It was a vintage Sydney McKay performance in Gloucester softball's 6-0 win over Bishop Fenwick on Wednesday at Burnham's Field.
The senior righty went the distance, allowed no runs on one hit, struck out five and made eight plays in the field to account for 13 of the 21 outs.
In the circle, she was her usual, even keeled self; focused on the task at hand and keeping her teammates engaged.
It was just a normal, late May regular season game for McKay. Except the situation was anything but normal. With the win, Gloucester's senior captain earned her 53rd career victory setting the Gloucester High School softball wins record. McKay passes Jillian LaFlam, a Gloucester High School Hall of Famer who earned 52 wins from 1994-97.
McKay got the final out on a flyball to center field, caught by fellow senior captain Tracy Wood. She was then mobbed by her teammates behind the pitching circle in celebration.
"It was crazy (after recording the final out)," McKay said. "I knew coming in that I just had to play my game and not think about the record because I might not have played how I should. My teammates kept me loose out there. I was really glad that Tracy made the final out because we've been playing together for so long."
McKay currently sports a career record of 53-11 and has been a regular in Gloucester's starting lineup since her freshman season in 2016. She picked up six wins in her freshman season, where she spelled Karina Keenan. As a sophomore, she took over as the full time pitcher and led the team to 15 wins. She earned 16 last year as a junior and now has 16 as a senior with one regular season game and the state tournament to go.
"She plays with a lot of confidence but she's such a humble person, always crediting her teammates," Nicastro said. "She's the perfect person to hold the record because she has the physical skill and the perfect mentality. She is very steady but she has some fire to her too."
In the game of softball, most dominant pitchers feature a heavy fastball that can blow hitters away. While McKay has an excellent fastball, there is so much more to her game.
Sure, the senior can blow hitters away when the situation arises. But what takes her game to another level is the way she can out-think opponents and keep them off balance with a variety of pitches.
McKay has four pitches at her disposal, a fastball, a changeup, a drop curve and a screwball, which leaves hitters searching for answers and either swinging and missing, or making weak contact.
"I have been to a few different pitching coaches who have all taught me something different," McKay said. "I just put it all together and made it my own. When I started I never had any lessons, I just went out there and pitched. The hard work has paid off."
In addition to her ability to keep hitters off balance with her stuff, she is also as sure handed as they come defensively. When McKay pitches to contact, a lot of the times the ball is coming right back her way, and she almost always makes the play whether it's an easy one or not.
"She's one of the best defensive pitchers I've ever seen," Nicastro said. "She always knows the situation too and makes the right play. She knows when she can take it easy and when she has to make a hard throw. We saw how valuable her defense is today."
Through it all, McKay has remained humble and credits the help she got along the way from her coaches and teammates.
"To get this far you have to be mentally tough in big situations," McKay said. "And I definitely couldn't have done it without my coaches and my teammates."