The Bedford High School softball team has reached the statewide Elite Eight in post-season play for the first time in 33 years.
The Buccaneers took advantage of four Holliston errors, breaking open a close game in the fourth inning to win, 10-3, on Thursday afternoon on Miss G Field.
Bedford’s next test will be Sunday at 6 p.m. at third-ranked Tewksbury in the MIAA Division 3 state quarterfinals
Defense was the difference vs. Holliston, which was seeded 27th, but made it to the Sweet 16 by upsetting number six Walpole on Tuesday, 10-4.
Holliston outscored its opponents over the past two games, 28-4, so Bedford Coach Dennis Walsh and his Buccaneers knew the Panthers could hit. But Holliston’s undoing was defense on routine plays.
The Bucs broke a 2-2 tie in the third frame with an unearned run, then added four more in the fourth, thanks to three errors by the visitors.
Bedford added three runs in the sixth, highlighted by Kaylee Grace’s two-RBI triple – which looked like a single until the left fielder slipped and fell and the ball skipped by her.
Grace, who graduated a week ago, pitched a complete game. In the second inning, she struck out her 100th batter of the year. But her greatest moment was in the top of the sixth when Holliston loaded the bases on three singles with one out and the top two hitters in the order ready to swing. All Grace did was chalk up two strikeouts, both on called strikes.
“She definitely reached back for something extra,” Walsh said.
The coach noted that over the course of the season, Bedford outscored its opposition, 81-23, over the final two innings of games. And that pattern continued on Thursday.
Bedford spread eight hits among seven players; Lexi Masters collected two. The girls also drew four walks, and three of them came around to score. The only infield error was an overthrow on a bunt by Grace, as the fielders were flawless.
Walsh was pleased by how well his team bunted, ran the bases, and “did all of the small-ball things.”
In the second, trailing 2-0, after a Masters walk, a sacrifice, and a fielder’s choice, Maggie Carluccio squared to bunt and was grazed by the pitch. Then Sami Langone beat out a grounder deep in the shortstop hole, and Kate Patterson lined a single to right to tie the score.
The Bucs made it 3-2 in the next inning, and never trailed again. They scored four times in the fifth on one hit.
In other sports:
- The girls’ lacrosse team fell at third-ranked Duxbury Thursday, 15-3.
- The boys’ tennis team meets Wilmington on Friday at 3 p.m. at Woburn Racquet Club in the Division 3 quarterfinals.
- The boys’ lacrosse team ended its season with a 12-2 defeat at fourth-seeded Grafton.