FARMINGDALE — Bulldogs have a nasty bite at the plate, but the Mustangs were tough to break.

No. 2 Hall-Dale left teeth marks in the third and fifth innings against a resilient Monmouth Academy squad in a Western Maine Class C softball quarterfinal game Thursday. The seventh-ranked Mustangs got their second wind in the top of the seventh before pitcher Olivia Maynard got herself out of jam as the Bulldogs left the field with a 7-3 victory.

Hall-Dale held a 1-0 lead entering the third inning, and the Bulldogs wasted little time moving three runs across the plate. Emily Maynard led off with a single and Eva Shepherd followed Maynard’s with another. Becca Akerson bunted and Maynard came home with Hall-Dale’s second run. Shepherd and Akerson both scored when Olivia Maynard reached on an error at second base, handing the Bulldogs a commanding 4-1 lead.

“Well, you know we wanted to jump on them early and often as we could,” Hall-Dale coach Christen Lachapelle said. “They are a young team and Dave Kaplan is a seasoned coach and we didn’t want to give them anything. Today, we jumped on them first and we were aggressive.

“We got three runs in the inning and it allowed a little breathing room. I think these girls are kind of buying into an understanding that small ball wins games. They have done what I have asked them. They have played small ball. We got kids who can put it down and beat it out. That’s what we wanted today.”

When the fifth inning rolled around, the Bulldogs struck again with another three runs. Akerson singled and stole second base. She wouldn’t hang around at second for long. Maynard, who tripled in the second inning, crushed the ball and sent it over the left-field fence for a two-run homer.

And the Bulldogs weren’t done. Kayla Johnson singled and raced home with Hall-Dale’s seventh run when Gabby Brown doubled.

“I thought they were strong,” Maynard said. “I thought that when we were hitting, it was really contagious with everything.”

But the Mustangs weren’t ready wave the white flag in the top of the seventh inning.

Corrie Meehan walked and waited there after the next two outs when Caroline Bonnefant doubled, scoring Meehan. Bonnefant moved to third on a Becki Bryant hit. Mikayla Cameron walked and Krystin Kemp’s sacrifice fly brought home Bonnefant for another run.

Maynard went the distance, however, and got the last out.

“It was getting a little tense there, but both my pitchers are workhorses,” Lachapelle said. ” I wanted to give Olivia a shot at that last batter to get her out. I wanted to see if she could get herself out of it, and she did, and I was happy for her.”

Kaplan was proud of the way his Mustangs fought back.

“No quitting, these guys. They never quit. Just love the fire, love the spirit,” Kaplan said. “Good bunch of kids. We started a little slow. They got the jump on us. We battled to the end. That’s all I can say.”

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