Softball pitcher shines on mound and in classroom

Nicholls State University softball pitcher Hannah Marie Haydel is finishing her senior season on a high note.

Haydel, a graduating senior from Ama, La. majoring in speech pathology, was named Southland Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season. After the end of the season, Haydel will close her student-athlete career and will solely focus on her academic life. She will be attending graduate school at Louisiana State University for Speech Pathology in the fall.

“After this season, I am done playing softball,” Haydel said. “I don’t think that [the idea] hit me yet, because I am very excited with our record so far and really caught up in the now, focusing on the next games.”

The senior pitcher excelled in the three-game tournament against Northwestern state. She took the wins, going 3-0 with a save, achieved her first career no-hitter in Friday night’s opening 1-0 victory over the Cowgirls.
Haydel appeared in 32 games this season so far, helping the Colonels to improve their conference record to 16-4, which guaranteed the team a spot on the Southland Conference Tournament.

In her last four appearances this season, Haydel struck out 17 pitches, allowing only 13 hits in 21 innings. She improved her league-best opponent batting average to .196. In Southland Conference, Haydel is in the lead with a 1.46 ERA, ranking 19th in the NCAA.

“I think [the results] show my growth throughout the program,” Haydel said. “When I first got here the program didn’t have a winning record and we made that a goal of ours. Now that we got a winning streak, the next goal is to make it to the conference.”

Haydel’s career at Nicholls was a featured highlight in every season. She appeared in 34 games with 22 starts as a junior pitcher during the 2015 season with a 13-10 record, 12 complete games and one shutout. She tossed 152.1 innings, allowed 142 hits for a .237 average and surrendered 86 runs (64 earned). Haydel also struck out 109 batters and walked 60. She ranked second on Southland Conference play with 69 strikeouts and posted the seventh-best opponent batting average at .243. She was also named All-Southland honorable mention and Second Team and Southland All-Academic.

In 2014, she played in 28 games in the circle, starting 23 times. Posted a 6-15 record with a 4.21 ERA, tossed 131.1 innings with one shutout, gave up 106 runs, with 79 earned, had 81 strikeouts and held opposing hitters to a .298 batting average.

In 2013, Haydel was named All-Southland honorable mention after pitching in 27 games as a true freshman, 18 of which she started. She led the team with a 2.96 ERA, posting a 9-10 record. Her ERA ranked 10th in the Southland Conference, with a 2.18 ERA. She tossed 113.2 innings with nine complete games and one combined shutout, limited the opposition to a .252 batting average which was sixth best in the SLC, gave up 72 runs, with 48 being earned, had 53 strikeouts, struck out six batters in three different games and was named to the 2013 Southland Conference Commissioner’s Spring Honor Roll.

Haydel said she started playing t-ball when she was five, but that she started traveling for softball competitions when she was nine and things escalated from there on.

The highlights in Haydel’s career in softball started back in High school at Hahnville. She was named first-team All-State by the Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association and the Coaches Association as a junior and senior. She also garnered all-metro Pitcher of the Year in both season and was named all-district co-MVP as a senior. Haydel earned All State Sugar Bowl Amateur Athlete of the Month for April 2011 and also won WGNO Voodoo Athlete of the Week. Haydel made the Louisiana All-Star Team, leading the Tigers to 31-3 record and Louisiana 5A state runners-up. Along with her teammates, Haydel won state title in 2011 with a 32-3 record.

Haydel also excelled in the academic field and participated in extracurricular activities. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, was member of the National Honors Society, the Spanish Honors Society and Beta Club. She made Superintendent’s List, won the Dow Academic Award and was a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Haydel also participated in a band during high school.