After coming up just short in its first two efforts against state contenders, Hahnville did anything but at its tournament last weekend.
The Lady Tigers reeled off a perfect 3-0 mark at the event and bested strong competition to do so, defeating Mount Carmel, 6-4, De La Salle, 10-1 and Beau Chene, 14-4.
Hahnville (4-2) had things clicking on all cylinders from its Friday night win onward, scoring three runs in the seventh inning against Mount Carmel leading into a tournament opening victory.
“The biggest thing is we played three very, very tough teams,” Hahnville coach Jerry Nugent said. “We have a lot of respect for their players and they’ve all played very well this year. We got a big win Friday night where we executed in all phases and faced an incredible pitcher. Then the biggest thing was we kept it going.”
Mount Carmel tied Friday’s game at 3-3 in the sixth inning, but Hahnville had a decisive answer in the seventh.
Sarah VanEtta — who robbed a home run by leaping at the left field wall earlier in the game — bunted her way on before Marissa Allemand sacrificed her to second base. Danielle Duplay bunted on as well, and with two outs Bayleigh Baudouin came up with a chance to push her team ahead. She did just that, tripling to drive in two runs before stealing home herself to make it 6-3. Mount Carmel added a run in the seventh but Hahnville closed out the win.
“The opportunity presented itself to put a few bunts down. Our team is very athletic and we take advantage of that,” Nugent said. “We had the right personnel for it at the right time, found a couple of spots and were able to get it done.”
Baudouin went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. She hit a home run to go with her seventh inning triple. Duplay drove in two runs and Kamryn Keller went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Karly Taranto earned the win, pitching all seven innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and eight walks. She struck out four.
Nugent called the Mount Carmel matchup the type of game that leaves a team physically and mentally drained. After the game, he stressed to his team that the ability to maintain focus and avoid an emotional letdown is what separates good teams from great ones.
“After pulling out a game in the seventh inning Friday night then coming back to play early on Saturday, it’s an easy spot to let down in,” Nugent said. “Good teams are able to put together those kinds of performances multiple times in a row.”
Instead of wearing down, the Tigers seemed to ride a wave of momentum past De La Salle. After two scoreless innings, Hahnville scored at least two runs in each of the third through sixth innings en route to a 9-1 victory.
Duplay went 2-for-3, including a double and triple, with two RBIs and two runs scored. Taranto, Catherine Friloux, Courtney Ortego, VanEtta and Allemand each drove in runs.
Taranto went the complete game for the win, allowing one run on three hits and two walks. She struck out five.
Against Beau Chene, Anna Faucheux earned the start and went the complete game in a 14-4 win. The game ended in six innings via the 10 run rule.
Faucheux allowed four runs (two earned) on eight hits and no walks. She struck out three and walked none.
Hahnville scored four runs in the first inning and didn’t look back. Keller was 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs. Duplay, VanEtta and Baudouin each earned two hits, while Friloux drove in three runs. Allemand, Baudouin and Friloux each hit home runs in the game.
Duplay and Baudouin have both started the year red hot at the plate. Both players, the team’s leadoff and three-hole hitters, respectively, are batting over .500 to start the season.
Meanwhile, on the mound, Taranto has looked every bit the part of a strong veteran pitcher. The senior has been Hahnville’s starter on the mound since the beginning of her sophomore season and has held down several strong lineups to begin the season.
“She took the loss in Sulphur last year very personally,” Nugent said. “She doesn’t want that to happen again. She took her offseason program to another level and she’s in the best shape I’ve seen her in. She’s completely locked in mentally and (all of her pitches) have been there this season against some powerhouse teams.”
This weekend, Hahnville travels to Gonzales for tournament action highlighted by a matchup with unbeaten Sam Houston on Friday. The two teams faced off in the 2012 state championship game, a classic won by Sam Houston, and both teams have assistant coaches who played in that game.
“There’s a lot of history between the programs the last five or six years,” said Nugent, who was an assistant with Hahnville for that championship matchup. “There’s always some extra excitement when we match up with them.”