FARMINGDALE — It took a little while for the Hall-Dale softball team to come alive at the dish in its Mountain Valley Conference matchup against Winthrop on Wednesday afternoon.

But when the bats came around, the runs came in bunches.

The two-time defending Class C champ Bulldogs cruised to an 8-0 win over the Ramblers. Hall-Dale (2-0) — which hasn’t lost a game since the 2019 season — scored seven of its eight runs in the final two innings of play. A bases-clearing triple by pitcher Ashlynn Donahue highlighted a three-run fifth inning. Third baseman Jade Graham cracked an inside-the-park home run for Hall-Dale in the sixth.

“It always seems to happen like that,” Donahue said. “In the fifth or sixth inning, we finally get it going.”

Hall-Dale scored its first run in the second inning, when Marie Benoit scored from third base on a wild pitch from Winthrop pitcher Lauryn Wood.

“When the bats aren’t going, you’ve got to play small ball,” Hall-Dale head coach Steve Acedo said. “As a group, we just to be a little more involved from the beginning… They just got to get out of the gate, straight from the beginning. I know they can do that, it’s only the second game of the season.”


The Bulldogs kept the Ramblers (0-1) in check over the next three innings thanks to strong pitching from Donahue – who finished with 12 strikeouts – and impressive defense. Center fielder Marie Benoit made a nice running catch on a fly ball off the bat of Winthrop’s Julia Letearneau in the fourth inning. First baseman Rita Benoit picked a throw from shortstop Lucy Gray out of the dirt on a ground ball from Winthrop’s Ella Rice in the fifth.

Hall-Dale pitcher Ashlynn Donahue throws during a Mountain Valley Conference softball game against Winthrop on Wednesday in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I’m definitely confident in our defense, that’s one of our main focuses, having a strong defense,” Donahue said. “It’s the strongest part of our team.”

“The younger kids, if they can just make the routine plays, I’m happy,” Acedo added. “If they try to make a diving catch and don’t get it, oh well. Just make the routine catches in the outfield, keep the ball in front of you on the ground. So far, they’ve done that. I can’t do any complaining with the younger kids right now.”

After Tibbetts, Rita Benoit and Zoe Soule all reached base with two outs in the fifth, Donahue cracked a Wood pitch to left field for her triple, lifting Hall-Dale’s lead to 4-0.

Graham led the sixth with her home run, a shot down the left field line.

“My coach at first was saying, ‘Go, go, go!’” Graham said. “I was turning second and going, ‘Oh, (the leftfielder) is still in the corner. I’m fast, I can do this’ … I was a little out of breath getting home, but it was worth it.”

Mira Skehan and Karalyn Coro added doubles in the inning for Hall-Dale.

Despite two innings of struggles, Wood struck out seven batters for the Ramblers.

“We’re still finding our way,” Winthrop head coach Chuck Gurney said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids filling in positions. In the fifth inning, it’s 1-0. I think we kind of scared ourselves. (Hall-Dale) is the defending state champions for a reason, that’s a great team. For us, if there’s such a thing as a moral victory, it was those five innings where it was 1-0 ball. I told the kids there’s nothing to hang their heads about, we’re going to build off of this.”

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