Hall-Dale leadoff hitter Torie Tibbetts, right, slides safely into second base ahead of the tag from Maranacook infielder Kaleigh Kubicki’s in the first inning of a Class C South semifinal game Saturday in Farmingdale. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

FARMINGDALE — Nothing worth celebrating, Zoe Soule said, should come easy.

“We don’t always make it easy on us,” the Hall-Dale catcher said. “But we don’t want it easy. We want the close games. We like the close games.”

The No. 2 Bulldogs certainly got one of those Saturday, eking out a tough 3-2 victory over No. 3 Maranacook in a Class C South softball semifinal game.

Hall-Dale (18-0), which ran its winning streak to a whopping 54 games, will face top seed Monmouth (17-1) in the regional final on Tuesday in Gorham at 7 p.m.

Maranacook, which rallied from a 3-0 deficit and had the go-ahead run in scoring position in the sixth inning, finished 14-4.

“It was a great game,” Hall-Dale coach Steve Acedo said. “Both teams battled all game. It was tight.”


Hall-Dale plated two runs in the first — both on wild pitches — and another in the fifth to take what seemed like a cushy 3-0 lead deep into the game.

But then things got interesting in the top of the sixth.

Hall-Dale pitcher Rita Benoit throws to a Maranacook hitter during a Class C South semifinal game Saturday in Farmingdale. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

The first two Black Bear hitters reached via an error and a Shylah Woodford infield single that resulted in a run to make it a 3-1 game. Esme Jamison followed with a double to left before Allie LaBelle lined an RBI single to pull Maranacook within 3-2.

With two on and no one out, the Black Bears were poised to jump ahead.

“It was tough but we knew we had to stay calm,” said Hall-Dale pitcher Rita Benoit, who pitched four innings in relief of Ashlynn Donahue to earn the victory. “We had to battle our way out of it.”

And that’s just what Hall-Dale did.


Soule caught a foul popup for the first out, before the Bulldogs turned a double play that was aided by some tough baserunning on a grounder back to Benoit.

“Getting out of that inning, that was big,” Acedo said. “If we go down a run or get tied, that’s a tough spot late in the game.”

Added Maranacook coach Don Beckwith, who was non-committal on returning to the dugout next spring after he accepted the Cony boys soccer coach job last month: “That was disappointing, but it’s all a part of the game.”

Maranacook’s Shylah Woodford, left, dives safely into second base after hitting a double as Hall-Dale’s Torie Tibbetts awaits the throw from left field during a Class C South semifinal game Saturday in Farmingdale. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

Donahue started for Hall-Dale and pitched three clean innings, striking out two and allowing one hit. Benoit finished the game, striking out three.

Leadoff hitter Torie Tibbetts had two doubles for the Bulldogs, while Soule went 2-for-3 with a double.

“I think we came in this game a little flat, at least with the bats,” Soule said. “We got the momentum early, then they took it, but then we got it back.”

Next up for Hall-Dale is top-seeded Monmouth (17-1). The teams met May 18 in Monmouth, with Hall-Dale taking a 5-1 victory. Still, the Mustangs ended up as the No. 1 seed in the Heal points.

“It’s motivation,” Tibbetts said.

Added Soule: “It’s going to be a battle. It should be another close game.”

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