TAUNTON, Mass. -- There are dominant pitching performances and there are DOMINANT pitching performances.
The performance No. 1 King Philip’s Meghan Rico delivered Saturday in a Division 1-South semifinal softball game against Silver Lake falls under the latter category.
As a result, the fact King Philip belted the No. 5 Lakers, 13-0, almost was overshadowed by Rico who, besides going the distance, allowed a mere three hits (one was a bunt single) and two walks. But following are the stats that jump off the proverbial page:
* She struck out 17 of the 28 batters she faced.
* Of the 77 pitches she threw, 65 were strikes.
“She had 17 strikeouts the other day (in a 2-0 victory over Somerset-Berkley) so you kind of change your definition of what’s the norm for her,” Warriors coach Jim Leonard said. “She’s a very consistent pitcher. She has great command of her pitches. She has a great battery mate [catcher Olivia Godin].
“We have all the confidence in the world every time we put here out there in the circle. She knows the time of year when she needs to be on her game and she just never disappoints.”
Because Rico didn’t disappoint – and because her teammates backed her with a 14-hit attack – King Philip (18-4) advanced to Sunday’s 3 p.m. final at Taunton against Bridgewater-Raynham (which could be another step in the Warriors’ pursuit of a third consecutive state title).
“She’s really solid,” Brennan said. “We’ve got one more game [Sunday]. She’ll be ready. She’s actually one of those pitchers that’s better with the more consistent work she gets.”
Rico, who’ll play her college softball next season at George Washington, gave a lot of credit to Godin.
“My catcher helped me a lot today,” Rico said. “She calls all the pitches and does a really good job with that, working it inside and outside to keep them off balance.”
King Philip also kept the Lakers (18-5) off balance, so to speak, by bolting to a 7-0 lead after three innings and never letting up.
“People wouldn’t believe the amount of hitting we’ve practiced in the last day or so,” Rico said. “I think we hit every hour. I promised the team I would throw as long as I have to. We just need to get a run.
“I’ll do anything I can in my power not to let them get runs. Just work your hardest and put some runs on the board. We practiced a lot and it really showed today.”
How true. In fact, Rico was one of KP’s top hitters as she went 4-for-4 with four runs scored and an RBI.
Close behind was first baseman Cayleigh McCarthy who belted a single, a double and a home run which altogether drove in five runs – and, of course, left her a triple short of the cycle.
“We’re a good, solid hitting team,” Leonard said. “It’s a matter of getting the repetitions necessary to get it done in the game.
“Cayleigh McCarthy loves this field. She hit a home run last year in the tournament here - another real solid home run. That’s what she’s capable of doing.”