Riverside tops Hannan

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 29, 2014


LAPLACE — Friday’s Class 2A regional round matchup between host Riverside and Hannan was a matchup of 2013 state runner-ups. And when play was complete, the Rebels kept their hopes of returning to the big game alive. 

Riverside scored seven runs over the fifth and sixth inning to break open what was a one-run game, RA emerging with an 11-3 victory to advance to the Fast Pitch 56 state softball tournament in Sulphur for the fifth consecutive season.

Briley Becker and Toni Perrin each delivered two-run singles in the fifth inning to extend Riverside’s 4-3 lead to 8-3, while Toni Hebert struck out six en route to her ninth win of the year.

The Rebels (16-11) have won 11 of their last 13 games.

The Hawks landed the first blow of the day and did so quickly. Hannan leadoff hitter Lindsey Osbon slammed a home run to left field to push AHS ahead 1-0. 

“We talked about getting off to a fast start,” said Hannan coach Becky Lambert.

Riverside answered in the second inning after Rayne Weber singled to lead off. Courtesy runner Taylor Aubert stole second and then reached third on Jaime Milioto’s reached on an infield single. Aubert took home on a double steal after Hannan attempted to throw Milioto out at second. Becker singled to make it 2-1.  

In the third, Hailey Tassin doubled home Madison Watson, who had singled, making it a 3-1 RA lead. It became 4-1 on Milioto’s second infield hit, this one an RBI single. 

The Hawks (20-10) answered, first when Caitlin Collins’ doubled and Caylee Palazzalo drove her in in the fourth. 

Then, in the 5th, Bailey Tuminello —  who set Hannan’s single season home run record this year — socked a two-out solo home run to make it 4-3. 

“We had five girls hit home runs this year,” said Hannan coach Becky Lambert. “You ask different people, some will say ‘Watch ‘em one through nine,’ some are gonna say ‘Tuminello’. But we’ve been able to hit the ball pretty well all year.”

But Riverside got to Hawks’ starter Jensen Volz in the fifth inning. Volz hit Tassin, then Weber and Milioto drew walks. That brought Becker to the plate, who singled home two runners to make it 6-3. 

“I just waited for my pitch,” said Becker. “We’ve put in a lot of hard work at practice. Now we’re ready to do work at state.”

With two outs, Perrin cleared the bases with another two-run single to make it 8-3, though Hannan got her out at second as she tried to leg out a double.

“Our bats are definitely coming around,” said Toni Hebert. “The top part of our order struggled today, but the bottom half really picked us up.”

That chased Volz from the game in favor of reliever Lauren Wegener, but it didn’t slow Riverside’s bats. Toni Hebert drew a leadoff walk and stole second before Peyton Sutton singled her in. Sutton stole second, then Watson singled her in to make it 10-3.  Tassin’s RBI single plated the day’s final run.

“We’re gonna be aggressive and teams are gonna have to throw us out,” said Kristy Hebert on the team’s baserunning Friday. “We like to make people throw and take chances themselves.”

The loss ended Hannan’s quest to return to Sulphur and appear in a fourth consecutive championship game. 

The Hawks won the Class 1A title in 2011 and 2012 before finishing as 1A runner-up in 2013. 

Toni Hebert (9-5) allowed 10 hits and walked two en route to the win. 

“We knew we’d have to play very well today,” said Hannan coach Becky Lambert. “(Toni Hebert) had better control than our pitchers and they’ve got a lot more speed than we do.  That speed is tough to deal with. They executed better than we did today.”

The Rebels competed without usual third-hitter and infielder Erica Delaneuville, who was sidelined for the contest. Kristy Hebert didn’t give specifics, but said the slugger will be back in action Friday for the state tournament.

Riverside has scored 29 runs through its first two playoff games. 

Both Riverside and Hannan lost five seniors from a year ago and had reached the second day of the state tourney in three straight years.