Holy Cross softball takes aim at fourth straight final

Holy Cross softball
Three-time defending state champion Holy Cross softball looks for a fourth straight state final berth tonight.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, file)

The day has arrived for Holy Cross softball, finally.

The seventh-seeded Crusaders will at last play their Class S semifinal game tonight against third-seeded Coventry at DeLuca Field in Stratford. The game is slated to begin at 7 o’clock. It had been postponed Monday because of rain.

Holy Cross (19-5) is the three-time defending Class S champion and enters tonight looking to return to the final for a fourth straight season. The Crusaders defeated No. 26 East Windsor (15-0, 5 innings), No. 10 Thomaston (11-4) and No. 2 St. Paul (7-3) to get to the semifinal round. Holy Cross used a big inning to oust Thomaston in the second round, then faced a much steeper challenge from St. Paul in a quarterfinal in Bristol.

The Falcons raced out to a 3-0 lead after just one inning, two runs coming on a home run from Katelynn Oullette. The Crusaders still trailed by three runs going into the top of the fifth inning, but scored five times in the frame to take the lead for good. Holy Cross got its first two runs on an error off a ball hit by Hannah Brown, who had a huge day. The error allowed Brandi McIntosh, who also reached on an error, to score, along with Bryn DeFoe. After a walk to Allie Brown, Val Nobrega singled to drive in Hannah Brown to tie the game at 3-3. Jenna Mowad smacked a two-run double to put the Crusaders up 5-3. Holy Cross picked up single runs in the sixth and seventh on Hannah Brown’s RBI single and Carley DeFoe’s RBI triple (I was told by Audra DeFoe that it was indeed Carley who got the hit. Thank you Audra!)

Not to be forgotten in Holy Cross’ comeback win over St. Paul was the pitching of senior Nicole Strielkauskas. After a tough three-run first inning, Strielkauskas didn’t allow a run the rest of the way.

Coventry (20-4) defeated No. 30 Terryville (15-0, 5 innings), No. 14 Lyman Memorial (9-1) and No. 6 Coginchaug of Durham (8-1) to reach the semifinal round.

Senior Maggie Ziko had a home run, a triple, two doubles, four runs scored and three RBI to lead the Patriot offense against Terryville. Fellow senior Madison Francis had a homer, a single, four RBI and two runs scored in that game. Sophomore Julia Hassett was 3-for-3 with two RBI, and sophomore Jacqui Bates doubled, singled, scored three times and drove in two runs out of the leadoff spot in the lineup.

Coventry scored in every inning against Lyman Memorial in the second round. Bates tripled, singled and scored twice, and Madison Francis went 3-for-4 with two RBI behind her in the No. 2 spot. Ziko homered again, and freshman Abby Boya was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored.

In the quarterfinal win over Coginchaug, junior Katherine Merisotis had a double, two singles and three RBI in a perfect day out of the No. 9 spot in the batting order. Boya doubled, drove in two runs and scored two more, and Ziko doubled and drove in a pair. Sophomore Julia Hassett was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.

In the circle, Boya and Bates combined for five scoreless innings in the Terryville game with Boya going the first four to pick up the win. Bates threw all seven innings for the win in the Lyman Memorial game, then Boya tossed a complete game in the Cogcinchaug victory.

Note: I went back as far as CIAC tournament brackets have been kept for softball, which is 1980. Holy Cross and Coventry have not played each other in a softball state tournament game. Coventry has been a small class school for a much longer period than Holy Cross, which competed in LL and L before declining enrollments pushed it down to M and eventually S.


  1. Hi Keven just an fyi, it actually was Carley DeFoe that hit the tripple against St. Paul.

    • Thank you Audra, and sorry about that. I’m going in to fix it shortly. Thanks!

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