April 29th, 2018

HISTORY! Holy Cross softball four-peats

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

HISTORY! Holy Cross softball four-peats
The Cougars hold up the No. 4 signaling their fourth straight All "A" State title / photo by Conor Revell

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OWENSBORO, Ky. - Nothing comes easy when a trophy is at stake, but the Holy Cross softball team persevered Sunday afternoon, and accomplished something that no other program has.

The Cougars overcame a three-run deficit and defeated Raceland 15-5 at Jack Fisher Park to become the first program to win four consecutive All “A” Classic Statewide Softball titles.

“I don’t know what this says about the program,” Holy Cross head coach Tony Young said. “Nobody has ever done it. We’ve essentially won almost a third of the All “A” State championships, this was the 15th one.

“We’ve been in the title game five years in a row. Every year I tell my team it’s not as easy to win as everybody thinks it is. You stick a trophy out on the field and the pressure ramps up. I’m extremely proud of these kids.”

Reidland, which consolidated with Heath and Lone Oak to form McCracken County High in 2014, won three straight from 2006-08 in the midst of winning four championships in five years.

Holy Cross (18-6) has won four titles overall and could tie Reidland next season for the most won by a program.

Junior Maddi Gailor was named MVP, her older sister, Morgan, was a senior on the first team that won the title, and was also named Most Valuable Player.

“I think it’s a legacy that she helped start and that we have kind of built together,” Gailor said. “It’s an amazing thing what we have done and that no other program has accomplished.”

Gailor went 5 for 8 and reached base eight times in their three games Sunday.

Bella Velez (no runs in 11 & 1/3 IP and 2 for 7 at the plate), Kadi Weaver (5 for 6, eight RBIs), Maddie Wilson (go-ahead double), and Dakota Young (6 for 9, HR, and three RBIs) were named to the All-Tournament team.

“My best pitch today was my curveball, it was spinning, and I was able to locate it pretty good,” Velez said. “I was really happy with my defense, they had my back, and played great as always.”

It’s a special moment the Young family.

“I’m  especially appreciative of the Holy Cross administration for giving me the job,” Tony Young said. “I’m also appreciative of the fact that Mrs. (Danielle) Wiegandt saying that my daughter needed to come to Holy Cross. It has made the last four years difficult, but at the end of the day, I think both of us are better people for it.

“We’ve banged our heads together. I had to learn a different style of coaching with one of my kids on the team. I have never done that before. It’s very tough, but we have persevered through it, and she has been able to excel.”

Dakota and her father Tony are the only two that have been a member of all four championship teams.

“It’s crazy to win it with my father, especially four years in a row,” Dakota Young said. “But, it’s different because I always forget that the other two seniors aren’t four-year players. It’s cool to know that me and my father worked to build this together.”

Raceland (15-7) led 4-1 after the second inning. Rylee Austin hit a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the first and Kierston Smith had a two-run single in the second inning.

“Raceland did a great job early on and came out with aggressive swings,” Tony Young said. “They hit the ball well. We were playing good defense, it wasn’t like we gave them anything. We told them after that inning that we wanted to come out and be aggressive and prove that we’re a better hitting team.”

The Cougars struck back in the bottom of the fourth scoring six runs and sent 11 batters to the plate to take a 7-4 lead.

Dakota Young started the rally with a towering bomb over the right-center field fence and Amber Kaufman had an RBI single to pull Holy Cross within 4-3 of the Lady Rams.

“I knew that my team was down a little bit down on themselves,” Dakota Young said. “My dad came up to me as a coach and said this might be your last couple of at bats in this park, hopefully not, and make the best of it. I wanted to pick my team up and I knew that I had to get a hit.”

Maddie Wilson followed with a two-run double to put the Cougars up 5-4, a lead, that was never relinquished.

“I got in the box and I swung and missed the first pitch,” Wilson said. “The next pitch came down the middle, I got ready for it, and I turned on it.”

Gailor and Carson Goatley both had an RBI double to give Holy Cross a three-run cushion.

“My first few at bats they were throwing outside,” Gailor said. “My last few at bats they were throwing inside and hit me once. I just had to look for my pitch and jump on it.”

The Cougars added two runs in the fifth, four runs in the sixth, and one in the seventh to ice the game.

Goatley started in the circle and pitched 1 &1/3 innings and allowed three runs, two hits, walked two, and plunked one.

“I thought my pitchers did a really good job of being effective,” Tony Young said. “They ramped up their velocity when they needed to, they got strikeouts when they needed to, and the defense behind them played spectacular. We have been plagued a couple games of games this year by bad defense and we played great defense all weekend long, every single player did excellent on defense.”

Velez finished the game and threw 5 & 2/3 innings and gave up one run, six hits, and struck out one.

Holy Cross defeated Caldwell County 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Carson Goatley started on the rubber and allowed three runs, five hits, and struck out four in four innings. Velez pitched three shutout innings in relief and gave up two hits and struck out three.

Dakota Young led the Cougars at the plate and went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs while Kadi Weaver was 1 for 2 with two RBIs.

“It was so relieving to be back out here with my team,” Weaver, who has battled injuries all season, said. “I have been looking forward to playing with my team and it was so fun to be back out there again.”

The Cougars defeated Green County 4-1 in the semifinals. It was tied at one in the bottom of the fifth, but Gailor hit an infield single, and the Dragons thought she was out and started celebrating rolling the ball back to the circle, but the umpire ruled her safe, and Wilson scored the go-ahead run.

Goatley went 2 for 3 with two runs batted-in to lead the Cougars at the plate. Weaver was 1 for 2 and drove in a run.

Goatley started in the circle and gave up one run, two hits, struck out five, and walked two in 4 & 1/3 innings while Velez came in relief and allowed one hit, struck out one, and walked one in 2 & 2/3 shutout innings.

Holy Cross beat Hancock County, Trimble County, and Williamsburg 15-0 (three innings) in each of their three games Saturday.

“It means a lot to me because I was able to play a part in this,” Wilson said. “We have a team that gels together so well and keeps each other on their feet.”

While the victory and guarantee of another ring is sweet, the second season for the Cougars starts Tuesday with a game at archrival Mercy.

“What I want them to continue to do is to go back to work, fight, and not be satisfied,” Tony Young said. “We want to be one of those teams back here in June with a shot to do it again. I realize that there’s a tall mountain. I have been fighting up this mountain for five years. We have made it back one time. There are a lot of talented players and top coaches in our region, but what I want our players to believe and know, is that we’re also one of the top programs in the region.”


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