MADAWASKA, Me (WAGM) - Last year the Madawaska softball team dropped down to Class D and it was a successful season for the Owls. They are off to a strong start this year picking up wins in their first four games and are looking to make the Northern Maine Finals for the second year in a row.
For 19 years Matt Rossignol has been the coach of the Madawaska softball team, and last year he had his first team make the regional finals.
"We'd been C every year until last year, and we made it to the semis a few years, but never to the regional final. So last year playing Stearns in the D final was a first for us, the girls were excited and hoping to build off that this year," Rossignol said.
The Owls fell to Stearns, a perennial softball power. The team lost three key seniors from last years squad, but do return players at several key positions.
"I bring my pitcher back Jenna Dugal and my catcher Hannah Nadeau. Desiree Belanger is returning at shortstop. And in the outfield I bring back another senior Gabby Cyr, who catches anything hit remotely close to her," Rossignol said.
"Our goal is to make it back to Eastern Maine's. We did lose three key seniors last year, but I feel like our team is stepping up to where they're supposed to be," senior Desiree Belanger added.
Belanger and Cyr are the only two seniors on the team and they are trying to teach the underclassmen to always give it their all.
"You can really tell when a team has their heart in the game or if they don't. It makes a difference within the last several seconds and minutes that you have. If you can have that extra push over the team you're wanting to defeat, then you're going to be the winner," Cyr said.
Like many teams this season Madawaska has had a tough time getting outside. The Owls don't mind and are hoping the season lasts deep into June.
"With all this rain it's going to push games past graduation probably, I don't know. I thought that was funny and it's going to keep me in high school a little bit longer. I'd love to get these games over with if the rain can hold off," Cyr explained.