CHESAPEAKE CITY — Bohemia Manor senior Madison Penta had already agreed to sign a scholarship with Auburn University before the start of the Eagles 2020 season, but she wanted one more chance to play what she hoped would be her best season with her teammates before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the Eagles shot at a fourth consecutive Class 1A softball crown.
“It was pretty disappointing to say the least,” Penta said.
Penta noted that this season she was looking forward to playing with her younger sister Mariah as the team had its eye on a fourth consecutive state title. She also said she had as one of her goals finishing undefeated in her final season.
“I just wanted one more opportunity to leave my mark and inspire my teammates,” she said.
One thing Penta did not need her senior season for was to impress college scouts, having already signed with the Auburn University back in November. Penta was the Cecil Whig’s Softball Player of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2019 as she helped pitch the Eagles to three consecutive 1A State Championships. She was also named the 2019 Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year and was selected to the 2019 Premier Girls’ Fast-pitch (PGF) Nationals team.
She finished her junior year with a career record of 49-1, 762 strikeouts in 321 innings (2.37 per inning), and a cumulative ERA of .065 having given up only three earned runs in three years. She shares State Records with 19 strikeouts in a game (2019) and a 0.00 ERA (2017). Maddie had a .586 batting average and hit 9 home runs her junior year.
Making the choice
Penta said a number of college scouts had been watching her play, not only due to her high school accomplishments, but also due to her work in travel softball. She said that while Auburn was her last team visit several years ago, she had built a connection with James Madison University Coach Mickey Dean and when Dean became the head coach at Auburn, she knew it was the right choice for her.
Penta said one of the things she likes about Auburn is the warm Alabama weather, “I am a big fan of warm weather,” she said.
“I just feel comfortable down in Auburn, it kind of reminds me of home somewhat, it is a beautiful campus and there is great team chemistry there.”
Penta said that she has met many of her future teammates and that one of the things she really likes is that the older players are supportive and encouraging of the younger players. She said her goal with the program will be to continue to improve her performances and hopefully make and win the College World Series in Oklahoma every year she is at Auburn.
Penta said she hopes to see playing time as a freshman and knows she will need to continue her work ethic, a work ethic Bo Manor Coach Jill Lawson defines as truly unique.
“I have never seen a work ethic like hers,” Lawson said. “The work she puts in the other players see that and it help increase the tenacity of the team. They saw what it takes to win championships and they knew it wasn’t going to come easily, she is a major part of that.”
Penta said that even though she was unable to play her senior season, the team only played one scrimmage game against Kent County High School, nothing in her work routine has really changed.
“I practice all year round for summer ball,” Penta said. “I took my normal winter routine and simply carried on into the spring.”
Penta said she is currently undecided about what she is going to major in at Auburn, but said she is interested in a possible career in the medical field.
Lawson, who was also Penta’s science teacher in eighth grade described Penta as a “rockstar” student and she said she felt she would be successful no matter what career path she choses.
While Penta will be in college next fall, she said she will miss her days playing at Bo Manor.
“Every softball season brings back some very good memories,” she said. “I will always remember playing with my best friends and all the fun we had, like laughing and joking and being goofball in the dugout, I’ll miss that the most.”
“I would say that her career in our program has been unprecedented,” Lawson said. “I have never seen anything like her come through our school before.”
Lawson said the team would most definitely miss Penta, but noted that during Penta’s time at Bo Manor she has helped to create a program that has the knowledge, belief and ability to win championships.
Lawson said if she could say one thing to the coaches at Auburn about Penta it would be, “I would tell them they made an excellent choice in recruiting her. If they just work with and teach her, she will listen and do what it takes to win.”