FARMINGDALE — On paper, it was as close a matchup as could be drawn up. On the field, it was a far different story.

The Maranacook softball team shook off any frustrations over a lukewarm regular season and kicked off its postseason in style, scoring six runs in the first two innings and then 10 runs in the fourth on its way to a 16-2 Class C South preliminary round rout over Hall-Dale.

“I thought we could play better than we have, and I thought our bats could do really well today,” co-coach Don Beckwith said. “It doesn’t have to be a grind, and I think it wasn’t a grind for us today. We got out ahead right away, and everything kind of came right to us.”

Staff photo by Andy Molloy Hall-Dale’s Sarah Benner doesn’t get the tag on time on Maranacook’s Abby Jacques at home plate during a Class C South game Wednesday in Farmingdale.

The ninth-seeded Black Bears and eighth-seeded Bulldogs came in with identical 8-8 records, but the Maranacook coaches stressed to their players that they could be better. On Wednesday, the team proved them right.

“We talk about (how) this is it, it’s one-and-done if you don’t play to your ability,” co-coach Jeannine Paradis said. “We still have a lot of room to grow still.”

Erin Bonenfant had a double and triple among her three hits, drove in three runs and scored three, while Brooke Stratton had two doubles among her three hits, three RBIs and four runs. Abby Jacques had three hits and three runs, Kaylee Jones had two hits and Amanda Goucher scored twice, while freshman Natalie Costa struck out two and allowed two hits.

Jill Whynot tripled in two runs for Hall-Dale.

“I knew right out of the gate that they had a good-hitting team,” coach Steve Acedo said. “(Beckwith) said they’ve had some ups-and-downs this season, but they were up today, and that’s all that matters. … You can’t complain. Just got beat by a better team today.”

EARLY AND OFTEN: Acedo feared his team, which due to injuries has had to move players around all season, could have a difficult time keeping the Maranacook bats quiet, and the Black Bears quickly validated those concerns. Stratton, a freshman, lined an RBI double to right-center field in the first, and Bonenfant drilled another two-bagger to make it 2-0.

Maranacook added four more in the second for a 6-0 lead, with Bonenfant providing the lone run-scoring hit with a single to center.

“That was huge for us,” Bonenfant, the team’s lone senior, said of the fast start. “I think our offense has kind of been struggling a little bit. We finally kind of got in a groove, and everybody was in that. It wasn’t just a few players, it was all of us.”

The Black Bears broke it open during a 10-run, seven-hit fourth. Stratton had a double and Bonenfant had a triple to drive in the first two runs, and Jacques, Costa and Jones added RBI singles during the frame. Stratton added another RBI single before the inning was over.

“Brooke’s a hell of a hitter,” Beckwith said. “She crushes the ball. … She scares the hell out of people with how hard she hits it. They ought to be.”

Staff photo by Andy Molloy Hall-Dale’s Savannah Millay tags Maranacook’s Kaylee Jones out during a Class C South prelim game Wednesday in Farmingdale.

Stratton said the offensive outburst was the confidence boost the team needed going into the increased pressure of the playoffs.

“I think we were all looking forward to this, because we were really getting there and we were working harder in practice,” she said. “Today we really came together and pulled through.”

NO ANSWERS: Hall-Dale got its two runs in the fourth when Grace Begin singled, Isabella Marino reached on an error and Whynot roped a triple down the left-field line to bring them both in. It was far from enough, but Acedo wasn’t disappointed following the game.

“They’re strong all the way through their lineup,” he said. “We’ve hit well all year, it’s just the last few games of the season, we kind of got in a little bit of a funk. … I told them if we didn’t hit with them every inning, you’re going to be chasing them uphill, and that’s what happened. We waited and it was a little late to get going, but at least they went down fighting.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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