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  • Holy Family's Brissa Campos-Aragon, left. Sierra ...

    Holy Family's Brissa Campos-Aragon, left, Sierra Nunez, Katelyn Morris, and Hannah Juencke, take the 4A runner up trophy to their teammates after the 4A finals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on Oct. 22, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Holy Family's Essynce Contreraz is safe ...

    Holy Family's Essynce Contreraz is safe at second after a late tag by Lutheren's Meredith Barnhart during the 4A finals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on Oct. 22, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Katelyn Morris, and Hannah Juencke show ...

    Katelyn Morris, Hannah Juencke and the Holy Family softball team show off the Class 4A runner-up trophy after the Tigers lost, 3-0, to Lutheran, on Saturday in Aurora. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Emmaline Humphreys, of Holy Family, pitches ...

    Emmaline Humphreys of Holy Family pitches against Lutheran during Saturday's Class 4A state championship. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Holy Family's Isabelle Arroyo at bat ...

    Holy Family's Isabelle Arroyo at bat against Lutheran during the 4A finals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on Oct. 22, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Holy Family's Essynce Contreraz is safe ...

    Holy Family's Essynce Contreraz is safe at second after a late tag by Lutheren's Meredith Barnhart during the 4A finals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on Oct. 22, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Emmaline Humphreys, of Holy Family, pitches ...

    Emmaline Humphreys, of Holy Family, pitches against Lutheran during the 4A finals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on Oct. 22, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Danielle Duran, left, and Emmaline Humphreys, ...

    Danielle Duran, left, and Emmaline Humphreys, celebrate the earlier win over Mead during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on Oct. 22, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Danielle Duran, left, and Emmaline Humphreys, ...

    Danielle Duran, left, and Emmaline Humphreys, celebrate the earlier win over Mead during the 4A semifinals of the State Softball Championships in Aurora on Oct. 22, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Holy Family's Isabelle Arroyo at bat ...

    Holy Family's Isabella Arroyo makes contact with the ball in the Class 4A state championship game against Lutheran Saturday in Aurora. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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AURORA — Three wasn’t meant to be.

When Holy Family softball took the diamond for the Class 4A state championship game at Aurora Sports Park on Saturday afternoon, its fourth such appearance in the past five years, the Tigers were vying for their third straight title. Lutheran, however, had other plans.

Thanks to a lights-out performance from Lutheran pitcher Hailey Maestretti, the Lions (28-1) took home the title with a 3-0 shutout over Holy Family. She hardly gave them a chance to put runs on the board as she finished the game with 17 strikeouts.

No team can top that.

Pitching has been the theme for the Tigers (24-5) all season long but on Saturday, they were on the receiving end of it. Still, freshman slinger Emmaline Humphreys was impressive in her own right, as she threw five innings, struck out four and gave up just one earned run. Sophomore Isabella Arroyo finished the contest out with one strikeout and one earned run in one inning.

“If our pitching sucked, then our play sucked. That’s all there was to it,” Humphreys said. “We don’t necessarily have the depth of bats we had last year so our pitching is crucial a lot of the time. Izzy’s incredible and I love backing her up.”

The final loss ended a 17-game winning streak for the Tigers after starting their season off a bit rocky.

The exit of last year’s core group of seniors, and their bats along with them, proved difficult to overcome in the opening week, but the ladies learned quickly. After that, they were nearly unstoppable, up until the very end.

“I think it just took a little better focus in the batter’s box. On defense, we had some things to clean up and we had new players fill in some new positions they hadn’t played before,” head coach Moriah Nguyen said. “I’m extremely proud. From where we started at the beginning of the year to being even playing for this trophy right now is better than what we had anticipated.”

The Tigers may be down, but they are never out. They’ll be returning all but four seniors to next year’s squad, and both of their aces have a couple of years left in them. The future is as bright as it had been over the past five seasons.

“We got our mentality in the box better. Our pitching got better, our defense definitely got stronger and we just gelled as a team. That’s how we were able to rally,” Humphreys said. “I’m so pumped. It’s going to be so much fun the next couple of seasons.”

Emmaline Humphreys, of Holy Family, pitches ...
Emmaline Humphreys of Holy Family pitches against Lutheran during Saturday’s Class 4A state championship. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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