STANDISH – As the errant throw sailed into the outfield, the hopes of Buckfield’s softball team soared.

“We all got excited and pumped right up,” said senior outfielder Kayla Jordan. “We knew it was something we really needed. We needed to just get that one little thing, and it got us all going and very excited.”

One Lee Academy error in the fifth led to another and another Saturday at Ward Field at St. Joseph’s College. A scoreless tie suddenly surged in the Bucks favor with three runs. It was all pitcher Kasey Farrington needed.

The Buckfield junior barred the door and escaped threats in the final two innings as the Bucks blanked Lee Academy 3-0 for the Class D state title.

It was the eighth state championship in 11 tries for the Bucks.

The Bucks lost to the Pandas last year in Brewer, 1-0. Lee’s Brooke Harris outdueled Farrington and one unearned run held up for the Pandas.

This time it was Buckfield (14-3) forcing the mistakes and getting a lights-out performance from Farrington. She allowed two hits and struck out 13.

“It was mostly all just fastballs,” said Farrington. “I threw some rise balls, but I didn’t throw a lot of them. I tried to work the corners and not let it go straight down the middle. I was just glad I could throw speed all day.”

She baffled the Panda bats. Lee (13-8) had just two runners on base through the first five innings, both walks. It wasn’t until the sixth or seventh that Lee threatened.

“What she did best was if she got behind, she didn’t give up,” said Buckfield coach Ken Farrington of his daughter’s pitching performance. “She stayed focus and got us out of it.”

The Bucks also got fine defensive help on plays by Ashlee Hamann at first and catcher Alyssa Henderson, who caught a pop-up and picked off a runner on second for a double play.

“All we needed to do was have one play,” said senior shortstop Lindsay Neal. “Once we got one good play, we’d build our momentum from there. After we had the double play in the fifth, we were like ‘This is it. This is the inning.’ We were pumped up and tried our best to get on base.”

Farrington had the lone hit, but it led to all three runs. After a strikeout and a steal by courtesy runner Melissa Taylor, Jordan laid down a bunt. Harris jumped on it, but her throw to third base sailed into the outfield.

After a second out, Leann Abbott’s grounder to third was thrown away, allowing Jordan to score. Then, Brittany Wiley reached on another infield error to score Abbott.

“Last year, we went up there and struggled with (Harris),” said Ken Farrington. “I’m not saying we could hit her today, but I knew if we went to the short game and did some things, it was going to force them to make the plays every time.”

Lee threatened in the sixth, thanks to a walk, single and fielder’s choice. With the bases loaded, Farrington struck out cleanup hitter Aarika Ritchie to end the inning.

“When we got into the dugout, I said I was not going to load the bases again because that’s happened way too much this year,” said Kasey Farrington. “Then I just pushed through.”

Of course, Farrington had one more bases loaded jam to escape, when a single and two walks loaded the bases again with two outs in the seventh. But leadoff hitter Amanda Gifford’s grounder was scooped up by Hamann for the final out.

“It’s the greatest Father’s Day present I could ever have,” said Ken Farrington.


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