FARMINGDALE — After three undefeated seasons from 2021-23, the Hall-Dale softball team hasn’t quite been invincible this spring.

Make no mistake, though, these Bulldogs are still top dogs as the Class C South playoffs near, and in a manner appropriate for senior day, a veteran team showed it with one of its best victories of the 2024 campaign.

Hall-Dale cruised to a 10-0 mercy-rule victory over Monmouth Academy on Tuesday in a battle of C South’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams. The win came as the Bulldogs scored two runs in the third inning, six in the fourth and two in the fifth to effectively lock up the top seed in the region for the fourth consecutive season.

“That’s the best game we’ve played since Spruce (in the season opener), I think,” said Hall-Dale head coach Steve Acedo. “We just haven’t been stringing hits together, but today, we got people on, we moved them around, and we scored the runs. It was a good warm-up (for the playoffs).”

Marie Benoit, Jade Graham, Lucy Gray, Zoe Soule and Torie Tibbetts all had two hits each for Hall-Dale with Gray smacking a triple and a double. Ashlyn Donahue pitched a six-strikeout three-hitter in the circle.


“I think a big part of (our success) is our chemistry,” said Soule, whose senior class has now gone 69-2 with three straight state titles. “We talk about it a lot, but chemistry is our most important thing. … Obviously skill is important, too, but if we all work together and all play together, that doesn’t matter as much.”

The two teams appeared to be on equal footing early in the game. Although Monmouth (12-3) came up empty in the top of the first inning, pitcher Shannah Parsons got Gray to pop out with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom half. She then struck out the side in the second to keep the game scoreless entering the third.

In the bottom of the third, though, Tibbetts singled and made it to third on a fielding error before scoring the opening run on a wild pitch. Soule hit a ground-rule double in that same at-bat, and two batters later, a single by Graham made it 2-0 Hall-Dale (13-2) as the Bulldogs registered a four-hit inning.

“I think it was just a matter of dialing and focusing a little bit more, I think is all,” Acedo said of his team’s breakthrough after two scoreless innings. “All year, the first time through, we’ll make good contact but hit it right at somebody. Once we got through, they started taking more pitches and hitting some into the gaps.”

Hall-Dale then batted around in the fourth inning, plating a half-dozen runs on as many hits and two Monmouth errors. Soule then singled in Tibbetts to make it 9-0 in the bottom of the fifth before a sacrifice fly by Benoit with one out gave the Bulldogs a mercy-rule walk-off win.

After going unblemished en route to three consecutive state titles, Hall-Dale has not been so in 2024 with losses to Nokomis and Lisbon. That’s been a different experience for a team that had won 62 straight games prior to the Nokomis loss, but the Bulldogs, Soule said, have taken learning experiences from it.


“I think the biggest thing we’ve learned is that we have to come to every game (prepared),” said the Hall-Dale catcher. “We can’t sit there and take a game off or sit back; we have to come and play every single game or else things do happen.”

Following the win, Hall-Dale seniors Donahue, Soule, Karalyn Coro and K.J. Greenhalgh presented Acedo with a quilt signed by all 18 Bulldogs. The Hall-Dale head coach moved to Texas after the 2023 season, but the allure of defending another state title drew him back for more.

“(The quilt) was my grandmother’s idea,” Donahue said. “I would just be texting him randomly, being like, ‘Are you coming back? Have you booked your flight yet?’ and he would say, ‘Well, I don’t know about it yet.’ … I think we all knew he was coming back.”

The win snapped a four-game winning streak for Monmouth, which had posted impressive victories over St. Dominic Academy and Spruce Mountain during that span. June Foyt smacked a double for the Mustangs, and Madi Herr and Hayli Paradis had singles.

Comments are no longer available on this story