By Bud Denega, Sports Information Graduate Assistant
BEAUMONT, Texas — Northwestern State senior infielder Emma Hawthorne entered the Lamar series this weekend still trying to round into form offensively. She showed glimpses, but still hadn’t rediscovered the prowess at the plate she encompassed a season ago.
That changed this weekend in Beaumont. It showed Friday night and again Saturday in the biggest of ways. Hawthorne logged a two-out, two-run, go-ahead single in the top of the sixth inning that vaulted the Lady Demons to a 5-4 victory and a series win.
“She’s done it the right way, and the game knows. When people handle (offensive struggles) the right way, when opportunities come their way, they come through,” head coach Donald Pickett said. “I’m just proud of how she’s handled it because she’s been a big part of what we’ve been doing through her career here.”
The win improved NSU to 17-12 overall and 11-4 in Southland Conference play. The loss dropped Lamar to 5-34 overall and 1-14 in league action.
All three of NSU’s pitchers were utilized to make the one-run lead hold. Junior E.C. Delafield received the start and went 5.2 innings pitched, surrendering two earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts to log the win that pushed her record to 7-2.
Junior Jensen Howell came on in the sixth and maneuvered around a runner on third to keep NSU in the lead. Sophomore Bronte Rhoden twirled the seventh and didn’t allow an inherited runner — who had made it to third — from scoring.
“We have a lot of confidence in those pitchers,” Pickett said. “All three of them did a good job today in getting some outs when we needed them.”
Hawthorne’s big hit in the sixth occurred after an equally-important base knock. Freshman infielder Kat Marshall recorded a two-out RBI single that extended the inning.
The big inning was set up by freshman infielder Keely DuBois’ leadoff single. That was followed by a single from Rhoden on a full count.
DuBois finished with four hits and two RBIs — the game’s first two runs — to cap a week that saw her go 8-for-11 with five RBIs.
“She’s starting to have a lot more confidence up there, and her confidence continues to grow each and every game,” Pickett said. “She’s done a really good job of staying consistent and her talent is starting to show.”
The Lady Demons finished with 12 hits, as the reshuffling of the lineup produced, once again. Lamar only managed three base knocks.
Northwestern State remains on the road, traveling to Stephen F. Austin for a three-game set. That series commences Friday with a single game at 5 p.m.