One of the Buckfield softball team’s keys to success this season has been a frequent use of pinch runners.

The Bucks have plenty of extra runners, and using them helps keep the entire time involved, coach Tammy Tatlock says.

“(It has worked) really good, it keeps the girls kind of focused and keeps them in the game, and they have accepted their roles; they are moving forward with it,” Tatlock said. “It benefits us all the way around. We are a little quicker on the base paths, and that’s what we kind of go with.”

Buckfield’s Cassidy Lowell jogs back to the dugout in triumph after sliding safely into home plate during Friday’s softball game against Mountain Valley in Rumford. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The frequent use of pinch runners also is strategic.

In Friday’s 10-3 win over Mountain Valley, Tatlock inserted pinch-runners in the top of the sixth, with the Bucks leading 7-0, in hopes of adding to the lead and reaching the 10-run mercy rule.

“We were trying to be a little bit aggressive offensively with running,” Tatlock said. “We have been (doing) that all season. We just continued to do that with the depth on the bench.”

The Bucks didn’t get any runs across in the sixth inning, and Friday’s game went the full seven innings after the Falcons scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning. Buckfield then added three runs in the top of the seventh.

The strategy was crucial to a 4-3 win over Winthrop on May 24.

“We brought in some pinch-runners, it was a close game and we were able to sneak that (win) out,” Tatlock said.

AREA ATHLETES THRIVE AT WMC CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Poland boys and girls both won Division II team titles at the Western Maine Conference outdoor track championships Saturday at Lake Region High School.

The boys edged Sacopee Valley 139-132 and the girls beat second-place North Yarmouth Academy/Maine Coast Waldorf School 145-117. The St. Dominic Academy boys scored 12 points and the girls totaled 28.

The Poland boys swept the three relays (4×800-meter, 4×100, 4×400) and had a 1-2-3 finish in the high jump (Isaiah Hill, Colby Adams, Lucas Frechette). For the St. Dom’s boys, Liam Levasseur was third in the 800-meter run and the Saints were fourth in the 4×400 relay.

The Poland girls were paced by Ellen Marquis-Boutin’s three wins (100 and 200-meter dashes, long jump), Madison Wante’s two wins (high and triple jumps), and victories by Arianna Miller in the race walk, Halie Vachon in the 400-meter dash and the 4×100 relay. St. Dom’s had second-place finishes from Sarah Brown (800) and Gabby Roman (shot put), and Alma Kohler was third in the long jump.

In Division I, the fourth-place Gray-New Gloucester girls scored all 66.5 of their points in field events, with all but 0.5 of those coming in the three throwing events. Zoe Barnes had dual wins in the shot put and discus, breaking the school and facility record in the discus with a best throw of 124 feet, 7 inches. Lorenza Piper was runner-up in both events. Sarah Fecteau won the javelin.

The Gray-NG boys were fourth in Division I with 59 points. The Patriots scored runner-up finishes in the one-mile (Wyatt Fessler), two-mile (William Maines) and triple jump (Elijah Young), and Tyler Amos was third both the discus and shot put.

STUMPING FOR TIGER HOPKINS FOR ALL-AMERICAN

Oak Hill/Monmouth/Lisbon lacrosse coach Joey Hinkley is like a campaign manager, who is stumping for candidate Tiger Hopkins to become an All-American.

“I hope someday before he graduates he becomes All-American,” Hinkley said. “I think he’s definitely on the right push to do it. There has only been one at Oak Hill. We had an academic All-American.

“But I really think he has a great shot at it. Unfortunately, the worst part is people say, ‘He goes to Oak Hill and he has a cupcake schedule.’ He works hard for what he does. He proves it on the field against the bigger teams. That’s the thing that people don’t realize is that when you have those big games, he steps it up against the big teams. He scoring four to five goals against the bigger schools.”

Hinkley spends his time attending All-American meetings to advocate for an athlete like Hopkins.

“I am not one of those coaches that are going to sit back and, ‘Ah, hopefully, it gets voted on,’” Hinckley said. “No! That is my job in trying to get one of these kids, like Tiger, for instance, to be selected as an All-American. You need to talk for minute and do what I have to do to get him there.”


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