RICHMOND – Lefty Grove won 300 baseball games by making opposing batters hit the ball on the ground. Desiree Brackett has developed a knack for doing the same thing.
The Buckfield right-hander induced the home team into 15 ground-ball outs while tossing a one-hitter as the Bucks shut out the Richmond Bobcats 5-0 in softball Tuesday.
Brackett (11-0) fanned just three batters, but Kasey Hughes’ second-inning single was the only ball out of the infield. The old “let your infielders do the work” philosophy was perfectly executed.
“Coach tells me to keep the ball down and work the corners,” said Brackett. “I try to make them hit it to the infield.”
“We work on this,” added Buckfield coach Ken Farrington. “We had pretty good success with it this year.”
It quickly became even easier to execute with a 3-0 lead in the first.
Kasey Farrington drove home Tiffany Dunn with the first run on a one-out double to deep center.
Farrington scored the second run on an infield error, and Brackett plated the third on an infield groundout as the Bucks (11-1) had their bats working early against Amy Russell (7-3).
“We didn’t hit well in the first game with them,” said Farrington.
“We worked a lot on (hitting) lately.”
While the Bucks roughed up Russell for nine hits, the Bobcats (7-3) were rusty both in the field and at the plate after a long, 12-day layoff.
“A couple of situations happened today that we usually react well to,” said Richmond coach Rick Coughlin. “And we’re not really hitting (the ball) solid with line drives. We’re hitting the ball on the ground. We tried three different drills for hitting (lately), but they obviously didn’t work.”
The Bucks gave Brackett insurance runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. Alyssa Henderson’s one-out, bloop infield single got things rolling in the fourth. Kayla Jordan bunted her to second and she moved to third on a hit by Deanna Lavoie. Henderson would score on an infield error.
In the fifth, Farrington beat out an infield hit and eventually came around on a fielder’s choice.
But Brackett didn’t need much offensive help. Only three batters reached base and none advanced past second base.
The top three in the order for the Bobcats went a combined 0-for-9 with eight groundouts.
And it was just part of the game plan.