FARMINGDALE — The Madison and Hall-Dale softball teams have been regarded as the teams to beat in the Mountain Valley Conference — if not all of Class C — this season.

Their lone regular season matchup certainly defended that notion.

Lily Platt’s sacrifice fly scored Zoe Soule and capped a three-run, seventh-inning rally that lifted Hall-Dale to a 4-3 victory over Madison on Monday afternoon.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” said Platt, the Hall-Dale third baseman. “I don’t think there’s any better feeling than that. It’s just awesome.”

“Every time we play them, it’s a good game,” Hall-Dale coach Steve Acedo said. “We’ve always been on the losing end of that, and it was good, I think, for my kids to get that big of a win, late in the game, to get them over the hump.”

Even with all of the uncertainty that comes from not having had a season last year, it was clear from the beginning of the season that this was a date on the schedule to circle. Madison came in at 7-0, Hall-Dale at 6-0, and the teams showcased their high level of play throughout the afternoon, committing only two errors between them.

And yet, the deciding factor seemed to be Madison pitcher Brooke McKenney. The junior was dominant, striking out 10 through six and allowing only two infield singles as Madison took a 3-1 lead into the final inning.

In the seventh, though, Hall-Dale got its opening. Ashlynn Donahue, solid in the circle herself with seven strikeouts and three runs allowed in six innings, drew a leadoff walk, and after Sammy Thornton’s bunt got pinch runner Faith Alexander to second, Lexi Rideout drew another walk to put runners on first and second for Soule, the leadoff hitter.

Hall-Dale pitcher Ashlynn Donahue covers the plate as Madison baserunner Lilly Levesque scores during a game Monday in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

McKenney got one strike past her, but not a second. Soule drilled the next offering off of the wall in left-center field for a double, scoring Alexander to make it 3-2. Acedo opted to hold Rideout at third, a move which paid off when a McKenney pitch to Sarah Benner (two hits, RBI) got past catcher Lillian Levesque and Rideout slid home with the tying run.

“I was just thinking I need to get it in play, need to get it in the outfield,” said Soule, a freshman. “Somewhere in the gap, a line drive, and once I got it I knew the game was just going to go on from there, we were going to (get a) spark off of that.”

Madison walked Emma Soule to load the bases, and Hall-Dale, which for six innings hadn’t had a hard-hit ball, got its second in four batters. Platt tagged a 2-2 pitch to deep center, and Zoe Soule had plenty of time to tag up and score while her teammates mobbed her at the plate.

“I knew if I didn’t get on, I had Tanley Tibbetts coming up behind me, and I knew she would do it if I didn’t,” Platt said. “It just felt really good when it happened.”

“We always had, (if there’s a) bad inning, they’d get down and couldn’t pick themselves back up. They would stay down,” Acedo said. “But right out of the gate this year, if they make that mistake, they stay positive and they forget it, which to me is really big, especially when it comes down to (these) close games.”

Madison coach Chris LeBlanc said he hoped the defeat would help his team going forward.

Hall-Dale pitcher Ashlynn Donahue delivers a pitch during a game against Madison on Monday in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“(Hall-Dale’s a) team that’s hungry to win, and it’s everyone’s Super Bowl when they’re playing us,” said LeBlanc, who led the Bulldogs to Class C championships in 2014, ’16, ’18 and ’19. “We don’t lose often, so that’s tough for them within itself, which I like. We’ve just got to shake it off, like a bad at-bat or a bad pitch. You can’t take it back.”

LeBlanc acknowledged the gem he got from McKenney, who has progressed into an ace in her second varsity season with over 90 strikeouts in 49 innings.

“She’s the leader, and like everybody not having last year, we can say she’s coming in as a sophomore,” he said. “But she’s played enough in big-game situations that, with Lauria gone, she’s got to be that girl. She’s accepted that role and done a great job.”

Landyn Landry (three hits) and Levesque had RBI singles for Madison, while McKenney had two hits. The Bulldogs had nine hits but left eight on base.

“You’ve got to capitalize when you’ve got runners in scoring position, and we didn’t do that,” he said. “We let them stay in the game. With Brooke McKenney pitching, three runs usually does it, but today it didn’t.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.