Hahnville softball coach Jerry Nugent understands why his Lady Tigers might be a little underestimated by those outside the program. After all, Hahnville lost a large core group from last year’s Class 5A finalist that rewrote the school record books and found itself ranked among national powers.
So, yes, Nugent understands why others might have lower expectations for the 2019 Tigers — he just doesn’t agree with that outlook.
“I think everyone’s underestimating our team … we had such a strong group last year,” Nugent said. “But when you have a strong group like that, it also means a lot of talented kids have had to wait their turn behind them. I’m excited to show what we’re about.
“A lot of the faces have changed, but the expectations within our program are still there.”
Three starters return from last season’s powerhouse, all seniors. They’re led by shortstop Bayleigh Baudouin, a returning All-State and District MVP 7-5A selection that dominates with both her bat and glove. Centerfielder Melissa Allemand and right fielder Hannah Borne join her, bringing plenty of ability and big game experience with them.
A fourth senior starter is a newcomer to the starting lineup, and a very important one: pitcher Anna Faucheux, who succeeds Karly Taranto as the team’s ace on the mound.
“All of them have really embraced the leadership role we need from them,” Nugent said. “It was probably a lot easier to be a leader when we had so many last year, this group has taken it upon themselves. They’re taking the younger players under their wing.”
Defensively, Nugent said the team looks strong, despite the group’s relative newness together.
The team’s offensive firepower, he said, is yet to be fully determined.
“There have been moments where they flash what they’re capable of, but I don’t think we’ve fully seen the potential yet. It’s a process,” he said.
As always, Hahnville opens the season with a number of titans on the schedule. The Tigers will face Mount Carmel and Zachary this weekend in tournament action, while a date with John Curtis looms Tuesday for the Tigers’ home opener.
“We schedule like we always have … it’s what we did with the group that graduated last year as well. It’s a tough schedule that’ll test us, and hopefully it serves us well again,” Nugent said.