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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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

GOOD EYE: Midseason report, live updates and nightly recaps

Wednesday's recap

No. 3 Xavier 12, Foran 11: The host Falcons scored eight times in the bottom of the seventh inning in this SCC interdivision win at Middletown.

Matt Albanese had a two-out infield hit in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game for the Falcons. Mike Purcell had three doubles, a single and three RBIs and Will Garrity hit a solo home run for Xavier (10-1).

Reinaldo Jackson hit a solo home run and Anthony Alicki hit a three-run home run and finished with five RBIs for the Lions (5-5).

No. 2 Amity 7, North Haven 1: Sebastian DiMauro had three hits, including a two-run home run, to lead the host Spartans to this SCC interdivision win at Woodbridge.
Justin Ashworth and Chris Katz each had a hit and two RBIs for Amity (9-1). Matt Oestreicher had two hits for the Indians (8-3).

Ansonia 3, Torrington 2: Cory Dzienkiewicz’s sacrifice fly with one out in the fourth inning drove in Darwin Elias from third to give the Chargers (5-5) a 3-0 lead as they hung on for their Naugatuck Valley League win in Torrington.

Derby 11, Wilby 4: Victor Soto hit a grand slam and had five RBIs as Sal Frosceno, Zach Volo and Ryan Ladona all homered in the NVL home win by the Red Raiders (5-6) over Wilby (1-9).

Law 7,No. 10  Fairfield Prep 2: Kurt Holden picked up his third win of the season for the Lawmen (6-5). Cheech Guistino went 2-for-3 with two RBI for the Lawmen. Shawn Blake doubled for the Jesuits (8-3).

North Branford 5, Haddam-Killingworth 0: Brandan Basil had an RBI and two hits, Mike Querfield had a hit and two RBIs and Mike Funaro added an RBI in the win by the Thunderbirds (7-3) over the Cougars (7-3).

Shelton 9, Branford 1: Tyler Tice had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Gaels to their SCC interdivision win in Branford.
C.J. Rizzo added two hits including a three-run triple in the fifth inning and Pat Murphy had two hits for the Gaels (7-4).

Coginchaug 2, Morgan 1: John Mormile had a two-out RBI single that scored Christian Adams to lift the Blue Devils over the Huskies in Shoreline Conference action at Durham.

Ted Thody got the win for Coginchaug (7-4) over Morgan (6-4).

Hand 8, Hamden 2: Kyle Anderson had a triple and two RBIs for the visiting Tigers in this SCC interdivision win.

Winning pitcher James Powell allowed four hits and helped his cause with an RBI for Hand (5-5).

Paul Wetmore doubled and had an RBI for Hamden (3-7).

Notre Dame-West Haven 6, Guilford 2: Zack Balabon had a hit and two RBIs for the host Green Knights in this SCC win at West Haven. Notre Dame is 7-4.

Oxford 4, Stratford 2: Winning pitcher Kyle Chudoba struck out six and had a two-run double for the visiting Wolverines in this South-West Conference win at Stratford.

Neil Ring had two hits and an RBI for Oxford (8-2). Alec Ward had two hits and Mike Tecci had two hits and an RBI for the Red Devils (4-6).



BATTER BOX — We’ve hit the midway point of the baseball regular season. After most teams having played about 10 or 11 games, some upsets, some extra-inning nail biters and some blowouts, we basically know nothing. And that is just the way we like it, right? Below is a quick look at what we’ve learned from the first half of the season and what could happen in the second half. Most likely it won't though, happy reading!

What we learned (kind of)

THE NUMBER ONE TEAM IS...: Yeah, okay the baseball writers and I are still working on that one. There has been a different number one team each week. From Amity, to Xavier, to Bristol Central, we just can’t decide. However, in my humble opinion, No. 2 Amity, who was No. 1 in the first poll, is the state’s best team due to pitchers Mike Concato and Sam Nepiarsky. In the state and conference tournaments, having a strong No. 1 and 2 starter is the main ingredient to a title. The 8-1 Spartans are only giving up 1.2 runs per game and their only loss came via a seventh inning error. Not bad, to me at least. In spite of that, the 9-1 Falcons are shutting teams down, too. No. 3 Xavier was voted No. 1 in the second poll and has only gave up three or more runs in a game three times this season. Xavier is 2-1 in those games with the lone loss being a 6-3 defeat to defending Class LL champ Shelton. Now new No. 1 Bristol Central of the Central Connectitcut Conference joins the convo courtesy of a 7-0 record and star pitcher Matt Blandino. These three teams will play musical chairs with the top spot until someone really falls off, which I doubt. Just know, Amity is most likely the best, barring injury.

Amity's Concato fans 12

HAMDEN’S GOT BAD LUCK: Remember the song Bad Luck by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes? Remember Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes? Well you get a gold star sport! Seriously, make that old school track the Green Dragons’ first half theme song. Hamden is 1-2 in extra inning games and is currently riding a three-game losing streak in which it has dropped all three by one lousy run. Don’t feel too bad for the Green Dragons though, these guys are good. Hamden rallied from an eight-run deficit to force extras with No. 3 Xavier and lost 12-11 in eight innings. Then two days later, lost to 7-2 No. 10 Fairfield Prep (Who wants respect) 5-4 in nine frames. Hamden also topped No. 8 Shelton 6-4 earlier in the season. Hamden’s got spoiler written all over it.
THE NO. 5 CROMWELL/HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH GAME IS GOING TO BE SWEET: Over in the Shoreline Conference, Cromwell has been rocking steady (Bet you don’t remember Rock Steady by the Whispers!! Haha, I’m on a roll). However, the defending Class S champion Panthers took their only loss of the season to Haddam-Killingworth 6-2 on Apr. 5. The Cougars are 7-2, with both losses decided by one run to Portland and Old Lyme. These two seem to be the best in the SLC and Cromwell might be headed for a Class S repeat. May 8 will answer a lot of questions.
WOLCOTT MIGHT ALREADY HAVE THE NVL WRAPPED UP: With a team ERA of 1.97 and batting average of .359 with 104 hits and 64 RBIs, the Eagles are head and shoulders above anyone in the Naugatuck Valley League. Wolcott is 9-0 and also possesses a NHR Top 25 talent in Manny Cruz, who is batting a scorching .500 (Yes, .500) and holds a 5-0 record on the mound with a 1.27 ERA. The only potential obstacle is 8-2 Holy Cross. Or maybe not, after Wolcott trounced the Crusaders 10-2 last Friday.
N0. 6 ST. JOSEPH IS THE SCARIEST TEAM IN THE FCIAC: The Cadets hold a 7-2 record. No. 4 New Canaan (9-1) is arguably more talented. However, I’ve always been a resume over personnel guy and the Cadets’ resume is good enough to fetch them a job in my dying profession. This season the Cadets have defeated No. 7 Greenwich and aforementioned New Canaan. SJ’s losses are a 3-1 decision to Wilton (6-3) and a 8-3 season-opening loss to Ridgefield (7-2), Be very afraid of the Cadets Fairfield County, very afraid.

What we might learn (But most likely won’t)

RAIN, RAIN, OH, YOU’RE NOT COMING? COOL, KEEP IT THAT WAY: Just one day has been interrupted due to rain in the first half of the season. Although I would love to tell you that the rest of the season will go on uninterrupted, I know better. Pitching rotations get screwed up due to the rain and look for that to happen in the second half.
THE NUMBER ONE TEAM IS: Amity, just don’t see anyone topping this team in Class LL. They’re not always on fire at the plate, but with Jake Russo, Justin Ashworth and Co., three or four runs should be enough with their pitching staff.
THE REGULAR-SEASON IS OVERRATED: Pick up a paper and look at a box score, wait, who am I kidding? Go online and look at a box score and you’ll see good teams losing to bad teams and ranked teams losing to unranked teams. Don’t be fooled. Pitching wins championships. Therefore, some top teams may drop some in an effort to see who else can eat up some innings when the playoffs come around. Also, playing three to four games in a week will put a strain on your rotation. There will be upsets in the second half, but before you say a team is or isn’t legit because they lost, ask who pitched.
IF NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN GETS HEALTHY, WATCH OUT: The Green Knights have been without UConn-bound Griffin Garabedian and Greg Zullo for quite some time now. However, if coach Lou Kessler can get his guys back, look for Notre Dame-West Haven to make a strong push towards the postseason. The Green Knights are 6-4, it is far from over in West Haven for these guys.

WE REALLY DON'T KNOW ANYTHING: Seriously, we don't. We watch games, we talk about it, we look over stats and at the end of the day, the end result is decided on the field and sadly our respective publications and TV stations don't give us gloves and bats, just modest checks. Play ball.



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