RICHMOND — For a time in Thursday’s East-West Conference high school softball game between Buckfield and Richmond, the contest had that feeling of yesteryear, when the Bucks and Bobcats battled tooth and nail, both in their two regular season contests and normally to decide the Western Maine Class D champ come playoff time.

But, that was then and this is now, with Richmond pulling away in the sixth inning with nine runs for a 13-2 win.

The Bobcats improved to 9-0, while Buckfield fell to 5-5, but not without giving the hosts a brief scare.

Trailing 3-0 in the fifth inning, the Bucks scored a pair of runs to close within one. The momentum appeared to be on the Buckfield side of the field.

“We had a chance to tie, and the momentum would have really been with us if Alannah’s (Knox) hit had gotten through,” said Buckfield coach Sandy Albert, who coaches the Bucks along with her father Dan Jack.

“It is that mental part of the game, and I think we will get there,” said Jack, whose Bucks host Greenville in a key doubleheader on Saturday. “We really hope to get another chance at Richmond.”

“It was a really close today, and they are doing a great job with that team over there,” longtime Richmond coach Rick Coughlin said.

Bobcats pitcher Meranda Martin tossed a three-hitter, with nine strikeouts and one walk.

At the plate, Richmond had just five hits, including two from Kalah Patterson during the nine-run sixth that put the game away.

“It is always really exciting to play Buckfield,” Patterson said. “We have a great history with them. The games are always intense, and the hatred is still there. It is exciting to know that it is going to be one of those games where everyone is pumped to play.”

Richmond leads

After a scoreless first inning, Richmond took advantage of Buckfield starting pitcher Amber Arsenault’s wildness. She walked Patterson, hit Autumn Acord with a pitch and walked Emily Douin to load the bases. Katlyn Swan followed with a two-run single for a 2-0 Bobcats lead.

Arsenault escaped further damage as catcher Kali Litchfield threw out Douin trying to advance to third, and moments later fired to third again to nab Swan on a stolen-base attempt.

Martin was cruising for Richmond. She struck out five straight Buckfield hitters at one point, and didn’t allow a base hit until Knox blooped a single to right field to lead off the fourth. However, Knox was stranded at third.

Richmond took a 3-0 lead in the third frame. Camryn Hurley and Martin walked, and Albert brought in Kelly Charity in relief. After recording an out, Kelsie Obi singled to load the bases and a fielder’s choice by Patterson scored Hurley.

Charity pitched a 1-2-3 fourth, and Buckfield connected in the fifth as Gabby Theriault and Alexis Bennett (RBI) singled. Bennett later scored on a Richmond throwing error to get the Bucks to 3-2.

“We knew they were coming, and we had to play some tight defense,” said Patterson, who made the play at third on the Knox groundball to end the threat.

The Bobcats added a run in the bottom of the fifth when Martin singled, stole second and third, and scored when the throw to third skipped into the outfield.

A nice grab by Richmond second baseman Swan on a Hannah Gallant liner kept the Bucks off the bases in the sixth.

Patterson opened the Bobcats sixth with a single and Acord walked. Arsenault reentered the game and hit Douin with a pitch to load the bases. The Bobcats scored on two wild pitches, three bases-loaded walks, an RBI fielder’s choice, an error and a two-run single by Patterson for a 13-2 lead.

Arsenault, Charity and Abby Shield pitched for Buckfield, combining on 11 walks, five strikeouts and five hits allowed.

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