RICHMOND — Eight straight years, eight seasons of Class D South dominance for the Richmond High School softball Bobcats.

That is the mountain that faced No. 3 Buckfield in Friday’s Class D South semifinal against second-seeded Richmond. In many of those seasons of the Bobcat dynasty, it was the Bucks that ultimately suffered the fate of falling to Richmond, often in a rout.

Not on Friday, as this time around the Bucks put an end to Richmond, holding on for a 6-4 victory, sending Buckfield (14-4) to Wednesday’s regional final at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.

“It took us a long time, but I knew that this was the team that could do it,” said Buckfield coach Sandy Albert. “Give Richmond credit, they are a great team with a great pitcher (Sydney Underhill-Tilton). But it went our way today.”

For Richmond, it was four errors, nine runners left on base through six scoreless innings and running out of innings that eventually ended the regional title run that began in 2010.

“They came to play, we made some costly errors, but these kids kept their heads high and worked to the end,” said Richmond coach Tony Martin, whose Bobcats finished 15-2. “We needed a little hit. We didn’t start hitting until late in the game. Against a team like this, you can’t make errors and you have to hit early.”


Despite trailing 6-0 heading to the seventh, the Bobcats made the large Buckfield contingent nervous along the packed first-base line. Senior Underhill-Tilton reached on an infield single, followed by walks to Ashley Brown and Bryannah Shea to load the bases with nobody out.

Albert relieved starting pitcher Julia Dow, bringing in reliever Cara Merrill. On an 0-2 pitch, cleanup hitter Caitlin Kendrick cleared the bases with a double to left-center field to cut the Buckfield lead in half.

“When they loaded the bases, there was pressure. I think I was mentally drained, so to have a great backup pitcher in Cara is so important,” said Dow, who threw six-plus innings on six hits, six walks and one strikeout.

“We weren’t going to accept defeat until the third out of the seventh inning,” said Kendrick, who later scored on a single by Paige Lebel to close the gap to 6-4.

A fielder’s choice followed for the second out, and Merrill struck out the final Richmond hitter to end it.

“We knew that we couldn’t exhale. They are a good team that doesn’t give up,” Albert said.


“We were so nervous in the seventh inning. We had to keep pushing, and Richmond pushed to the end,” said Buckfield catcher Hannah Shields.

Neither team gave an inch through four innings. Underhill-Tilton retired nine straight Buck hitters at one point, recording three of her five strikeouts.

On the other side, Dow wasn’t over-powering, but received solid defense behind her. Third baseman Carly Trimm twice started double plays to end Richmond threats over the first three frames, and a nice play from Dow on a throw to the plate to Shields retired Bryanne Lancaster in the fourth to send the game to the fifth inning still scoreless.

Buckfield broke the stalemate in the fifth. Dow singled and stole second, one of seven stolen bases for the Bucks. With two outs, an error on a ground ball by Molly Bourget allowed Dow to score. Three pitches later and with Bourget on second, Merrill singled to right-center field for a 2-0 Buckfield lead.

Richmond loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth as senior Haley Chapman and pinch hitter Kennedy Chandler each singled. Once again, Dow escaped.

Shields, who was 3-for-4, tripled to open the sixth and scored on an infield single by Trimm, and the Bucks tacked on three important runs in the seventh, with an RBI each going to Cassidy Hart, Shields and Maggie Bragg.


“We are a great hitting team,” said Albert, who celebrated with her players when the final out was finally recorded.

“I can’t describe it. I am just thankful that we were relaxed and played our game,” Dow said.

“It is amazing, just a great win,” added Shields.

For Martin, he praised his Bobcats for not quitting.

“No matter what happens, keep your head up. The game is not over until that third out in the seventh inning. They are a great bunch of kids,” the Richmond coach said.

“That is just what we do. We want to get better and we won’t stop until the game is over,” Kendrick said. “It is rough. We are more than capable of beating that team, but it happens.”

Underhill-Tilton permitted 11 hits, with three of the runs she allowed unearned.

Bragg and Dow were each 2-for-4 for Buckfield.

Richmond shortstop Caitlin Kendrick, center, looks at the third base umpire on a close play at third base as Buckfield’s Julia Dow is safe on a steal. The third-seeded Bobcats downed No. 2 Richmond, 6-4, in the Class D South semifinals. Buckfield catcher Hannah Shields tags out Richmond’s Bryanne Lancaster (2) at the plate in the fourth inning during Friday’s Class D South semifinal at Richmond. The Bucks downed the Bobcats, 6-4. Richmond first baseman Bryanne Lancaster reaches up to haul in a throw to retire Buckfield baserunner Cassidy Hart at first base. Hart and her Bucks downed the Bobcats, 6-4, in a Class D South semifinal at Richmond on Friday.

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