Video: Pitcher hugs hitter after striking him out
Watch one of the best moments in sports from this season.
Madison (Vienna, Va.)
ran the table on the 2018 season in dominating fashion: 28 wins in 28 games, trailed twice the entire season, won another state title and ran its two-year win streak to 42.
The Warhawks, who won their state championship game 9-0 over 21-7 Manchester (Midlothian) behind pitcher Alex Echazarreta's
no-hitter, are the 2018 MaxPreps High School Softball National Champions.
"It's special," coach Jim Adkins said. "To do what these girls accomplished really is amazing. (I'm) really proud of what they've done the past two seasons. It just doesn't get any better than this."
The Warhawks edged No. 2 Neshoba Central (Philadelphia, Miss.), which finished 34-0 and won the state 5A championship, for the national crown.
"There were no down moments this season," said Adkins, Madison's fifth-year coach. "Team camaraderie was great, the parents were great, the administration, etc. Everything was just perfect. As a coach, you dream of a perfect season and this would be it."
It's the second-straight year Madison has won the Virginia 6A (the state's largest enrollment classification) championship. In winning the state 6A title in 2017, the Warhawks went 28-1 and won their final 14 games. Their last lost was 4-3 in eight innings and happened 14 months ago. Adkins said his team had no weak spots, one through nine in the lineup could hit and the pitching of All-American Echazareta was dominating.
How dominating were the Warhawks in 2018? Consider the following:
• They won 16 games by 10 runs or more and played a single one-run game.
• They batted .413 as a team.
• They scored 283 runs, averaging 10 runs per game, while allowing just 26.
• Eleven players scored 10 or more times.
• Nine players had 20 or more hits and four had 40 or more.
• Eight players homered led by Kristin Giery
with 12 and Echazareta's 11.
• Nine players drove in 15 or more runs.
The Warhawks had it all. They committed just 11 errors (a fielding percentage of .976) and opposing batters managed a meager 0.62 average against Echazareta and Giery. They were caught stealing just three times in 59 attempts.
Madison, which is ranked No. 5 in the MaxPreps computer poll, started the season ranked No. 1 in the Virginia/Maryland/Washington D.C. area by the Washington Post. The Warhawks were ranked No. 52 in MaxPreps Xcellent Preseason Rankings. Interestingly, Neshoba Central was ranked No. 50.
Adkins said he set the 2018 schedule to be as challenging as possible and to go unbeaten was a bit surprising. Madison, which has an enrollment of 2,000 students, defeated teams from four states and won the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand Tournament in late March by a combined 36-5 margin. All five wins were lopsided.
"We knew we had a good team coming," he said. "We only lost one senior from a year ago, had seven seniors. We knew we had the makings of a special season."
Five Warhawks have signed or committed to play at the next level: Echazareta (Purdue), Emily Klingaman
(Stanford), Cat Arase
(MIT) and sisters Kristin Giery (signed) and Nicole Giery
(committed) with Boston College.
Echazareta not only went 24-0 with a 0.59 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 141 innings, but she also batted .495 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs. The older Giery hit .490 and led in homers (12) and RBIs (43). Klingaman led the team in hitting (.597) and runs (39). In all, six players batted over .400, including Nicole Adkins
(.413), Nicole Giery (.522) and Kristy Williams
Though there was no in-season talk about going unbeaten, Adkins said a pivotal moment was coming back to beat highly ranked Bishop O'Connell (Arlington).
"When we came back to beat them and their All-American pitcher (Kat Sandercock), who is headed to Florida State, we knew it was a possibility," said Atkins. "But with a schedule as tough as ours, we knew how difficult it would be."
The only other time they trailed during the 2018 season was in the state quarterfinals when South County (Lofton) led 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth and the Warhawks scored five to win 6-4.
"We started the season with a target on our back and never talked about going unbeaten," said Adkins. "We had no team mottos. Of course, a goal of every team is to go unbeaten, but we truly took this one day at a time. We asked the players to ‘get better every day.' "
And they did.
No. 2 Neshoba's title was its seventh straight and the Rockets will enter the 2019 season with a 39-game winning streak. Californians San Marcos and Norco finished Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, and Hoover (Clendenin, W. Va.) rounds out the Top 5.
Shawnee Heights (Tecumseh, Kan.), ranked No. 14, has a two-year winning streak of 50 in a row — the longest of any team in the Top 50.
Final 2018 MaxPreps Xcellent 50 National High School Softball Rankings
1. (Last week 1) Madison (Vienna, Va.), 28-0
MaxPreps National championship team includes Emily Klingaman
, Alex Echazarreta
, Sofia Ebersole
, Wikitoria Kowalska
, Sierra Shields
, Olivia Myers
, Kristy Williams
, Hannah Case
, Nicole Adkins
, Devin Townsend
, Nicole Giery
, Lauren Oskuie
, Keisha Young
, Cat Arase
, Kristin Giery
and Abby Bolinger
.2. (2) Neshoba Central (Philadelphia, Miss.), 34-0
The Rockets won their sixth straight state 5A title.3. (3) San Marcos (Calif.), 28-2
The Knights won the San Diego Section Open Division title and finished the season with an 18-game win streak.4. (4) Norco (Calif.), 29-3
The Cougars finished the season with 10 straight, including 8-2 over Gahr to win the California Southern Section Open Division title.5. (5) Hoover (Clendenin, W. Va.), 33-0
The Huskies repeated as state AA champions.6. (6) Tualatin (Ore.), 30-0
The Timberwolves won the state 6A title.7. (7) Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.), 33-2
The Cards closed the season with 15 wins in a row and the Kentucky state championship.8. (8) New Palestine (Ind.), 30-1
The Dragons finished the season with 20 wins in a row and won the state 3A title.9. (9) Keystone (La Grange, Ohio), 34-0
Keystone won the state D2 championship game.10. (10) Coral Springs Charter (Coral Springs, Fla.), 30-2
The Panthers won the state 6A title.11. (11) Jackson (Mill Creek, Wash.), 25-1
The Timberwolves won the state 4A title.12. (12) Champion (Warren, Ohio), 31-0
The Golden Flashes won the state D3 championship and have won 39 straight.13. (13) Clovis (Calif.), 31-2
Clovis won the California Central Section D1 title.14. (14) Shawnee Heights (Tecumseh, Kan.), 25-0
The T-Birds won the state 5A title and have won 50 in a row.15. (15) Sun Prairie (Wis.), 29-0Maddie Gardner
allowed just one earned run in six postseason games.16. (16) White Knoll (Lexington, S.C.), 32-2
The Timberwolves won the state 5A championship.17. (17) Prince George (Va.), 23-1
Prince George captured the state 5A title.18. (18) Hurricane (W. Va.), 25-3
Won its fourth-straight state 3A title.19. (19) Bentonville (Ark.), 31-3
Bentonville captured the state 7A championship.20. (20) Ouachita Parish (Monroe, La.), 33-4
The Lions won the state 5A title.21. (21) Severna Park (Md.), 27-2
The Falcons won the state 4A title.22. (22) Atascocita (Humble, Texas), 35-7
The Eagles won the state 6A title.23. (23) Masuk (Monroe, Conn.), 27-0
Junior Sam Schiebe
pitched a two-hit shutout while striking out 14, in leading Masuk to the state L title. She walked one and allowed just two balls to be hit past the infield.24. (24) Pinnacle (Phoenix), 31-6
Won state 6A title and 18 of its last 20 games.25. (NR) Escanaba (Mich.), 31-3
State D2 title winner.
26. Decatur Central (Indianapolis), 32-4
Lead by pitchers Karli Ricketts
(Butler signee) and Kenzee Smith
, the Hawks won the state 4A title and their final 14 games. Smith and Ricketts combined for more than 300 strikeouts in a little over 200 innings and 16 shutouts.27. Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.), 33-2
The Huskies were Arizona large school state runner up.28. Canyon (New Braunfels, Texas), 29-2
The Cougs finished second in the state 6A tournament.29. Forney (Texas), 33-6
Won its final 25 games to claim the state 5A title.
Won the state 2A title as seniors Megan White
and Brianne Coleman
combined for two dozen homers and more than 100 RBIs and freshmen pitcher Brooke Bowling
went 26-0 with a 1.78 ERA.31. Huntingtown (Md.), 23-1
The Hurricanes recorded 10-0, 15-0, 5-0, 6-0 and 5-0 wins at the state 3A tournament.32. Baylor (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 34-3
Won state D2-AA title.33. St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.), 27-2
Won the non-public state title.34. Maple Lake (Minn.), 28-1
Maple Lake won the state 2A title.35. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego), 28-4
California's San Diego Section runner-up.36. Fairhope (Ala.), 45-7
Led by eighth-grader Alea Johnson
(15-1, 155 strikeouts in 105 innings and 48 RBIs), the Pirates won the state 7A title.37. Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.), 32-4
The Lancers won the state 4A championship.38. Sheridan (Ark.), 30-3
The Yellowjackets won their final 22 games and the state 6A title.39. Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.), 23-5-1
Behind All-American Danielle Williams, the Dons won the California North Coast Section championship.40. Hagerty (Oviedo, Fla.), 26-5
Won the state 8A title.41. Rock Island (Ill.), 32-5
Captured the state large school championship.42. Strafford (Mo.), 29-0
Won state championship and outscored opponents 337-29. Zoey Mullings homered 12 times, batted .600 and had a 0.52 ERA.43. Great Falls (Mont.), 22-0
Won state AA championship.
44. Spanish Springs (Sparks, Nev.), 33-3
Won state large school title.45. Bonney Lake (Wash.), 26-2
Won final 14 games and state 3A gold.46. West (Torrance, Calif.), 30-3
Won California Southern Section D3 championship.47. Pembroke Pines Charter (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), 26-5
Captured state 7A title.48. Marist (Chicago), 31-4
Juniors Alexis Voss
, Kelly Walinski
and Angela Zedak
have combined for 48 homers with Voss leading the way with 18. They have combined for 88 extra base hits and 170 RBIs.49. Pendleton (Ore.), 25-3
Led by senior Lauren Richards
(state 5A Pitcher of the Year, the Buckaroos won the state 5A title. Richards was 26-2 with 227 strikeouts.50. Artesia (N.M.), 29-4
State 5A winner.