Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2011



SULPHUR — Hahnville pitcher Hannah Haydel stood in the pitcher’s circle, the same circle that she only a year prior gave up the tying and winning runs in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to St. Thomas More in the Class 5A championship game.

That loss fueled the Tigers all season. It was the inspiration for their simple mantra of “Finish.” And it’s what made Haydel’s final pitch of the season, which went for a swinging strike three against Denham Spring’s Savannah Duval, almost assuredly the most satisfying pitch of her life.

“I wanted it bad,” said Haydel. “We all did. I knew I had to push that much harder to get that out.”

Said championship game Most Valuable Player Courtney Dutreix, “All day today, we remembered how it felt last year. “We talked about finishing. And that’s exactly what we did tonight.”

Hahnville’s 6-2 victory over Denham Springs in the Class 5A state championship game gave the school it’s first ever state softball championship and capped a run through Sulphur in which the Tigers did not trail in a single inning — despite being matched against the aforementioned state champion St. Thomas More, top seeded Barbe and a red hot Denham Springs team that had defeated the No. 6, No. 3 and No. 2 seeds on the way to the title game — two of those being East Ascension and St. Amant, district foes of Hahnville.

Hahnville coach Kenneth Vial said that the win was the redemption her team had worked so hard for all year long.

“We knew we let it slip away last year. I told them that we had that ring up to our knuckle last year,” said Vial. “It motivated them all year long.”

Dutreix finished 3 for 4 with four RBIs. Elise deBruler and Alexandra Friloux each collected a pair of hits.

The Tigers (32-3) wouldn’t allow themselves to be the third District 6-5A victim of the Yellow Jackets (20-11), scoring six runs in the first four innings off of Denham starter Madison Vige and establishing complete control.

Dutreix was the catalyst for the scoring surge. It began in the third inning, when she followed walks drawn by Friloux and Abby Boutte with an RBI double to give HHS a 1-0 lead.

But the fourth inning is when Hahnville dealt the most damage, scoring five runs to establish a 6-0 lead. A single by deBruler into left followed and she would reach third after a Hope Mair sacrifice bunt and a Taylor Webre groundout.

With two outs, the Tigers went to work. Megan Bush singled home a run to make it 2-0. Friloux reached on an infield hit, then Boutte singled to load the bases. That brought Dutreix to the plate for her second RBI opportunity of the night and she delivered, socking a bases-clearing double down the left field line to put Hahnville ahead 5-0. Summer Melancon came up with a double of her own to bring Dutreix home and make it 6-0.

Haydel was coasting along into the sixth inning, having only given up three hits to that point before running into a bit of trouble. Lanie Guillory punched a single into the hole on the left side, then Alexis Gremillion doubled to left to put runners on second and third. Megan Monk’s sacrifice fly plated Denham’s first run, but it could have been far worse for Hahnville — a lunging catch by Friloux likely saved two runs.“We played unbelievable defense,” said Vial. “In 35 games this year, we’ve committed 30 errors. We don’t make errors. And it’s a big reason why we’re here right now.”

Jorie McDonald doubled for Denham Springs to cut the lead to 6-2. But that would be the last hit of the night for the Yellow Jackets. Haydel got a pair of fly outs in the seventh before punching out Duval, sending Hahnville into ecstasy.

“It’s amazing,” said Dutreix. “We’ve worked so hard for this. We deserve this.”

Said Vial, “I’m so happy for these girls, after what they suffered through last year, to be here right now. They’ve been ready for this.”