Buckfield’ Cassidy Hart is tagged out by Vinal haven’s Marina Davis as she slides into home plate during Thursday’s softball game in Buckfield. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

BUCKFIELD — After a quiet first two innings in the first of two games, the Buckfield offense got going late in game one, and the Bucks didn’t let their foot off the gas from there.

A four-run frame to finish off an 8-3 victory in the first game paved the way for a three-run start to the second game, a 10-3 win for the Bucks, who swept a Class D South softball doubleheader against Vinalhaven/North Haven on Thursday.

The Bucks (10-4) fell behind 2-0 after one inning of game one. A leadoff walk, three singles and a sacrifice fly against starting pitcher Julia Dow gave the Vikings (7-5) an early advantage.

“We do that a lot, and it’s hard to give up a run in the first inning every game, but we seem to do that sometimes,” Bucks coach Sandy Albert said. “But (Julia) can dig in, and they dig in behind her and just get it done. And I knew we’d score runs, it was just a matter of not starting slow.”

Vikings game-one starter Ashlyn Littlefield set down the first six Buckfield batters of the game, but Madison Hodgdon led off the third with a walk. Just like the Vikings took advantage of a free pass to the first batter, so did the Bucks. Brittany Warren followed with a double, then one run came in on a groundout and another on a wild pitch to tie the game. Cara Merrill doubled, then Maggie Bragg walked. Merrill made it to third on a wild-pitch ball-four before scoring on an errant throw, giving the Bucks the lead, 3-2.

A lead-off single by Molly Bourget in the fourth turned into another run when Warren singled her home three batters later. The Vikings cut the deficit back to one in the sixth with an Amber Shane walk and three straight singles by Marina Davis, Hope Cluff and Deja Doughty.

Then the Bucks pulled away in the bottom of the frame.

“You never what happens when you go into the seventh. You could get in trouble pretty quick,” Albert said. “So you have to have a buffer, and I told them that, ‘We need a buffer, let’s get a couple more just to have a buffer,’ and then there’s not as much pressure to try to have to get three outs and not let them score a run.”

The first of four runs scored on a wild-pitch strike-three, the next on an error. Merrill rounded out the scoring with a two-run double.

Dow survived giving up 11 hits to earn the win. She struck out two and walked two. Littlefield gave up seven hits, and only three of the eight runs were earned. She walked three and struck out one.

“I tried to do a little strategy and have my daughter pitch the first game — which we did fine in, we was in it — and save our best pitcher for the second game, but it didn’t work out,” Vikings coach Doug Littlefield said.

Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes toed the rubber for the Vikings in the second game. The Bucks were the designated road team, so they got a chance to keep their bats hot a half-inning early. Merrill made sure that happened with a lead-off double. She then scored on a pair of wild pitches. Cassidy Hart singled and Carley Trimm later doubled, and both scored on a throwing error.

Littlefield, whose team committed three errors in the first game and five more in the second, said a big problem for his squad was “just fundamentals.”

The Vikings got one run back thanks to Doughty’s lead-off double in the bottom of the first. She eventually scored on a delayed double-steal.

The teams traded single runs in the second, then the Bucks scored another in the third to go up 5-2.

Merrill, pitching the second game for the Bucks, started to settle down in the third. After allowing another lead-off hit to Doughty, she got one out on a fielder’s choice, then started a string of six straight batters retired.

By the time the Vikings got another base runner in the bottom of the sixth they found themselves trailing 9-2. Merrill and Hannah Shields had RBI singles in the fourth, and Trimm drove in another with a groundout. Bourget scored on a wild pitch in the fifth after reaching on an error leading off.

“We talk about that, and we start that in the gym (in the preseason). ‘Take 60 feet. If you can take it, take it.’ And we do that,” Albert said. “We’re pretty aggressive.”

Paige Dennison scored the final Vikings run in the sixth, coming home on Carolyn Hopkins’ groundout after leading off with an infield single.

The Bucks added another run to their buffer in the seventh. Merrill reached on an error and scored on Hart’s single.

Merrill scattered seven hits, and allowed just one earned run. She struck out one and walked one, relying on low pitches to induce grounders. Davis-Oakes was tagged for eight earned runs on 12 hits. She struck out three and walked five.

“We just didn’t bring our best today,” Littlefield said. “We had to be perfect.”

Albert called the sweep “really, really big.” The Bucks were right behind the Vikings in the Class D South standings heading into the twinbill. Afterwards they had leaped to third, putting them in position for a home game in the first round of the playoffs, and knocking the Vikings into a road playoff opener.

“We’ll have to go somewhere to play a good team,” Littlefield said.

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Vinalhaven’s Ashlyn Littlefield tries to get on second base as Buckfield’s Cassidy Hart waits for the ball at second base during Thursday’s softball game in Buckfiled. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Vinalhaven’s Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes is forced out at second base by Buckfield’s Cassidy Hart during Thursday’s softball game in Buckfield. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)


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