FARMINGDALE — It’s not a number the Hall-Dale softball team had been thinking about — or perhaps even aware of — but that doesn’t make reaching it any less impressive.

Fifty straight wins on the softball diamond. It’s a feat that only two teams in Maine and 65 teams nationally had ever done before. After Tuesday, though, a Hall-Dale team that’s carved out its legacy can now put its name among them.

Hall-Dale claimed its 50th consecutive win by defeating Madison 11-1 in a Mountain Valley Conference showdown. The win came as the Bulldogs overcame some early struggles with big third and fourth innings to mercy-rule the visitors in six and continue a streak that’s now lasted nearly four calendar years.

“I had no idea we were right (at 50), honestly,” said Hall-Dale catcher Zoe Soule. “My dad is always like, ‘You haven’t lost a game since you were in high school,’ but I don’t think about that. At the same time, to hear that, I think it just shows how confident we’ve been and how hard we’ve worked to get this far.”

Rita Benoit struck out 13 batters for Hall-Dale in a three-hit performance. Soule had three hits (including two doubles) at the plate for the Bulldogs, who got two-hit games from Ashlynn Donahue, Jade Graham and Torie Tibbetts as part of an 11-hit afternoon.

Madison (9-6) took the lead in the first inning as Mackenzie Robbins doubled and stole third before scoring on an Ella Haynie sacrifice two batters later. The visitors maintained that lead entering the second before Mira Skehan singled in Graham to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.


From there, though, Hall-Dale (14-0) heated up, both at the plate as a team and in the circle through Benoit. Benoit wouldn’t allow a hit the rest of the way, striking out the side in the third and fifth innings and fanning a pair in the fourth and in the sixth as the home team kept Madison from adding another run.

“I was a little frustrated with giving up that run, but my teammates had my back, and I knew I’d be fine if I stayed in there and did my thing,” Benoit said. “I got into a zone as I kept going, and I got some great help from Zoe behind the plate. Really, we just played well as a team.”

Offensively, Hall-Dale broke through in the third inning with a three-run inning that began as Soule doubled off the fence to score Tibbetts. Tibbetts then highlighted a six-run fifth with a three-run triple that made it 10-1 before Donahue came across with the mercy-rule run in the sixth.

Hall-Dale pitcher Rita Benoit delivers a pitch from the circle during the first inning of a Mountain Valley Conference softball game Tuesday against Madison in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I don’t think we were seeing the ball coming in — the heads were looking at me when they were swinging — but they adjusted,” said Hall-Dale head coach Steve Acedo. “A couple of them put a bunt down, and then when they came back, they got a hit out of that, so I think it was just a matter of getting our timing right.”

Hall-Dale joined Richmond (2013-17, 88 games) and Scarborough (2017-21, 66 games) in Maine’s 50-consecutive win club. The Bulldogs, who are seeking their third straight state title, have not lost since falling to Sacopee Valley in the Class C South semifinals on June 8, 2019.

This year, though, has been the most challenging of the current stretch. Hall-Dale had to replace five starters in the field, lost starting outfielder Lexi Rideout to a season-ending injury before the year and, most recently, lost Lucy Gray to a hand injury. Yet the Bulldogs, despite the setbacks, have simply kept chugging along.


“Even if the scores don’t always show it, I think this has been the shakiest year we’ve had of the three, but we just have to keep battling,” Soule said. “The people on the bench have been prepared for this and have practiced every single day for this. They’re ready, and having a team culture that supports those new players is really helpful.”

Robbins had two hits, both doubles, for Madison and also recorded a pair of stolen bases. Haynie had a single in the fourth inning for the Bulldogs in addition to her first-inning RBI. Kylee Furbush pitched a complete game for the visitors, striking out six batters and walking just one.

For Hall-Dale, there are bigger dreams than a 50-game win streak; the Bulldogs want that third consecutive Gold Globe, something no Class C team has done since Madison won four in a row from 1994-97. They’ll be tested more in the coming weeks than ever, though that’s not something that’s stopped them yet this decade.

“I think one reason we’ve gotten to a streak like this is because we haven’t thought about it; we’ve just gone out and played our game,” Soule said. “That’s been our mentality all the way, and with the confidence we play with, it’s worked for us.”

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