Throughout the season, the message to the St. Paul Falcons locker room was about playing to their potential and on Tuesday afternoon the Falcons put it all together to come from behind to upset the heavily-favored Holy Cross Crusaders.
Heading into the matchup, Holy Cross was 13-2 and had opened the season on a 12-0 win streak. Many spectators across the state envisioned that Holy Cross would simply cruise past the Falcons and for a moment it looked like they would do just that as they took an 8-2 lead early in the game.
However, slowly and steadily the Falcons stayed resilient and hawked down Holy Cross in the bottom of the seventh inning. Down 10-9, the Falcons walked into the inning seeking to just get on base.
With the top of the batting order up for the Falcons, leadoff hitter Taylor Williams was walked, Julia Koziak and Bella McCulloch hit back-to-back base hits to load the bases and Lauren Koziak hit the game winning RBI's with a clutch double to left center field.
It was Lauren Koziak's third hit of the game.
“I had a good game up to that point so I was confident in my swing and my approach,” Lauren Koziak said. “I just wanted to do it for my team. I wanted to win this game.”
She said this win shows that St. Paul is never out of the game. She said it shows that they have fight and that they can stay together and get it done.
“I think we started off a little rough, but we just stayed in it and knew the entire time that we could score runs,” she said. “We are confident in our abilities no matter what the opponent is doing.”
The Falcons were able to keep the game close due to the timely hits and clutch at bats by Stella Boucino, Lexi Irazabal, Jessica Martin and Kate Marchak, who also knocked one out of the park. St. Paul scored in every inning except the first.
A pitcher for the Falcons Lauren Koziak was able to settle down later in the game and only allowed two runs by Holy Cross in the last four frames.
St. Paul coach Gary Hovhanessian said the matchup was a boxing match like Ali vs. Frazier, both teams were giving each other all that they could handle.
“We knew that it was going to be a battle,” he said. “We gave in early, but we kept chipping away. This was a huge win. That’s a good team that we just beat.”
Hovhanessian said Lauren Koziak’s performance throughout the game was simply “beautiful.”
“She’s the pitcher. She’s the clean-up hitter. She wants to be up in that situation and she did her job and she turned it into a battle,” he said. “She battles. When she knows it’s up to her in that situation, she’s not intimidated by anyone.”