All year long it has been the consistent hitting of the Archbishop Hannan softball team that has led the Hawks.
Saturday night, with a trip to Sulphur and the Fast Pitch 56 Tournament on the line, it was Lauren Wegener’s turn to step up and be the hero.
The sophomore second baseman lined a one-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth inning to pace her team to a 3-0 victory over No. 13 Kinder in a Class 2A regional playoff game in Covington.
“Coming into the at-bat, I knew I just had to stay calm and know I had to make good contact,” Wegener said. “I just had to approach it with a lot of confidence. Immediately, when I connected with it, I knew we had at least one run.”
With the win, fourth-seeded Hannan (25-6) advances to take on No. 5 Menard in a quarterfinal at 2 p.m. Friday on Field No. 16 at Frasch Park.
The Hawks broke up a scoreless pitcher’s duel between Hannan freshman Allie Hutton and Sarah Gartman with three runs in the sixth. With one out, Kennedy Martin and Sydney Williams each reached on an error. Caitlin Collins walked to load the bases and on an 0-2 count, Wegener lined her triple.
“Our lineup 1-9 has been tough outs all year long and (Saturday night) it was just my time to step up,” she said. “I was just excited to help my team when they needed me. After missing out on Sulphur last year, it is such a great feeling to get back this year. I’m happy to be able to celebrate this with my teammates.”
Wegener scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
While Wegener was the hero at the plate, Hutton was equally impressive in the circle. Making her first playoff start, the freshman allowed only four hits and struck out seven.
“I was so nervous before the game,” she said. “My teammates were just trying to calm me down before the game. Then once the game started, I just could feel how good of movement I had on pitches. I was able to spin the ball well tonight, and I think it helped us. I knew I had to play well if we were going to have a chance. I’m excited I was able to do that for my team.
“I absolutely love pitching in close games because I have the utmost confidence in my teammates that they are going to get us the runs we need to win. Lauren did that for us (Saturday night) with a huge hit, and now we get to go to Sulphur. When she (Wegener) connected with that ball, I was running up and down the dugout screaming my head off. What a feeling. It is the best feeling ever.”
Hannan coach Becky Lambert said she was proud of her freshman right-hander.
“The biggest thing was her emotion,” Lambert said. “Allie pitched with emotion, and that was something we have been working on all year long. She pitched well, and we got the hits when we needed them.”