No. 6 Chelmsford took a huge pace toward becoming the softball champions of the Merrimack Valley Large with a dramatic come-from-behind, extra-innings win over No. 5 Central Catholic on Monday.
With the win, the Lions capped a season sweep of their league rivals.
On the mound during the highly anticipated rematch of “Meg versus Meg” was Chelmsford’s Meghan Rich, who opposed Central ace Meg Donegan.
Now, Lions head coach Bruce Rich never leads on that he also calls Meghan his daughter; their relationship is strictly that of player-coach on the field. But we caught up with Meghan to get her take on the latest battle with the Raiders and to find out whether she lends any advice to her father’s other coaching gig as Chelmsford’s football coach.
Q: I think a lot of people were looking forward to the pitching matchup in the game against Central Catholic. How do you compare your game against that of Meg Donegan?
A: “Well, she throws harder. I’m more of a junk pitcher, so it’s two different things. I think we both did really well, but we did a good job hitting her [in the final inning].”
Q: What did you see from their lineup from the first you played to apply to the second game?
A: “I think were a little more off-balance in the first game. But this game, they kind of got how I pitch. I still tried to keep them off balance. We gave them their only other loss of the season, so I think they were thinking about us since that game. You knew they were looking to beat us. But we wanted to beat them the second time even more.”
Q: That was a huge game in the MVC. What was the mood around the team going in?
A: “It’s like any other game. You just have to take that game like any other game.”
Q: You guys found your swings in the eighth inning. What made the difference from the first couple times around the order?
A: “In all the other innings, we just didn’t put it together. Thankfully, in the last two innings, we put it together. We had better swings.”
Q: How has this season stacked up to the expectations you had for this team?
A: “We were told to take things one game at a time, but we’ve always wanted to win the MVC.”
Q: So tells us about Coach Rich.
A: “You mean, my father?”
Q: If that’s what you call him, yes.
A: “It’s player-coach on the field, definitely. And, at home, it’s still player-coach, but it’s father-daughter, too. You know how that is. I tell him what I think about things, about the team.”
Q: Do you like having your dad as a coach?
A: “Sometimes it’s not the greatest, but I like having him there.”
Q: What would you say is the biggest thing he’s taught you about softball?
A: “Just to take it one pitch at a time, don’t get too far ahead of yourself.”
Q: You said you give your input on the softball team. Do you ever lend football advice to him?”
A: “He tries to fill me in on what’s going on, but I don’t really listen much. Yeah, I just watch the games.”
Q: How you spend time with teammates away from softball?
A: “We have a really good relationship with each other. Outside of softball, we’re all best friends. We’ll see each other in the hall way and we’ll give each other high fives. We just have a lot of fun because we’re like a family.”
Q: We’re getting close to tournament time. How do you see things shaping up in D1 North?
A: “It’s going to be tough. But I think we should be good. We’ll take it one game at a time.
Q: So that’s the M.O.?
A: “That’s pretty much it.”