FARMINGDALE — The biggest challenger for the Hall-Dale softball team wasn’t Winthrop on Thursday afternoon.

It was the elements.

“(It took) about four hours (to get the field ready),” Hall-Dale head coach Steve Acedo said. “I was here at 11:30 or so. It was an effort from everybody to get it going.”

“Props to Acedo,” said Hall-Dale senior Rita Benoit. “He was out here all day long. He demanded, he wanted (the game) here. He was not going to go to Kents Hill (to play on the turf).”

Acedo and the No. 2 Bulldogs managed to get the field ready in time to roll to a 10-2 win over the No. 7 Ramblers in a Class C South quarterfinal. Pitchers Ashlynn Donahue and Benoit had a combined 14 strikeouts for Hall-Dale (17-0), the defending Class C champion and winners of 53 straight games, which will host No. 3 Maranacook in the semifinals on Saturday.

“We always know teams will step it up in the playoffs,” said Benoit, who added three hits, including a double. “We played them two times (during the regular season), but they’re still our opponent and it’s still the playoffs and anything can happen. We just came out here and tried to play our best.”


Winthrop, which beat Telstar 7-1 in the prelim round on Tuesday, finished 9-9.

It was the Ramblers who jumped ahead to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, when Lauryn Wood plated Ella Rice with an RBI double. Hall-Dale responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by a double by Benoit, to take a 2-1 lead.

The Bulldogs doubled their run total, taking a 4-1 lead in the second, on an RBI single by Torie Tibbetts.

Hall-Dale padded its lead with three-run innings in the fifth and sixth. Mira Skehan had a two-run single in the fifth inning, while Zoe Soule cracked a two-run double to left field in the sixth.

Donahue and Benoit each proved a tough battle in the circle. Donahue gave up two runs on five hits while striking out seven over four innings of work. Benoit came on in relief in the fifth, allowing just one hit in three innings, striking out seven.

“Rita is better at coming into a game (in relief), while I think Ashlynn does better when she starts,” Acedo said. “Rita is more comfortable coming in… It worked out good, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world with Rita coming in to finish up the game. She throws strikes, she pounds the zone.”


Despite taking the loss, Wood had eight strikeouts for Winthrop. Rice had two hits, including a double.

Hall-Dale beat Winthrop in all three meetings this season, 8-0 on April 26 and 17-1 on May 24.

“We made mistakes and (Hall-Dale) capitalized on it,” Winthrop head coach Chuck Gurney said. “We always preach that the team that makes the least amount of mistakes is usually going to win the game, no matter what the game is. On the flip side, I could not be more proud of these kids. We played with mostly nine kids the whole of the year.”

It was the final game for Gurney, who will step down as Winthrop’s head coach after a 19-year run.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Gurney said. “(My biggest takeaway is) kids are kids. And sometimes you’ve got to let them be kids. And sometimes we forget they’re kids. This is just a small window in their life. And let them enjoy that window.”

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