Hahnville came through with a clutch victory Friday, scoring three runs in the top of the seventh inning to upend Airline, 3-1, securing back to back wins after a brief up-and-down stretch.
All three runs came with two outs. The Tigers set themselves up for a potential big inning when Makenna Cortez singled and Kate Bruce was hit by a pitch to put two on base with no outs. But after Airline pitcher Raelin Chaffin got back to back outs, it was up to Montana Smith to keep Hahnville alive, down to its potential final at-bat.
She did more than that, tripling home both runners and setting herself up to soon cross the plate herself, driven in a batter later by Sara Roussel.
MacKenzie Klibert earned the win for Hahnville, pitching four innings of two-hit, scoreless relief ball. Hailey Beard started and allowed three hits and one earned run.
Hahnville (9-7) had to shake off and fight through a largely dominant outing by Chaffin, an LSU committed pitcher who struck out 15 Tigers on the day.
“We’ve faced some of best pitchers in the state over past two weeks,” said Hahnville coach Jerry Nugent. “(Chaffin) is probably the best in Class 5A. It was a tremendous game for the program in terms of resiliency, resolve and poise they showed. We made big plays defensively and our offensive strategy ended up paying off late in the game.
“It’s not a game that makes or breaks our season, but it’s kind of a signature win to this point to show we can play with anyone.”
He credited Cortez, one of the team’s young players and new starters this season, for getting the rally started in the seventh.
“She just had a really, really good at-bat,” Nugent said.
It was a more decisive win for Hahnville earlier in the day as it captured a 10-5 win over Cedar Creek, taking control of that game by scoring six runs over the first three innings.
Kathryn Smith went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs, two walks, three RBIs and four runs scored. Cortez went 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Montana Smith went 3-for-5 with an RBI and run scored for Hahnville, collecting a double and a triple.
Laney Waguespack earned the win, going six innings and allowing two runs on five hits. It was Waguespack’s first action on the mound after being sidelined following a March 1 line drive against Dominican.
The Tigers return to action on the road today against Thibodaux for the team’s second district game.