Milford Softball Caps Perfect Season
By Chris Villani Sports Reporter/Columnist · June 20, 2012
Twenty-five games, 25 wins, simply perfect
The Milford High softball team had rolled through the post-season, winning games by finals of 9-0, 5-1, 12-0, and 13-0. In the state title game, however, Malden ace Kiara Amos matched Shannon Smith zero for zero until the Scarlet Hawks plated a run in the bottom of the ninth to win the state championship in walk-off fashion.
After seven innings weren't enough to decide a winner, Smith was able to continue her dominance through the 8th and 9th, striking out the side in both frames. In the bottom of the 9th, Milford started things off with a single by Caroline Fairbanks, her third hit of the game. Taylor Archer grounded out, moving Fairbanks to second in the process. After Rachel Levine flew out to left, up stepped freshman Taylor LeBrun. She lined a single up the middle to plate Fairbanks and give Milford High School its first state title in softball.
"As the game went on, I felt comfortable because we were putting the ball in play all night," said head coach Brian Macchi. "Their pitcher might have been the best we saw all year, but Shannon was getting strikeouts and it kept us confident as we had a few mishaps and missed opportunities."
Milford had several changes to score earlier in the game, none better than when it loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth. Two strikeouts sandwiched a failed attempt at a squeeze and kept the game a scoreless tie. Smith did her part, saving one of her best performances for the biggest game of the year.
"She stepped up her game even more," said Macchi of the junior, who has captured Gatorade Player of the Year honors twice in an outstanding high school career. "She was able to hit her spots and have the spin and the movement on the ball that she needs to be successful."
"I definitely love pressure situations," said Smith. "I always have, ever since I started pitching, it's where I thrive."
The right hander finished the game with 22 strikeouts and only allowed two batters to reach base, one via a hit and the other a hit batsmen. Her dominance, coupled with some timely hitting, gave Milford a state championship and an undefeated season after a couple of near misses over the past two years.
"Our goal was to win the state title game, the last game, and we did that," said Macchi. "To go 25-0, it just adds to the whole season and makes it that much sweeter. The memory we created is something we will never forget. We left our mark, and it's always going to be there."