A dominant third inning performance by Pineville’s lineup spelled the end of the season for Hahnville Wednesday, as the Lady Tigers fell 8-3 in a second round Class 5A playoff game on the road.
Pineville, the seventh seed in 5A, pushed seven runs across in the third frame to take a commanding 7-3 advantage on the No. 10 seed Tigers. The Rebels advanced to the state quarterfinals, where it will meet No. 2 St. Amant for a trip to Sulphur for the state softball tournament.
“(The third inning) really created a big momentum swing and I don’t think we ever completely recovered from it,” said Hahnville head coach Jerry Nugent. “We fought hard and battled, so from that perspective we stayed positive and focused. It wasn’t our day … (Pineville) played an excellent game.”
Hahnville took the first lead of the day on Makenna Cortez’s RBI single, which followed up on a Kathryn Smith walk.
The Rebels (23-8) began the third with back to back singles before Sarah Wallace’s inside the park home run pushed three across to make it 3-1 – a close call on a ball hit down the foul line was ruled fair. Things snowballed from there. An error and a single set up Meredith Mertens for a two-run triple that made it 5-1 with two outs. A Bailey Henderson single and Cooper double each plated another run to make it 7-1.
Hahnville (21-10) had a response in the top of the fourth, first scoring on back to back doubles by Avery Edgar and Kate Bruce, the latter scoring Edgar, to make it 7-2. Katie Ortego singled and scored courtesy runner Sydnie Sirmon and the Tigers pulled within four runs.
Pineville added another run in its own chance to bat in the fourth. Lauren Cooper doubled and Wallace singled to lead off the inning, chasing Hahnville starter Laney Waguespack. MacKenzie Klibert relieved her and the Tigers got a double play to nearly escape the threat unscathed, but a trio of walks pushed across a run before Klibert got Henderson to ground out.
Erin Cooper locked in on the mound for Pineville and no more runs were scored in the game. She went the complete game and allowed three earned runs on five hits and three walks. She struck out four.
Wallace led the Rebels offensively, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Mertens went 1-for-2 with three RBIs and a run scored. Henderson, Erin Cooper and Ashley Guedry each had two hits.
Sara Roussel, Cortez, Edgar, Bruce and Ortego each collected hits for Hahnville. On the mound, Waguespack took the loss. She and Klibert each went three innings.
Pineville has won seven straight games.
It ends a Hahnville season where the Lady Tigers began the season with a mark of 1-7 before catching fire and playing strong softball the rest of the way, including a season-best winning streak of 12 games at one point.
“I’m as proud of this team as any I’ve coached,” said Nugent. “Everyone, besides Montana Smith who graduated last year, was back and everyone wanted the same thing. We lost that chance last year and it was beyond anyone’s control. This team worked like no team I’ve ever seen, and when it comes down to it, they were working for a season that was never guaranteed for them. That’s a difficult thing to do.”
He credited the team’s two senior starters. Cortez and Kat Smith, for leading the way.
“There are a lot of talented teams that wouldn’t have turned it around after the start we had,” Nugent said. “As coaches, we can do so much, but if the players don’t believe in each other and themselves, it won’t happen. (Cortez and Smith) stayed positive and set the right example. They’re leaving a fine legacy behind them.”