Eight-run fourth inning sends Holy Cross softball to Class S quarterfinals

Seventh-seeded Holy Cross softball led No. 10 Thomaston 1-0 in through three and a half innings of their Class S second round game at Holy Cross High School on Wednesday afternoon.

Then came the bottom of the fourth inning, and the Crusaders erupted. Holy Cross scored eight runs on eight hits and turned a one-run lead into a 9-0 bulge. The Crusaders (17-6) went on to win 11-4 and advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal at second-seeded St. Paul at 4:30 p.m. The three-time defending Class S champion is back in the quarterfinal round for a fourth straight year.

The inning began with a bang when Lizzy Diorio hit an inside-the-park home run. Carley DeFoe singled with one out, then Nicole Strielkauskas put down a sacrifice bunt in a rare plate appearance. Thomaston had two outs, but wouldn’t get the third until Holy Cross had put another seven runs in the scorebook.

Nicole Strielkauskas delivers a pitch during Wednesday’s game. Behind her is shortstop Allie Brown, who scored three runs.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

Julia Joyce tripled over the right fielder’s head to drive in DeFoe and make the score 3-0. Hannah Brown bunted for a hit to bring in Joyce for a 4-0 advantage. Allie Brown walked, then Val Nobrega singled. Hannah Brown scored, then Allie Brown and Nobrega each moved up a base. Jenna Mowad brought home two more runs for a 7-0 lead. Diorio walked, then Brandi McIntosh found a hole into left field for an RBI single and an 8-0 advantage. Carley DeFoe’s RBI single brought in the last run — Diorio — before a Crusader runner was thrown out at third to end the inning.

Thomaston did score four runs in the top of the sixth to get to within 9-4, but Holy Cross got two back in the bottom frame. Allie Brown singled and scored for the third time in the game, and Diorio added an RBI triple to make it 11-4.

Strielkauskas threw a complete game and struck out six. She struck out the side in the top of the second after Holy Cross had gone ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first on a Diorio bunt single.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from Wednesday’s game.