Kaplan gets to final with eight-inning win over Brusly _lowres

Photo by Kirk Meche/The (Lake Charles) American Press Kaplan pitcher Abby Trahan: 'All year this is what I’ve been waiting for. It’s almost like we’ve got unfinished business. It’s driven all of us. Every girl experienced that last year, and we talk about that all the time. It’s heart-breaking how it happened.”

One final run at championship gold presents Kaplan senior pitcher Abby Trahan with the ultimate test.

“It’s almost like it’s a challenge to me,” Trahan said. “What can I leave on the field? How much of me can I give until the game’s over? Who’s going to be the best one? I’m trying to be the last one that’s standing there.”

If her two previous postseason outings are any indication Trahan, who has thrown a no-hitter and one-hitter with 28 strikeouts, has Kaplan primed to cross the finish line after last year’s near miss.

No. 4 Kaplan (22-6) opens play at the Fast Pitch 56 state tournament at noon Friday against No. 12 Iota (17-12) at Frasch Park in Sulphur.

“All year this is what I’ve been waiting for. It’s almost like we’ve got unfinished business,” Trahan said. “It’s driven all of us. Every girl experienced that last year, and we talk about that all the time. It’s heart-breaking how it happened.”

Trahan’s desire to return Kaplan to its fourth straight state tournament was fueled in part by the team’s state runner-up finish. The Lady Pirates were doomed by four unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth in a 4-3 loss to John Curtis.

The setback drove Trahan to great lengths in search of improving her all-state caliber talent. The 5-foot-10 right-hander has not only progressed in the circle with a 20-5 record, 0.736 earned run average and career-high 266 strikeouts, but she’s batting a career-best .494 with six homers and 22 RBIs.

“I believe this has been her best season,” Kaplan coach Shay Herpin said. “She’s not a big talker. She just plays the game hard and is competitive. The other kids look at that. She leads by example and has grown up a lot. It’s been a pleasure to watch.”

Herpin has literally had his eye on Trahan for quite some time, watching during the formative years of her career when she worked out with her father in Kaplan High’s bullpens.

Trahan, who guessed she’s played softball since the age of 6 or 7, also gained valuable experience through travel ball, first with the Vermilion Heat through eighth-grade and then with the Wichita Mustangs.

The combination of her work ethic and travel-ball background helped fast-track a career that transformed Trahan into a staple of Kaplan’s program since her freshman year.

“I had to prepare myself in the summer because I knew I was going to start,” Trahan said. “It was a completely different atmosphere in high school. I had to grow as fast as I could and travel ball helped.”

Trahan was part of back-to-back state quarterfinal appearances, going 37-9 with 368 strikeouts and 1.30 ERA in the circle; while batting .423 with two homers and 43 RBIs during that span.

Last season, she earned first team Class 3A all-state honors at utility and was selected The Outstanding Player on The Acadiana Advocate’s All-Metro team for her 15-4 record, 191 strikeouts, 0.867 ERA, along with a .494 batting average, three homers and 32 RBIs.

Trahan, a St. Francis (Pa.) signee, has a career 72-18 record, 1.05 ERA with 825 strikeouts. She’s also a .440 hitter with 11 homers and 97 RBIs heading into her final state tournament appearance.

“You have nothing but adrenaline running through you the entire time at state,” Trahan said. “You don’t feel any pain, you don’t hear anything. Your heart’s pumping. It’s just exciting. It’s the best place to go.”