FARMINGDALE — Given the nature of travel teams and the heavy weekend workloads associated with those two- and three-day summer tournaments, the 21-hour turnaround time afforded the Hall-Dale softball team feels a bit like a luxury.

Moments after the top-seeded Bulldogs finished off Oak Hill 10-1 in a Class C South quarterfinal on Friday afternoon, they began readying to host No. 5 Sacopee Valley in a regional semifinal on Saturday. Senior center fielder Tanley Tibbetts, who went 3 for 4 with a double and three runs batted in, said getting back to business so soon carries a familiar feeling.

“We’ve played travel ball together for six years,” said Tibbetts, whose two-run single was part of a four-run second inning for Hall-Dale (16-0). “We’ve been down to the Sidney pits, and you could have four games back-to-back-to-back. If you’re in the loser’s bracket, maybe you have six games in a day. I think with that Sacopee team, they’ve got a lot of travel players, too. I think they have the same mindset that we do.

“Even though we had a game (Friday) and it didn’t go quite as short as we hoped, we’re going to get a good night’s rest and come out (Saturday) ready for it. We’ll be ready for that game at 1.”

Pitcher Rita Benoit threw a complete-game four-hitter against eighth-seeded Oak Hill (8-10) with 11 strikeouts and only one walk. She welcomes the challenge of the short rest.

“It’s exciting,” Benoit said. “We get another chance to come back here and hopefully win another game.”


Benoit was touched for a single run in the first inning on a pair of hits, including an RBI single from Raiders shortstop Madison Drew (2 for 3). Benoit then retired 15 of the next 16 batters she faced — including 12 in a row at one point — as she settled in with a combination of fastballs, changeups and screwballs.

The bottom five spots in the Raiders order went a combined 1 for 14 against Benoit with seven strikeouts. The Bulldogs defense was error-free behind Benoit.

If needed, she can work again Saturday, said Hall-Dale head coach Steve Acedo.

Hall-Dale’s Rita Benoit delivers a pitch to an Oak Hill batter during a Class C South quarterfinal softball game Friday in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“Her pitch count wasn’t that high,” Acedo said. “She only had 50 pitches through four innings, and she’s a travel pitcher. They’re used to going out there and pitching three, four, five games in a day. Coming out and pitching seven innings and coming back the next day if I need you — I don’t think there’d be any issue for her.”

The defending Class C state champion Bulldogs answered Oak Hill’s early run with two in the bottom of the first. They punished a Raiders defense that made two costly errors in the second for four runs — all of them unearned against Oak Hill starter Kelsey Young — to build a 6-1 cushion.

Another four-spot in the fourth inning, highlighted by run-scoring singles from Lilly Platt and Tibbetts, put the game out of reach.


“It was really nice to come back and have a good game after not playing for a week,” Benoit said. “We’ve been practicing pretty hard this week.”

It was the kind of start-to-finish effort that showed little rust for a Hall-Dale team that hadn’t played since June 4, when it lost to Madison in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game.

The added time off this week could be beneficial to the Bulldogs by the time they finish off a pair of tournament games in a span of 24 hours mid-Saturday afternoon.

“It’s all there,” Acedo said. “They’ve just got to put it together on the field.”

“I think (the loss to Madison) gave us more motivation going into the playoffs,” Tibbetts said. “Especially with a big group of seniors, we realize that this is the start of the end. We really had to come out strong (Friday), because there’s no more guaranteed games left.”

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