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Mars junior Craska becomes 4th sibling to commit to D-I college

Family Tradition
Mars junior softball player Laura Craska recently made a verbal commitment to attend and play at College of the Holy Cross. Submitted Photo

ADAMS TWP — Some girls would shy away from the idea of following in their older brothers’ footsteps, but that is exactly what Laura Craska has strived to do.

The junior at Mars Area High School previously watched siblings Frank (Quinnipiac), Joe (New Jersey Institute of Technology) and Pete (Georgia Tech) move on to play Division I baseball after graduation. Laura recently made a verbal commitment to do the same with softball at Holy Cross.

Laura Craska

“I was in middle school when my brothers started to sign to play D-I and I worked very hard to be able to match that,” Laura said. “My whole family has been devoted to baseball and softball. When you’re doing something and become good, it just makes you want to come back for more.”

Laura, a shortstop, is in her third year of starting for the Planets. She attended a skills camp in Hartford, Conn., last November. That’s where Holy Cross head coach, Kimberly Stiles, noticed Laura and invited her to visit the campus, located in Worcester, Mass.

“I went up in December and loved the environment and coaches,” she said. “It’s a great academic school and I feel I can contribute to the softball team.”

Laura will also be walking the path her mother, Margie, embarked on over 35 years ago. The latter attended Holy Cross before graduating in 1991.

It was for Pittsburgh Passion’s 10U team that Laura began playing travel ball. She moved on to travel teams Venom and Nitro and is now in her third year with Team Pennsylvania.

“We travel to Ohio, New Jersey, Virginia and a few other states for tournaments,” Laura said. “Facing pitching in travel ball has helped me a lot. It’s made me better as a player and is getting me ready for college.”

She also gets reps in at No Offseason with the help of her father, Frank. Having three brothers playing at the Division I level certainly doesn’t hurt, either.

“Growing up, we’d go to the batting cages every weekend,” she said. “Even now, when they’re home, they work with me and give me pointers on things I need to do to become a better hitter.”

She’s already very good in that respect. Playing in 26 games last fall for Team PA, Laura batted .441 with an OPS of 1.417. She hit nine doubles, five home runs scored 35 times and drove in 23 runs.

Previously batting in the sixth spot in Mars’ order, she’s been moved up to No. 2 this spring.

“She can do pretty much anything for us offensively,” said Mars coach Mike Bell. “She can bunt, but can also hit a double into the gap. Hit a home run, a triple, steal a base, she can do it all.”

Entering this week’s play, Laura sports a .368 batting average and has been strong in the field, making just two errors in 22 chances.

“Her fielding has been very steady,” said Bell. “She’s so dedicated and committed to the defensive skills needed to play shortstop.”

Holy Cross competes in the Patriot League with the likes of Lafayette, Lehigh and Bucknell, among other schools. Stiles is in her third season of leading the program. In Laura Craska, the Crusaders will be getting a player with the drive to succeed.

“My brothers are all very competitive and intense,” she added. “I get some of that from them. We’ve practiced together so many times over the years and that’s how we bonded.”

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