Monday was one of the most successful days in the annals of Bedford High School state tournament play, as four teams all moved on to the next round.
Bedford’s 4-1 win in the opening round on Monday vs. Westborough was intense right to the final out. The Bucs actually were outhit, 6-5, but Bedford batters also walked five times, which proved crucial.
The second-round softball game has been scheduled for Wednesday. Bedford will meet the winner of Tuesday’s match between Walpole and Holliston. If Holliston, seeded 27th, pulls the upset, the game will be at Miss G Field.
Leading 2-1 Monday, Bedford escaped a huge threat in the top of the sixth, including a runner cut down at the plate and a bases-loaded two-out strikeout by Kaylee Grace. Then the Bucs added two insurance runs in the bottom of the inning. Westborough had the tying run up in the seventh before Grace induced a game-ending groundout.
It was Grace’s 30th win as a three-year varsity pitcher. She struck out six and walked only one.
Bedford took a 2-0 lead after one inning on two singles, a walk, and a fielder’s choice. Westborough scored an unearned run in the fourth, then led off the sixth with a three-base hit. But the umpire sent the runner back to second on a ground-rule related to the right-field line.
That proved pivotal, as after a sacrifice, the next batter hit a sharp grounder to deep second, and Maggie Carluccio fired to Alice Cooprider at home to nail the potential tying run.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lexi Masters beat out a grounder to third and took a wide turn around second off a Cooprider sacrifice bunt. The Westborough infielder tried to catch Masters off the bag, but the throw was wild and she came all away around to score. After a walk, a single, and a wild pitch, Bedford had a more comfortable 4-1 lead.
“We had the energy,” exclaimed Coach Nikki Cutter after her team upset Dartmouth high, 16-10. “Everyone showed up ready to win today. We played strong all over the field and the chemistry was undeniable!”
The team will next play the winner of Duxbury vs Danvers on a date to be announced.
“Our attack kept its composure and waited for the right opportunities, along with off-ball movement, both of which we’ve been working on all season,” said Cutter.
Sophomore Tova Yerardi, sophomore Sam Kinch, and junior Finley Halloran scored four each.
“Our captains kept us in the game,” the coach said. Recent graduate Gaby Zovko dominated the draw controls with 12 of her own, helping teammates win four more. Junior Charlotte Dreyfus in goal had 11 saves, many of which “kept our momentum heading in the right direction,” said Cutter.
The coach also praised the play of junior Cassie Morrison, and freshman Julie Curtis, midfielders, and sophomore Caroline Luongo, who “kept the defensive end together with her hustle by running up the field into the attacking end several times, and keeping Dartmouth’s star player to only five goals.”
“Even though it’s the best game we’ve given all season, I’m most pleased with the sportsmanship we displayed despite some questionable calls and missed calls,” Cutter commented. “The composure they had and continuing to play their game without getting discouraged is something bigger than the game of lacrosse and makes me, and I’m sure any coach you ask, just beyond proud.”
Coach Ashley Martell said she hopes Bedford’s 18-4 first-round win over Essex North Shore provides momentum for the next round, likely at fourth-seeded Grafton, which hosts North Reading on Tuesday. The game has yet to be scheduled.
Eric Miles, who graduated on Thursday, finished with six goals and three assists to lead the Buccaneers’ attack. Charles Demeo added four goals, Richie Fedele and Aidan Kelley three apiece, and James Nichol two. Martell specifically cited Nick Tatarczuk’s “three beautiful assists.”
The defense was led by Ian Grove, Jackson Masters, and Sam DiNitto. Ryan Cohen made eight saves in net. Martell also applauded Aaron Kreiter, “solid on the faceoffs, which also helped propel the offense,”
The fourth-seeded Bucs surged to the state quarterfinals, blanking Dedham, 5-0, in a match relocated to the Woburn Racquet Club because of wet outdoor conditions. Bedford High awaits the outcome of Wednesday’s match between Auburn and Wilmington, for its next opponent, which will be at home.
First singles Adam Capobianco had the toughest challenge Monday, but prevailed in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. Second and third singles, Dillon Denny-Brown and Spencer Goss, were both victorious, 6-0, 6-0, and the two doubles teams won by scores of 6-1, 6-0.