Wednesday, May 25, 2016

NVL FINALS PREVIEW: Holy Cross aiming for two championships tonight

The Holy Cross baseball and softball teams will each be trying to earn a NVL title tonight at Naugatuck High School. The baseball team takes on Oxford at 6 p.m., then softball begins its quest a half hour later against Seymour.
Here's a look at both games:

No. 2 Holy Cross vs. No. 1 Oxford, 6 p.m.
How they got here: Holy Cross--def. No. 7 Ansonia 6-1, def. No. 6 Wolcott 9-8; Oxford -- def. No. 8 Naugatuck 5-1, def. No. 4 Watertown 5-4. 
Records: Holy Cross 18-4, Oxford 18-4.
When they met during the regular season...: Oxford won 4-3 at Oxford High School on April 11. The Wolverines scored twice in the sixth inning to tie, then won the game in the seventh on an Andrew Cuomo RBI single. Cole Chudoba picked up the win while Fran Phelan took the loss.
Notes: Oxford is taking aim at its first NVL baseball title. If Holy Cross wins, it would be the 11th time it has taken the NVL, with the first coming in 1983. 
Holy Cross head coach Mike Phelan's quotes:
- As I said before the tournament, if we advance to the NVL championship, which is where we said we wanted to be, we're going to face three great teams.
- We throw strikes, we play good defense, and we hit when we need to hit.
Holy Cross player Tim Zupkus' quotes:
- It feels amazing [to reach the NVL final]. It's what we've been leading to all season. It's great to finally be here.

No. Holy Cross vs. No. 1 Seymour, 6:30 p.m.
How they got here: Holy Cross--def. No. 7 St. Paul 10-1, def. No. 3 Torrington 4-3; Seymour--def. No. 8 Woodland 1-0; def. No. 4 Oxford 9-0.
Records: Holy Cross 20-2, Seymour 21-1.
When they met during the regular season...: A day after losing 3-1 at St. Paul, the Crusaders were hammered at home, 11-0, by the Wildcats on the morning of April 30. Raeanne Geffert tossed a one-hitter with 17 strikeouts for Seymour. Leadoff batter Rebecca Johnson was a perfect 3-for-3 for the Wildcats that day. Alexandra Lombardo had the lone hit for the Crusaders.
Notes: This is actually the third meeting between Holy Cross and Seymour in the NVL title game since the tourney began in 1999, according to Seymour softball's Twitter account. Seymour has 17 NVL titles overall, according to its Facebook website. Holy Cross has seven overall, but none since 1992.
Holy Cross head coach Meg Dwyer's quotes:
- I think that throughout the season, they've worked hard.
- ON SARAH LAWTON'S PITCHING IN THE SEMIFINALS: She refocused and she got better the game went on.
- ON NICOLE STRIELKAUSKAS' TWO-OUT DOUBLE IN THE SEMIFINALS: She's the go-to player in those situations.
- ON AUBRY DEFOE'S WALK-OFF HOMER: Aubry works so hard, and it's great for her to come out and get that win.  

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