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MHS Softball Tourney Bound
At the beginning of the season, Milford High School's softball team had a clear list of goals laid out to follow up on their 24 win, state finalist campaign of 2010. The first goal was to qualify for the district tournament, which the Scarlet Hawks accomplished with last Friday's 2-0 win over Leominster.
"You never want to take it for granted, but the expectations are that we are going to get our 10 wins and be in the playoffs," said head coach Brian Macchi, who saw his team improve to 10-0 with the win over the Blue Devils. "We want to build on the tradition of always being a tournament team; the second season is where things really pick up."
Milford was anchored in the tournament-clinching win by sophomore ace Shannon Smith, who pitched her second no hitter of the season against Leominster. She has earned the victory in all 10 games for Milford this season, posting a minute 0.81 ERA while striking out more than 13 batters per game. "When the defense only has to make seven outs, it helps," said Macchi in reference to Smith's prolific strikeout rate. "(Smith) gives us a chance to win every time and it's going to come down to making the plays we have to make."
Milford was unable to make the plays the day before its' win over Leominster, committing three errors in the 7th inning to allow Wachusett to tie the game at 4. The Scarlet Hawks were able to win the game in extra innings, and Macchi was able to take something positive out of his team's close call. "I told the girls after Wachusett tied it in the 7th that facing a little adversity is not a bad thing," he said. "We needed to see how we would respond."
Milford was not only able to respond with the winning run against the Mountaineers, but also came back 24 hours later to play flawless defense behind Smith to shut out Leominster.
The Hawks have gotten a spark at the top of the order from sophomore Rachel Levine, who leads the team with a .487 batting average and shares the team lead with 13 RBI. "She has been key," Macchi said of Levine. "She puts the ball in play consistently and causes havoc by finding a way to get on base. She has also been able to come through with key situations with big hits, which is something that has been vital to us."
Levine has been able to set the table for the firepower in the Milford line-up that follows. Caroline Atkinson is hitting a blistering .469 while Caroline Fairbanks is also hitting north of .400 with two home runs and 13 RBI. Taylor Archer leads the team with three homers on the year, and Lauren Hanna along with Smith are hitting close to .400 to round out a potent lineup that has averaged six runs and 10 hits per game.
Despite the perfect first half of the season, Macchi said his team is still hungry for more with 10 regular season games to play, including six Mid Wach games.
"We want to win the league, we haven't lost a league game in three years and that's something we want to keep alive," he said. "We also want to solidify a bye in the first round. We want to be greedy and keep winning, and these girls know how to stay motivated."




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