STANDISH — All it took for the Hall-Dale softball team to repeat as Class C South champions was scoring one run.

And that run came in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the seventh inning, which pushed Hall-Dale past rival Madison 1-0 in the regional final Tuesday afternoon at St. Joseph’s College.

Hall-Dale (18-0), the defending Class C state champm loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh before Sammy Thornton cracked a sacrifice fly to center field that plated Tanley Tibbetts from third base with the winning run.

“It feels amazing,” said Thornton, a senior. “It just brings back memories of last year. Being in the same position (this year), it’s just amazing.”

Hall-Dale will play Mattanawcook Academy in the state final Saturday at 2 p.m. at Coffin Field in Brewer. The Lynx beat Orono 10-0 for the C North title Tuesday.

“Our goal all season long was to get back here, and whatever happened, happened,” Hall-Dale head coach Steve Acedo said. “It was a fantastic game. Both pitchers pitched excellent. Both teams were in trouble in the early innings and fought their way out of it.”


Madison finished 18-2.

For the first six innings, the game was a pitcher’s duel between Hall-Dale’s Rita Benoit and Madison’s Brooke McKenney. Benoit, a junior, allowed just two hits, striking out nine, while walking six.

“I have confidence in my team and I have confidence in myself, as well as Zoe (Soule), the catcher” Benoit said. “I just had a feeling we could do it. We practice for these situations all year long….It’s just knowing the situation, staying calm and having confidence.”

Members of the Hall-Dale softball team celebrate their 1-0 walkoff victory over Madison in the Class C South title game Tuesday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

McKenney, a senior, allowed three hits, striking out seven and walking three.

Tibbetts led off the bottom of the seventh with a double down the right field line.

“I was looking at the pitch, I know I do best when I see the outside pitches and I knew it was coming,” said Tibbetts, a senior. “I was down two strikes. When I hit that ball down the first base side, honestly, I thought it was foul at first. But as soon as it took that hop, it bounced all the way to the warning track on the right field fence… my coach was telling me (to hold at first), but I knew I could make it, the (right fielder) wasn’t even looking.”


Lexi Rideout followed with a sacrifice bunt, but was safe at first, as first base was not tagged for the putout. Rideout immediately took second base amid the confusion of the play.

Madison intentionally walked Emma Soule to load the bases. McKenney struck out Ashlynn Donahue to bring up Thornton. Then, on an 0-2 count, she connected on a pitch, hitting it far enough into center field for Tibbetts to score from third and end the game.

“I was very nervous and scared (during the at-bat),” Thornton said. “I was just hoping I wasn’t going to get out. I knew (when the ball hit) that I was going to be out, but I kind of wanted it to be in the air instead of on the ground, because I knew that could tag in the run. I was like, ‘OK, I’m good, I know we’re going to score the run.”

Members of the Hall-Dale softball team celebrate their 1-0 walkoff victory over Madison in the Class C South title game Tuesday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Madison’s closest chance at scoring came in the fourth inning. Haley Paquet reached first on an error. An attempted pickoff  at first went into the outfield, and Paquet easily reached third. But Madison head coach Chris LeBlanc sent Paquet home, and Hall-Dale right fielder Marie Benoit hit second baseman Torie Tibbetts on the cutoff, who relayed it to catcher Zoe Soule at home. Soule was able to place the tag on Paquet, with room to spare, for the out.

“That was huge, I think that turned the momentum,” Acedo said. “If they scored that run there, I think it would have been a lot different. So getting that out at the plate after we made the error, to me, was the biggest play of the game. To me, it just turned the whole thing around.”

Rita Benoit and Lily Platt each had singles for Hall-Dale. MacKenzie Robbins and Landyn Landry had hits for Madison.

The two teams split matchups before the playoffs. Hall-Dale beat Madison 6-1 on the road on May 4, but Madison beat Hall-Dale 11-4 in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game before the start of the playoffs.

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