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St. Paul Catholic Softball bows out in Class S semifinal, 3-1, to Holy Cross

MERIDEN – St. Paul Catholic softball coach Gary Hovhanessian expected Monday’s Class S semifinal against No. 9 Holy Cross to be a close final, and it was.

His No. 12 Falcons owned the game’s only run through the first five innings at the Dunn Sports Complex in Meriden, but Holy Cross rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to win 3-1. securing its first state final since 2017.

Holy Cross will meet the winner of Monday night’s game between No. 2 Coventry and No. 6 Old Lyme at UConn’s Burrill Family Field Saturday.

St. Paul threatened with two runners in scoring position in the first inning, but couldn’t capitalize until the top of the fourth after pitcher Lauren Kozlak, a junior, hit a leadoff double to the left field fence. Harley Emmendorfer, who came in as a courtesy runner, crossed the plate for the first run of the game on a fielder’s choice by Breyona Demora.

The Falcons (16-9) had seven hits off Holy Cross starter Samantha Lawton, who pitched a complete game but failed to score another run.

“Hard to win one thing,” Hovhanessian said. “We kept saying we need more runs, we need more runs. We could have scored, we scored six against them during the season, they scored some too (13), but obviously we needed a few more runs.”

Kozlak, who struck out four, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the fifth inning but allowed the first three batters to reach base in the sixth, including an RBI double that tied the game and ended marked her day in the pitcher’s. circle.

The Crusaders scored two more runs in the sixth after the Falcons turned to Demora in relief.

“She has some junk that moves and holds the hitters, keeps them off balance and she did a great job with that. Maybe the heat was starting to run out of gas a little bit, so we made the switch,” Hovhanessian said. “You just have your doubts: did you make it at the right time – again, we have to score more points. If we give up three runs to that team, we should win that game.”

With only one senior in the lineup, catcher Julia Lawson, St. Paul expects to remain among the top programs in Class S.

“We’ll be back next year, we honestly expect to be in the same position next year,” St. Paul assistant coach Blair Soucy said.