The Hall-Dale varsity softball team features three sets of sisters, including, from left, Zoe and Emma Soule; Rita and Marie Benoit; and Tanley and Torie Tibbetts. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We are family. I got all my sisters with me.”

That line, from the 1979 hit single “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge, would go on to become a theme song for the Pittsburgh Pirates on the way to a World Series championship over the Baltimore Orioles.

Forty three years later, it’s a song that perfectly encapsulates the Hall-Dale softball team in its quest to defend a Class C championship.

The Bulldogs have three sets of sisters — the Tibbetts (Tanley and Torie), the Soules (Emma and Zoe) and the Benoits (Rita and Marie) — who have helped the Bulldogs (18-0) storm into the state final with an unblemished mark. They will be counted on again Saturday, when Hall-Dale plays Mattanawcook Academy (19-1) at 2 p.m. at Coffin Field in Brewer.

“We have another set of sisters on the (junior varsity) team, so we’ve got four sets of sisters (overall),” Hall-Dale head coach Steve Acedo laughed. “I’ve never had that many sets of sisters on a team. But they all get along, they all work hard. And the hard work is paying off now.”

“It’s crazy,” added Tanley Tibbetts, a senior outfielder. “Definitely, in the beginning of the year, when (roster spots were open), there was definitely some tension there. But, honestly, I think it does good for us. Going to practice with each other, maybe one of us has a bad practice. We drive home, we talk about it, get all our anger out. I think definitely having those three sister sets on the team, even though it can be frustrating (at times), they’re always there to push us even harder. Honestly, having such a talented group, either a talented sister, or the talented group of freshmen, it pushes us to be a better team.


The Hall-Dale varsity softball team features three sets of sisters, including, from left: Rita and Marie Benoit; Zoe and Emma Soule; and Torie and Tanley Tibbetts. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“That was something we didn’t have last year,” Tibbetts continued. “We didn’t have people on the bench that pushed us. Now, we have a huge freshmen class that can push us and make us a better team.”

The group played a major role in a 1-0 victory over Madison in the Class C South championship game. Tied 0-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Tanley Tibbetts led the inning off with a double down the right field line. She eventually scored the winning run from third on a sacrifice fly from Sammy Thornton.

Rita Benoit, a junior pitcher, kept Madison in check throughout the game, allowing just two hits over seven innings, striking out nine batters.

“Sports has always connected our family,” said Benoit, who has already shared a championship this season with sister Marie, when they helped the girls basketball team take the Class C title. “It’s really nice to get the (softball title) with her, because she wasn’t on the team last year.”

“My sister being in the lineup, it just makes a huge difference to have someone that I know is by my side,” said Emma Soule, a senior shortstop. “It just makes it a better connection (on the field) with all of us.”

That connection and production hasn’t just been on defense, either. Tuesday’s game aside, the Bulldogs have produced at the plate all season, averaging more than 12 runs per game. Hall-Dale has managed to score 10 or more runs in 13 games this season.


It would be the younger set of sisters that made the game’s biggest play, in the fourth inning. Madison first baseman Haley Paquet started the inning out by reaching base on an error. Moments later, an errant throw on a pickoff attempt found its way into right field, and Paquet easily took second and third base. Madison head coach Chris LeBlanc sent Paquet home, but freshman outfielder Marie Benoit made the throw from right to freshman second baseman Torie Tibbetts, who made a perfect relay throw to sophomore catcher Zoe Soule.

Soule then tagged out Paquet for the crucial out — and with room to spare.

“Torie made an awesome throw to the plate, had (Paquet) out by about five or six feet, easy,” Acedo said. “For the distance it traveled, I thought (the play) would be a lot closer, but we just hit the cuts and it was a great play on the girls’ behalf.”

Now, the Bulldogs have one more challenge ahead, and it will take a family-sized effort to get it done.

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