Hahnville halts Broncos’ progress

<p>Sam Houston’s Maddie Pourciaux (20) slides in with the score during the Class 5A semifinal round of the LHSAA State Softball Tournament at Frash Park in Sulphur, La., Saturday, April 28, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)</p>Rick HickmanRickHickmanPhotographer

<p class="p1">SULPHUR — When No. 3 Sam Houston entered its Class 5A semifinal against No. 2 Hahnville on Saturday at the state softball tournament, it knew exactly what to expect.

<p class="p3">Hahnville had beaten the Broncos 8-2 earlier in the season and the game plan of keeping the Tigers’ big offense at bay worked until Sarah VanEtta’s walk off two-run home run ended the Broncos season, 5-3.

<p class="p3">“I knew they could hit the ball, so we tried to pitch them very smart and keep them off balance, but Hahnville is always an offensive team,” Sam Houston head coach Beth Domingue said.

<p class="p3">Junior pitcher Jenny Griggers kept the Tigers scoreless for three innings before giving up single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning. She struck out four batters and walked two.

<p class="p3">Griggers got two quick outs to start the bottom of the seventh before Catherine Friloux hit a single up the middle. Griggers worked a full count, but VanEtta launched a line drive over the left-center field fence to end the game.

<p class="p3">“Jenny pitched well,” Domingue said. “Jenny did more than what was expected of her. 

<p class="p3">“They (Hahnville) are a great team and I knew it was going to be a battle when I saw that was who we were going to face. It always is when we play them.”

<p class="p3">Sam Houston (30-4) found its groove in the third inning when it scored three runs to take a 3-0 lead. Kimber Hamilton and Jill Poullard hit back-to-back RBI singles and Maddie Pourciaux scored on a passed ball, but then went cold.

<p class="p3">“I think we came out hitting her hard,” Domingue said. “As the game went on, I wish we would have squared up on some more balls late in the game. 

<p class="p3">“I think that we had some chances, but we just didn’t get it done.”

<p class="p3">Sam Houston had some base running miscues and hit into a pair of double plays.

<p class="p3">Sam Houston got one more chance in the seventh when it got two runners on with two outs. Andie Edwards drew a base on balls and Kyla Hamilton hit a line drive to left field. But a ground ended the Broncos’ scoring opportunity.

<p class="p3">Hahnville (33-3) scored its first two runs with two outs on a singles by Karly Taranto in the fourth inning and Kamryn Keller in the fifth.

<p class="p3">In the sixth, VanEtta led off with a single and moved to third on an error. Borne flied out to left field for the third out, but while Sam Houston was trying to throw out Makenna Cortez at second VanEtta scored the tying run.