WILLIAMSTON — Eight Hanahan High School senior softball players capped their careers in style on Thursday, completing a climb to the top of the mountain in capturing their second state championship in as many seasons.
The Hawkettes jumped on Palmetto High School in their first two sets of hacks and held on for a 5-3 victory over 200 miles from home in sweeping the Class AAA state championship series. Hanahan (31-3) won the opener 2-1 on Monday and had to sit through Wednesday’s rain out before clinching.
“I’m so proud of them,” Hanahan coach Katrina Moffett said of her senior group. “They’ve worked so hard. They’ve put in 100 percent every day and played with so much heart. They’ve dedicated so much to the softball program. I’ve grown really close to them. They’ve been amazing ball players and amazing people.”
Moffett’s team scored one in the first inning and four more in the second inning to take control. It was plenty of run support for southpaw Drayton Siegling.
Siegling threw a complete game, working around seven hits and striking out three batters. The College of Charleston-bound senior is one six Hanahan seniors slated to play at the next level.
“I’ve been playing ball with these girls since I was 10 or 11,” Siegling said. “To be able to go out on top with them is one of the best feelings, if not the best feeling.”
The defense backed her up with a pair of double plays.
Shortstop Ashley Meckley, headed to Coker, led Hanahan at the plate with three hits and scored twice from the leadoff spot. The Hawkettes had 10 hits, double the output from Game 1.
Spartanburg Methodist-bound left fielder Rachel Shelley and catcher Jordan Fabian also knocked in runs. Shelley’s double in the first made it 1-0.
In the second, Amber Elmore pushed across a run on a fielder’s choice and Meckley followed with a deep drive to the centerfield fence to up Hanahan’s advantage to 3-0.
Shelley followed with a drive to right the outfielder couldn’t handle and Fabian capped the uprising with a hard RBI double to left. Fabian, a junior who reclassified to a senior, is headed to USC.
She said whispers about last year’s team backing into a title motivated the Hawkettes this spring.
“This year we wanted to prove ourselves,” Fabian said. “Last year, there were some people questioning it, that we didn’t play very many good teams and that we couldn’t do it again, that it was just a fluke. We wanted to prove everyone wrong.”
Palmetto, which ends the year 26-4, tallied a run in the bottom of the third on Claire Ellison’s fielder’s choice but didn’t score again until two outs in the seventh on Haley Cabaniss’s two-run double.
Siegling recorded a strikeout to end the threat, though.
“It’s very hard to go back to back because everybody wants to beat you,” Moffett said.
“When you get that far ahead and you’ve got a pitcher like Drayton in the circle and that defense behind her, it’s going to work out for you,” Moffett said.
“If we hadn’t have gotten off to that quick start, I feel like they would have fought a little bit harder,” Fabian said. “They fought hard at the end there but I think they would have had a little more faith.”