Madison 10-U All-Stars Softball Wins District and Section Titles
The Madison 10-U All-Stars softball team has won both the District 9 title and the Section 3 championship this summer. Manager Sue Leckey said that this year’s All-Stars squad has dedicated itself to improving while demonstrating how bright the future of softball is in the town of Madison.
The Madison 10-U All-Stars claimed the District 9 crown by going 6-0 in pool play and then sweeping the championship series against Middletown, clinching the title with a 17-5 win on July 9. Madison went on to compete in the Section 3 Tournament and, despite, losing its first game, came back to win its next two contests and ultimately take the title with a 14-3 victory over East Lyme on July 17. With that win, the Madison All-Stars advanced to participate in the state’s Final Four this week.
Each year, Madison selects new coaches for its All-Stars teams. After serving as a coach last season, Leckey became the 10-U team’s manager this year, joined by Mike Nicoletti and Keith Mirante on the coaching staff. The 13 players on the team were either nominated by their coaches, peers, or opposing coaches, or made the team based on a tryout. Leckey said that once everything was put together, the coaches worked together to figure out the best makeup of the team.
The athletes on this year’s Madison 10-U softball team are Riley Amenta, Eden Anderson, Isabella Fahy, Chase Ferraiolo, Delaney Hammel, Theodora Kontemerkos, Campbell Leckey, Allison Maynard Sadie McHugh, Ava Mirante, Annabella Nicoletti, Audrey Sears, and Emmalyn Wells.
Heading into tournament play, Leckey said felt that this year’s team was coachable, ready to compete, and willing to absorb information. Leckey added that all the players were familiar with the tradition of the Madison Little League All-Stars program and wanted to build on that success.
“They’re a terrific group of young ladies who really like each other and the game of softball. They’re super coachable. They’re like sponges right now,” Leckey said. “They were really looking forward to it. Madison has a strong little league tradition. Kids really enjoy it, and the pinnacle is the All-Star experience.”
On June 29, the Madison 10-U All-Stars began their journey by competing in the pool-play portion of the District 9 Tournament. Madison won all six of its games in pool play, recording victories against Haddam-Killingworth (9-1), Coginchaug (23-1), Guilford (11-2), East Hampton (16-1), Middletown (13-3), and East Haddam (18-3).
Leckey was impressed with both Madison’s bats and the performance of its two pitchers, Campbell Leckey and Annabella Nicoletti, during the team’s pool-play contests. Leckey said that Madison’s performance in pool play set the tone for the remainder of its tournament games.
“They played tremendously well,” said Leckey. “We were hitting the ball well. We supported each other really well. We have pitching that is really good this year. It positioned us to have success at the next level.”
Leckey’s team went on to face Middletown in the District 9 championship series, which was played in Madison. On July 8, Madison won the first matchup versus Middletown by a 16-0 score. Last year, the 10-U All-Stars faced Middletown for the championship and lost the second game of the series before winning the decisive third game. This year, Leckey said that her players were determined to play their absolute best and claim the district title via a sweep.
“It was a really easy message. A year ago, we beat Middletown in the first game and lost in the second game. The girls were shocked and devastated,” Leckey said. “This year, it was all about making sure we stayed focused, so that we didn’t allow them to gain any momentum. We wanted to win it in two games.”
Madison accomplished its goal by notching a 17-5 victory over Middletown in the second game of the championship series to capture the District 9 title. Leckey, a former Madison Little League player, understands how important winning championships and the overall culture of the All-Stars softball program are to the town. When her team walked off the diamond as District 9 champs, Leckey knew that her players were experiencing a memory that will last a lifetime.
“The tradition in Madison is that Little League All-Star championships are super memorable. The whole community really enjoys all the success that any of our programs could bring home,” said Leckey. “The district championship is a town championship to them. They realize that they put in their memory banks an important time with good friends and good Madison traditions. It’s super important.”
Madison outscored its opponents by a wide margin in the District 9 Tournament. Leckey said that the pitching performances of Campbell Leckey and Nicoletti played a big part in her squad’s dominance. Madison’s manager said that each member of the duo has a trust in one another that makes both pitchers stronger.
“The opponent isn’t putting a lot of balls in play on us. Our pitchers are doing a good job,” Leckey said. “The strength of one pitcher is enhanced by the fact that she knows the other pitcher is ready to go in and can throw strikes at any point. That empowers her.”
Madison’s bats were also on fire during the district tourney. At the outset of the tournament, Leckey told her players that they could all do damage with the sticks. Leckey was pleased to see that everyone in the lineup grasped the importance of timely hitting and getting on base in any way possible.
“They’re all capable of hitting the ball. They’re all All-Stars,” said Leckey. “Where that might put the burden on kids to feel like they should be stepping up, it also gives them the understanding that we believe and they believe that they should get the job done. We have kids who have done their job hitting and getting on base.”
On the heels of winning districts, the Madison 10-U All-Stars softball team went on to compete in the Section 3 Tournament that was held in Rocky Hill last week. Madison took a 4-3 loss to East Lyme in its first game on July 14, but bounced back to grab a 13-2 win versus West Hartford on July 16 to advance to a rematch with East Lyme for the title. On July 17, Madison faced East Lyme in the Section 3 final and posted a 14-3 victory to take home the championship.
With the win, Madison advanced to the state’s Final Four for 10-U All-Stars softball, joining Milford, Wallingford, and Windsor in the tournament. Madison is playing Windsor in its opening game on Wednesday, July 20. The Final Four culminates with the championship on Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24.
Throughout the past several weeks, Leckey saw Madison progress from a group of individual All-Stars into a true All-Star team. Leckey said that Madison’s program emphasizes teamwork and the ability of its players to work together through any struggles. With two titles locked up, Leckey is looking forward to watching her squad play more softball while proudly representing Madison on the ballfield.
“They took lessons from last year and learned from them. They have an excitement for playing in their future. I hear them talking about how they’re going to play in travel or middle school or high school,” Leckey said. “It’s so great when we give our kids opportunities to be kids. Little League is such a great opportunity to be a kid and learn those lessons of life resilience through a sport. This team cares for each other, back each other up, and are incredibly athletic. It’s fun to see their growth.”