By Steve Svetovich
Talk about getting off to the right start.
Thanks to lead-off hitter Kaci Kranson, that’s exactly what the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders did against third-seeded Lakeland in the District 2 Class 2A semifinal at St. Anthony’s Playground, Dunmore, Wednesday, May 26.
Kaci led off the first inning with a solo homer to give the second-seeded Lady Crusaders a quick 1-0 lead. It was her 12th homer of the season in just 18 games.
Later in the game, she walked twice and used her speed and aggressive base running to score two other runs.
The Lady Crusaders went on to win the game, 6-0, with senior Erin McGee hurling a two-hit shutout.
At press time, Holy Cross was now a win away from its fourth straight District 2 title, with plans to play Elk Lake for the championship on Tuesday, June 1.
Daughter of Jill and Ryan Kranson, Kaci fouled off a couple pitches before hitting the deep drive to left field for the game opening homer.
Holy Cross has a 13-5 record under manager Joe Ross going into the championship game against Elk Lake.
Kaci gave her teammate McGee insurance in the third inning when Lakeland pitched around her and she walked. Kaci then stole second, advanced to third on Carly Wywoda’s infield single and scored on McGee’s RBI grounder.
In the fifth inning, Kaci walked, moved to third on Wywoda’s double and scored the third run of the game when a throw trickled a few feet into foul territory.
Kaci is hitting .500 with close to 30 stolen bases in addition to her 12 homers. Fleet as a center fielder, she has been a member of the Holy Cross softball and basketball teams since her freshman year. She was All State, All Regional and first team Lackawanna League Coaches All-Star for basketball this past season. She also played one year of tennis.
She is a member of Pro Life, the Service Club, Student Council and is Vice President of the National Honor Society.
Kaci credits a lot of her softball success to Phil Rossi, a former minor league shortstop who played baseball at Scranton Central and Millersville University.
“He has been a private instructor for me for a while. I owe a lot to him for what he taught me about the game, especially with hitting. He helped me develop my power. I give him a lot of credit for that,” Kaci says.
The multi-talented junior said her coach Joe Ross and her time spent playing softball for the Impact Panthers in a travel league also helped her development.
“I’ve learned a lot from coach Ross and all of the travel ball coaches I had too.”
Kaci was thrilled with her team’s win over Lakeland in the semifinal. She praised McGee’s gutty pitching performance. “Erin definitely stepped up,” she said. “She was fantastic. She is a great team leader and captain. She supports all of her teammates, including myself.”
She talked about the team’s success. “We were ready for this season. We worked so hard as a team to get ready. We have a great group of girls. I wouldn’t trade my teammates for anything in the world.”
She talked about what it takes to be a good hitter in high school softball. “You need to be confident at the plate, take a few pitches and get a good pitch to hit. You need to wait for the right pitch and go after it.”
The speedy center fielder also excels defensively. “To be a good center fielder,” she said, “you need to be able to read the ball off the bat, go after it, and also have good communication with the other outfielders.”
Kaci said she is enjoying her time at Holy Cross to the max. “I love it here,” she said. “The last few years have been truly amazing. My teammates are the best. The school, teachers and coaches offer so much support.”