Nobody on the Hauser softball team would say it after the game, but it was evident that the Jets’ 4-3 sectional championship victory over Rising Sun Saturday afternoon was pretty sweet. Not only did the win give Hauser its second straight sectional championship, but it also avenged a loss to the Shiners earlier in the season.

Ironically, one of the major contributors to Hauser’s victory Saturday did not play in the first game between these two class 1A heavyweights. Raegan Johnson was one of four juniors the Jets were missing in that game because she had not logged enough practices at the time. But to say she made up for her absence in the first game is an understatement.

Johnson went 2-3 with two doubles, both of which sparked run scoring innings for the Jets. Her first double of the game led off the fifth inning with the Jets clinging to a 1-0 lead. She was replaced by courtesy runner Madison Hollman, who was promptly singled in by Haylin Campbell, extending the Jets’ lead to 2-0.

“Even though I am down in the order, hitting eighth, I’m comfortable there. We can all hit top to bottom. I was seeing the ball well today,” said Johnson.

Campbell then scored on a base hit by Izzy Brunner, giving Hauser a 3-0 cushion with only six out to get for the championship. But there is a reason Rising Sun was 21-2 coming into the game. They did not go quietly, and made the Jets work hard for those final six outs.

Cora Poling led off the sixth inning for Rising Sun with a sharp single. She moved to second on a fielder’s choice, as Brunner was pulled off the bag on the throw to second. This put Shiner baserunners at first and second with nobody out. But, as Hauser pitcher Paige McDaniel and the defense behind had done all game, the Jets managed to limit the damage. A beautiful double-play turned by Brunner and Hannah Taylor gave Hauser two big outs. This double-play ended up being hugely important, as Rising Sun’s next hitter, Sidney Halloran singled and scored Poling, getting the Shiners on the board. But McDaniel retired the next batter to maintain Hauser’s lead going into the final stanza, 3-1.

The Jets managed to tack on what would be an incredibly important run in their half of the sixth. With two out, once again Johnson came through with her second double of the game. Campbell singled again for her second hit of the game, moving courtesy runner Hollman to third. Lucie Asher then stepped to the plate and singled home Hollman to extend Hauser’s lead to 4-1. And that fourth run was very necessary.

Rising Sun came charging back in the top of the seventh. After a quick groundout, the Shiners’ Josie Bell singled. Nora Powell then came to the plate and grounded sharply to Brunner at second. Brunner flipped the ball to Taylor at second base for what appeared to be the second out of the inning. The umpire, however, call Bell safe, and in the confusion, Bell ran to third, putting Shiners on first and third with one out.

Emma Russell then came to the plate for Rising Sun and smacked a deep single that scored both Bell and Powell, and all of a sudden it was a one run ballgame, and the tying run was standing at second with only one out.

But once again, McDaniel was clutch for Hauser. She got Poling to pop out to second and the Shiners’ clean up hitter, Ella Eldridge to ground out to seal the game and the championship victory for Hauser.

Unlike the first outing, McDaniel was spectacular. She allowed three runs while scattering nine hits for the complete game victory. She also managed her way out of jam after jam.

“Well, the weather was definitely warmer. I was able to hit all of my spots today, and my defense played great. This was much better than my first start again them [Rising Sun],” McDaniel said.

Hauser coach Andy Brunner was also proud of his team. “That is a good ball team we just beat,” he said. “Paige absolutely nailed it today with hitting her spots. We are also a team that you can’t pitch around. I have 12 girls that can crush the ball, top to bottom. But if we are (1A) #2, then Rising Sun is #3. They are an all-around solid team.”

With the victory, Hauser advances to the regional championship game against Indianapolis Lutheran. This game will be played Tuesday evening at Hauser.