News and Tribune

Clark County Sports

June 23, 2014

SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Hornung powers way to honor

Providence softball batted .485 and set school record with seven home runs

CLARKSVILLE — It was a record-breaking season for Providence sophomore shortstop Jacquie Hornung, but it’s tough to get her to talk about her personal abilities.

Instead, Hornung spent most of Friday’s interview speaking glowingly about her team’s accomplishments after the Pioneers won their third straight sectional and consecutive regional titles this spring.

“One of our main goals was to get a run at state,” she said. “This year, I think in the postseason and right before that, we worked really hard as a team. I think it paid off for us.

“Overall, I think we did have a pretty good season and we did a lot of things a lot of people didn’t think we could.”

It’s hard to imagine the Pioneers could have done those things without Hornung, who had one of the most impressive offensive stat lines in recent memory. She batted .485 with 42 runs scored, 34 RBIs, 13 doubles, six triples and seven home runs. She led Providence in all five categories. She had an on-base percentage of .558 and a slugging percentage of .958, making her the 2014 News and Tribune Player of the Year.

“I was real happy with how my season went,” she said. “I think my offensive game was where I would go for my confidence. I felt good when I was at the plate.”

“She’s somebody that we were really relying on throughout the season,” Pioneer coach Sean Payne said. “She lived up to my hopes offensively for us.”

Her seven homers are a new Pioneer record. She broke Jackie Scanlan’s record with her sixth home run.

She then battled teammate Lillian Hughes for the school record the rest of the year. Hughes finished with six.

“It wasn’t something I thought of, really,” Hornung said. “When Sean told me I broke it, I was shocked. I had no idea I was close to it. I hope maybe I can improve on it next year.”

She hit her seventh home run in the first inning of the Pioneers’ 3-1 victory over Southwestern to win their second straight regional. In that victory, she was 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

In fact, she was clutch most of the season. She went 3-for-3 with four RBIs in the Pioneers’ 12-0 win over Eastern in the sectional championship. She also hit a home run against rival New Albany and two against rival Floyd Central.

“When the game gets really tight and intense, I think that’s when I come out of my shell a little more,” she explained. “I think that I’ve grown as an athlete. Now I want the ball in my hands. I want to be the one who gets the game-winning hit. I’ve tried to learn to have more confidence in myself.”

“I think her experience has helped,” said Payne, who is married to Hornung’s cousin, Lauren Wrenn. “She’s really mentally tough. She’s always been a mature girl. She takes her every-day personality into her athletics, which helps her do well in tough situations.”

The home runs against New Albany and Floyd came in her best week of the season. In fact, it was about as good of a week as a player can have. Over an eight-day period, she went 11-for-16 with six walks, three doubles, four home runs and a triple. She scored 11 times and drove in eight runs.

“That week, I was making really good contact,” she said. “I was waiting for my pitch and when I hit the ball, I was making really hard, solid contact.”

“It was unbelievable,” Payne recalled. “It wasn’t like we were playing bad teams. Floyd has some of the best pitching at the high school level I’ve ever seen. It was a special week. She was locked in and in the zone and it was really fun to watch. You could see her confidence growing and growing.”

Hornung is also a great volleyball player and a member of the 2013 Providence state championship team. Throughout high school, she’s spent most of her time on volleyball. Now, she may begin concentrating as much on softball.

“I really do think Jacquie is an elite athlete and an exceptional volleyball player,” Payne said. “I think she has a higher ceiling with softball. She’s going to spend time at a [softball] camp for the first time [this summer]. Now that she’s making time for softball, [the results] could be scary.”

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