A freshman and a senior lead Holy Cross softball to a three-peat

Holy Cross freshman Jenna Mowad was cool as a cucumber, smacking a homer and double in her first two championship at bats.

The fireworks began with a blast from a freshman, and the night ended with a strikeout from a standout senior.
That has been the story of Holy Cross softball this season. Senior Sarah Lawton has always been strong in the circle, but she had help behind her. 
In Friday night’s 4-0 Class S state final victory over St. Paul, freshman Jenna Mowad stepped up for her first championship game at bat in the bottom of the second inning. All Mowad did was whack a home run over the center field fence.

Sarah Lawton thinks about her next pitch as fellow captain Aubry DeFoe looks on
from her position at third base.

“Honestly, it was the best feeling I could ever have,” Mowad said of rounding the bases.
Mowad wasn’t done at the plate. She added a RBI double in the third inning, her second at bat in a championship game, to put the Crusaders ahead 4-0. Mowad was named the game’s MVP.
“This night means so much to me,” Mowad said. “As much as it means to me, it means a lot more to my team, and that’s really important to me.”
Mowad and her teammates brim with confidence about Lawton. One or two runs figures to be enough, and it would have been Friday. Holy Cross just happened to tack on two more, and those came on a two-run single from Lawton. Lawton wasn’t going to let anything in when she was pitching.
“I just saw it in her eyes,” Mowad said. “She is such a great leader.”
Head coach Megan Dwyer began her run at Holy Cross when Lawton was a sophomore. She has seen Lawton grow as both a player and a student.

Lawton and Alexandra Lombardo slap hands after one of Lawton’s 13 strikeouts.

“We had to work on building this program together, and every step of the way, she’s had my back and I’ve had her’s,” Dwyer said. “I’m definitely going to miss her.”
Lawton struck out 13 and walked just one in her final game as a Crusader. St. Paul managed three hits off the Holy Cross ace, and the Crusader defense was solid. Add timely hitting, and it was a recipe for a three-peat.
“We know that this team can hit, and we wanted to work really hard in the days leading up to this to make sure we had our best offensive and defensive performance on the field, and it came together,” Dwyer said.
It was the last game at Holy Cross for Lawton and fellow captains Aubry DeFoe, Gabby Goldman and Emma Gargano. All the Crusaders did was send them out with a three-peat. It was a fitting way to end an incredible three-year odyssey. 
For Mowad, the trip is just beginning. She’s back next season, and NVL teams will have a seasoned sophomore to deal with. Lombardo and Nicole Strielkauskas will be seniors, and they will have help from junior veterans Hannah Brown, Allie Brown, Val Nobrega and Carley DeFoe. Oh yeah, Lizzy Diorio will be back too as a sophomore, and she gained great experience as a freshman.
One era ends at Holy Cross, but don’t count the Crusaders out in 2018, not by a long shot.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from Friday night’s game on my new gallery site.