After a disappointing loss in the 2014 championship game, the Holy Cross High School softball team gained a measure of redemption Sunday in the All “A” Classic.
Morgan Gailor hit two home runs and also got the pitching victory as the Cougars beat Hancock County 10-6 in the final of the All “A” state tournament at Jack Fisher Park in Owensboro, Ky.
Holy Cross lost to Livingston Central 10-0 in the 2014 All “A” final.
“Last year was the first time a school from Jefferson County got to the championship game, and to get that far and lose the way we did make us really hungry to back and finish it this year,” Holy Cross coach Tony Young said.
All “A” events are limited to the smallest 120 high schools in Kentucky, based on enrollment in grades 9-12.
The tournament was switched from a pool-play format to a single-elimination format because of rain. On Saturday, Holy Cross beat Somerset 5-2 in the first round and University Heights 5-0 in the quarterfinals.
In Sunday’s semifinals, Holy Cross beat Raceland 6-3 and Hancock County knocked off Bishop Brossart 11-0 to reach the final.
Holy Cross jumped to a 5-0 lead in the championship game before Hancock County scored six runs in the fifth for a 6-5 lead.
“We got ahead 5-0, and I think everyone got too comfortable with that lead,” Young said. “Hancock County showed an enormous amount of heart. They hit the ball really well.”
Holy Cross tied the score at 6 in the bottom of the fifth before scoring four runs in the sixth. After the first two batters reached base, Ally Brutscher laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. Shelby Atzinger followed with a two-run single for an 8-6 lead, and Gailor hit her second home run of the game for a 10-6 edge.
“After that one bad inning, Morgan went out and pitched the sixth and seventh like the dominant pitcher she is,” Young said.
Gailor was named the tournament’s MVP. Atzinger, Bayley Brutscher, Ally Brutscher and Ally Klein were named to the all-tournament team.
Young said Holy Cross (15-7) – ranked No. 12 in the state by the Kentucky Softball Coaches Association – now will set its sights on winning the Sixth Region title next month and reaching the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s state tournament.
“We’ve checked off one goal by winning the All ‘A,’” Young said. “Now we have to check off another goal by winning the Sixth Region.”