When Hahnville’s softball showdown with rival Destrehan got dicey in the late innings, the Lady Tigers turned to their lone senior starter, ace pitcher Lauren Beadle, to stem the tide and survive with a 4-3 win in an important District 7-5A game Wednesday afternoon at Destrehan.
Behind sophomore Maddie LeBlanc’s RBI double and run-scoring single, Hahnville (15-6, 8-0) took a 4-1 lead into the home half of the sixth inning.
Destrehan (12-10, 6-2), however, loaded the bases with none out. Krista Robles singled, Morgan Foret walked on four pitches, and Taylor Lucich reached base when Beadle could not get to her popup, hit between the plate and the circle. A fielding error allowed Robles’ courtesy runner, Tabitha Tabb, to score, and Katie Brady’s single to center field drove home Foret to pull the Lady Cats to within a run at 4-3 and with the bases still loaded.
Beadle (11-3) averted further damage by retiring the next three batters on a strikeout and two ground-outs.
The scrappy Lady Cats, young themselves with only two senior starters, rallied again in the bottom of the seventh. Hahnville freshman Karly Taranto relieved Beadle but, after she walked Kaela Schiro and Robles to open the inning, Beadle returned to pitch. Schiro was thrown out at third trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt for the first out before Foret and Lucich both flied out to end the game.
“I felt like we got off to a good start and played hard the whole game but, to Destrehan’s credit, they were able to make something happen late and get it within a run,” Hahnville coach Jerry Nugent said. “But, to our girls’ credit, they kept their composure, played through the pressure and were able to make the plays when they needed to. Lauren pitched well the entire game. She came back in a tough situation and did what she needed to do. That’s senior leadership.”
“I have been in those situations before, and I had a lot confidence in my defense. I knew if I made my pitches, they were going to make their plays and it was all going to work out in the end,” Beadle said.
“They opened the door for us, they gave us an opportunity in the sixth inning,” Destrehan coach Kenny Montz said. “We had the bases loaded with nobody out and make it 4-3, but we just couldn’t get the big hit. We had a chance in the last inning. We get the first two on and our lead runner tries to make an aggressive play on a ball in the dirt, and it doesn’t work out for us. But that’s part of the game.
“We gave ourselves a chance. Our goal today was just to relax and play the game the way we know how. I really believe we grew up a little bit today.”
Hahnville opened the scoring in the second on Pryscilla Prince’s lead-off single, a sacrifice bunt, and LeBlanc’s two-out RBI double to left field. Destrehan tied the score at 1 in the third as Hailey Draughon singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a throwing error with two outs.
The Lady Tigers added two runs in the fourth and a single run in the sixth to build their 4-1 lead. To begin the fourth, Prince and Sarah VanEtta reached base on a fielding error and infield single, respectively, and LeBlanc delivered a two-out RBI single, followed by Jourdyn Hogan’s run-scoring single. In the fifth, VanEtta doubled to left-center, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on LeBlanc’s single.
LeBlanc had a double, two singles, and three RBIs for the Lady Tigers.
“I told her before the game, ‘you’re going to go two-for-three today’ and she said ‘No Coach, I’m going to go three and three’. After her last hit, I told her ‘you were right kiddo, you went three-for three’,” Nugent said.
“I was seeing the ball well today. It was like a beach ball. I kept my hands in and hit everything up the middle,” LeBlanc said.