Lady Hawks look to ‘three-peat’; Cubs, Lady Comets hope to reclaim title form

brocato    When Archbishop Hannan won its first of two consecutive 1A state softball championships in 2011, it was a team that had no other district opponents. Yet the Lady Hawks prevailed, 10-4, over Ascension Catholic.
    They were peerless with a team consisting mostly of juniors, sophomores and freshmen. They won again in 2012 as the No. 3 seed by a 10-2 rout over Catholic of Pointe Coupee.
    So it’s obvious that, loaded with senior talent, no team in the Class 1A portion of the Fast Pitch 56 tournament in Sulphur considers Hannan a No. 5 seed. The target is on the backs of the Lady Hawks. But a team that won its last four games by shutout scores and 16 by the “mercy rule,” appears to be ready for a possible “three-peat.”
    Hannan will take its 21-8 record and title hopes into the quarterfinal round on Friday against Central Catholic of Morgan City (25-6), the No. 4 seed. Game time is 4 p.m. at Frasch Park.
    Mount Carmel and St. Charles Catholic, which last won state softball titles in 2008, have also earned berths in the tournament.
    Mount Carmel, champion of District 9-5A, will meet District 8-5A champ, Hahnville, on Friday at noon. Hahnville is the No. 1 seed, and MCA is the No. 9 seed.
    No. 7 seed St. Charles Catholic drew No. 2 Buckeye in the 2A quarterfinal round. They will play on Friday at noon.
    A win by Hannan against Central Catholic would match the Lady Hawks with either No. 8 St. John (22-10) or No. 16 Westminster (17-8) in the semifinal round. Hannan has beaten St. John, 10-0, at the Brusly Tournament in March.
    On the other side are No. 3 Catholic-PC (21-6) vs. No. 6 Oak Grove (23-9), and No. 7 Ascension Catholic (22-6) vs. No. 18 False River (13-16).  Few believe that False River can get past the No. 7 seed, but no one expected the team from New Roads to knock off No. 2 Mangham in the quarterfinals, either.
➤ No. 1 Hahnville (29-3) vs. No. 9 Mount Carmel (22-7)
    This will be the rubber-match between the two. Hahnville lost to Mount Carmel, 1-0, on Apr. 6 in the Riverside tournament, then edged the Cubs, 2-1, three days later at home. Both were unbeaten in their respective districts.
    Hahnville, the 2012 runner-up to Sam Houston, had won 23 straight games before the loss to Mount Carmel, but had no trouble getting past No. 32 Dominican, 7-0, before defeating District 8-5A arch rival Destrehan, 3-0, in the regional round. The win marked the third time pitcher Lauren Beadle turned back the Lady Wildcats.
    The Cubs have been consistent at bat and in the field throughout their 7-0 sweep of District 9-5A. Of their seven losses, just one was a blowout. Riverside Academy, a quarterfinalist in Class 2A, defeated MCA, 16-0.
    Mount Carmel last won the 5A title in 2008. Last season the Cubs were eliminated in the first round. Hahnville has enjoyed much more success. The Lady Tigers won the championship in 2011 and were runners-up in 2010 and 2012.
    The victor faces the winner of the Fontainebleau- Live Oak game on Saturday at 1 p.m.
➤ No. 7 St. Charles Catholic (21-6) vs. No. 2 Buckeye (25-3).
    The Lady Comets will try to win their first 3A title since they defeated Parkview, 2-1, in 2008. They have been regulars in Sulphur over the last few years, but since that magical year, St. Charles has lost twice in the semifinal round, the quarterfinals in 2011 and 2012 and in the championship game of 2010, an 8-0 decision to Evangel.
    Buckeye is the defending 3A champion and returns the nucleus of that team. Its only district loss came against Jena, which finished second and has also advanced to the quarterfinals in the opposite bracket. Buckeye has won its last eight games since that defeat.
    The winner gets either No. 3 Kaplan (24-5) or No. 6 Notre Dame (25-7).
    But the team to beat is No. 1 seed Brusly (30-2), which opens on Friday against No. 8 Crowley (26-6). Brusly has won its last 28 games since it lost to Riverside Academy on Feb. 24. Among its victories are 4-3 and 6-0 wins over St. Charles Catholic, its District 7-3A rival.
    Brusly eliminated the Lady Comets in the 2012 quarterfinals, 7-4, then fell to Buckeye in the semis, a 10-inning, 4-0 decision.
           
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