The Hahnville Lady Tigers and the Destrehan Lady Wildcats will meet for the third time this season when they face off in the regional round of the Class 5A playoffs on Saturday. Never before have these two programs met with so much on the line Ė the winner will head to Sulphur for the quarterfinals.
Hahnville is aiming for their fourth-straight appearance in the state championship game. The Lady Tigers won the title in 2011, but fell short in 2010 and 2012. Destrehan is trying to make it to Sulphur for the first time in school history.
Hahnville advanced to the regional after beating Dominican 7-0 on Saturday. Lady Tiger pitcher Lauren Beadle won her 28th game of the season after giving up only one hit and striking out four in seven innings. She got plenty of offensive support from her teammates. Taylor Hogan went 3-for-4 and hit a home run on the first Hahnville at bat of the game. Kaylyn Morales, Megan Bush, Bryce Button and Pepper Baker each drove in runs for Hahnville.
"We came out ready to play," Hahnville head coach Kenneth Vial said. "Beadle was good and we had a nice lead off home run to set the pace."
Destrehan had a tougher go of things in their opening playoff win over Byrd on Monday. The Lady Wildcats fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first inning, but chipped into the lead with solo runs in three consecutive frames to tie the game.
With the game tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth, senior Abbie Hall blasted a two-run home run over the left field wall to seal the win.
"I thought we played hard for seven innings," Destrehan head coach Kenny Montz said. "It wasnít pretty, but we finally understood that we had to play a full seven innings and we were effective."
Montz also singled out his teamís senior leadership, which allowed the squad to rebound from an early deficit.
"I think that was a testament to the fact that we have a lot of experience. We prepared them for adversity in the playoffs because every team you play is good," Montz said. "(The other teams) are going to have success, but itís how you react to that that matters."
Both Vial and Montz downplayed the significance of facing off against a rival in the playoffs. The Lady Tigers have beaten Destrehan twice this season. In the first game, Destrehan led throughout before a late Lady Tiger comeback. In the second game, Hahnville cruised past Destrehan, 7-1.
"Once the game starts, I donít think any of that comes into play," Montz said. "It is going to be an emotion-packed game with two teams battling to get to Sulphur. I donít think the past games are going to matter much."
Vial agreed, saying both teams are going to give their all to get to Sulphur. The fact that they are playing a rival is just an added bonus.
"We talk about how the enemy has no face – it doesnít matter who it is," Vial said. "Every time we play Destrehan, they are going to play well. They want to beat us just as bad as we want to beat them. We have the same reasons to play hard that they do."
Vial said that Destrehan is a very well coached team who seems to do everything right.
"They do enough in every area to where they are solid in every area," he said. "We are more concerned with what we do – how we pitch and how we play. They are a solid team and they are going to come here and play hard."
Montz has been impressed with Hahnvilleís pitcher and their defense.
"They pitch very well and Beadle has had an outstanding year. She has won 28 games, which is really impressive," Montz said. "They are good defensively and they get timely hits. They are a difficult lineup to face."
Vialís Lady Tigers do have the benefit of facing Destrehan at home, but there will be plenty of Wildcat fans in the stands.
"Itís nice to play at home. Realistically, we only played home one time in the second round. We are typically road warriors," Vial said. "But itís going to be a big crowd and itís Friday. My kids are going to embrace the moment."
Vial said he will rely heavily on Beadle in Fridayís game.
"We have to pitch well and put the ball in play. Itís the same formula we use every year," he said.
Montz preached the fact that his team needs to again play hard for a full seven innings. In the first matchup between Hahnville and Destrehan this year, the Lady Wildcats were up 4-1 at one point.
"We had chances to put them away and we didnít do it," he said. "We donít have to play a perfect game, but we have to play well for an entire seven innings. I just think we are a much improved program and we are a lot closer to Hahnvilleís level than we have been in quite a while."
The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at Hahnville on Saturday.
|The Lady Wildcats and the Lady Tigers will face off for the third time this season. HHS has won both previous games.|