Sarah Lawton dominates Thomaston, Holy Cross wins Class S softball title, 4-0.
Your 2015 Class S Champions. The Holy Cross Crusaders. Cross got by defending champion Thomaston by a 4-0 final on Saturday in West Haven behind MVP Sarah Lawton.
WEST HAVEN: I think it’s safe to say that Sarah Lawton has arrived and will be a dominant force during her two remaining years with the Holy Cross Crusaders.
Often overlooked in the pitching rich top of the Naugatuck Valley League with stars named Ashely Guillette (Oxford) and Raeanne Geffert (Seymour) in front of her, Lawton officially put herself into the conversation for top billing in 2016 after a stunning performance in the Class S title game on Saturday.
Lawton struck out 15, allowed just one hit, tripled in a run and more than likely drove the bus home after a convincing and dominant 4-0 win over the defending champs for Thomaston High School.
“Sarah Lawton is a phenomenal pitcher,” Cross manager Megan Dwyer said, “She’s worked real hard to get herself where she is right now. She learned from games early on in the season and just got better and better at the end.”
The Golden Bears run, a truly astounding and not by any means done with most of the team returning in 2016, comes to an end on a field where the staged a remarkable comeback a year ago to win the title but on Saturday, Lawton was not to be denied.
How dominant was the sophomore right hander?
Eight of her first nine outs came via the strikeout, two looking and a few on change ups that have been banned in three states, or should be.
The change of speeds was remarkable, filthy, unhittable, Bugs Bunny on top of the Empire State Building (if you don’t know that reference, look it up) and just plain unfair.
Batters would either be fully done with their swings with the ball firmly in the catcher’s glove or done swinging a minute or so before the ball crossed the plate.
Thomaston managed just one hit of the Crusaders star, a fourth inning single by Morgan Sanson in the only inning the Bears put a runner in scoring position when Nicole Schaefer walked after the base hit.
Sanson had to work out of trouble all game as the Crusaders pounded out nine hits and did until the fifth ranked team in Class S broke through in the top of the fourth.
Cross backstop Paige Hine, who had herself a game at the plate with a 3-4 game, doubled to lead off the frame and her pinch runner, Becca Anderson, move on to third on a sacrifice.
A perfectly executed squeeze play by freshman Nicole Strielkauskas plated Anderson and with the way Lawton was throwing, you thought that might just be more than enough.
We have learned over time never to count as this Golden Bears team, one that pulls miracles off at a high rate of speed on a regular basis and even when the Crusaders plated three more runs in the top of the fifth to go up, 4-0, one never knew.
In that three run fifth, Lawton gave herself breathing room with a triple that hugged the right field line all the way to the fence, scoring Casey DiZinno, who had led off the frame with a walk and was sacrificed to second.
Hine and Aubry DeFoe would drive in the other runs, putting Lawton firmly in command with a 4-0 lead.
After a walk to Sam Brostek with one out in the bottom of the fifth, Lawton would not allow another baserunner and struck out five of her last seven batters to close things out.
NOTES: This is the Crusaders first title since 1989 and they are now 2-2 in the finals.
The Golden Bears finish the year 23-1, nothing to sneeze at by any means and had beaten Lawton and the Crusaders by a 3-2 score at home earlier this season.
“To come here 23-0,” Bears manager Kelly Finlay said, “I am just so proud of these girls.”
They will be back, this group, first to defend their back to back Class S basketball titles and then next spring when the talented group goes back to the diamond.