FARMINGDALE — Winthrop junior third baseman Cat Ouellette worked the count full in her first at-bat, only to go down on strikes in the first inning of a Western C quarterfinal game against Hall-Dale.

Ouellette played the rest of the game Thursday looking for redemption at the plate.

“The first time up, I struck out and I thought to myself, ‘I can’t do that,’” Ouellette said. “I have to put the bat on the ball.”

Ouellette did her next two trips, recording an RBI single in the fourth and an RBI double in the fifth to help lift No. 5 Winthrop past No. 4 Hall-Dale 3-2 in a well-played game.

The Ramblers (10-6), who avenged a 6-5 regular-season defeat to the Bulldogs (10-7), will play top-seeded Madison (17-0) in a Western C semifinal game Saturday, weather permitting.

“She knew she had to work harder to get her hits,” Winthrop first-year coach Bob Ouellette said, “and she did.”

Ouellette and leadoff hitter Randi Dennett each went 2 for 4 to support a strong pitching performance from Kristen Doughty.

The junior pitcher retired the first eight batters she faced and then wiggled out of a few jams late to earn the victory. Doughty struck out four, walked one and allowed just five hits.

“I was throwing a lot of two-seamers,” she said. “It was working.”

So were the bats, although they took awhile to get going.

Hall-Dale starting pitcher Olivia Maynard breezed through the first three innings, striking out six while not allowing a baserunner.

However, Winthrop broke through in the fourth with a pair of runs.

Dennett opened the inning with a single to left and advanced to third when Lily Ouellette singled to right. Dennett then scored on a wild pitch. Cat Ouellette then followed with an RBI single to center.

“It was huge,” she said of the rally. “We were kind of dead coming off the bus. It was only a 20-minute bus ride but we had finals (Thursday) and were just dead. Once we got a run we kind of took off. Once we got that spark we got on fire.”

Cat Ouellette padded the lead with a hard-hit RBI double down the left field line that scored Dennett with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.

The Bulldogs threatened in the later innings as well. They loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, thanks to a double from Maynard, but Doughty escaped trouble when she snared a line drive off the bat of Eva Shepherd.

Hall-Dale scored its runs an inning later on a double steal and an RBI double from Maynard, but could get no closer.

Doughty retired the side in order in the seventh.

“We had our chances,” Hall-Dale coach Christen Lachapelle said. “We are a very young team that is very gung-ho. I think we were a little anxious. We knew what we were capable of and we wanted to prove how good we are.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640
[email protected]

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