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Friday, May 27, 2011

State tournament breakdown

Here's a quick breakdown of the four state tournament brackets, which were released today. Check back Tuesday for the Register's tournament preview.

Class LL

Top four seeds: No. 1 Glastonbury, No. 2 Pomperaug, No. 3 McMahon and No. 4 Staples

Notes: Pomperaug is the defending champion. The top half of this bracket is loaded with teams like Glastonbury, Newington, Southington, Danbury, West Haven, Amity and Staples. The top-seeded Tomahawks earn a first-round bye.

Intriguing first-round matchups: No. 25 Shelton vs. No. 8 Southington, No. 16 Windsor vs. No. 17 Newington, No. 19 Greenwich vs. No. 14 Norwalk and No. 15 Newtown vs. No. 18 Bristol Central.

Teams to keep an eye on...
No. 14 Norwalk: Haven't lived up to expectations, but certainly talented.
No. 13 West Haven: One of the best pitching rotations in this tournament.
No. 12 Fairfield Prep: Maybe the hottest team in the bracket. The Jesuits have won eight straight and will play for an SCC title Saturday.

No. 6 Cheshire: Flat-out loaded and peaking at the right time.

Class L

Top four seeds: No. 1 Torrington, No. 2 Avon, No. 3 Berlin and No. 4 Branford.

Notes: The top-seeded Red Raiders have lost three of their last four. Defending champion Sheehan is No. 7. NVL finalist Wilby is No. 20. There are three play-in games in this tournament.

Intriguing first-round matchups: No. 7 Sheehan vs. No. 26 North Haven, No. 14 Masuk vs. No. 19 Waterford and No. 16 Farmington vs. No. 17 Fairfield Warde.

Teams to keep an eye on...

No. 16 Farmington: Have one of the top players in the bracket in Carson Helms and are capable of making a run.
No. 8 New London: Solid pitching staff and that's key in the postseason.
No. 15 Notre Dame-West Haven: Much better than its seed.
No. 7 Sheehan: This is the Titans' time of year.

No. 4 Branford: If the Hornets produce enough offense, the title is theirs.

Class M

Top four seeds: No. 1 St. Joseph, No. 2 Norwich Tech, No. 3 North Branford, No. 4 Abbott Tech.

Notes: No. 20 Montville is the defending champion. The Cadets' three losses have come to Class LL teams. North Branford catches a bad draw, getting No. 30 East Haven in the first round. The Easties beat the Thunderbirds twice in the regular season. Holy Cross and Woodland will meet in a play-in game on Saturday and the winner will face St. Joseph.

Intriguing first-round matchups: No. 9 Northwestern vs. No. 24 Stonington, No. 4 North Branford vs. No. 30 East Haven and No. 11 Haddam-Killingworth vs. No. 22 Seymour.

Teams to keep an eye on...
No. 20 Montville: The Indians have the experience after winning it all last year.
No. 21 Bethel: Bethel beat Pomperaug twice this season.
No. 31 Stratford: Not the most talented team, but the Red Devils have two solid pitchers and a good draw.
No. 30 East Haven: Got beat up playing in the SCC, but have potential to do some damage here.

No. 1 St. Joseph looks like the safest pick here.

Class S

Top four seeds: No. 1 East Catholic, No. 2 East Hampton, No. 3 Windsor Locks and No. 4 Wamogo.

Notes: The top three seeds earn first-round byes. No. 25 Northwest Catholic is the defending champion. No. 23 St. Paul won the NVL title. No. 6 St. Bernard is an ECC finalist.

Intriguing first-round matchups: No. 9 Old Saybrook vs. No. 24 Sacred Heart, No. 13 Westbrook vs. No. 20 Hale-Ray and No. 12 Immaculate vs. No. 21 Notre Dame-Fairfield.

Teams to keep an eye on...
No. 25 Northwest Catholic: Simply because the Indians won the title last year.
No. 24 Sacred Heart: Solid pitching staff.
No. 15 Career: The Panthers play in the SCC, so they are battle tested.
No. 7 Derby: The Red Raiders have been struggling a bit, but were one of the favorites coming into the season.

No. 1 East Catholic
A lot like Northwest Catholic from last year. East Catholic has beaten some of the top teams from the bigger classes. It has one of the top pitchers in this tournament in Tucker Panciera and very strong offense.


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