Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Holy Cross softball looking for second straight finals trip

It's simple for top-seeded Holy Cross softball today.
Beat No. 4 East Granby, and Holy Cross will make its second straight appearance in the Class S state final this weekend. Lose, and they will be headed home one game short of their ultimate goal.
Holy Cross and East Granby play today at 4 p.m. at Biondi Field in West Haven. The game is a rematch of last year's Class S semifinal, won 4-0 by Holy Cross at Biondi Field. It was originally scheduled for yesterday, but the threat of thunderstorms forced the game to be postponed.
Here's some info about each team:


Defending Class S champion Holy Cross takes aim at a second straight finals appearance today, weather permitting.
East Granby once again stands in the way of the Waterbury school.
Holy Cross
Seed: No. 1
The road to the semifinals: First round bye; defeated No. 17 Tourtellotte 4-2 in second round; defeated No. 9 Wheeler 9-6 in quarterfinals
Offense comes up big: Holy Cross has usually gone along with the right arm of junior pitcher Sarah Lawton, but it needed offense against Wheeler, and it got it. Lawton, Alexandra Lombardo and Val Nobrega each had multi-hit days with two RBI. Holy Cross pounded out 12 hits in the game.
Lawton still the one: The right-hander has given up eight runs in the first two games, but don't be surprised if she comes out and has a big game in the circle. She has done it before (see last year's Class S state tournament for proof).
Youth movement: This Holy Cross team has gotten some major contributions from freshmen like Allie Brown, Hannah Brown and Val Nobrega. Sophomores Alexandra Lombardo and Nicole Strielkauskas have also been key. Of course, Strielkauskas and Lombardo both played in last year's state title win over Thomaston, so they do have some experience in big moments.
On the line: Well of course another state final appearance. It would be fifth one in program history.

East Granby
Seed: No. 4
The road to the semifinals: defeated No. 29 Sacred Heart 5-1 in first round; defeated No. 20 Hale Ray 1-0 in second round; defeated No. 21 Somers 2-0 in quarterfinals
Pitching, pitching, pitching: It all starts with junior right-hander Genna Hartman. She has allowed one run in 21 innings of work. Hartman has pitched shutouts in her last two times out in the circle. 
Close call: East Granby walked off on Hale Ray on an errant pickoff throw in the second round.
On a roll: At one point, East Granby lost three out of four games to drop to 10-3 after a 9-0 start. Since then, they have won 11 out of 12 games, the only loss coming to Class L finalist Fitch. Fitch is undefeated.
On the line: The first-ever trip to a state final. Enough said.

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