Four home runs, no-hitter propel Hahnville to round two

Kathryn Smith connects and sends a home run ball sailing in Friday's playoff win over Comeaux. Smith's shot was her 11th of the season, setting a new team record. (Photo by Ellis Alexander)

You might call Friday’s first round playoff victory a complete effort for Hahnville.

The Tigers, Class 5A’s No. 12 seed, downed Comeaux in six innings by the 10 run rule, 10-0, doing it on the back of four home runs and a combined no hitter by pitchers Hailey Beard and MacKenzie Kliebert.

Makenna Cortez slammed two home runs, including a three-run shot in the sixth that capped off the game. Montana Smith hit a solo home run.

And Kathryn Smith, who put Hahnville on the board early with a home run blast, cemented herself as the single-season home run record holder at Hahnville, notching her 11th of the season.

All in all, not a bad day for Hahnville.

“Our hitters today were completely locked in,” said Hahnville coach Jerry Nugent. “Obviously, you have the two pitchers combining for a no-hitter, that’s huge and takes a lot of pressure off you defensively. We hit a couple early … I thought we had a lot of hard hit balls. Even our outs were hard. So it’s where you want to be, offensively, once you get into the playoffs.”

Hahnville will travel to face the winner of No. 28 New Iberia and No. 5 Ouachita Parish’s first round game. A win in that game would cement a quarterfinal matchup at Hahnville.

It was the second year in a row Hahnville (22-9) hosted Comeaux (16-11) in round one, both carrying the same result. But the Lady Tigers took nothing for granted.

“We knew how important it was to focus on this game and not get caught trying to look ahead to who we’d have to play out of Ouachita or New Iberia,” Cortez said. “We stayed focused, and now we get to move on.”

She didn’t necessarily know her own strength on her game-ending blast.

“I just thought it was a line drive,” Cortez said. “I didn’t think it was going over, but it’s great that it did.”

Nugent said seeing a familiar team can be a double-edged sword.

“You always have mixed feelings, because you know what to prepare for, but they know you as well,” he said. “I thought they made some pitching adjustments in the middle of the game and we fell a little out of sorts, but we kept our composure and re-adjusted offensively to close it out there at the end.”

Smith, who also has the school record for consecutive games with a home run after hitting one out in five straight earlier this season, set the single season record one year after the Tigers virtually re-wrote its offensive record books in 2018.

“I was excited,” she said. “As soon as it came off my bat, I thought, ‘No way. I did it again.’”

She said after a brief slump following her initial home run surge, she refocused on her mechanics and got back into a groove. The homer was her second in as many games.

“She’s country strong. She’s got as much power as any kid I’ve ever coached,” Nugent said. “When she squares it up, she can really hit it. It’s a credit to her … she put a ton of work in the offseason to become a complete hitter. She did everything we asked. I couldn’t be happier for her.”

Cortez reiterated a theme the Tigers have carried throughout a season that they began feeling like something of an afterthought following the 2018 teams run to the Class 5A final.

“We’re not done,” she said. “People can doubt us, but we don’t care. We’re going all the way.”

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