Noor Hacking kick starts Parkway West past North Point, into state tournament for first time in 30 years | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

CHESTERFIELD — Noor Hacking had it all.

“Cough, achy, tired, couldn’t breathe well,” the Parkway West freshman infielder said. “Just an awful feeling.”

Hacking stayed in bed and took antibiotics for three successive days. She woke up Saturday morning still under the weather.

“I wasn’t sure at first,” Hacking said of her status for the Class 4 softball state quarterfinal against North Point. “Then I realized my teammates needed me and I’d better get out there.”

Hacking fought off a major sinus infection to help lead the Longhorns to an 11-1 six-inning win in the contest at West.

West (22-9) advanced to the final four for the sixth time in school history but first since winning the Class 4A championship in 1993.

The Longhorns will face Washington (35-1-1) in a semifinal game at 1 p.m. Thursday at Killian Softball Complex in Springfield. Washington, which is on a 28-game winning streak, dispatched Cape Notre Dame 13-0 in another quarterfinal.

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Defending state champion Kearney (26-5) will face Helias (21-9) in the other semifinal, also at 1 p.m.

The winners are scheduled to meet for the state championship at 12:45 p.m. Friday. 

Hacking was able to fight off the infection although she was not at 100 percent.

“I’m feeling a lot better now,” she said after driving in the Longhorns’ first two runs of the game.

Hacking is a Muslim and her unique first name means, “light,” in Arabic.

She has been a guiding light for the Longhorns with 20 RBI, one of five players with 20 or more this season.

West coach Andrew Jett feels comfortable with Hacking in the cleanup spot in the batting order.

“She came in early today, got some swings in and she was ready to go,” Jett said. “Kudos to her. It was a tough spot to be in not practicing. She showed up and got the job done.”

Hacking received plenty of offensive help. Sophomore Juliet Relihan had three hits out of the No. 9 spot in the batting order. Riley Keegan reached base three times. Junior Alexa Riddel had two doubles and drove in a pair of runs. Senior catcher Rachel Livak and sophomore Elena Potsou added two hits each.

Every hitter in the starting lineup reached base at least once by the fifth inning.

“This was the ultimate team win,” Riddel said. “We learn from each other and we’re still getting better.”

Senior pitcher Makenzie Brown improved to 11-2 with a strong effort. She allowed four of the first six North Point hitters to reach safely before shutting the door with five successive scoreless innings.

“Pretty much everything was working,” Brown said. “To be able to do this in my senior year makes me so happy.”

Parkway West answered the Grizzlies first-inning run with one of its own on a run-scoring double by Hacking. She gave her team the lead for good with an RBI ground out in the third that brought in Riddel, who ripped a one-out double.

The Longhorns, who feature a starting lineup with at least eight batters hitting .302 or above, broke the game open with a four-spot in the fourth. Keegan had an RBI single and Riddel added a two-run hit.

“We knew that we’d have to score a lot of runs,” Jett said. “And the bats got going.”

The Longhorns’ record stood at 9-7 in mid-September after a rough 7-0 loss at Lafayette.

They have won 13 of 15 since that setback.

“I knew this was possible, if we just started playing the way we’re capable,” Riddel said.

Jett said a difficult early-season schedule helped prime his team for this playoff run.

“We wanted to be battled tested,” Jett said. “We’ve been playing the best of the best. The girls knew that our record didn’t explain the type of team that we are. They knew the goal was at the end of the year.”

Junior Siena Snyder gets the attack going from the leadoff spot in the order. Lily Bell and Caitlyn Obermeyer have also come up big down the stretch.

North Point reached the elite eight in only its third season of softball on the varsity level.

The Grizzlies, who were 3-11 and 9-18 in their first two campaigns, captured their first district title with a 14-9 win over Fort Zumwalt South last week.

“I’m insanely proud of them,” North Point coach Justin Hellman said. “One win from going to the final four. I can’t put into words how amazing these girls have been.”


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