SCC PLAYOFF CENTRAL: SCC quarterfinal preview
Southern Connecticut Conference
The Last Eight StandingNo. 1 Xavier (19-1): Only loss to Shelton, otherwise these guys can be unhittable and almost unbeatable.
No. 2 Amity (15-3): Pitchers Mike Concato and Sam Nepiarsky give the defending champs a great 1-2 punch.
No. 3 Fairfield Prep (14-6): Coach Rudy Mauritz said they have to focus on the little things to win big.
No. 4 North Haven (12-7): They are more than just a loud bench.
No. 5 Shelton (13-6): The Gaels have found a way, despite losing most of its core from the 2012 SCC title runner-up team.
No. 6 Notre Dame-West Haven (13-7): Injuries to Griffin Garabedian and Greg Zullo could not stop the Green Knights.
No. 7 West Haven (11-8): Cameron Stone and Co. make the Blue Devils a formidable seventh seed.
No. 8 Hand (9-9): The Tigers are not just focused, they're hyperfocused.
Quarterfinals Bracket BreakdownFour out of the eight teams are from the five-team Quinnipiac Division (Xaver, Fairfield Prep, Notre Dame-West Haven and West Haven). ... Hand is the only division champ that will not host a playoff game in the first round. Xavier, Amity and North Haven all won their division. ...If West Haven pulls off upsets in each round, it will technically host the final, since it is at West Haven High School due to renovations at Yale Field. ... Despite the success of the Milford Post 196 team last summer, no Milford team qualified for the SCC tournament.
The Quarterfinal Capsules
No. 8 Hand at No. 1 Xavier, 4 p.m.Season series: Did not play.
All about Hand: Won the SCC Hammonasset Division title outright for the first time in school history. ... The Tigers are currently 1-3 against teams that qualified for the SCC tournament. ... The Tigers did win three consecutive games all season.
Hand's top players: Sr. Ben Bednarczyk, Sr. Adam Nuzzo, Jr. Scott Braren.
Hand coach: Travis LaPointe.
All about Xavier: Won the SCC Quinnipiac Division with a perfect 8-0 record. ... Close the season on a 13-game winning streak, the longest in the SCC. ... 4-1 against SCC playoff teams, the only team to beat them is Shelton. ... The Falcons are averaging 8.5 runs per game.
Xavier's top players: Sr. Matt Albanese, Jr. Jack Gethings, Jr. Chris Cardi, Jr. Sean Carroll.
Xavier coach: Rich Magner.
Prediction: Xavier 9-4.
No. 7 West Haven at No. 2 Amity, 4 p.m.Season series: Amity won only meeting 10-4 on April 6.
All about West Haven: 2-1 in extra inning games, with the lone loss coming to top-seeded Xavier 3-2 in nine innings. ... Longest winning streak of the season is four games. The Blue Devils won four games twice this season. ... West Haven went 1-7 against SCC tournament teams.
West Haven's top players: Sr. Cameron Stone, Sr. Tyler Gambardella, Sr. Bobby Moretti, Jr. Nick Price.
West Haven coach: Mike Anquillare.
All about Amity: Won the SCC Housatonic Division for the 10th straight season. ... Won the SCC last season. ... Are only giving up 1.6 runs per game through 18 games. ... Two of the Spartans three loses came courtesy of unearned runs. ... All of their defeats are one-run losses.
Amity's top players: Sr. Mike Concato, Sr. Sam Nepiarsky, Jr. Jake Russo, Sr. Keith Klebart, Sr. Justin Ashworth.
Amity coach: Sal Coppola.
Prediction: Amity 6-2.
No. 6 Notre Dame-West Haven at No. 3 Fairfield Prep, 4 p.m.Season series: Fairfield Prep won both meetings, 7-6 (12) on April 15 and 4-0 on May 6
All about Notre Dame-West Haven: Played most of the season without two best players, Greg Zullo and Griffin Garabedian. ... The Green Knights got upset by Law in the first round last season. ... The Green Knights ended the season on a three-game winning streak, its third three-game winning streak of the season.
Notre Dame-West Haven's top players: Sr. Griffin Garabedian, Sr. Greg Zullo, Sr. Wes Paulsen, Jr. Drew Arciuolo, Sr. Troy Terzi, Jr. John Amendola.
Notre Dame-West Haven coach: Lou Kessler.
All about Prep: Finished second in the SCC Quinnipiac Division. ... Lost two of its last three games to close the season. ... Opened the year on a season-high four-game winning streak. ... 5-4 against SCC tournament teams. ... Defeated Amity 1-0.
Prep's top players: Jr. Shawn Blake, Sr. David Gerics, Jr. Dean Lockery,
Prep coach: Rudy Mauritz.
Prediction: Notre Dame-West Haven 6-4 (8).
No. 5 Shelton at No. 4 North Haven, 4:30 p.m.Season series: North Haven won lone meeting 1-0 on April 22.
All about Shelton: Lost in last season's SCC final. ... Won a season-high five games in a row in mid April. ... Only team to beat Xavier this season. ... The Gaels defeated Xavier the same day the Falcons were voted No. 1 in the state. ... 3-5 against teams in the SCC tournament heading into last game of the season. ... Only lost back-to-back games this season once, losing to Amity and North Haven on April 19 and 22.
Shelton's top players: Sr. Ryan Testani, Sr. Vin Backert, Sr. Marcello Usrini, Sr. Tyler Tice, Sr. Ed Groth, So. Justin Lynch.
Shelton coach: Scott Gura.
All about North Haven: Won the SCC Oronoque Division. .. There were a total of 20 strikeouts in the Indians 1-0 victory over the Gaels. ... Won a season-high eight straight games in mid-April. ... 3-1 in games decided by two runs or less. ... 5-4 at home going into last game of the season.
North Haven's top players: Sr. Matt Oestreicher, Sr. Zack Brown, Sr. Chandler Andrewsen, Sr. Mike Acampora.
North Haven coach: Bob DeMayo.
Prediction: Shelton 3-1.
Who might go fishing earlier than expected?
Tournament champions2012: Amity over Shelton 2-1.
2011: Cheshire over Fairfield Prep 14-0.
2010: Shelton over Amity 4-3 (9).
2009: Law over Foran 11-6.
2008: ND-West Haven over Amity 10-8.
2007: Guilford over Amity 7-1.
2006: Amity over Xavier 5-1.
2005: Amity over North Haven 14-3.
2004: Amity over Xavier 6-1.
2003: West Haven over Amity 7-4.
2002: North Haven over West Haven 9-6.
2001: Cancelled, co-champs declared.
2000: Shelton over ND-West Haven 8-2.
1999: Branford over West Haven 11-10.
1998: Xavier over Branford 6-3.
1997: ND-West Haven over North Haven 2-1.
1996: ND-West Haven over Cheshire 6-3.
1995: ND-West Haven over West Haven 2-1.