Holy Cross baseball captures second straight NVL tourney title

The Holy Cross baseball team came into Thursday night’s NVL tournament final against Woodland at Municipal Stadium ready to go.

The third-seeded Crusaders scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning and never looked back on the way to a 7-2 victory over the fourth-seeded Hawks. Holy Cross improved to 16-7 and claimed its second straight NVL tournament title while Woodland fell to 17-6. The Crusaders are the No. 10 seed in Class S and will host No. 23 SMSA in their first round state tournament game Tuesday at Municipal Stadium at 3:30 p.m.

Senior Logan Bessette was named the game’s most valuable player after pitching a complete game and driving in two runs with a single in the four-run second inning. Junior Thomas Ligi got that second inning started with a one-out single. He stole second base with Luke Daddona at the plate before the senior drew a walk. Both moved up a base on a wild pitch, then junior Dillon Fernandes drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to left field. After Bessette’s two-run single, senior battery mate Andreas Effes hit a bad-hop single over the second baseman’s head for a 4-0 lead.

Bessette gave up a single unearned run in the top of the third inning, but Holy Cross responded with two more runs in the bottom of the third inning to claim a commanding 6-1 lead. Junior Dario Sosa led off with a walk, then advanced to second on a wild pitch with Ligi at the plate. Ligi struck out, but Daddona drew his second walk in as many innings. After a wild pitch moved both runners up, Fernandes’ groundout brought home a run for a 5-1 lead. Freshman Carsten Donovan followed with an infield single for a 6-1 advantage.

Bessette gave up a two-out RBI single in the top of the fourth inning, but got a flyout to Daddona in center to prevent further damage. Holy Cross got the run back in the fifth. Ligi singled to center field with one out, then stole second base with Daddona up. Daddona popped up for the second out, but Donovan’s fly ball was misjudged in center field and dropped in for an RBI single and a 7-2 lead.

Bessette yielded a two-out single in the top of the seventh inning, but struck out Zach Drewry to end the game. Bessette hurled his glove into the air with his right hand as his teammates ran to the mound to celebrate with him.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from the game.

PHOTO CAPTION: Holy Cross baseball celebrates its second straight NVL tournament championship after defeating Woodland, 7-2, in Thursday night’s final at Municipal Stadium. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)