READFIELD — The record was perfect. But the way the Hall-Dale softball team was playing wasn’t.

The bats had been quiet in victories against Madison, Telstar and Carrabec, and coach Steve Acedo, not wanting to see a short slump turn into a cold snap, told his team before its game against Maranacook that he wanted to see a return to form.

On Wednesday, he got it. Hall-Dale cranked out hits throughout the order, and upped its record to 11-0 with a 13-2 victory over the Black Bears. Maranacook fell to 2-7.

“The first six, seven games of the season, we were pretty strong all the way through the lineup, and the last four or five games everyone has been in a slump,” Acedo said. “It was one through nine. We had a lot of people drop a lot of points in the averages. … But tonight, they hit all the way down through the lineup. I was pretty happy with that.”

Everyone had been slumping, and everyone seemed to turn a corner. The Bulldogs had 16 hits, coming from seven of the nine players in the lineup. Five — Zoe Soule, Rita Benoit, Tanley Tibbetts, Lily Platt and Lexi Rideout — had multiple hits. Six had RBI. Benoit and Sarah Benner each scored three runs.

The Bulldogs looked the way they had earlier in the season, and it came after Acedo made sure they were aware of how they had cooled at the plate.

“We had a big talk (Tuesday), took some batting practice, discussed what was going on in the season and what their goals are,” Acedo said. “I said ‘We’ve got to jump on teams. We’ve got to make them chase us. We can’t be chasing them.'”

Platt led the way. The third baseman went 4-for-5 with a triple, scoring two runs and driving in four.

“Maranacook’s a really good team, so we know that if we wanted to beat them we had to rise up and play a good game,” she said. “I think throughout our entire lineup, everyone executed what we needed to execute.”

Hall-Dale’s Lily Platt slides safely into home as Maranacook catcher Alissa Michaud covers the plate Wednesday in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Platt, who was batting fifth, said the presence of offensive threats throughout the lineup — Rideout went 2-for-4 in the seventh spot, and Sammy Thornton went 1-for-3 with a run and two RBI batting eighth — takes the pressure off the rest of the players.

“It gives us confidence knowing that if we don’t have our best at-bat, we have someone coming down below us who will have a good at-bat, and who will keep the inning going,” she said. “I think it’s a really good feeling for everyone.”

The attack generated plenty of support for pitcher Benoit, who allowed seven hits and walked four but struck out nine en route to improving her record to 6-0. Benoit, a sophomore, played a central role in that attack, going 3-for-4.

“If you hit the ball and get on base, you have people behind you ready to hit you in,” Benoit said. “We have girls that don’t even start and can still hit.”

The bats were ready to go from the start, as a Thornton single scored Lily Platt in the second and Platt’s triple scored a pair to make it 3-0 in the third, but after Maranacook answered with a run in the fourth, Hall-Dale put the game out of reach. Platt, Rideout and Thornton drove in runs during a four-run fifth, Benner and Benoit drove in runs with singles in the sixth, and Tibbetts had a two-run single during a four-run seventh.

The Black Bears got two hits from Esme Jamison, Allie Labelle and Shylah Woodford, with Jamison adding a double. But they were hurt by wasted opportunities; Maranacook stranded eight runners, and no missed chance loomed larger than in the fourth, when the Black Bears loaded the bases with no outs down 3-0 and got only one run in on a Labelle single.

“That’s painful,” Black Bears coach Don Beckwith said. “Timely hitting’s been our problem. We’ve gotten hits. If they come, then (great), but you just can’t keep waiting for them. We’re going to have to be a little more creative.”

Beckwith said there’s some urgency for his team to start winning games before the playoffs start, even with the open tournament.

“We’re kind of used to losing now, and that doesn’t help,” he said. “We’re not that far off from being really good. But we’ve got to show up and have a good whole game, and not just a couple of innings.”

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