BHS Softball Team Wins a Berth in Division 2 Final Four

June 10, 2024
The Bedford High School varsity softball team blanked Tewksbury on Sunday to earn a trip to the Division 2 semifinals. Courtesy photo

For the first time in 34 years, the Bedford High School softball team has won a berth in the MIAA Division 2 state semifinals, thanks to a scintillating 2-0 triumph over Tewksbury Memorial that came down to the final pitch as the lights turned on and dusk settled over Hazel Field on Sunday.

The seventh-seeded Bucs, now 19-4 in 2024, will face third-ranked Walpole (20-1 record) at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell’s River View Field. The winner of that game advances to the state championship match.

Once again, the story for Bedford was the dominant pitching of junior Alyx Rossi, who allowed only two hits and struck out 16. Over three post-season games, Bedford has yet to give up a run. And the same is true for Walpole.

Sunday’s win was all about clutch, most of it manifested in the opening inning, first at the plate and then in the pitcher’s circle.

Junior pitcher Alyx Rossi struck out 16 Tewksbury batters in Bedford’s 2-0 MIAA Division 2 Elite Eight victory. Photo Jenny Stewart

Addison Poulter, Bedford’s sophomore leadoff hitter, started the game with a sharp single up the middle. Tewksbury pitcher Aislin Davis then uncorked a wild pitch over the catcher’s head, and Poulter took second. Davis was very careful facing Rossi, who is hitting over .700. With first base open, she walked Rossi without throwing a strike. Then Poulter and Rossi pulled off a double steal.

Davis ended up walking the next batter, Kate Patterson. Next, she struck out Alice Cooprider, but then Lexi Masters, the sophomore left fielder, delivered the key hit of the game – a two-run single to right-centerfield.

The Bucs had only one more baserunner for the rest of the night and that came on a fielding error.

Rossi gave Tewksbury the opportunity to climb right back. Then she took it away.

With one out in the bottom of the first, the Bedford ace sandwiched a hit batter around two walks. With the bases loaded, she then struck out Alyssa Adams on a called strike and Anya Cranston on a swing-and-a-miss. That ended what turned out to be the home team’s biggest threat.

Bedford Coach Dennis Walsh said he was sure two runs would not suffice against Tewksbury, an offensive powerhouse with five seniors signed up to play college softball next year. 

But Rossi was in command, retiring nine in a row until Alyssa Adams’ one-out triple in the fourth. Tewksbury tried a safety squeeze, but Patterson fielded the grounded bunt along the first base line and tagged the batter. Rossi got the next hitter on a called strike three. She also fanned Davis with a runner on second to end the fifth and struck out three in a row after the first batter in the sixth reached on an error.

The Bucs center fielder Madi DiPerna, second baseman Ani Eskandarian, and right fielder Addi Poulter celebrate Eskandarian catching the last out in Sunday’s game. Photo Jenny Stewart

In the seventh inning, Rossi walked the leadoff hitter on four straight pitches as the Tewksbury bench shrieked approval. Then she gathered herself and struck out the next two on swinging strikes. Leadoff hitter Becky Harris, Tewksbury’s last hope, was due after two strikeouts and a ground out earlier in the game. This time, she lifted a soft fly to right that second baseman Ani Eskandarian tracked down for the last out of the contest to set up a trip to the semifinals.

Asked to assess her game, Rossi said, “I wish I could have hit better” (she drove two medium-range outfield flies). She acknowledged that the first-inning jam was “stressful,” adding that she has supreme confidence in her defense. Rossi had 16 strikeouts, so there were five additional outs – four grounders and the pop-up that ended the game managed through fielding.

Rossi and Walsh said they were surprised that Tewksbury didn’t use the bunt more against a dominant pitcher. The batters did work to break her rhythm, constantly stepping out between pitches to take practice swings.

It didn’t work.

Walsh said the team will be back on the practice field on Monday. “We’ve still got lots of work to do,” he explained.

Let’s go, Bucs! Photo Jenny Stewart
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