SULPHUR — Archbishop Hannan coach Becky Lambert said the day before her team’s opening game in the state playoffs would not be too much to handle.
Unfortunately, the coach’s worse fear was realized.
No. 5 Holy Savior Menard scored eight runs in the first two innings and Jensen Howell tossed a no-hitter en route to a 10-0 mercy-rule win over the fourth-seeded Hawks in the Class 2A state softball quarterfinals Friday afternoon at Frasch Park.
With the win, Menard (20-6) advances to take on top-seeded Calvary Baptist.
“Absolutely we were nervous,” Lambert said. “Both of our pitchers were nervous from the start. Allie (Hutton) was nervous you could tell and we were just missing our spots. When Jensen (Volz) came in, she was doing the same thing.”
Howell struck out four and walked one.
“Give Menard credit,” Lambert said. “They are a really good team. They hit the ball and did what they had to do. They barreled up on the ball and we didn’t. It didn’t matter if (Menard) had one run or 10, we didn’t get one. We didn’t even get a hit.”
Things got started quickly for the Lady Eagles. Abby Gwinn led off with a single. After being sacrificed to second base with two outs, Tara McVay lined a RBI single to give Menard a 1-0 lead. After Madison Smith’s single, Jensen Howell lined a two-run double off the left-field wall to make it 3-0.
Menard broke out the big bats in the second inning, pounding out five runs on four hits. The big hits were a three-run home run by Morgan Woodard and a solo shot by Busby to blow the game open at 8-0.
“I would have been shocked before the game if you would have told me we would be no-hit like we did,” Lamber said. “When you make a few mistakes and things don’t go your way it gets in your head. I can say that has a lot to do with our youth. We need to work in the off-season to get a better barrel on the ball each and every at-bat.”
Freshman right-hander Allie Hutton took the loss in the circle for the Hawks, allowing five runs on six hits, striking out one and no walking a batter.
Despite seeing their season end before achieving their ultimate goal, the future is extremely bright for the Hawks. Hannan only loses three seniors off the 2015 squad and only one starter in third baseman Caitlin Collins.
“It is and we are going to use it as a complete learning experience,” Lambert said. “We know what we have to work on in the off-season and we are going to get to work this summer. We just have to go back to work and work even harder. I have no doubt we will do it.”