RICHMOND — The high school softball rivalry between Buckfield and Richmond has taken a bit of a break over the past few seasons.

Yes, the Bucks and Bobcats have played, but Richmond has become the powerhouse in the East-West Conference, and for that matter, in Class D. The Bobcats are the four-time defending state champions and winners of 73 straight games going into Wednesday’s first of two meetings this season.

The final score — Richmond 8, Buckfield 1 — showed when a team gives the Bobcats an inch, they take a mile — and then some.

Richmond (4-0) scored its first four runs thanks to three Buckfield (3-1) errors in the opening two frames for a 4-0 lead. Then the bats went to work at the plate, with Meranda Martin (3-for-4, double, two RBIs, three runs scored) belting an RBI double and Camryn Hurley following with an inside-the-park home run for a 7-0 advantage for the hosts after three innings.

“We made a couple crucial errors that hurt us, and you can’t make routine errors against Richmond,” Buckfield coach Sandy Albert said. “Those errors hurt you when you’re facing a good team.”

“We got on base, bunting in the first inning to put pressure on them,” Richmond coach Tony Martin said. “These are always good games with Buckfield. The score was 8-1, but they had some nice hits.”

Richmond used small ball to get things going early, as both Martin and Hurley bunted for hits, with Meranda Martin scoring on a throwing error for a quick 1-0 Bobcats lead.

Buckfield starting pitcher Julia Dow escaped a bases-loaded jam in that first inning, but wasn’t as fortunate in the second. Sydney Underhill-Tilton lifted a two-out fly ball to center field that was dropped, allowing two runs to score. Another error on a Caitlin Kendrick grounder made it 4-0.

Hurley sliced a shot to left-center field in the third. As the ball rolled to the fence, Hurley chugged around the bases, easily beating the throw to the plate.

“I was excited because I hadn’t hit one this year,” Hurley said. “Coming into home it felt really good. I was scared that I might get thrown out, but I trust Tony. This was an important win. We were nervous coming into this game. We knew we had to start up and be tough in the beginning. That is what we did.”

“We are going to take every extra base that we can get, whether it is a short pop foul or a home run,” Tony Martin said.

Meranda Martin kept Buckfield guessing through the opening four innings as she held the Bucks to a pair of hits – singles by Hannah Shields and Maggie Bragg. But over the final three innings, Buckfield found its groove, picking up six hits, with Molly Bourget, Bragg and Cassidy Hart finishing with two apiece.

“We hit (Martin) really well, and we have some confidence that we will do better when we meet them again,” said Albert, whose Bucks entertain Richmond on May 23.

The Richmond right hander finished with eight strikeouts, with the lone Buckfield run in the seventh unearned when Abby Fogg reached on the only Bobcats error of the contest and scored on a single by Bourget.

Coach Martin said he has options on the mound when the teams meet up again.

“The next time we play them, they might not see Meranda, as I have four girls that can throw,” Tony Martin said.

Dow made two stints on the mound, with a combined four innings on 11 hits and three walks. Four of the eight runs she allowed were unearned. Bragg tossed two scoreless frames on one hit and three walks.

Both teams return to action on Thursday, with Buckfield at St. Dom’s and Richmond home to Valley.


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