By Brian Hines, HockomockSports.com Contributor
TAUNTON, Mass. – King Philip has had no problem scoring runs all season, so after their bats were silenced for three innings, the sense was that an offensive explosion was coming.
And that’s exactly what happened.
After Meghan Duffy doubled and scored on a sacrifice squeeze in the second inning to give the Wamps a 1-0 lead, the Warriors plated six runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good, on their way to a 9-3 win in Wednesday night’s Div. 1 South semifinal at Jack Tripp Field.
“They obviously never quit and they have a lot of confidence in themselves even when we were down 1-0,” King Philip coach Norm Beauchemin said about his team. “[Braintree has] an extremely good pitcher but they always thought they could come back and score at least two runs.”
The fourth inning rally started with back-to-back singles, then a misplayed ball loaded the bases for the Warriors. Catcher Brianna Lacy laced a one out single, driving in two runs and opening up King Philip’s first lead of the afternoon.
The runs didn’t stop there, as Sydney Phillips scored Lacy two batters later through a sacrifice fly. After another error scored Phillips, Meghan Gorman ripped a single to score two more for the Warriors.
“Today we scored,” Beauchemin said. “It’s not how many hits you get its when you get the hits and today we got the hits when we needed them. We took advantage of whatever mistakes they made, but for the most part our girls played very intelligent today, very intelligent game.”
After surrendering six runs in the fourth, the Wamps continued to fight back, but the Warriors had an answer every time.
In the fifth, Kara Paquin’s RBI double gave the Wamps life, but King Philip answered with two runs of their own after three consecutive singles.
Braintree again added a run in the sixth looking to get back into the game, but King Philip matched them yet again after scoring on a pass ball.
“We kept matching them when they scored,” Beauchemin said. “They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t a good team, plain and simple. You got four really good teams here so anybody is capable of beat anybody at this point.”
The offensive outburst was due to the same approach they’ve followed all year: being aggressive. The Warriors had seven stolen bases and laid down two bunts, both part of the six-run fourth inning.
“We’re aggressive all the time, we’ve got the talent to be aggressive,” Beauchemin said. “We try to do whatever they’ll give us. If it looks like we can put the bunt down we’ll put the bunt down, if it looks like we’ll have to swing away well swing away. We do whatever the other team wants to give us and we have the personnel to take advantage of whatever mistakes the other team makes.”
For as good as King Philip’s offense was, starting pitcher Elise Pereira was very economical on the mound.
The right-handed senior threw an 89-pitch (71 for strikes) complete game for the Warriors. Pereira was able to limit the Wamps damage all game, including ending the Wamps second inning rally with back-to-back strikeouts.
King Philip (21-3) advances to take on league rival Taunton in the Division 1 South Finals on Friday night at 7:00 back at Jack Tripp Field.