March 28th, 2018

HC tops Toppers, whips BH to win All "A" Sixth Region

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

HC tops Toppers, whips BH to win All "A" Sixth Region
The Cougars with the All "A" Sixth Region title plaque / photo by Conor Revell

Holy Cross will have chance to make history.

The Cougars have earned the right to defend their All “A” Classic Statewide Softball Tournament title for a fourth straight year, something that has never been done in the 14–year history of the small school tourney.

“It’s hard for me to say we have a young team because we really don’t,” Holy Cross head coach Tony Young said. “We have an inexperienced team. Just about every player is playing in a different position. We just have to get more experience playing together and get more comfortable with each other.”

Host Holy Cross defeated Presentation in a small school Sixth Region semifinal game and Beth Haven in the regional title game.

Holy Cross 6, Presentation 1

Bella Velez directed all the credit to her fellow Holy Cross teammates despite going 3 for 4 with a home run, double, a single, and driving in two runs.

“I couldn’t tell what type of pitch she threw me,” Velez said. “It looked like a regular fastball to me. It was 3-2 in the count and I really think she was just trying to throw me a strike.”

The Cougars (3-0) attacked Topper pitcher Madeline Meagher early scoring two runs in each of the first three innings to race out to a 6-0 lead.  

Velez blasted her two-run homer in the first inning.

It could have been worse if it wasn’t for Presentation (2-2) centerfielder Lili Cortese robbing two home runs.

“We came out and had a good pitching performance,” Tony Young said. “I think we hit the ball better than what the score showed. Their center fielders took two home runs back. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid go above the fence and catch the ball. She did that twice in one game. That took four runs off the board. Pres played a really nice game.”

But Velez wasn’t the one that contributed.

Maddi Gailor had two singles and an RBI, Kadi Weaver had a run scoring double, Amber Kaufman had a single and an RBI, Kailey Reed had a triple, Maddie Emerson had a double, and Maddie Wilson and Dakota Young each had a single.

“I was battling in the count,” Reed said of her triple. “I knew I had to get something going for my team. She threw it down the middle and I made contact with it. I have been working a lot lately on driving the ball to the left side of the field.”

Meagher and Nicole Kuchma were the only two Toppers (2-2) with a hit.

“Without a doubt, Carson threw a great game and Bella came in and finished it,” Tony Young said. “The difference in the game was that we had superior pitching and we had some good patient at-bats.”

Kuchma also had an RBI grounder in the sixth inning that scored Meagher for Presentation’s lone run.

“We had to have a better offensive outcome,” Presentation head coach Matt Meagher said. “We talked about that. We knew they had good pitching and we have struggled over the years with them as far as scoring runs. We had a hard time adjusting to pitches. We had four strikeouts looking, when you do that, it’s hard to scratch any runs.”

Carson Goatley started in the circle for Holy Cross and tossed 6 & 1/3 innings, allowed two hits and struck out 11 while Velez pitched to the final two hitters and struck out both.

“I was just trying to throw strikes and get up in the count,” Goatley said. “I really wanted to make sure my changeups were on because that’s my most important pitch. I wanted to keep the hitter off speed and I knew my team was behind my back.”

Meagher pitched 3 & 1/3 innings and allowed all six runs and six hits while Jenna Reliford finished the game and gave up three hits and struck out one.

“I thought they did well,” Meagher said. “They were in this one. Give credit to Holy Cross. Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other team. They hit the ball well. Jenna coming in as a freshman – I thought she did great. She had composure. I think a lot of that is because we have a senior led team in the infield and they all have her back.”

Holy Cross 15, Beth Haven 0 (three innings)

The Cougars (4-0) scored 10 runs in the first inning and five runs in the second inning and the Bearcats (2-1) never recovered.

Velez had another phenominal game as she threw a complete game and allowed one hit, struck out nine, and walked one.

“All I had to do was throw strikes,” Velez said. “I just have to be there and I know my defense is going to have my back. I just threw it in fast.”

The sophomore also had a big game at the plate – as she walked once, had a double, and drove in four runs.

The Cougars finished with 10 hits and a number of players contributed as Linsey Hessler threw all three innings for Beth Haven.

“We’re right now five games behind from last year’s pace,” Tony Young said. “We only had one scrimmage game. It’s a bad break for us, but it’s a bad break for everybody. All teams are struggling to get games in with the weather. It stinks that this is happening when we have new players in new positions, but this a great team with a great group of kids. They’re listening well and we have great team chemistry.”

Savannah Maupin had two singles and an RBI, Sarah Doss and Emerson both had a double and two RBIs, Wilson had a single and two RBIs, and Kaylee Whitted walked and had a single.

“We have to work on ourselves,” Reed said. “Communication on the field is something we’re really working on and not getting too far ahead of ourselves and finishing out games strong.”

Nevaeh Gupton had a hit and a walk and stole home, Shalon O’Bryan had a single and an RBI, Jordan Scroggins walked and had an RBI, and Jade Toebbe walked.


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