TAUNTON — Milford’s Shannon Smith has had many accomplishments as a Scarlet Hawk and Wednesday night she added a few more. The Kentucky-bound hurler allowed two hits and struck out 17 in Milford’s 3-0 victory over Central Catholic in the Division 1 EMass final.
In five tournament games this spring, Milford has outscored its opponents, 24-0.
Smith became the first pitcher to top 1,200 career strikeouts when she extended her state-record total to 1,206. The reigning state champs will compete for the title again this year against the Marlboro-Agawam winner on Saturday at Worcester State.
“I didn’t know it happened when it did. I knew I needed 11 [to top 1,200] but I didn’t keep track during the game,” said Smith. “That wasn’t really my goal this game. I wanted to make sure we were keeping them off the bases as much as possible and getting runs in.”
Smith said although she wanted 1,200 career strikeouts, her focus was on the team.
“Tonight that was in the background. I really just wanted to win,” she said.
Milford wasted no time putting runs on the board. In the first, junior Sam Bonavino smoked a single to left and advanced on an outfield error and then a passed ball. After Smith reached on an infield hit, Bonavino scored on a passed ball, also advancing Sarah Jaques, who ran for Smith. Rachel Levine belted a double to score Jaques and give the Scarlet Hawks a 2-0 advantage.
Milford tacked on another run in the fifth. Lauren Hannah singled to right, advanced on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a single by Caroline Fairbanks.
Central threatened in the sixth, loading the bases. Krista Maloney led off with a double and Olivia Antczak and Leslie Moore walked. Milford coach Brian Macchi called time to chat with Smith.
“I told her that I wasn’t concerned with the runners on base and that I wanted her to go after the batter,” said Macchi. “I told her, ‘You’ve done it plenty of times in your career. You need one more out, get out of the jam, get up and hit and then find a way to get three more outs to end the game.’ ”
Smith struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Macchi added, “We’re hoping to see this one more time and for [Shannon] to end her career on a high note come Saturday, and that’s what we’re going to focus on these next few days.”