Holy Cross baseball plays in sixth straight NVL final tonight at Municipal Stadium

The Holy Cross baseball team has made it a habit of reaching the NVL tournament final.

That habit has been fueled for each of the past six tournaments. Tonight, third-seeded Holy Cross faces fourth-seeded Woodland for the NVL championship (7 o’clock at Municipal Stadium). The Crusaders (15-7) are the defending champions, and they are seeking their fourth title in the last six tournaments.

On Tuesday night, Holy Cross shut out second-seeded Oxford, 6-0, at Municipal. Alec Ash threw the first 6 2/3 innings and only left the game because his pitch count had crept near the maximum allowed in a Connecticut high school game. Logan Brown got the final out.

“He was hitting his spots, throwing pitches that we called. He had a great night,” Holy Cross catcher Andreas Effes said about Ash.

Effes had a great night at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two RBI.

“It feels good to come up clutch and help my team win, get those extra RBI with two outs, come up big,” Effes said.

Holy Cross head coach Matt Smolley wasn’t surprised by Effes’ effort with the bat.

“For him to step up in a game like this, it’s what we expect. He’s been one of our best hitters the last two years, and he proved it,” Smolley said.

Holy Cross kept tacking on and making Ash’s outing a little less pressure-packed. It’s not that Ash would be unable to handle the pressure. He’s been pitching well.

“The biggest thing with him is he’s a competitor. He’s getting better every outing, and we’re happy to have him in that spot,” Smolley said. “He’s done big things for us, and to pitch in a game like this, that just shows you that he’s improving as a player.”

Holy Cross beat Woodland, 6-0, in the only regular season meeting between the NVL finalists. That was on April 29 in Beacon Falls, however, and a lot has changed since then. Both the Crusaders and Hawks are playing well, which should make for a great game tonight.

The teams are loaded with all-star athletes, including Waterbury senior of the year Logan Bessette of Holy Cross, who is All-NVL. Woodland placed Zach Drewry, Ryan Montini and Michael Belcher on the All-NVL team. For Holy Cross, Zach Laferriere, Andreas Effes and Luke Daddona are All-Brass Division honorees. Woodland’s Tyler Giambra and Tyler Lato are All-Copper selections.

PHOTO CAPTION: Holy Cross baseball goes for back-to-back NVL tournament titles tonight against Woodland at Municipal Stadium at 7 o’clock. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)