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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.

Monday, May 27, 2013

STATE TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Vote for the state's best, roundups and What we learned

#ctbase -- Day one is in the books. Rain pushed a few games back and halted some. Below you will find Roundup Central to get a rundown on the previous day's action. Click on the division subhead to find the corresponding division's updated bracket. Another new addition is News Central. There you'll find "What we learned," a retrospective look at what we can gather from the previous day's action.

Vote For the State's Best Player

Due to a malfunction with the poll last week, both Xavier's John Gething and East Haven's Nick Lamberti advance in the Best Player in the State tournament. Gethings had more votes when the poll was supposed to close at noon, Lamberti had more when it actually did at 1 p.m. To not shortchange either talented student-athlete, they both advance. If they defeat their opponents this week, they could meet up again in next week's poll. POLLS CLOSE SUNDAY, JUNE 2, AT NOON. IF POLL MALFUNCTIONS AGAIN, ANY PLAYER RECEIVING VOTES AFTER POLL WAS SUPPOSED TO CLOSE IS AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFIED.


No. 6 Amity tops No. 10 Fairfield Prep, headed to Class LL final

 After stranding five runners in scoring position in the first five innings, Amity first baseman Justin Ashworth said coach Sal Coppola said the Spartans were playing too tight. 
"He told us to just play our game," Ashworth said. "We have a term around here we call 'backyard loose.' That's just how we play."
The Spartans loosened up,  Justin Ashworth laced the go-ahead RBI double to cap a three-run sixth inning and Mike Concato came in and got the save as No. 6 Amity topped No. 10 Fairfield Prep 3-2 in the Class LL semifinals at Muzzy Field on Tuesday.
With the victory, the 21-4 Spartans advance to the championship for the first time since 2007.  Amity will face a No. 4 Southington team that eliminated it in last seasons Quarterfinals. 

No. 6 Amity 3, No. 10 Fairfield Prep 2 (sixth inning): Justin Ashworth drove in Sebastian DiMauro to give the Spartans a one-run advantage after DiMauro drove in two with a double to tie it as the Spartans may have averted an upset. 

No. 10 Fairfield Prep 2 Amity 0 (fifth inning): The Jesuits Kevin Stone is pitching a gem, with four strikeouts and stranding runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings as Prep looks to upset Amity and top the Spartans for the second time this year. The Jesuits topped the Spartans in the regular season 1-0.

No. 10 Fairfield Prep 2, No. 6 Amity 0 (third inning): Shawn Blake and Kevin Stone had RBI singles to pace the Jesuits to an early lead.


No. 6 Amity tops No. 3 Greenwich as Mike Concato throws no-hitter

GREENWICH -- Amity's Mike Concato is usually a strikeout pitcher, posting multiple double-digit strikeout performances this season. However against Greenwich in the Class LL Quarterfinals, the senior's strategy was to pitch to contact with a hard fastball on the inside part of the plate.
It worked to perfection as Concato struck out five, did not walk a batter and pitched a no-hitter with the only base runner reaching on an error as the sixth-seeded Spartans topped the third-seeded Cardinals 6-0 Saturday. Read more here.

No. 11 Notre Dame-West Haven takes down Class L defending champ Fitch

GROTON — All season long, Notre Dame-West Haven coach Lou Kessler has been waiting for his team to get healthy. Kessler has finally gotten his wish. With the return of injured seniors Griffin Garabedian and Greg Zullo, Notre Dame has looked like a different team as the lineup has become whole.
The No. 11-seeded Green Knights banged out 11 hits, drew seven walks and took advantage of two hit batters to defeat No. 3 Fitch 9-1 Saturday afternoon at Fitch High in the quarterfinals of the Class L state tournament. Read more here. 

Second Round

Mike Schettino leads No. 3 North Branford past No. 19 Ansonia

North Branford’s Mike Schettino said he has not been about to forget about how the Thunderbirds blew a three-run lead in the seventh inning with two outs and were upset by East Hampton in a Shoreline Conference tournament semifinals.
So with No. 3 North Branford trailing by a run to No. 19 Ansonia and the senior on in relief to pitch in the third, he wasn’t going to let them get upset again.
Schettino gave up two hits in three innings of relief, scored the tying run and drove in the winning run to avoid the upset and top the Chargers 3-2 in the Class M second round on Wednesday. Read more here.

Semifinals Live

Roundup Central 


North Haven advances


Jaycen Torello’s RBI single in the third inning for the No. 16 seed North Haven baseball team, gave the Indians a 2-0 win over No. 8 Bunnell Saturday in a Class L state quarterfinal-round game at Stratford.

The Indians (16-8) scored an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning on a double steal. Jack Brown scored the run. Chandler Andrewsen scattered six hits and struck out five to win his seventh game. Bunnell finishes at 15-9.




Day 3

The No. 1 team in the state goes fishing and Sheehan's upset tour continues


Kevin Duffy’s double scored Brandon Gauthier in the seventh to lift No. 36 Sheehan to a 3-2 win over No. 13 Lewis Mills in the second round of the Class M state tournament.

Gauthier went 2-for-3 with a triple for the Titans (11-12). It was Sheehan coach Matt Altieri’s 300th career win.


No. 8 Trumbull 2, No. 9 Shelton 0: The Gaels left 16 runners on base and Trumbull blanked the defending state champions in the second round.
Mike Cowell pitched a two-hitter and struck out four for Shelton (15-8). Marcello Ursini and Ed Groth each had two hits for Shelton.

No. 17 Staples 5, No. 1 Xavier 4 (8): Eli Andrew scored on Noah Yokoi’s sacrifice fly with one out in the top of the eighth inning to lift the visiting Wreckers to this upset over the Falcons, the top-ranked team in the Register Poll, in this second-round contest in Middletown.

Andrew led off the inning with a double for Staples.

Ben Criscuolo had a two-run double and Will Garrity tied the game with an infield single in the seventh inning for Xavier (20-2).

No. 6 Amity 10, No. 11 Fairfield Ludlowe 1: Keith Kelbart went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs in the Spartans second-round victory at Woodbridge.

Jake Russo added three hits, three runs and an RBI for Amity (19-4).
No. 10 Fairfield Prep 6, No. 7 Ridgefield 5 (8): Shawn Blake scored the winning run on Dave Gerics’ sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning for the visiting Jesuits in this second-round win at Ridgefield.

Jake Berry drove in the tying run with a single in the seventh inning for Fairfield Prep (17-6).


No. 11 Notre Dame-West Haven 4, No. 6 Maloney 1:
Griffin Garabedian had three hits and two RBIs in the Green Knights second-round win.

Drew Arciuolo had two hits and an RBI for Notre Dame (15-8).


Day 2

No. 36 Sheehan stuns No. 4 Weston, advances


Kevin Duffy, Rob Sprafke and Paul Gozzo each had a hit and an RBI to lead the No. 36 Sheehan baseball team to a 3-1 stunning win over host No. 4 Weston in a CIAC Class M first round win on Wednesday.

The Titans play at No. 13 Lewis Mills Thursday at 3:30. Pitcher Brandon Rentas allowed five hits and struck out seven and Nolan Cloutier added two hits for the Titans (10-12).

Weston ends the season at 20-4.


No. 3 Greenwich 9, No. 30 Cheshire 2: Cameron Fennell had three hits and an RBI to lead the Cardinals to their first-round win in Greenwich.

Dan Schock led the Rams (8-13) with three hits and an RBI.

No. 9 Shelton 3, No. 24 Manchester 2: C.J. Rizzo drove in the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift the host Gaels to this first-round win.

Marcello Ursini tied the game with a double earlier in that inning for Shelton (15-7), the defending LL champions.


No. 11 Notre Dame-West Haven 9, No. 22 Platt Tech 1: Greg Zullo had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Green Knights to their first-round win in West Haven.
Mike Corso added two hits and three RBIs for the Green Knights (14-8). Angelo Genovesi had two hits for the Panthers (10-11).

No. 16 North Haven 4, No. 1 Cheney Tech 2 (9): Winning pitcher Mike Acampora hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to lift the visiting Indians to this second-round win in Manchester.

Jaycen Torello had two hits and two RBIs for North Haven (15-8).


Day 1

North Haven wins in dramatic fashion and a combined no-hitter for Amity


Jaycen Torello had a walk-off RBI single with two outs to score Pete Katynski to give the No. 16 seeded North Haven baseball team a 2-1 Class L first-round victory over No. 17 New London Tuesday in North Haven.

With the victory, the Indians (14-8) will face top-seeded Constitution State Conference champ Cheney Tech (22-2) at Manchester tosday at 3:30 p.m.

Chandler Andrewsen pitched a complete game two-hitter with nine strikeouts for the Indians. Josh Vincent had five strikeouts for the Whalers (12-10).

No. 10 Berlin 2, No. 23 Law 1: Despite Rich Dow’s two hits and Jim Palmer’s RBI, the Eagles still fell to the Redcoats on the road in Berlin.
Darren Grabowski doubled and tripled for Berlin (14-7).

No. 18 Guilford 7, No. 15 Tolland 4: T.J. Ciocca had a hit and two RBIs for the visiting Indians in this first-round win.

Zach Battapaglia had a two-run double and Matt Brockett had a triple and an RBI for Guilford (12-9), who advances to play No. 2 Waterford in the second round Wednesday.


No. 6 Amity 10, No. 27 East Hartford 0: Mike Concato pitched six innings and Ross Weiner pitched the seventh in a combined no-hitter for the Spartans in a victory over the Hornets.

Concato had nine strikeouts and Weiner had one as Amity (18-4) advances to face the winner of No. 22 Pomperaug at No. 11 Fairfield Ludlowe in the second round.


No. 19 Ansonia 6, No. 14 Rocky Hill 3: Ryan O’Connor went 4-for-4, including two doubles, and scored twice for the Chargers in this first-round win at Rocky Hill.

Bobby Schryver had two doubles and two runs for Ansonia (13-10).

No. 7 Haddam-Killingworth 12, No. 26 Vinal Tech 4: Brian Moskey and Joe Silvia each had two hits and three RBIs for the Cougars in this first-round win in Higganum. The Cougars advance to play No. 10 Montville today at 3:30.

No. 3 North Branford 15, No. 30 Grasso Tech 2: Mike Funaro had four RBIs and two doubles, Kyle Hart had four RBIs and Nick Perrelli had two RBIs in the Thunderbirds’ home first round victory.

With the win, North Branford (19-4) advances to play No. 19 Ansonia today at 3:30.


News Central


What we learned during the quarterfinals was...

Mike Concato and Amity are better than we thought they were, and we already thought they were pretty good. For the Spartans to tear the cover off the ball the way they did and Concato to no-hit a good Cardinals team the way he did, you wonder what it will take to eliminate coach Sal Coppola's group. ...I know my Class S baseball. Hey, when I'm wrong I'm the first to admit it and poke a little fun at myself. Therefore when I'm right, I can gloat all I want. I had all but one semifinal team correct. Thanks a lot St. Bernard (I picked No. 2 St. Bernard to top No. 7 Old Lyme, St. Bernard let me down.). All jokes aside, congrats to all that made it and also to St. Bernard on a great season. ... Cromwell and East Hampton was one of my games to watch if it happens. So since the top-seeded Panthers will have their Shoreline Conference championship rematch with the 13th-seeded Bellringers, you should probably watch it, just seems like the right thing to do. East Hampton defeated Cromwell in the SLC title game behind a 13 strikeout performance from Marvin Gorgas. ... Despite having the No. 1,2 and 3 teams in the state all in Class LL, none of them will play each other. The No. 1 team, Xavier, bowed out in the second round and the No. 2 team, Bristol Central, lost 6-2 to Fairfield Prep in the quarterfinals. The 10th-seeded Jesuits meet the Spartans in the semifinals, ensuring that a Southern Connecticut Conference team will play for a Class LL crown. ... Speaking of the SCC, there is a chance that a team from the conference could win Class LL and L, something that has not happened since 2009 when West Haven took LL and Branford captured L. No. 16 North Haven plays No. 4 New Canaan and No. 11 Notre Dame-West Haven battles No. 2 Waterford in the Class L semifinals. Meanwhile, the FCIAC could have champions come out of Class LL, L and M. In LL, No. 8 Trumbull defeated No. 17 Staples in the quarters and faces No. 4 Southington in the semifinals. In Class L, New Canaan is still alive and in Class M, No. 11 St. Joseph topped No. 3 North Branford and faces No. 10 Montville in the semifinals.

Day 3

What we learned Day Three was....

Don't mess with Sheehan. The Titans are slaying top seeds left and right. First it was No. 4 Weston, who also won the SWC, and yesterday it was No. 13 Lewis Mills. The Titans are making an early push for best story of the tournament. ... Despite Sheehan's success, yesterday was a bad day for the SCC. I don't say this because a lot of SCC teams went down, but because of the outlook on the team that went down. Xavier, the No. 1 team in the state and Class LL, was not supposed to bow out in the second round. However, that is exactly what happened against Staples. Furthermore, the FCIAC is making a strong postseason argument that it may be a better conference than the SCC. This postseason the FCIAC is 5-2 against SCC teams. Now my idea to settle this is a FCIAC/SCC Baseball challenge that alternates year-to-year from Yale Field to Harbor Yard in early May. Maybe the FCIAC and SCC powers that be can make that happen *crosses fingers.*

Day 2

What we learned Day Two was....

The SWC is having a rough tournament. Tourney champ No. 4 Weston got dumped by No. 36 Sheehan, becoming the seventh SWC team to get eliminated. Only Bunnell and Notre Dame-Fairfield remain. ... No. 16 North Haven games are fun to watch. The Indians used a walk-off to top No. 17 New London in the first round and sent top-seeded Cheney Tech fishing courtesy of a ninth inning homer from Mike Acampora. ... Class M is a lost cause for me. I give up. Someone will win, I'm not predicting anymore. All I'm sure of is someone will win. There, can't get that wrong. ... The FCIAC championship didn't do too much for Danbury. No such thing as momentum in baseball I guess. The No. 12 Hatters went on a nice run to capture the conference, but couldn't even score a run in a 3-0 loss to No. 21 Newington in the first round. ...Conference champs have not done well this postseason. Wolcott (NVL), Weston (SWC) and Danbury (FCIAC) are all fishing. Start the boat!!!

Day 1

What we learned Day One was....

Class M is a mess, for me at least. I picked No. 2 Wolcott over No. 9 Plainfield in the final and both teams went fishing in the first round. Wolcott lost to No. 34 Granby and Plainfield fell to No. 24 Nonnewaug. ... Wolcott, who won the NVL title, was not the only Valley League team to fall. NVL runner-up No. 17 Derby went down in the first round, too, losing 6-3 to No. 16 Sacred Heart. Bad day for the Valley finalists, bad day for Henry C. ...Rain really screwed things up. We all know that rain stinks, but 10 playoff games were postponed due to Mother Nature. Not cool mama, not cool. ... No. 16 North Haven's bench probably got a good workout in its 2-1 walkoff triumph over No. 17 New London. The bench is well known for being rowdy and their state tourney opener was not short in the drama category. The pitching was good, too, as there were a combined 15 strikeouts in the ballgame. ... Class L Play-in teams didn't do too well in the first round, 0-4 to be exact. The only hope for play-in teams is No. 29 East Haven at No. 4 Cheshire on Wednesday at 3:30.

Masuk's Tom Milone named Gatorade POTY

The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, named Thomas Milone of Masuk High School the Gatorade Connecticut Baseball Player of the Year.
Milone is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award announced in May. Milone joins an elite alumni of past state award-winners, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Roy Halladay (1994-95, Arvada West HS, Colo.) and David Price, to name a few.
 The 6-foot, 190-pound senior center fielder led the Panthers to an 11-11 record , while maintaining a  .463 batting average with a .581 on-base percentage, three home runs, 26 runs scored and 28 stolen bases.
In the classroom, Milone has a 3.24 GPA and has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports camps and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.


A look at some of the best games we might see

With the state tournament first round getting underway on Tuesday, here is a look at some of the more intriguing games that could happen. The subheading with the Class and round is also a link to the CIAC baseball webpage with brackets for each class. For example, the Class LL subhead will take you to the Class LL bracket, the Class L subhead will bring you to the Class L bracket and so on and so forth.

Class LL

Second round

No. 9 Shelton at No. 8 Trumbull: This match up could take place if the Eagles top No. 25 Kennedy and the Gaels defeat No. 24 Manchester in the first round. The defending champion Gaels look to repeat going up against a hot Eagles team that topped two Top 10 teams, Greenwich and New Canaan, en route to the FCIAC championship game. This game could go down to the wire.
Chances it will happen: Very high because both teams are playing opponents they should beat in the first round.
Prediction if it does: Shelton 6-4.


No. 9 Shelton at No. 1 Xavier: If this game comes to pass, it will give the Falcons the chance to avenge its only loss of the season, a 6-3 defeat to the Gaels on April 15. Shelton topped Xavier the same day it was voted No. 1 in the state.
Chances it will happen: High because the Gaels should top the Eagles in the second round.
Prediction if it does: Xavier 8-3.

No. 6 Amity at No. 3 Greenwich: If this game happens, it will put two team’s together who suffered heartbreaking losses in last season’s state tournament. The Spartans lost 3-1 on a controversial call against Southington and the Cardinals lost in 10 innings 4-2 to East Hartford in the quarterfinals. If these two meet, it will give one a chance to put last season’s bad memories behind it for good.
Chances it will happen: High because the Spartans and Cards are playing teams they can beat in the early rounds.
Prediction if it does: Amity 3-1.


No. 6 Amity vs. No. 2 Bristol Central: This game could place arguably the best two pitchers in the state against each other in the Rams’ Matt Blandino and the Spartans' Mike Concato. More than likely, the teams would save their aces for the championship, but if the two star pitchers do battle in the semifinals, it has all the making of a classic pitcher’s duel.
Chances it will happen: Moderate because even though I picked the Spartans over the Cards, Greenwich is no pushover.
Prediction: Amity 1-0.


No. 6 Amity vs. No. 1 Xavier: The Southern Connecticut Conference final that never was, due to rain cancelling the tournament prior to the semifinals, could take place in the Class LL final. Xavier edged Amity 6-5 prior to the end of the season, but Spartans’ aces Concato nor Sam Nepiarsky pitched. This game could potentially go extras at 0-0.
Chances it will happen: Moderate because anything can happen en route to Palmer Field in the tough Class LL field.
Prediction: Amity 3-2 (9).

Class L


No. 11 Notre Dame-West Haven vs. No. 3 Fitch: Two of the many Connecticut baseball players headed to UConn are in this one in Fitch’s Aaron Hill and Notre Dame-West Haven’s Griffin Garabedian. The Green Knights’ pitching has been solid and this could be one of the bigger upsets in the state tournament.
Chances it will happen: Moderate because the Green Knights still may have to get past No. 6 Maloney in the second round.
Prediction: Fitch 7-5.


No. 3 Fitch vs. No. 2 Waterford: Waterford got the better of Fitch in the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament final. A rematch for a chance to play for a state title makes this game one of the better semifinal contests.
Chances it will happen: High because no one in Waterford’s bracket is good enough to stop them and Fitch should hold serve and avoid any upsets.
Prediction: Fitch 6-3.


No. 4 New Canaan vs. No. 3 Fitch: A rematch of last season’s Class L final that Fitch won. The Rams took a tough loss in the FCIAC tournament, but has enough talent to get back to the Class L final.
Chances it will happen: High because New Canaan doesn’t have to play anyone that is as good as the teams it faced in the FCIAC.
Prediction: Fitch 5-2

Class M


No. 11 St. Joseph at No. 3 North Branford: The Thunderbirds suffered one of the more heartbreaking losses of the conference tournament season, blowing a 3-0 lead with two outs in the seventh inning and losing 5-3 in nine to East Hampton. Meanwhile, the Cadets looked poised to tear up the FCIAC tournament after topping Top 10 teams Greenwich and New Canaan during the regular season, but lost in the first round badly to Fairfield Ludlowe. Both of these teams are talented and could have a big chip on their shoulders.
Chances it will happen: Very high because St. Joseph could be playing tech schools until the quarterfinals and North Branford should beat Ansonia or Rocky Hill if they meet in the second round.
Prediction: North Branford 8-5.

Class S


No. 13 East Hampton vs. No. 1 Cromwell: The Bellringers stopped the Panthers’ run for back-to-back Shoreline championships with a 8-2 victory in the title game, thanks to Marvin Gorgas’ 13 strikeout performance. Although the Class S championship game is important, East Hampton might want to throw Gorgas out there for this one again.
Chances it will happen: Moderate because East Hampton has to upset St. Paul in the second round. If it does, this game could happen.
Prediction: Cromwell 3-1.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Gambardella, not Gamberdella.

May 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM 

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