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Softball: Holy Family climbs to the top once again, defeats Mead in Class 4A state title game

Tigers take out first-time finalist Mead 9-6 for second title in three years

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020:Abby Edwards, of Holy Family, scores an inside the park home run as she gets past Veronica Elsis of Mead. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Delaney Wilson holds up the runner-up trphy to her Mead teammates. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Abby Edwards, of Holy Family, celebrated her grand slam as she rounds second. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Cassidy Chvatal, of Holy Family, gets her whole body into the pitch. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Veronica Elsis, left, Delaney Wilson, Tayler Brown and Savanna Griebling, become emotional while posing with the runner-up trophy. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Claire Adams, of Mead, hits one of her two home runs during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Carly Elderidge, right, of Holy Family, celebrates a run scored with Tyler Whitlock, during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Mead players celebrate the home run by Claire Adams during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Abby Edwards, of Holy Family, scores an inside the park home run as she gets past Veronica Elsis of Mead. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020:Tyler Whitlock, of Holy Family is tagged out at home by Veronica Elsis, of Mead. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Veronica Elsis, of Mead, is safe at home as Isabella Martinez, of Wheat Ridge, drops the ballduring the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Mead head coach, Amanda Macaluso, holds up the runner-up trophy tp her less than excited players. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Mead players celebrate the home run by Claire Adams during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Mia Riebe, of D'Evelyn, is safe at home after the ball gets away from Abby Edwards, of Holy Family, during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Mia Riebe, of D'Evelyn, is safe at home after the ball gets away from Abby Edwards, of Holy Family, during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Holy Family player t-shirts during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Cassidy Chvatal, pitches against D'Evelyn during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Abby Edwards, of Holy Family, celebrated her grand slam as she rounds second. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Veronica Elsis, of Mead, is safe at home as Isabella Martinez, of Wheat Ridge, drops the ball during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Jaelen Giron pitches for Holy Family against Mead in the finals. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Allie Szablowski, of Mead, rounds second after hitting a home run in the finals.Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Holy Family head coach, Moriah Nguyen, during the Mead game. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Allie Szablowski, of Mead, makes a catch of a foul ball that prevented Holy Family from scoring with the bases loaded. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Joslyn Veltien pitches for Mead against Holy Family in the finals. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Maddox Boston, of Mead, rounds second after hitting a home run in the finals. Holy Family High School wins the 4A State Softball Championship game over Mead in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • AURORA, CO -October 10, 2020: Joslyn Veltien, of Mead, pitches against Wheat Ridge during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on October 10, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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AURORA – No one was sure what was in store for fall sports in Colorado but Holy Family softball coach Moriah Nguyen was certain of at least one thing.

If the Tigers were allowed to take the field in 2020, it would be a special group.

At Aurora Sports Park on Saturday, the Holy Family Tigers proved that to be true on the state’s biggest state by beating an historic Mead Mavericks team 9-6 in the state title game of the Class 4A state tournament. For the second time in three years, a 4A state championship trophy will find its home in the display case at Holy Family High School.

“These girls came out to fight and it ended up in our favor,” Nguyen said. “Coming into the season, everything was obviously in the unknown. But our goal, ultimately, was just excellence. We came to work every single day and these girls love the game and they want to win. That comes from deep within and they used that to get the job done.”

In the state finals, the Tigers, who also won the state title in 2018, faced a Mead team that was making the new school’s first ever appearance in a state championship game for any sport.

Holy Family (18-2) kicked off the game with a first-inning grand slam from junior catcher Abby Edwards, who went 3-for-3 at the plate. Mead (17-3) responded in the top of the second with a two-run home run from junior shortstop Maddox Boston. Ava Kuszak drove in two with a double in the bottom of the second to put Holy Family back up 6-2 before Mead’s Emily Sauvageau hit a two-run double of her own in the top of the third.

Holy Family’s Carly Eldredge drove in a run in the bottom of the third and Mead’s Allie Szablowski cut the lead to one run with a two-run homer in the top of the fourth. Holy Family pulled ahead 8-6 in the bottom of the fifth when Kuszak drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and the Tigers pushed their lead to three runs when Edwards doubled and scored on a throwing error in the sixth.

Many different Holy Family players contributed in major ways to Saturday’s state title. But in a season of uncertainty, it was fitting that an unexpected hero emerged on the final day of the Tigers’ season. Senior No. 2 pitcher Jaelen Giron allowed two runs over 7 2/3 incredibly clutch innings while closing out both the Tigers’ penultimate and final victories.

“I wasn’t expecting to pitch today,” Giron said. “Coming in with the bases loaded in the first game was a lot of pressure on me. But I guess I’ve been waiting for it the past four years I’ve been here. It feels amazing and it seems unreal that I got that chance. Nine of us are seniors, so it’s our last time and we’re really happy but a little sad at the same time. This was our goal the whole year and to get it feels so good that it’s unexplainable.”

In order to reach the state finals, the Tigers rallied for seven runs with two out in the seventh inning to win 12-7 over No. 2 D’Evelyn (17-2) in the semifinals Saturday morning. In their own riveting semifinal game, the Mavericks took down No. 1 Wheat Ridge (17-2) by hitting six home runs to win 15-9.

For the Mavericks, Saturday’s efforts didn’t produce the championship outcome they had hoped for. But they left Aurora Sports Park feeling proud that they had set a new standard for athletics at their school.

“From the beginning, we felt the chemistry was so solid and the girls genuinely enjoyed being together and playing together,” Mavericks head coach Amanda Macaluso said. “You knew that if it was going to happen, it was going to be this year. The fact that we’re breaking through at ten years of existence, we’re just super proud of this team. The leadership of our seniors, the way they controlled everything they could control, everything about this team was special.”