Hall-Dale second baseman Torie Tibbetts waits on a pitch against Spruce Mountain during a softball game Monday in Farmingdale. Tibbetts had two hits for the Bulldogs. Dave Dyer/Kennebec Journal

FARMINGDALE — The Hall-Dale softball team started the new season by lengthening an old record.

Hall-Dale opened 2024 with a 10-0 win in five innings over Spruce Mountain in a Mountain Valley Conference matchup on Monday afternoon. With the victory, the three-time defending Class C champion Bulldogs pushed their win streak to 57 consecutive games.

Third baseman Jade Graham and Maddie Coro led the Bulldogs with three hits, including a double apiece. Torie Tibbetts added two hits.

Hall-Dale took advantage of defensive lapses by the Phoenix, including five runs off four errors in the first inning. The Bulldogs were able to bookend their offensive effort with strong defensive play in the field behind starting pitcher Ashlynn Donahue, who allowed just two hits, while striking out three. The win helped erase some opening day jitters for Hall-Dale.

“It’s definitely a little relieving (to win), because we’ve had to make a lot of changes (with positions),” said Graham, a junior. “It was nice to actually get our game in, because our (original opener) on Saturday got cancelled. I think a lot of the anxiety has chilled out, because when you don’t play games for a while, the butterflies get big.”

“We made some mistakes, and (Spruce Mountain) made some mistakes that we took advantage of,” Hall-Dale head coach Steve Acedo said. “We had some baserunning (errors), we had a player thrown out at the plate. We talked about getting that fixed. But if that’s the biggest problem we have, I can live with that, especially in the first game. We put the bat on the ball, hit the ball hard. Unfortunately, most of them were at people. Capitalizing on those mistakes helped us out, we got those runs that we needed. But I’m pretty happy with the first game.”


After a clean top of the first, Hall-Dale collected five runs in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by an RBI walk from Donahue and an RBI groundout from Coro. Spruce Mountain — which reached the Class C South semifinals last season — had difficulty defensively behind starter Rylee Turner. Eight of Spruce’s nine errors came in the first two innings. Entering the third inning, the Bulldogs had a 7-0 lead. As a team, the Bulldogs collected seven hits.

Hall-Dale’s Ashlynn Donahue fires a pitch against Spruce Mountain during a softball game Monday in Farmingdale. The Bulldogs won 10-0 in five innings. Dave Dyer/Kennebec Journal

“We’ve definitely had to work on our hitting this year, most of us didn’t have the (hitting) experience that the older players had last year,” Graham said. “The more at-bats you’re going to get, the better you’re going to get (at hitting).”

That was more than Hall-Dale needed. Though Donahue battled at times with hitters, she never lost composure. Graham and shortstop Lucy Gray made plays on the left side of the infield, and Karalyn Coro made a couple of nice catches in right field to help keep the Phoenix offense at bay.

“We had a scrimmage a few weeks ago in Bucksport, and we didn’t play our best, so we spent a lot of time working on our infield,” Donahue said. “Clearly that helped a lot, we really locked out our defense. It’s nice to play behind a team that can make the (defensive) plays, make the easy plays. It takes a lot of stress off me.”

“Ashlynn threw well on the mound,” Acedo said. “We had a lot of communication (on defense), a lot of people backing each other up.”

A Karalyn Coro RBI single highlighted a two-run third inning for Hall-Dale. Marie Benoit scored the final run of the game in the fifth inning, coming off a base hit by Graham. An error by Spruce Mountain scored Benoit from third.

Turner and Mallory Clark each had hits for Spruce Mountain. Turner struck out two in the circle for the Phoenix.

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