By Steve Svetovich
Three is a charm.
Junior stalwart Jenna Bradley homered and fired a complete game five-hitter, striking out 11 and walking none and Carly Wywoda hit a three-run double as the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders earned a third straight District 2 title, 10-2, over Northwest Area Thursday, May 30, at the University of Scranton Magis Field.
The Lady Crusaders scored five runs in the first and never looked back with its ace pitcher on the mound. Bradley, who is committed to the University of Massachusetts for the fall of 2020, gave up only one earned run.
“This is just a great group of kids,” Holy Cross veteran softball coach Joe Ross said. “We are absolutely thrilled with the victory and the district title. The girls worked very hard for this. Now off to the state playoffs.”
Holy Cross freshman Kaci Kranson took a two-strike pitch and laced a triple to right-center to start the game. Olivia Krupski, always clutch, followed with a sacrifice fly.
An Erin McGee single came between walks to Bradley and Wywoda.
A Northwest throwing error, RBI fielder’s choice from Gianna Sacchetti, bases loaded walk to Kaitlin Idhaw and Olivia’s Zebel’s sacrifice fly gave the Lady Crusaders a 5-0 lead.
Bradley whacked her eighth homer of the year on the first pitch of the fourth inning. Idlaw doubled and Kranson drove in a run after another Northwest error.
With two outs and two strikes, Wywoda hit a three-run double down the right field line.
“She hit a two-strike pitch and went with it,” said Ross.
Kranson, McGee and Bradley all had two hits in the game. Bradley scored three runs and McGee scored two.
The win brought Holy Cross to a 17-5 record entering the state playoffs. Northwest fell to 14-9.
Holy Cross defeated Mountain View, 2-0, in the district semifinal win. Bradley hurled a complete game shutout, striking out 16.
Bradley has a 1.02 ERA with 283 strikeouts this season. She is hitting .540 with eight homers.
Kranson is batting over .400 with two homers. Krupski and Wywoda are both hitting over .350 with five homers each.
“It all starts with our pitching,” coach Ross said. “Jenna Bradley has been stellar all year and was again against Northwest.
“Kaci Kranson started us off with a great two-strike triple. And then she was driven in by a sac fly by Olivia Krupski. That was probably our best offensive performance. We were patient, hit the ball where it was pitched and were aggressive with our base running.
“We played good defense, strung together quality at bats. Combine that with excellent pitching and we are a tough team to beat.”