Monday, April 25, 2016

Holy Cross softball hangs on against Woodland, remains undefeated

When going into Beacon Falls to play a softball game against a Loren Luddy-coached Woodland team, expect a battle.
Undefeated Holy Cross, ranked eighth in the state poll, almost got more than it bargained for on Monday afternoon. The Hawks trailed 6-2 entering the last of the seventh inning, but scored three runs to pull within one. Woodland still had the bases loaded with two outs, and anything to the outfield likely meant defeat for Holy Cross.
Lawton fires in a pitch.
For the 14th and final time in the game, junior pitcher Sarah Lawton fired away and picked up a strikeout. With that last punch-out, the Crusaders had escaped, and there's no other way to put it. Holy Cross escaped Beacon Falls with a win.
The Crusaders stayed undefeated at 10-0 in the first game of a difficult week. Holy Cross takes on St. Paul Friday in Bristol before hosting third-ranked Seymour on Saturday at 11 a.m. the Crusaders and Wildcats were supposed to play tomorrow, but the forecast of rain postponed the matchup for the third time this season.
Junior catcher Aubry DeFoe was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI to lead the Holy Cross offense Monday. Freshman Carley DeFoe drove in a run, as did fellow freshman Allie Brown. Valerie Nobrega had two runs scored.
Allie Brown hustles for an infield single.
In the circle, Lawton -- who pitched sparingly last week against lesser competition -- had four walks to go with the 14 strikeouts.
Woodland used a solid small-ball attack to challenge Holy Cross. The Hawks didn't use big hits to score, but instead manufactured their runs. It was a good test for the Crusaders, who are sure to see more of the same from other opponents, both in the regular season and in the postseason.
Woodland challenged Holy Cross from the start, loading the bases in the bottom of the first inning with one out. A bunt to Lawton went for a force out at the plate, then Lawton claimed the third out on strikes. The Crusaders had left two in scoring position in their half of the first.
After three zeroes for both sides, each team posted two runs in the fourth inning.
Holy Cross jumped ahead again with three runs in the sixth. 
Lawton then helped her own cause in the seventh by beating out an infield grounder. Lawton got caught off first by the Woodland catcher, but was able to take second base. She then scored on a throwing error to put the Crusaders ahead 6-2.
The Crusaders were able to breathe a sigh of relief after the game.
It turned out to be a huge run as the Hawks rallied in their final at bat. The game was a great tournament-style test for Holy Cross, and one it passed, even if only barely. There's plenty to work on for the Crusaders, but the good news is there isn't another game until Friday.
Next up for Holy Cross is a game Friday in Bristol against a 5-1 St. Paul team. The lone loss for the Falcons this season was last week in Naugatuck.
On Saturday, two of the state's top ten teams go at it at the sports complex off of Oronoke Road when Holy Cross hosts Seymour. That's weather permitting, of course. This is not a joke. Neither team is laughing anymore. Let's play this game!
But first, Holy Cross will need to get past St. Paul. The Crusaders absolutely cannot look ahead to Saturday's showdown with the Wildcats.

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