Winthrop’s Carson Camick snags a liner during against Hall-Dale on Thursday in Farmingdale. (Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal)

FARMINGDALE — Last year, the season ended too soon for the Hall-Dale baseball team. Cole Lockhart and his teammates didn’t need to remember it. They never forgot.

“That game last year has always been in the back of our heads,” said Lockhart, whose team lost at home in the 2017 Class C South quarterfinals to Monmouth. “As we say, it’s unfinished business.”

Hall-Dale prevented a similar story in the regional quarterfinals this time around, scoring a pair of runs in the second and third innings and taking advantage of shaky Winthrop defense to earn a 4-2 victory Thursday. The top-seeded Bulldogs are 16-1 and will face No. 5 Bridgeway — the only team to beat Hall-Dale this season — in the C South semifinals at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, looking ahead,” coach Bob Sinclair said. “We’re taking the game that’s in front of us and breaking it down to every inning. We want to go out and try to win every inning. If we can accomplish that, we’re going to win ballgames.”

No. 8 Winthrop finished coach Marc Fortin’s 23rd and final season at 10-8.

“How many earned runs did they have?” Fortin asked rhetorically. “I thought our boy (Greg Fay) pitched well enough to win today. We gave him a couple of extra outs that hurt us every time.”

Logan Dupont had two singles and an RBI for Hall-Dale, while Lockhart and Akira Warren (two runs) had RBI singles.

Morgan Bellemare homered for Winthrop, while Sam Figueroa added an RBI and Jackson Ladd had a triple.

Quick answer

Winthrop struck first, going up 1-0 in the top of the second on Figueroa’s bases-loaded groundout. But faced with the hint that another postseason letdown could be unfolding, the Bulldogs quickly snuffed it out.

Warren reached on a throwing error to lead off the bottom of the second, then stole second with Lockhart at the plate. The senior worked a full count before hitting Fay’s ninth pitch to center for a single that scored Warren, and Hall-Dale took the lead later in the frame when Tim Cookson reached on another error, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Dupont’s single.

“That’s huge. We’ve really been doing that all year,” Lockhart said of the team’s response. “I told Akira if he got on, I was bringing him home. He got on, and that’s what happened and we started rolling from there, Logan came up with a clutch hit.”

Hall-Dale struck again in the third. Fay got the first two batters but gave up singles to Alec Byron and Warren, the second of which brought in Byron after he stole second. Lockhart reached when his grounder to second took an odd hop and deflected into the outfield, scoring Warren.

“They got those key hits with two outs,” Fortin said. “Well-played game. We just gave them a couple more opportunities than we should.”

Sinclair praised his team’s ability to take advantage of those extra chances.

“That’s the quality of this team,” he said. “When we are given those opportunities, extra outs in the game, we make teams pay for that. We’ve been doing it all year.”

All-around game

Warren came through at the plate — and anywhere else the Bulldogs needed him. The sophomore relieved starter Dean Jackman, pulled after 39 pitches and three innings to preserve his availability for Saturday, and pitched the remaining four innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out five.

For the first three innings, however, he dazzled behind the plate. He scrambled to gather a wild pitch and got it back to Jackman in time to tag out Ladd, who was trying to score after leading off the game with a triple. He helped defuse a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second when he played the pivot in a 5-2-3 double play on Figueroa’s grounder, and he thwarted a Winthrop threat in the third when he caught Kane Gould trying to steal after a single in the third.

“He’s terrific in all aspects of the game,” Sinclair said. “He’s that unique ballplayer that can play every position very well. It really makes our team strong, knowing that Akira can go in and be a catcher, be a shortstop, be a pitcher, and dominate a game.”

Fortin’s finale

Winthrop didn’t go quietly, with Bellemare booming a drive over the left-center field wall to cut the gap to 4-2 in the top of the fifth. The Ramblers couldn’t get any closer, however, putting an end to a hot-and-cold season.

“We knew we could play with anyone,” said Fay, who overcame high pitch counts to go six innings and strike out five. “We just missed a couple of plays, but that happens. It just wasn’t our day.”

The game was the last after more than two decades as a head coach for Fortin, who decided before the fall that he would be done after this year.

“I’ve got mixed emotions,” he said. “I’m going to miss seeing the underclassmen develop. We’ve got some really nice freshmen. But I’m tired. I’m tired of the commitments I’ve had all my life as a teacher and a coach. I’m looking forward to no commitments.”

Hall-Dale’s Alec Byron tags Winthrop’s Kane Gould at second base Thursday in Farmingdale. (Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal) Hall-Dale’s Jett Boyer gets tagged out by Winthrop’s Greg Fay at home Thursday in Farmingdale. (Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal)

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