Tigers surge to five in a row, sweep North-South tourney

Hahnville’s Kathryn Smith (12) is on fire at the plate, with home runs in four consecutive games.

Don’t look now, but Hahnville’s on a roll.

The Lady Tigers (14-7) swept their way through the annual North-South Invitational tournament and captured wins over West Ouachita, Ruston and Ouachita to extend a now five-game winning streak, part of a stretch that’s also seen Hahnville win eight of its last nine.

As the name suggests, North-South tourney pits teams from the north and south regions of the state for three games each, alternating the hosting site each year.

“That tournament’s always been a good deal for us, a chance to see some top teams we otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to play,” said Hahnville coach Jerry Nugent, who was one of those behind establishing the tournament during his time as head coach at Mount Carmel. “It helps your power rating, and we always try to play the toughest non-district schedule possible … these are three of the best programs the state has to offer, and our girls were up to the challenge.”

In a 9-7 win over West Ouachita, the Tigers surged ahead 6-0 early before having to hold off a rally. Kathryn Smith went 1-for-2 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs to help lead HHS at the plate. Montana Smith went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Bayleigh Baudouin was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Hailey Beard and MacKenzie Klibert combined for seven innings on the mound for HHS, with Klibert going three innings and allowing one run on three hits to earn the win.

“We played them twice last year, and I can tell you of our 34 wins, those were two of absolute toughest,” Nugent said. “This year was exactly the same. It’s grind, grind, grind … they don’t go away, ever, a credit to their staff and players. That was a physically exhausting game.”

Kathryn Smith has been red hot of late. She hit home runs in four consecutive games, including all three tournament contests, and now has eight on the season.

“She’s a very strong kid, learning the nuances of playing at this level,” Nugent said. “It’s really starting to click for her. She truly loves the game of softball and works extremely hard at it.”

Hahnville captured an 8-3 win over Ruston, scoring seven runs over the first four innings to take control, including another hot start via a three run first inning.

Makenna Cortez went 3-for-3 with three runs scored for Hahnville. Smith went 1-for-3 with two RBIS and a home run. Marissa Allemand was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs and Sara Roussel went 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs scored and an RBI.

Beard and Klibert combined to pitch the game again, allowing five hits between them. Beard earned the win this time, going 5.2 innings and allowing one earned run.

Against Ouachita, a five-run first gave Hahnville control early before Ouachita cut their lead to one in the fifth. HHS answered with a six run sixth inning to secure the win.

Roussel went 3-for-4 for Hahnville, driving in two RBIs. Cortez went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Kathryn Smith was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs and Baudouin went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Five different Hahnville players scored two runs in all, the others Montana Smith, Hannah Borne and Laney Waguespack, on a day the Tigers combined for 17 hits.

Beard and Klibert combined for seven innings and allowed six hits. Klibert earned the win, allowing no earned runs.

Today, the Tigers travel to the Jefferson Parish Recreation Department playground to face Mount Carmel. Then, on Friday, a matchup with Belle Chasse awaits.

“No tournament this weekend for the first time, this year, but we get right back on the horse against two strong programs,” said Nugent. “We’ll just keep punching away.”

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