling three-hitter against Bangor with 11 strikeouts and two walks.

“Dani is an amazing player, all-around,” Madore said. “Her bat is coming through for the team. She really puts the team on her shoulders. Having her in the circle is a huge help.”

To go with her performance in the circle, Masterson also aided her own cause with a pair of doubles.

“We can go far if we play like we did today and our morale stays up,” said Masterson after the Bangor win. “We’re definitely better than we were last year. I trust my team a lot right now.”

Madore agreed his team is “much better” than last year’s.

“The best part of the team is its cohesiveness. It’s one group. There are no cliques. They cheer each other on and communicate well on and off the field,” said Madore.

Madore expects his team to be able to score runs.

“We don’t have a weak spot in our lineup. Everyone is contributing. It’s good to see,” said Madore.

Seven of the nine hitters in the lineup had at least one hit against Bangor. Senior center fielder Cam Neal’s three-run homer was the telling blow but Masterson had her two doubles, junior catcher Allee Wellman had a pair of crisp run-scoring singles and speedy senior right fielder Maya Brown, the No. 9 hitter, had a pair of bunt singles and also drew a walk.

Wellman is the Broncos’ leading hitter, according to Madore, while Neal and sophomore third baseman Meaghan Delahanty are the primary power threats.

“Neal is a great hitter,” said Bangor coach Maureen Barron. “They’re a good team.”

Sophomore Chute starts in left field and also gives the Broncos a solid No. 2 pitcher.

Her sister, Emma, is a junior and starts at shortstop.

The other starters are junior second baseman Kacey Gardner and sophomore first baseman Emily Bishop.

The team has also been very good defensively.

Junior first baseman Callie Small should be coming back off an injury soon and the Broncos also have two seniors and a junior who provide depth. Infielders Maddie Steigert and Brooklyn Fortin are the seniors and outfielder Paige Chahley is a junior.

“Our team has a lot of potential,” Neal said. “We just have to keep working hard, keep bonding and keep clicking together.”

“It’s still early but if we keep improving every day in practice like we have been, we’ll make a run for [the regional title],” Madore said.

The Broncos will get a test on Thursday when they visit neighbor and Class B power Hermon for a 4:30 p.m. game.

Hermon opened its season with a 24-0 victory over Foxcroft Academy.