HOPE — The excitement about Hauser freshman Tessa Sims usually revolves around her work on the mound.
On Friday in a huge game against perennial power Rising Sun, Sims proved she can make it count at the plate as well.
Sims’ RBI single in the ninth inning drove home Ali Hoover to give Hauser a 2-1 victory against the Class A No. 4-ranked Shiners.
“I was telling myself that this is my moment and I’ve got to hit this,” said Sims, who said she has taken extra batting practice because she has been struggling at the plate.
The extra work paid off.
Her game-winning hit made sure she didn’t waste another sparkling effort on the mound. She struck out 16 Rising Sun batters.
“(A 4-3 loss to Jennings County on Thursday) was pretty rough for me,” said Sims, who snapped back with a big effort on Friday.
Hauser coach Craig Sims was proud of the performance by his daughter, especially since she was facing her second consecutive formidable opponent.
“She was really tired after throwing seven innings against Jennings County and nine tonight,” Craig Sims said. “She stepped up, dug real deep, did great and worked through it.”
The Jets (8-2) might have thought they let the game slip away in the top of the seventh inning when Rising Sun’s Jessica Koons delivered an RBI single after a Hauser error set her up, for a 1-0 lead.
The Jets stormed back in the bottom of the seventh. Sidney Giles would reach first off of a Shiners fielding error. Lauren Starnes then ran for Giles. After a couple of sacrifice bunts advanced Starnes to third. Leslie Sims stepped up to the plate and popped up what seemed to be the final play of the game.
However, the ball popped out of the left fielder’s glove and Starnes scored for a 1-1 tie.
Craig Sims liked that his team for stayed mentally tough and fought back against one of the state’s best softball teams.
“This game really lived up to the expectations tonight and it was a good Friday night showdown,” Craig Sims said. “The pitching really dominated this game and I was very proud of us for hanging in there and not giving up. I could see it in our eyes that we were going to play and not give in.”
With two outs recorded in the bottom of the ninth, Ali Hoover singled for Hauser. The Shiners decided to intentionally walk Leslie Sims to set up Tessa Sims game-winning hit.
The Jets have the potential to meet the Shiners again in the regionals. The Shiners beat Hauser in last year’s regional final 2-1.
“It was good seeing them and knowing how to prepare for them,” Tessa Sims said. “If we can make it to regionals, most likely we will be playing them again.”