Undefeated Holy Cross baseball does a little bit of everything in big win over Oxford

Holy Cross baseball had reason to smile following Friday’s big 5-2 home win over Oxford. The Crusaders finished the first half 10-0.

Good pitching, good defense and timely hitting is usually a great formula for success on the baseball diamond.
Add some redemption into the mix, and you get what Holy Cross threw at Oxford on Friday afternoon at Holy Cross High School.
The Crusaders stayed undefeated with a 5-2 win over the Wolverines. Holy Cross is 10-0 on the season with another showdown looming Monday at Wolcott. The Crusaders lost to the Wolverines in last year’s NVL Tournament championship game, and they didn’t forget it. 
“We wanted it,” said complete-game winner Chris Flynn. “We were thinking about it.”
Redemption can be a nice motivation, and it helps to do things right in all facets of the game.
First, the pitching.

Chris Flynn made big pitches and let his defense do the work for him.

Flynn gave up two runs and scattered nine hits. He didn’t strike out a ton of batters (three), but he allowed zero walks, he kept the ball down most of the time, and he let his defense do the job behind him.
“I missed a couple spots, but I knew my guys have my back,” Flynn said.
Fran Phelan, who came up big at the plate, praise Flynn’s effort.
“He did a great job,” Phelan said. “He hit his spots, let the ball be put in play.”
Speaking of the defense, Adam Razza got the day started with a bang when he secured the second out of the top of the first with a diving catch. The grab fired up a Holy Cross team that already had energy going into the game. 
“You got to start it somewhere,” Razza said. “If I start it, the guys will build off the positive energy.”
Connor Goggin hustled all the way in from left field to run down a foul pop to end the first. 

Fran Phelan fires to first to complete a huge 6-4-3 double play.

In the third inning, Matt Cipriano, Fran Phelan and Matt Bonvicini combined for a rally-killing 6-4-3 double play to end that frame. Oxford had just cut the Holy Cross lead to 2-1 and had runners on first and second with one out, but the double play squelched any opportunity for a tie game.
“When it came down to get an out, [Flynn] made the big pitch, we made the big play,” Holy Cross head coach Mike Phelan said.
And then there was the timely hitting. The Crusaders made it a habit to get hits with two strikes, including some with two outs. Down 1-2, Tim Zupkus doubled the other way to right center to bring home Fran Phelan with the game’s first run in the bottom of the first. A Goggin grounder to second brought home Bonvicini (hit by pitch) to make it 2-0.
Mike Keating was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth. Oxford pitcher Cole Chudoba got the next two outs, then Brian Parzyck hit a line drive single to right. Chudoba got ahead of Razza out 0-2, then Razza fouled off two consecutive pitches. Razza surprisingly got a fastball on the next pitch and blasted it over the left fielder’s head to bring in Keating and Parzyck and put Holy Cross up 4-1.

Adam Razza came up with a big two-run triple to open the game up.

“I just try to be relaxed, not tense,” Razza said of his approach at the plate.
The Crusaders weren’t done with the clutch hitting. Fran Phelan was the next batter, and he went behind 1-2 in the count. After a ball and a foul ball, Phelan doubled over the right fielder’s head to drive in Razza for a 5-1 lead.
“I try to relax and see it out of the pitcher’s hand,” Phelan said of his approach.
Oxford got a run back in the sixth and Fran Phelan warmed up in the bullpen, but Flynn came back for a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh to finish the game off. Temperatures in the low 80s helped Flynn get ready for the game. Of course, so did the game itself.
“It was a lot easier getting loose,” Flynn said. “Big game, big atmosphere, biggest crowd of the season.”
Holy Cross responded well to pressure, kept its composure for the most part, and didn’t stop playing until the final out.
“I think it means a lot, in a sense,” Mike Phelan said. “We continue to do what we do well.”
Despite three days off because of rain, the Crusaders were able to come away with a big win and get to 10-0. An undefeated season will be nice, but Holy Cross has two big goals in mind. One is a NVL championship, and Friday’s opponent could be waiting in the league tournament.

A Holy Cross huddle before the start of an inning.

“They’re a good team,” Flynn said. “We know we’re going to see them down the road.”
The other goal, as said by Mike Phelan, is to be playing on either June 9 or 10. Those are the dates for the state championship games at Palmer Field in Middletown.
Holy Cross is only halfway done with what it hopes will be a long season, but what a great first half it was. The second half begins with a big one Monday at Wolcott.

PHOTOS: Click here for images from Friday’s game.