The Hahnville softball team has become accustomed to putting big numbers on the scoreboard, and Thursday’s Class 5A Regional matchup was no exception.
The eighth-seeded Tigers racked up 12 hits on their home diamond and dominated No. 9 Fontainebleau 14-3 in five innings to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals.
The victory snapped a three-year hiatus from Sulphur for Hahnville.
“I’m not going to lie: I felt some personal pressure to get this team here,” said Tigers coach Gerard Nugent, who deferred credit to his players.
“It’s all them. They did everything they needed to do to get here, going all the way back to summer practices last June, but I did feel a little bit of pressure. It’s a weight lifted off of me but it was a good pressure because I had total faith this team would get the job done.”
Getting the job done would be an understatement.
The Tigers (29-6) put up six runs in the first inning and topped that total in the second scoring eight more for a 14-0 lead. It was the 10th time this season Hahnville scored at least 14 runs and the fourth time in the last six outings they’ve reached double digits.
“As a team, we do do that,” said junior Catherine Friloux, who attributes much of the Tigers’ hot streaks at the plate to the energy in the dugout. “It really helps us out and no matter who’s on the field, it’s a team. If they’re pumping us up, we pump them up and that’s what it’s all about.”
Friloux had the biggest hit of the afternoon, blasting a pitch over the center-field wall for a two-run home run in the second inning. The hit gave Hahnville an 8-0 lead and the run continued with a two-RBI double by Sarah VanEtta and an RBI double by Allison Plaisance.
A single by Baleigh Baudouin drove in two more, and the Tigers were aided by a Fontainebleau (20-6) error for run No. 14. Hahnville went through its entire lineup in both the first and second innings and nine of the 10 players that batted had at least one hit.
The Tigers are set to face the winner of Friday’s game between No. 1 Alexandria and No. 17 Dutchtown on April 28 at Frasch Park in Sulphur.
Three more wins would not only net Hahnville a state title but would vault them over the 30-win mark for the season.
“That would be wonderful,” Nugent said of the potential goals in front of the Tigers. “I can’t tell you how happy I am for this group of kids, they’ve been a pleasure all season. A very unselfish group, a hardworking group, they put the team first all the time and that’s what it takes to get to this level.”
Karly Taranto picked up the win in the circle for Hahnville allowing seven hits with two strikeouts. Fontainebleau starter Melinda Jacob was pulled in the first inning with one out to go in favor of Brenae Bergeron.
The Bulldogs began to find a bit of rhythm as the game went on scoring two runs in the fourth before adding one more in the fifth but the game was already out of reach.
Fontainebleau coach Darryl Tassin was hoping for a better ending to the year but was proud of the effort put forth by his group in a 20-win season.
“It was a successful season but we didn’t expect it to end this way,” said Tassin, whose team had won 17 of their last 18 games coming into Thursday. “You know you have a chance to lose but we hoped it would be a closer ballgame. (Hahnville) is really good but they’re even better at their place. It took us a while to get our feet underneath us and it was just too late at that point.”