Holy Cross softball tops Sacred Heart on windy day at Joan Joyce Field

Holy Cross left fielder Lizzy Diorio dives into home plate to complete
her two-run, inside-the-park home run on Friday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

Holy Cross softball is seven games into its 2018 season following Friday’s 6-3 road win over Sacred Heart at Joan Joyce Field.
The Crusaders (5-2) play undefeated Seymour (7-0) at home today at 1 p.m. And by home, it will actually be at Holy Cross High School. Holy Cross will step foot on its own field for the first time all season today. When the Crusaders have practiced, it has been in the gym. When it’s been nice out, Holy Cross has been on another field playing a game. It’ll be good to be home for the Crusaders today, even with the opponent being the always formidable Wildcats.

Sacred Heart’s Kayleigh O’Donnell puts down a bunt as teammate
Kaitlynn Keeley looks on from third base. Keeley scored on the play after O’Donnell
was thrown out at first base. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

On Friday, Holy Cross overcame Sacred Heart and wind that never seemed to stop. The sun was shining bright, but there was little warmth to be had. The Crusaders got home runs from Val Nobrega and Lizzy Diorio, and good pitching from Nicole Strielkauskas in the victory.
Holy Cross claimed three runs in the first inning. Allie Brown scored on an error, then Diorio began her big day with a two-run single that plated Nobrega and Jenna Mowad.

It was very windy at Joan Joyce Field on Friday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

In the third inning, Nobrega smacked a line drive into the gap in left center and made it around for an inside-the-park home run and a 4-0 lead. Anything with much hang time turned into an out with the wind, but line drives at least had a chance. Nobrega’s was a line drive, and it went for a run.
Sacred Heart (5-3) struck for a run in the bottom of the third. Lauren Kiluk reached on an error, stole second, reached third on another error, then came home on Kaitlynn Keeley’s 5-3 groundout.
Both teams scored a pair of runs in the sixth. Holy Cross again did it with a line drive. After Mowad reached on an error, Diorio smacked a line drive the other way to right field that turned into an inside-the-park, two-run homer and a 6-1 lead.
Sacred Heart didn’t stop fighting. The Hearts got a leadoff walk from Kaitlynn Keeley, then Taylor Benjamin singled. A sacrifice moved the runners up, then Kaylee O’Donnell’s fielder’s choice brought in Keeley with a run.
The wind reared its ugly head on a pop up from Madison Gendron. The Crusader second baseman Nobrega ended up moving from her position at second base to near the first base bag as the wind pulled the ball backward and sideways. Nobrega dropped the ball, and Benjamin scored. All Nobrega could do was smile and laugh at the ridiculousness of the wind.
Strielkauskas got the final out of the inning on a called third strike. She finished with six punchouts.
Gendron struck out eight for the Hearts.
Holy Cross finally gets its home game today, and Sacred Heart waits until Tuesday to play its next contest.

GALLERY: Click here to see my photos from Friday’s game.