Sacred Heart wins softball state title

Rachel Gavigan went 3 for 4.
Rachel Gavigan went 3 for 4.
Posted: June 10, 2012

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - On the January day it was announced that her school was closing, Rachel Gavigan sent a text to her softball coach.

"What are we going to do?" Gavigan asked Sacred Heart coach Les Olsen.

"You're going to lead the team to its first state title," Olsen sent back.

Five months later, Sacred Heart has both the first state softball title in school history and a reprieve from the Diocese of Camden, which has reversed its decision to shutter the small Catholic school in Vineland.

"I'm lost for words," Gavigan said after leading Sacred Heart to a 3-1 victory over Immaculate Conception of Lodi in the Non-Public B state final Saturday at Toms River North. "The school is staying open, and we're state champs. I can't describe the happiness."

Gavigan, a senior third baseman who has signed with Mount St. Mary's, was 3 for 4. She drove in the Lions' first run with a double in the third inning and scored the winning run after singling to lead off the sixth.

Sophomore Rosie LaGrotta pitched a one-hitter for Sacred Heart (27-6). LaGrotta allowed only a leadoff single. She walked one with no strikeouts and retired the final 19 batters she faced.

"I was just trying to keep the ball down," LaGrotta said.

Immaculate Conception (25-7) took a 1-0 lead as Sacred Heart committed two errors in the first inning.

"It was nerves," Gavigan said. "I knew we would settle down."

Gavigan's RBI double tied the score in the third. She roped a 3-2 pitch over the centerfielder's head after she nearly was retired on a foul pop that was dropped down the right-field line.

"I got a second chance and took advantage of it," Gavigan said.

Gavigan and junior Lindsay Dwyer opened the sixth with singles. Freshman Lauren Dwyer, Lindsay's sister, walked to load the bases.

Junior Tori Caterina walked on four pitches to drive in the go-ahead run. Freshman Kelly Hullihen made it 3-1 with an RBI single.

Sacred Heart 001 002 0 - 3 6 2

Immaculate Conception 100 000 0 - 1 1 2

WP: Rosie LaGrotta. LP: Kelly Hage. 2B: SH–Rachel Gavigan.

Contact Phil Anastasia

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