ASHEVILLE Some day, the members of Madison's 16-and-under softball team may step back and realize what they accomplished at the Babe Ruth World Series.
Or maybe that day is already here.
"It was tremendous and not an opportunity that everyone can say they've had," shortstop Monica Taylor said.
"It was just truly amazing to be on the field with these girls. We had the time of our lives."
Madison lost in Tuesday afternoon's championship game to Wilson, 7-6.
But the Western North Carolina team comprised of players from Madison, Roberson and North Buncombe went 8-2 overall and battled its way out of the losers' bracket to get to Tuesday's finale.
Madison senior Allie Leake pitched just the 11th, 12th and 13th no-hitters in World Series history and they all came consecutively, a first for the tournament.
Leake was selected to the all-series team and received an award for her defense, as did Taylor.
Outfielder Jessica Roberts was also selected to the all-series team, while catcher Emily Nowlin received a defensive award. Nowlin allowed only one passed ball in the tournament, coach Jeff Loven said.
"It was a wonderful experience. It went beyond our wildest dreams," Loven said.
"For five or six years, we've just been trying to win the Southeast Regional. To finish second out of 20 teams at the World Series? We've gotta be happy with that. Allie was phenomenal. And as a team, I thought we really played well. It was a great run."
Nine of the Western North Carolina team's members were from Madison High, while it was also able to absorb players from North Buncombe (Taylor) and Roberson (Karley Yeager and Rachel Drake) due to the fact that their youth leagues did not have enough participation for all-star competition.
Leake, Roberts, Nowlin, Lexie Ammons, Hannah Anders, Makayla Drewnoski, Baylea Loven, Brianna Reed, and Mallory Swaney were the Madison players on the Babe Ruth team.
Wilson was the host for the World Series and made up primarily of players from Beddingfield High, which also beat Madison in last spring's NCHSAA 2-A championship series.
Nevertheless, Loven said he and his team returned home in the wee hours of Wednesday morning with no bitterness.
"All of this started with the high school team and what (Madison coach Andy Gregg) has done with these girls," Loven said.
"There's a lot to be happy about. And the great thing is we had five girls who are young enough to play in the 14 and under division. So we're not only happy about this, but we've got something to build on for the future."