Athlete of Month: Olivia Krupski

Athlete of the Month Olivia Krupski athleteBy Steve Svetovich

Olivia Krupski was one of the leaders as the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders won a district softball title and advanced to the state semifinals, but now she is taking her star to Kings College in Wilkes Barre.

Olivia, a Times-Tribune all-star second baseman, batted close to .400 with five homers, 34 RBIs and a team leading nine doubles. 

Daughter of Donna and Tim Krupski, Olivia, 18, graduated from Holy Cross High School at the end of May and will now hone her softball skills at Kings where she will major in biology.

She credits her late grandfather, Paul Krupski, former sports writer for the defunct Scrantonian Tribune, for getting her interested in sports. Her grandfather was a local basketball referee and baseball and softball umpire. 

“He died when I was seven,” said Olivia. “But he and my dad were always talking about sports and got me interested. My grandfather is the primary reason I started playing sports. He got me into sports,”

Olivia played four years of both softball and soccer at Holy Cross. She was an all-star soccer player as a senior when she suffered a torn meniscus in the middle of the season.

She was a second team all-star in softball as a junior.

Olivia said she would like to use a biology degree to get into lab research or possibly eventually become a nurse anesthetist. 

Holy Cross lost the state semi final game, 9-0, to Brandywine Heights after defeating Conwell Egan, 11-0, in the opening round at Arcadia.

Status-FastPitch-Game-Leather-SoftballHoly Cross won its third straight District 2 title, 10-3, over Northwest Area, Thursday, May 30, at University of Scranton Magis Field.

Olivia hit a clutch sacrifice fly in a five-run first inning to start the game as star junior pitcher Jenna Bradley cruised with a complete game five-hitter, striking out 11 and walking none.

Holy Cross finished the season with an 18-6 record.

Olivia, who participated in the Field of Dreams softball game last month, had a 3.3 grade point average at Holy Cross. Her favorite subject is math.

“I loved my four years at Holy Cross,” she said. “It was honestly great. I came from a public school at Mid Valley, so I went from a very large school to a small school. Holy Cross is so loving and caring. We are all like family. There are no clicks. We are all friends with each other. Everyone knows you, but like a caring family.”

Olivia, well spoken and articulate, said her parents taught her a lot about composure. “They taught me about preparation and having a positive attitude. In the beginning during games, I would get hard on myself. They would tell me to pick myself up. I would look into the stands and they would give me a signal to pick it up. I could see them telling me to take it off and pick it up. That meant the world to me.”

Olivia, full of enthusiasm, said she attributes the success of the Holy Cross softball team this year to coach Joe Ross. “Coach Ross coached the seniors during our entire four years. He took over after XE McAndrew died, so my senior class was his first team. I remember like it was yesterday when he came in to talk to us. He wanted to carry on the softball tradition at Holy Cross in the memory of XE McAndrew.

Holy Cross Softball Team

“Coach Ross gives the best speeches. He is a great coach and is carrying on the XE McAndrew legacy. He is starting his own legacy in memory of XE McAndrew.”

Olivia loves listening to music in her spare time and is hoping to see Fleetwood Mac in concert soon. “I was supposed to see them recently, but it was postponed until the fall. I am supposed to go with my parents.”

Olivia looks to her future with great anticipation. “I will be playing softball and studying biology. It will not be easy studying a science in college, so I need to stay on top of things. I need to find the right balance between softball and my school work. I want to stay organized and stay on top of both. I have to balance my time well. I am looking forward to it all, but will certainly miss my great times at Holy Cross.”

Holy Cross Girls Win Third Straight District Softball Title

Holy Cross Softball Team

Front row, from left: Gianna Sacchetti, Olivia Krupski and Olivia Zehel. Second row, same order: Kaitlyn Idhaw, Emma Clause, Mia Schimelfenig, Carly Wywoda, Meghan McDonnell, Meghan Nidoh, Priscilla Grill and Grace Murtagh. Third row: Autumn Miemiec, Tia Polizzi, Julia Goetz, Aleena Sandy, Jenna Bradley, Kaci Kranson, Keelin Schimelfenig, Allison Pavlowski and Erin McGee. Coaches are Joe Ross, Rev. Cyril Edwards, Brian Knoww, Dan McGee, Neil Hochreiter and Barry Fitzgerald.

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.”

Freshman Kaci Kranson Hitting Over .400 for Lady Crusaders

Kaci KranstonBy Steve Svetovich

Kaci Kranson is proving herself quickly as the starting right fielder for the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders softball team.

Humble in nature, Kaci, 15, was hitting .403 as her team prepared for the district title game against Northwest. Kaci also had 25 hits, 23 runs and two homers at press time.

Daughter of Ryan and Jill Kranson, Kaci is a high honors student at Holy Cross High School.

Kaci is one of the unsung heroes of the Holy Cross softball team which is a young group this season.

She started as a freshman and key member of the Holy Cross girls’ basketball team playing a variety of positions. She is a member of Student Council, the Service Club and the Pro Life Club at Holy Cross.

Her timely hitting and outfield play helped lead the Lady Crusaders to the Class 2A district title game against Northwest.

She talked about what it takes to be a good outfielder on the high school level. “You need to get a good jump on the ball, call out when you have to make a catch and have a good bond with the other outfielders. You need to know when to step back and when to step forward.”

Kaci said becoming a good hitter on the softball level takes practice. “It takes a lot of effort. You need to practice a lot and always keep at it.”

The freshman stalwart said she is learning a lot from Holy Cross veteran softball coach Joe Ross, who was quite a hitter in his day. “He teaches us to not be afraid of making mistakes. He tells us we will do better next time. Keep trying hard and working hard. And try to enjoy the game.”

Kaci’s parents have always been a strong influence in her life. “My parents teach me to always keep trying and working hard. They tell me there will always be bumps in the road,  but you have to keep plugging. Never give up on anything.”

Modest and polite, Kaci said she enjoys listening to music in her spare time and would like to see Ariana Grande in concert. She said her best academic subject is Spanish.

Kaci attributes the success of her team to a lot of team work and practice.

“It has been a fun year and our team is really playing well.”

Kaci said she has not thought about college yet, but does have aspirations to become a Physician’s Assistant. She would like to play college basketball or softball if possible.

As she nears the conclusion of her freshman year, Kaci can only beam with her decision to attend Holy Cross. “I just love it here at Holy Cross. There is no better place to go to school. I love it so much.”