ST. ANSGAR — Taylor Hanna is not going to give up on her defense, especially not with her offense more than making up for any issues she may have in the field.
Hanna hit an inside-the-park home run and a triple and the Saints got a walk-off 6-5 Class 1A Region 6 quarterfinal win over Riceville on Wednesday.
“I’m going to give it that (inside-the-park homer) because usually on those kinds of things if no fielder makes an error on it,” St. Ansgar coach Lance Schutjer said, “which at that point, they didn’t — just tried to throw it back in — I think that’s deserving of that since there were no errors made on the play.”
It was Hanna’s third home run of the season, all coming in the last eight days.
“I’m seeing I’m hitting the ball more,” Hanna said, “making solid contact every time. I’m having a lot more confidence in my hitting now, too, so I’m really proud of myself.”
Hanna made two errors during the course of the win, but she is determined to shrug those off.
“Defensively, I feel pretty good,” Hanna said. “Sometimes I get down on myself, but I think, ‘hey, it’s just one play, I’m fine. I’ll get the next one.'”
The win advances the Saints (21-8-1) to a regional semifinal game against No. 12 Mason City Newman (26-10) on Friday. St. Ansgar saw the Lady Knights rally against them less than a week ago.
“I’m confident we will stay in the game with Newman for a while,” Hanna said, “and I hope we pull out the win against them.”
Riceville had tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the seventh, forcing the issue, and making the Saints bat in the bottom of the seventh.
A couple of misplays on balls hit by Kennedy Schwiesow and Abby Hemann allowed Schwiesow to come across home plate with the winning run.
Coach Schutjer credited the team’s defense, particularly the outfield, that was the key to the Saints advancing.
“Our defensive outfield tonight…often the outfield doesn’t get a lot of credit,” Schutjer said, “but tonight, I’m going to give it to our outfield because they kept us in the ball game.”