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Bonsky Heating and Cooling Athlete of the Week: Field softball’s Maddie Burge

Bonsky Heating and Cooling Athlete of the Week: Field softball’s Maddie Burge


Maddie Burge is not only a Field Falcons team leader for pitching and hitting, but is also a leader across all of Portage County. Shannon Eldreth/Special to Portage Sports

By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor

Maddie Burge is forever ready to do whatever it takes for the Field softball team.

A year removed from battling through a season of injuries, Burge has re-established herself as the team’s pitching ace at the perfect time for her Falcons.

After a 13-win freshman season as the program’s No. 1 pitcher, Burge was limited as a sophomore and shared pitching duties with Olivia Bey, who emerged as a viable leader in her own right from inside the circle.

The duo of Burge and Bey were expected to share duties this season, however, a preseason finger injury to Bey’s pitching hand pushed Burge to the forefront as the lone ace, once again, and she has delivered.

And the Falcons have followed.

Field’s 15-0 victory over the host Ravens on Monday lifted the team’s record to 12-1 overall and 7-0 in Metro Athletic Conference play.

Burge has been credited with 10 of those wins as the pitcher, while also delivering offensively, too, as the team’s leadoff hitter.

There really isn’t anything Burge can’t do for the Falcons.

“Maddie is a very versatile player. She can play almost anywhere on the field, so she always has been willing to do whatever is best for the team,” Field softball head coach Beth Dyer said. “She was willing to work on a new position during the preseason in case the situation came up during a game where she needed to play somewhere else.”

Instead, she has found a permanent home inside the circle. Alongside her 10 wins, she has 34 strikeouts and a 1.50 earned-run average in 35 innings pitched.

Her career numbers as a pitcher, to date, include 30 wins and 154 strikeouts in 171 innings pitched.

“I have all the confidence in the world in Maddie as a pitcher,” Dyer said. “I know she is always prepared mentally and can handle whatever is asked of her. Maddie has a lot of experience in different situations, so she’s the player you want to have the ball. She welcomes challenges and being pushed to be the best player she can be.”

At the plate, Burge is not only the rally starter as the leadoff hitter, but she also brings power to the top of the lineup.

Included in her .375 batting average are six home runs, which leads the team ahead of Lilli Sutkowy’s four. Burge is also among the team leaders — and Portage County leaders — in doubles, triples, runs scored and RBI.

“Maddie has been a complete player and has developed over the last two seasons to not only be a threat on the mound, but also at the plate,” Dyer said. “She knows her job as the leadoff hitter and does it pretty well. I think it helps her as a pitcher to know that she can also contribute offensively, as well.”

It has the Falcons in the hunt for a MAC championship, which would return the championship back to the program. Before finishing second in the standings in 2023, Field won three consecutive league titles in 2019, 2021 and 2022, with the 2020 season lost to COVID.

In fact, in Burge’s two-and-a-half seasons, she has been a part of 54 wins and the team has a 32-3 league record — and counting for both.

Fun times for a player having fun, according to Dyer.

“Maddie is a player who loves to play the game of softball,” the veteran coach said. “You can tell by her emotions, excitement, intensity and dedication to the sport. Her energy can be very contagious to those around her.”

Again, with Burge, it is always about doing whatever it takes.

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