SULPHUR — For the second consecutive season, the Archbishop Hannan softball had its season ended by Holy Savior Menard.
This time, it was closer.
Hannan held a 3-1 lead heading to the fourth inning, but the defending Class 2A state champion Eagles scored nine runs over the final three innings to defeat the Hawks 10-4 Saturday afternoon in the Class 2A state semifinals at Frasch Park.
Falling behind 1-0 in the second inning, Hannan (22-9) scored three runs in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Kaitlyn Allen and Lindsey Osbon preceded a walk to Allie Hutton to load the bases.
Shaye Tredinich then hit a grounder that was misplayed, allowing Allen and Osbon to score and make it 2-1.
Hutton later scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-1 Hawks.
“We knew what (Menard starting pitcher) Jensen Howell likes to throw,” Hannan coach Becky Lambert said. “So we came out aggressive early in the game and it worked. We took her deep into the count on nearly every batter and she had to work hard to get us out. I like that. We had her rattled early.”
Osbon, the Hawks’ leading hitter after going 2-for-4 with a run scored, said Hannan hung with Menard as long as it could.
“We really wanted this one,” said Osbon, whose team fell to Menard 10-0 in the state tournament last year. “We gave it all we could. Things just didn’t go our way. Every season we seem to be getting better, and I truly believe the future is very bright.
“I thought we had a chance for this year, but things just didn’t work out the way we wanted. That just makes us want to work that much harder next season to get back here and take the next step.”
Menard (27-3) answered an inning later, pushing across four runs on five hits. After a Howell single, Zyria Frank’s RBI single scored Howell.
With two outs, Madalyn Mahfouz singled. Frank and Mahfouz then scored on an Alex King RBI single, combined with a Hannan error, giving the Eagles the lead for good 4-3. Abby Gwinn added an RBI double to make it 5-3.
“If we make the play on (Howell’s) single to start the inning, everything may have been different,” Lambert said. “But we didn’t. You have to credit Menard. They are a good team. They aren’t the defending state champions for nothing. They have good pitching, and they never give up.
“We just needed to capitalize a little more when we had runners on base. We didn’t take advantage of that.”
Menard added two runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to advance to the 2A state title game for the second consecutive season.
Losing only one senior in outfielder/pitcher Jensen Volz, Lambert said the program continues to grow.
“You hope every year you take another step as a program,” she said. “We did that this year. For four innings, we were in this game. We just couldn’t hang onto it.
Howell picked up the complete-game win in the circle for Menard, allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits, striking out six and walking four.
Hutton was the losing pitcher for Hannan, allowing 10 runs on 13 hits. She struck out one and walked two.