Skye Rogers of St. Dom’s slides in safely to second base between Buckfield’s Cassidy Lowell, left, and Cara Merill during a game in Auburn on Tuesday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)
AUBURN — Buckfield stumbled out of the gate offensively at the start of Tuesday’s inter-class softball game against St. Dominic Academy, squandering a bases-loaded chance in the second. The Bucks more than made up for that in the sixth inning, putting 18 runs on the board before the Saints scored 12 of their own in a 24-12 Buckfield victory.
“I said, ‘It will fall, right?’ You can’t worry about the last (inning),” Buckfield coach Sandy Albert said. “And yeah, it does bother you a little bit when you have bases loaded, but you just got to let the kids know, ‘It’s early, we’ll hit her, we’ll do pretty well,’ and they just did that. After you see her a couple times, then you can hit much better.”
The Bucks (4-2) left a runner at second in the top of the first, then got one run across in the second before loading the bases with no outs. But a strikeout, force-out at home and a gunned-down runner trying to score on a passed ball ended the threat without any further damage.
Saints (2-4) coach Ashley Farrell said freshman catcher Lucy Frenette “kept us in it.”
Buckfield’s bats didn’t stop though. They got assists from the Saints’ gloves however. A two-out error kept the top of third alive, allowing Maggie Bragg to single Carley Trimm to third. Trimm then scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
Brittany Warren led off the fourth with a double, then two outs later a walk and consecutive singles by Cassidy Hart and Hannah Shields scored three more runs.
Bragg led off the fifth with a single and scored on an error.
We only kill ourselves with errors,” Farrell said. “When we play at the top of our games, and believe in ourselves, we’re in it to win it.”
Skye Rogers, who has pitched every inning for the Saints this year, did her best to keep her team in the game, but Bucks starter Julia Dow made life miserable for the St. Dom’s offense. The Saints couldn’t take advantage of two first-inning walks or a lead-off error in the second. Dow gave up her first hit in the third — a single by Mikayla Jackson — but didn’t let it become anything. She gave up another single to Cassie Roy to lead off the fifth, but the catcher, Shields, caught her trying to steal second.
“She did really, really good today. I think it was just mentally she was ready,” Albert said. “We haven’t played for a week. And it’s tough when you do that sometimes, but I think just working together — they’ve pitched all week, every day I had them pitch — and I think she was just ready to go today.”
If six runs weren’t enough run support for Dow, then what the Bucks did in the top of the sixth surely gave her a comfortable cushion.
The Bucks sent 23 batters to the plate, with 18 scoring. Lead-off batter Madison Hodgdon walked but was caught trying to steal second for a quick first out. Getting the next one proved more difficult, however. Two singles were followed by two errors, then a walk and another error, before the Bucks strung together four more base hits. A force-out ended the run of batters reaching, but then nine more reached, highlighted by Cara Merrill’s three-run home run.
Merrill, Bragg and Warren all had four hits for the Bucks, while Shields had three.
“We had a great sixth inning. We we’re hitting the ball really well, and everything that we did actually worked today,” Albert said.
The Saints still had to take a turn hitting in the sixth, and Farrell said her team “mentally set themselves back in.”
Jackson led off with a single, then seven more batters reached to end Dow’s shutout. A pop out and a fielder’s choice got the Bucks within one out of ending the game, but the Saints stayed alive a little longer.
Emma Skofield tripled inside the third-base line to drive in two runs, then Rogers singled Skofield. Dow walked a pair to load the bases before Frenette singled in a pair of runs to end Dow’s outing. Merrill came in and was greeted with an error and an RBI single from Amber Shelley before striking out Becca Zimmerman to end the game.
“Honestly, it’s a huge learning experience for us,” Farrell said. “To be smoked and give up 18 runs, and then to have to be able to grind back and put ourselves right in there. We had our last runner (at third). If Lucy would have come in on that we would have been guaranteed another inning. To grind even that far I didn’t think was going to happen.”
Becca Zimmerman of St. Dom’s (13) has to slide through Buckfield’s Cara Merrill, left, and Cassidy Lowell while trying to steal second base during a game in Auburn on Tuesday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)Buckfield third baseman Carley Trimm leaps to make a catch during a win over St. Dom’s in Auburn on Tuesday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)Buckfield’s Siana Jacobs tries to lay down a bunt during a game against St. Dom’s in Auburn on Tuesday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)
Buckfield’s Brittany Warren scores on a wild pitch ahead of a tag attempt by St. Dom’s pitcher Skye Rogers while Buckfield’s Cara Merrill and the St. Dom’s dugout look on during a game in Auburn on Tuesday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)