The Nashville Hornettes are headed to the sectional, a place very familiar for the softball program. The Hornettes celebrated their sixth straight regional championship this past Saturday as they defeated Pinckneyville 3-1. The Hornettes moved on to the Nashville Sectional.
The Hornettes first game of the regional came Wednesday May 18 against Wesclin. The Hornettes had no problem dispensing the Warriors, as they need just six innings to win 10-0. Deidra Holzhauer was the star as she threw a five-hit shutout on the mound, and drove in six RBIs at the plate, including a big three run home run in the second inning. Nashville got contributions all through the lineup as eight different players recorded hits in the win. Jordan Stiegman finished 3-4 with a double, a RBI, and a run scored. Karly Stanowski extended the lead late with a home run and Paige Kasten added two hits in the win for Nashville. Mackenzie McFeron scored three runs in the ball game to go along with a RBI, a walk, and a stolen base. Brooke Burcham, Sophie Heck, and Libby Ahlers each finished with a hit in the ballgame.
After the game, coach Shaun Renth, talked about Holzhauer's performance, “ Deidra was big in her two at-bats early in the game, she battled in her first at-bat, fought one off into right-center, and then that three-run home run was huge, and got us going.”
The win set up a rubber match between Nashville and Pinckneyville for the Regional Championship. Each team took a game on the other's home field this season. Nashville defeated the Panthers 2-1 in Pinckneyville, but Pinckneyville came back to blow out the Hornettes 6-0 in Nashville on May 4.
A closely contested matchup, each team traded runs in the first, and the game stayed tied until the fifth, when McFeron singled with two outs. McFeron was able to steal second and third, before Kasten broke the tie with a RBI single. Kasten would come around to score on Holzhauer's double giving Nashville a 3-1 victory. Holzhauer would close the door on the mound, giving Nashville their sixth straight regional championship.
Holzhauer pitched another gem as she went all seven innings for Nashville. Holzhauer shut down the Pinckneyville offense after the first inning. Pinckneyville's best chance to tie the game, came in the seventh as the Panthers had runners on second and third with nobody out. A sprawling defensive play by Ahlers in right field for Nashville saved the game. Holzhauer would strike out the final batter of the game.
At the plate Holzhauer stayed hot as she finished with 2 RBIs for the Hornettes McFeron wreaked havoc on the basepaths, stealing four bases in the game. McFeron finished 2-3 with two runs. Kasten also notched two hits in the game, and plated the game-winning RBI. Stanowski was able to get the lone other hit for Nashville with a double.