By Kevin Eickman
In the final game before spring break, the Milford Buccaneers softball team was beat 9-6 as they traveled north to play Padua Academy. The lost was not pretty and came at the end of a brutal stretch of games against tough competition, which saw Milford drop four consecutive games. Those four losses dropped Milford to 5-5 on the season.
“When you are in the middle of a losing streak, things just keep going wrong,” Coach Sean Brennan stated. “Sometimes you just get in a rut and you need something to snap you out of it.”
Milford got just what they needed this past Thursday as they hosted a Saint Elizabeth team that came in boasting a 7-2 record. Not only was their record impressive, their run production was off the charts heading into the game, averaging over 16 runs a game. With that in mind, the stage was set for a slugfest. Unfortunately for Saint Elizabeth, their bats were silenced on the day.
In spring sports timing is everything and with the game falling over spring break, the Vikings normal starting pitcher Skylar Gallucio was unavailable due to a trip. This pressed McKenzie Sweeny, the normal catcher into service on the mound.
Not only was Gallucio absent, several starters were also on a spring trip, making the task a little bit more manageable for the Buccaneers. Milford scored a pair in the bottom of the first to take the lead in what was just the beginning of a rout. In the bottom of the second the floodgates opened for Milford as nine runners crossed the plate on the way to a 14-0 win.
The only true question in the game was whether the Viking offense would be able to break through against Milford freshman pitcher Bianca Salisbury. The answer was a resounding no. Salisbury pitched all five innings allowing no hits in a “mercy rule” shortened victory. From the start Salisbury was in complete control, demonstrating both good location and velocity.
“I felt really comfortable out there today,” commented Salisbury. “I was mostly working just in and out, trying to stay ahead in the count and it was very effective.”
Coach Brennan was thrilled with the performance that Salisbury put in. “She had it going right from the start. I know [St. Elizabeths] was down a few players but that is still a formidable lineup,” Brennan said. “To be able to go out there a no-hit a team like that is quite an accomplishment. She was great today.”
The victory improved Milford’s record to 6-5 as the final third of the season looms large. Milford faced tough odds last year to qualify for the playoffs but managed to overcome them. It looks as if they will need the same moxie this year as well. “There is no doubt about it, we are going to have to win a number of games down the stretch if we want to make the tournament,” Brennan said.
When asked what Milford needs to do to make that happen, Brennan was quick to respond, “It is about focus. Everyone has to focus and get on the same page. Today was a good first step, this is the way we need to play going forward. If the players remain focused all the time, we are a real good team. When they don’t we end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard.”
Milford will host Sussex Central on Tuesday and Delmar on Thursday, which is listed as senior day on the schedule. First pitch for both contests is set for 4:15.
Sign up for you free digital subscription of The Weekly Review, delivered directly to your email every Tuesday morning. A quick cover-to-cover read to catch up on the news of the week and experience great stories about our local communities. Sign up for your free email subscription below.