Blogs >'s The Batter's Box

The Batter's Box provides the latest baseball news coverage of the area's top teams, prospects and happenings from around Connecticut's diamond.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Spring Training Report (Day 4)

BATTER'S BOX -- Today we delve into the SCC Quinnipiac where Fairfield Prep hopes to build on last season's success, Notre Dame-West Haven could repeat and Xavier's pitching should keep the score down.

School: Fairfield Prep, Fairfield
Nickname: Jesuits
Conference: SCC Quinnipiac
Class: LL
Coach:  Rudy Mauritz (7th season)
2011 record: 15-9
How it ended: The Jesuits entered the Class LL tournament as the No. 12 seed and were sent packing in the first round in a 9-6 loss to No. 21 East Hartford.
Captains: No captains
Others to watch for:  Kevin Sinclair, Sr., first baseman/catcher; Matt Araya, catcher; Mike Smeriglio, second baseman/outfielder; Miles Purner, Sr., pitcher
2012 schedule: Fairfield Prep Jesuits


Mauritz said his team will play tough defense, especially in the outfield. … The question marks however, will be the new bats, according to Mauritz. .. He added the team will use its speed a little more this season. .. This team also forgoes naming captains. … Mauritz said all the seniors are responsible for leading the team. … He added this is the third time the team has done this. … A few juniors have also stepped up and impressed Mauritz.
“Last season we learned a lot about ourselves as a baseball program.”
Manager Rudy Mauritz

School: West Haven High School
Nickname: Blue Devils
Conference: SCC Quinnipiac
Class: LL
Coach:   Mike Anquillare (13th season)
2011 record: 14-9
How it ended: Amity knocked off the Blue Devils 3-1 in the second round last season. The Westies were the 13 seed.
Captains: (all seniors) Matt Gagne, shortstop; Eric Flores, catcher
Others to watch for:  Alex Palmieri, Sr., third baseman; Cameron Stone, Jr., pitcher/second baseman; Danny Chambrelli, Sr., first baseman; Tom Spencer, Sr., outfield; Tyler Gambardella, Jr., outfield; Wes Gambardella, Sr., outfield;
2012 schedule: West Haven High School


The Blue Devils should have a strong pitching staff this season. … Alex Soto, a senior pitcher, could have a big season. … Bobby Moretti and John Carrano will also be crucial on the hill for the Blue Devils. … Look out for Cameron Stone as well. … West Haven has a good mix of young players and senior leadership. …
 “In the SCC, there are no bottom dwellers.”
Manager Mike Anquillare
School: Xavier High School, Middletown
Nickname: Falcons
Conference: SCC Quinnipiac
Class: LL
Coach:   Rich  Magner (13th season)
2011 record: 13-8
How it ended: Xavier lost a heartbreaker to No. 22 Conard in the first round in eight innings. The 11th seeded Falcons lost 11-10.
Captains: (all seniors) Connor Landers, pitcher; Tyler Cardi, pitcher; Jack Finnegan, outfielder
Others to watch for:  Brett Madore, Sr., infielder; Ryan Verdi, Sr, outfielder; Pat Colavecchio, Sr., outfielder
2012 schedule: Xavier High School


The Falcons are loaded with senior leadership touting 13 class of 2012ers on the roster. … Despite all of these seniors, Magner said the team still lacks experience in the infield. … Look out for juniors Matt Albanese on the mound and Mike Purcell in the infield. …. Senior pitchers Troy DeLeon and Glen Marrus will be key contributors to the team this season. … Senior catchers Chris Dibble, Andy Grimm and Jason Cain will all help out behind the plate. … Senior infielders Ed Kietka and Jon Lococo will be counted on to make plays for the Falcons.
 “We will be contenders in the division and hopefully the league.”
Manager Rich Magner

School: Notre Dame, West Haven
Nickname: Green Knights
Conference: SCC Quinnipiac
Class: L
Coach:   Lou Kessler (17th season)
2011 record: 18-8
How it ended: The Green Knights won Class L
Captains: (all seniors) Gary Flowers, pitcher; Matt Elia, pitcher;  Mike Panza, infielder
Others to watch for:  Griffin Garabedian, Jr., centerfielder; Greg Zullo, Jr., third baseman/pitcher; Brian Rhone, Jr., second baseman; Kyle Lockery Sr., outfield; Brandon Wynne, Jr. , Dh/first baseman
2012 schedule: Notre Dame-West Haven


The Green Knights are looking for its pitching staff to carry it through. … According to Kessler, there is some pressure to repeat due to the number of players Notre Dame is bringing back from last season’s team. … Kessler said the team will also be strong up the middle defensively. … Junior centerfielder Griffin Garabedian, who is an early commit to UConn, should also have a strong season. … Kessler said Amity and West Haven are two teams that he is looking at. He also said Foran and Xavier will be tough to beat this season.
“It’s a tough league. You have to be ready to play every game.”
Manager Lou Kessler

Amity Jamboree

BATTER'S BOX -- I took a ride down to the Amity Jamboree to check out West Haven, Bunnell and the Spartans. I spoke to a Vin Siena, John Carrano and Brandon Sheehan about the new bats and the upcoming season.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Amity Jamboree time changed

BATTER'S BOX -- According to Amity manager Sal Coppola, the Amity Jamboree at the Old Tavern Road Complex in Orange has been moved from its original start time of 10 a.m. on Saturday to 12 p.m. on Saturday due to a possible wintry mix. The Jamboree will feature the aforementioned Spartans of Amity, West Haven, Bunnell and Montville.
Step back into the Batter's Box tomorrow for highlights, interviews and analysis from the Jamboree. Also the Spring Training Report continues tomorrow with the SCC Quinnipiac.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Spring Training Report (Day 3)

BATTER'S BOX -- Okay, so we have an idea of what is going on in the SCC Hammonasset and Oronoque. That leaves us with the Housatonic and Quinnipiac divisions. We still have Shoreline, SWC and NVL teams to get to. Hold on! Let's not jump the gun here. First we step into the the Housy where Shelton could turn back the clock, Amity could have the best player in the state and Cheshire is trying to avoid the phrase, "rebuilding year."

School: Shelton High School, Shelton
Nickname: Gaels
Conference: SCC Housatonic
Class: LL
Coach: Scott Gura (4th season)
2011 record: 9-12
How it ended: The No. 25 Gaels fell to No. 8 Danbury in the first round of the tournament.
Captains: (All seniors) Bryan Kondor, catcher/second baseman; Ryan Daiss, catcher; Ryan Zahornasky, pitcher/third baseman
Others to watch for: Ryan Testani, Jr. pitcher/first baseman (getting recruited by Div. I schools like Seton Hall, UConn and Rhode Island.) 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds; Marcello Ursini, Jr., centerfielder/leadoff batter;
2012 schedule: Shelton Gaels


Gura admitted that new bats will force team to play some small ball at times. … According to Gura, the Gaels should battle with Amity for the division. … He said pitching will be a key component to Shelton’s success. … Testani is not related to former Masuk star John Testani. … He is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds according to Gura. … Ursini is a potential All-League player according to Gura.

“We won the conference in 2010. I think this team has the potential to do the same.”
Manager Scott Gura
School: Amity High School, Woodbridge
Nickname: Spartans
Conference: SCC
Class: LL
Coach: Sal Coppola, (19th season)
2011 record: 19-7
How it ended: The Spartans fell in a 10-inning thriller to No. 17 Newington 6-5 in the Class LL semifinals. Amity was the No. 4 seed in last season’s tournament.
Captains: (all seniors) No captains
Others to watch for: Vinny Siena, Sr., shortstop
2012 schedule: Amity Spartans


Coppola said the team looks pretty good so far. … He added that his team did a good amount of weight training in the offseason. .. Team has four seniors that will get extensive playing time but, no captains. Coppola said this is something his team has done before. … Coppola said the team has good speed, they have potential to be a good pitching an defensive team. … He added the team’s junior class is very strong. … Majority of pitching staff are juniors, including guys like Mike Concato, Sam Mepiarsky and Chris Cimmino. Austin Poklenda is a senior and should also contribute on the staff. … Keith Klebart is a junior third baseman that has also caught Coppola’s eye. … Another junior is Justin Ashworth at first base.

“I think we will be in the hunt.”
Manager Sal Coppola
School: Cheshire High School, Cheshire
Nickname: Rams
Conference: SCC Housatonic
Class: LL
Coach:  Bill Mrowka (15th season)
2011 record: 20-6
How it ended: The Rams were ousted by SCC opponent, Amity, in the quarterfinals. Cheshire was blanked by the Spartans 5-0 as the fifth-seeded Rams were sent packing by fourth-seeded Amity.
Captains: (all seniors) Tim Budd, catcher; Jordan Kubilus pitcher/outfielder
Others to watch for:  Ethan Lonardelli, Soph., first baseman/pitcher; Collin Jordan, infielder; Cooper Mrowka, shortstop (back injury, out for season)
2012 schedule: Cheshire Rams


Team is very young. … Just one returning senior from the starting lineup last season. … Kubilus is the lone returner from the starting lineup. … He added defense could be an issue. The team has a few sophomore pitchers that could be productive.
“We’re in the toughest division in the toughest conference in the state. I’d argue that with anybody.”
Manager Bill Mrowka

School: Lyman Hall
Nickname: Trojans
Conference: SCC (Housatonic)
Class: L
Coach: Charles Burghardt
2011 record: 7-13
How it ended: The Trojans needed to collect one more win on the last day of the regular-season to get to the magic number of eight wins. Lyman Hall did not reach eight wins, as the Trojans fell 8-3 to Guilford.
Captains: (All seniors) Ryan Fromanski, pitcher/first baseman; Matt Moran, outfielder
Others to watch for: Jeff Zajac, Sr., shortstop; Jeff Sherwood, Sr., catcher; Ryan Flint, Sr., outfielder; Chris Massimino, Sr., pitcher; Brett Comette, Sr., pitcher.
2012 schedule: Lyman Hall


Darrian Davis is a 3-sport athlete to watch out for this season in the outfield. … Kevin Naimoli should also help out at catcher, according to coach. Naimoli is currently out with an arm injury. … Burghardt said the team does not have a large junior class and will rely on some sophomores and freshmen this season. … Burghardt said team will be scrappy but, they need better defense and solid pitching. Those were two shaky spots for last season’s ball club. 

 “I’m not looking to make the state tournament. I’m looking to do better than that.”
Manager Charles Burghardt