STANDISH – There has been nothing simple about a Buckfield and Richmond softball game this season.

Taking in a match between the two rivals might require patience, nerves of steel and an extra dosage of blood pressure medication.

Tuesday’s Western D championship game wasn’t for the faint of heart, but after two nail-biting, regular-season games, another two-and-a-half hour roller coaster ride of emotions was nothing new for the Bucks.

“We just kept telling each other, ‘Don’t give up,'” said Buckfield pitcher Kasey Farrington. “We’d comeback before, and they’d comeback before. We knew we could do it. We just pushed through and did it.”

After watching an early lead disappear, Buckfield rallied to tie the game with two outs in the seventh and then added three in the eighth. The Bucks held on for dear life in the bottom of the inning for an 8-7 win and second straight regional title.

The Bucks return to Ward Field at St. Joseph’s College Saturday for the Class D state championship game at 4 p.m.

“I wanted this game more than anything,” said senior Danielle Labbe. “All of us seniors did. This is the third time in a row that we’ve been here. We knew we needed to win it and knew what we needed to do to make it happen.”

Buckfield and Richmond split in the regular season. Richmond won the first outing, erasing a 2-0 deficit in the seventh to win 4-2. In the rematch, Buckfield blew another lead in the seventh but held off the Bobcats’ rally, escaping with the bases loaded for a 10-9 win.

“When I went over there in the inning when we tied it, I said to (Richmond coach) Rick (Coughlin), ‘Did you expect it to be any different?’ and he said, ‘No.'” said Buckfield coach Ken Farrington. “These are the types of games we have with them.”

This time it was Buckfield (13-3) rallying in the seventh. Richmond (15-2) erased a 3-0 lead with five runs in the third but couldn’t finish off the Bucks in the seventh.

Labbe led off the rally by reaching on a dropped third strike. Ashlee Hamann followed with a single and stole second. After an out, Farrington hit a grounder to third. Instead of going to first for the second out, Katie Cray threw home. The low throw was dropped and Labbe scored. Alyssa Henderson followed with a grounder to short, but another error allowed Hamann to score the tying run.

“We knew the two-run lead meant nothing,” said Coughlin. “We were two away from winning it. If third base throws home and she’s out, we win 5-4.”

The Bucks cranked out 11 hits against Richmond’s Amy Russell. Farrington, Hamann and Brittany Wiley each had a pair. Buckfield opened the lead with three runs and four hits in the eighth to win it.

It began when Leann Abbott singled, and Wiley reached on an error.

“I said that the winning run is coming in right now,” said Labbe. “I knew if I wasn’t putting her in, somebody behind me was definitely putting her in.”

Labbe flied out, but Abbott scored on a wild pitch. Then Hamann singled in Wiley, and a double by Farrington scored Lindsay Neal for an 8-5 lead.

Anxious moments remained as the Bobcats bounced back with two runs on wild pitches in the bottom of the inning. Richmond had runners at second and first with two outs. Farrington struck out lead-off batter Melanie Schanck with a high pitch for the final out.

“Usually by the fifth or sixth inning, I get really tired, but I just tried to suck it up,” said Kasey Farrington, who allowed just three hits. “I knew my team needed me.”

The Bucks had built a 3-0 lead with a run in each of the first three innings. Farrington doubled in Labbe in the first. Wiley and Henderson delivered RBI singles in the second and third. Richmond took command in the bottom of the third with five runs on three hits, one error and two wild pitches.

“That was frustrating,” said Kasey Farrington. “We always have an inning where we get errors. Thank God we came through and put it back together.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.