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

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


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