Mihos, Classical upset undefeated and No. 1-ranked Reading in Division 1 State Softball Tournament in 2003
There were 16 inductees into the Lynn Classical Hall of Fame Saturday night and only one brought a prop to the podium.
And what an awesome momento it was.
Christina MihosGranese, an All-Star pitcher, had the game ball on display from one of the greatest victories in Classical sports history, a 22-0 upset of Reading High, the state’s No-1 ranked team, in the 2003 Division 1 North Sectionals.
Mihos had much to do with that unforgettable game that was played in front of a standing-room-only crowd of Reading High fans. She was the winning pitcher who delivered in the clutch one more time.
Mihos, a graduate of Suffolk Law School who left her teaching position to pursue a career in law, began her acceptance speech by thanking the committee and noting that she was honored to be joining her grandfather as an inductee in the Hall of Fame.
Mihos then talked about the game that personified her amazing career as the ace of the Rams staff and being a part of a golden era of softball excellence under the coaching of Chris Warren.
“I have in my hand a ball dated May 31, 2003,” said Mihos. “This is the Reading ball. This ball has a great history which I’m going to share with you tonight.”
The hard-throwing right- handed pitcher, who also batted .352 with 22 RBI that season, told the audience how Classical struggled in the first half of 2003 season. But in the second half of the season, “We went undefeated. Everything changed. Our bats were hitting. Runs were being scored. Double plays were being turned and I as a pitcher, strikeouts flourished.”
Classical won its first state tournament game and then faced Reading, “a softball giant” in the words of Mihos.
“They were ranked No. 1 in the state going in to the State Tournament,” recalled Mihos. “They had not lost in 22 games. They looked at us as a mere bump in the road on the way to the championship.”
No one realistically gave the Rams a chance in the game, except head coach Chris Warren. In what was an ingenious, inspirational pre-game message, Warren read to the players from a book titled, “The Biggest Sports Upsets in History.”
Classical held a slim, one-run lead over Reading when Mihos took to the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning. “With two outs and a runner in scoring position,” recalled Mihos, “Reading’s best hitter, with a quick swing of the bat, lined the ball directly at me back to the mound and I caught this ball right here.”
Mihos’ summation drew hearty applause from the audience. Classical went on to advance to the Division 1 North final.
“What does this ball mean to me and why did I feel like I needed to bring it here tonight?” asked Mihos.
“Well, it’s because this ball taught me how to slay giants. Symbolically this ball taught me the meaning of the quote which Kevin Durant made famous, ‘Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.’”
Quoting from the biography in the Classical hall of fame souvenir program, “Christina has poured that same work ethic, tenacity, and diligence in to her professional career.” She believes her perseverance, determination, and preparation can lead her to a triumph over any opponent.
Mihos recounted how Chris Warren created “a new last page” in the book about sports upsets. “It was the story of the Lynn Classical girls softball team beating Reading in a huge upset.
“He (Coach Warren) believed in us before anyone else did and he taught us to believe in ourselves,” said Mihos. “And I will never forget that.”
In addition to expressing her gratitude to Chris Warren, Mihos also thanked assistant coaches Cathy Ellis, Lysa Newhall, and Terry Ward for their tireless efforts for the program. She concluded her heartfelt speech by thanking “the greatest family and friends in the world.”