MONMOUTH — It’s never too early for a grudge match. For some on the Hall-Dale baseball team, an early May showdown with a Monmouth team that got the best of it last year qualified.

“Absolutely,” center fielder Austin Stebbins said. “We were ready to get revenge from last year after they beat us twice.”

There wasn’t much doubt after the first pitch that they would. Hall-Dale scored in each inning en route to extending its undefeated start, defeating the Mustangs 12-2 in six innings Tuesday afternoon.

“That’s been our game focus. We try to win every inning,” said coach Bob Sinclair, whose team improved to 4-0. “We’ve had really good success as far as getting runners on base and moving them along so we put pressure on the other team. So far, everything seems to be clicking.”

Stebbins led the charge from the leadoff spot, going 3 for 4 with three runs and three stolen bases, while Alec Byron went 1 for 3 with two runs and an RBI and Logan Dupont went 1 for 3 with two runs.

Avery Pomerleau and Brad Neal scored the runs for Monmouth (2-1), and Trevor Flanagan and Carlos Garcia had RBIs.

READY RESPONSE: Hall-Dale struck first, getting back to back singles from Stebbins and Jacob Brown and getting both in on an Alec Byron groundout and passed ball, respectively. Monmouth answered in the bottom half, with Pomerleau drilling a leadoff single and then eventually coming around on Flanagan’s groundout.

The Mustangs, however, couldn’t keep the Bulldogs off the board. Patrick Rush singled and pinch-runner Jett Boyer later scored on a pickoff play at first in the second, and Hall-Dale added cushion in the third when Byron, Akira Warren and Dupont scored on a Cole Lockhart groundout, Dupont single and wild pitch, respectively.

“It teaches the team to deal with adversity and play under pressure. That’s an important lesson to be learned early in the season,” Sinclair said of the team’s response to the Monmouth run. “It’s good to take away those lessons, that just because we have a lead, we can’t just be comfortable with that. We’ve always got to be looking to increase that lead.”

Hall-Dale kept up the attack. Stebbins singled and scored on an error, Brown scored on a Byron single and Byron came in on a Dean Jackman single in the fourth, Stebbins singled and scored on an error in the fifth and Dupont and Josh Nadeau added runs in the sixth to prompt the game’s ending.

“It just feels really good that everyone’s hitting top to bottom,” Stebbins said. “Everyone’s supporting, it just brings the whole life to the team.”

Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi lamented the role that his defense, which committed six errors, played in the game drifting out of reach.

“We can’t give up outs,” he said. “We can’t afford to do that. Can’t give up free bases. We’ve got to do a better job holding guys and keeping guys off the bases.”

RUNNING WILD: Aggressiveness on the basepaths played a big role in Hall-Dale extending its lead. The Bulldogs stole 11 bases, with Stebbins and Warren leading the way with three apiece.

“We’re certainly looking to capitalize on our speed,” Sinclair said. “We’re blessed with really good athletes on the team, and when they get on base, we’re certainly going to put the pressure on the other team to advance those bases and make them make the plays.”

LOCKHART ROLLS: Given an early lead, Bulldogs starter Cole Lockhart had no trouble keeping the Mustangs offense down. He allowed four hits and one earned run in six innings while striking out three.

“I felt good out there. It was my first outing,” the senior said. “I just tried to pump the zone, just let them put it in play and let my defense do the work. I trust my defense to make the plays, they did today and it showed on the scoreboard.”

FINDING THEIR RHYTHM: Monmouth scored its second run in the fourth when Neal reached on an infield single and scored on Garcia’s single. Despite the score, Palleschi sounded sure the Mustangs would get over any struggles.

“We don’t have a person playing the same place they did last year. We’ve got nine new position players, we’ve had one practice down here, so we’re still kind of sorting things out,” he said. “I think they’ve done very well so far this spring, not being able to get out here and get real ground balls and make that throw across the diamond.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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