ERIE — One would really have to do some digging to find the last time the Holy Family softball team beat the Erie Tigers. The only real hard evidence out there comes from the championship annals of CHSAA, where you'd find that Holy Family claimed the 3A state title in 2006 with a 6-0 victory over Erie.
Yes, the girls that make up this Holy Family team had quite the weight lifted off their collective shoulders on Wednesday, as they battled to a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning and held on dearly to a 4-3 win at the EHS field.
The current roster would likely know that Erie had won every matchup between the pair since they started meeting twice a season in 2014 (six games). That made this win a little more sweet for Erin Winters and her teammates as they improved to 3-2 on the season.
Yet there wasn't an enormous celebration, for good reason.
"Since Erie has beaten us a lot in the past, there was just a sense that we wanted to win this to show we're not the same team as last year or the year before," Winters said after her three-hit day, which raised her season batting average to .579. "We felt it was our duty to just bear down a bit.
"We're a very humble team. In the end, it's always stay humble with how you played because that's the greatest thing that you can do."
All the scoring would come late as Erie's Maddie Leach and Holy Family's Erin Caviness duked it out in the circle with help from their respective defenses.
It was 0-0 going to the bottom of the fifth when finally the host Erie (5-1, 3-1 Tri-Valley League) broke through with a run. But whereas past Holy Family teams may have let one error break the floodgates open, the defense got out of the inning to allow the middle of the order to come to work in the top of the sixth.
A Winters' single got Sara Rode to third base with no one out, and Caviness drove her home with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1.
Holy Family (3-2, 2-1 TVL) struck again with three runs in the seventh, all with two outs. Rode came up with the tying hit, a two-run single right up the middle of the diamond that scored Kaitlyn McKenzie and Tyler Whitlock. Holy Family added another run on a tough error at second base, which allowed Rode to score.
"It's push and pull, if they score you have got to respond and we did," Winters said. "Sara wasn't here for a couple of games early, but she's come in and has been able to take it to the pitchers she's been facing. It's been great."
With the bases loaded and two outs, Erie scored two runs off an Elise Capra single and a Jade Phillips walk. But Caviness, who has consecutive complete-game victories, got a ground ball to Winters to end the game.
Erie had just six hits, and three of those came from Kat Sackett — who is hitting .667 on the season through 21 plate appearances.
"I thought (Caviness) was great today, and they really defended everything," Erie coach Harold Simmons said. "We have good players and we're a proud program that's going to grind it out. We gave ourselves a chance to win at the end, and that's all you ask for. We should have done a better job in the seventh to limit their inning."
Holy Family 4, Erie 3
At Erie HS
Holy Family (3-2, 2-1)000 001 3 — 4 7 2
Erie (5-1, 3-1)000 010 2 — 3 6 3
W — Caviness. L — Leach.
Hoiy Family hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Martinez 4-0-0-0, Rode 4-2-1-2, Winters 4-0-3-0, Caviness 3-0-0-1, Eldredge 4-0-1-0, Almeida 3-0-0-0, Gardon 3-0-0-0, McKenzie 3-1-1-0, Whitlock 1-1-1-0. Totals 29-4-7-3.
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Capra 4-0-1-1, Phillips 3-0-0-1, Hackney 4-0-0-0, Kovets 3-0-0-0, Sackett 3-2-3-0, Leach 3-1-0-0, Quijas 3-0-0-0, Huonder 3-0-1-0, Weber 3-0-1-0. Totals .
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Caviness 7-6-3-0-1-3.
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Leach 7-7-4-2-2-0.