Hard work, heart and brotherhood helped Holy Cross reach the state baseball mountaintop

Holy Cross baseball used hard work, heart and a love for each other to win the program’s first state championship.

Top-seeded Holy Cross baseball found itself down 3-0 to second-seeded Lyman Memorial-Lebanon in its first Class S state championship game, before it took its first at bats.

It was not a good start, but the Crusaders still had confidence in themselves. Too much hard work had been put in during the previous 26 games to give up.
And Holy Cross had too much heart.
“We just got heart,” Crusader senior first baseman Matt Bonvicini said. “That’s what it comes down to.”
Bonvicini spoke of the two to three hours per day of work that he and his teammates put in throughout the season.
That hard work showed in the second inning, when Holy Cross struck for four runs to claim a 4-3 lead. The Crusaders worked counts, then swung away against the Bulldogs.
“All year, that’s what we’ve done is come back,” sophomore catcher Brian Parzyck said.
“You can’t let yourself get down,” senior center fielder Adam Razza said.
Holy Cross built its advantage to 7-3, then saw it evaporate in a five-run Lyman fourth. Colton Bender’s long grand slam to left field put the Bulldogs ahead 8-7.
Holy Cross answered Lyman’s salvo with a six-run explosion of its own and took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“We saw it in the first inning when they scored three runs, we came back with four,” sophomore left fielder Connor Goggin said.
Goggin had a huge two-run double during that inning.
“It would have been better if it was my own grand slam, but I’ll take the two-run double,” Goggin said with a laugh.
Before Goggin’s hit, Lyman decided to walk Bonvicini. It’s something the senior slugger has dealt with all season. Rather than get frustrated, Bonvicini gave words of encouragement to the next batter, sophomore right fielder Tim Zupkus. Zupkus showed reason for the trust with a RBI single.
“It’s good to be able to help the team, but I also trust Tim Zupkus behind me, and he got the job done today,” Bonvicini said.
Goggin then ripped his two-run double. It’s not just Razza, senior No. 2 batter Fran Phelan, Bonvicini and Zupkus that hurt an opponent. It’s the whole lineup that can strike.
“You can always count on the guy before you, behind you, to make a big play,” Razza said. “It worked out, and it’s a blessing.”
For example, Parzyck had three hits down in the No. 8 spot. His triple over the center fielder’s head in the second inning started the four-run rally. Parzyck’s RBI double in the fourth tied the game at 8.
“Everyone in the lineup can hit the ball, they can all throw, they can all run the bases,” Goggin said.
Parzyck proved that point by throwing out a pair of runners trying to steal second base. Fran Phelan made an athletic catch on Parzyck’s first throw and slapped the tag on the runner below his jump. Senior third baseman Mike Keating snatched a line drive out of the air with a dive toward the third base line. Zupkus did the same with a full-out lunge in the seventh in right field. Goggin ran down a fly ball in left field, Razza held a runner at third with a missile from his position in center field.
Why was Holy Cross able to make plays? Desire.
“You got to come back, you got to face adversity,” Razza said.
The pieces were there for a state title, according to Bonvicini.
“We had the pitching, we had the hitting, we had the fielding,” Bonvicini said. “We just had to make it happen, and we did.”
The Crusaders also believed in each other, and worked hard for one another.
“We’re not only teammates, but we’re family,” Parzyck said. “We love each other like brothers, we treat each other like brothers.”
One brother counted upon was senior reliever Nick Hernandez. Senior starter Chris Flynn had a tough outing, and sophomore reliever Austin Brown was hit hard, so Hernandez was called upon. Hernandez had been shelled in last year’s NVL title game against Oxford, and he took it to heart. Hernandez put in the effort necessary, then came back and shut down Lyman Memorial in the state championship game when Holy Cross needed him most.
“I needed to work hard,” Hernandez said. “I came back, and this is what happened.”
The “this” is the program’s first state championship. The Crusaders won it together as a family, and they did it with hard work, heart, and love for each other.