American Legion Senior Sectionals begin Saturday. The road to the state crown begins here, but before it starts up, take a look at a Sectionals preview.
The four winners to come out of the two 20 team divisions in a single elimination-style tournament advance to the double elimination tourney.
Northern Division: None.
Southern Division: West Haven, East Haven, Shelton, Orange, Branford, Guilford, Cheshire, Middletown.
Day 1 Games (all at noon)
Team: West Haven
Next game: Saturday at Meriden (14-10) of Zone 3 at Legion Field, Meriden.
The skinny: A 4-10 record on the road doomed West Haven and could be a bad omen with this game being on the road. So did giving up 121 runs to 109 scored this season. West Haven finished the season on a two-games slide and went 4-6 in its last 10. Meanwhile, Meriden only gave up 89 runs this season, good for third best in Zone 3. Meriden went 7-3 at home and also dropped its last two of the season.
Next game: Saturday vs. Wilton (13-14) of Zone 4 at Shelton High, Shelton.
The skinny: Shelton went 12-2 at home, the only team with a better home record was 14-0 Branford. Shelton closed the season going 5-5 in its last 10 and its 87 runs against tally was good for third best in Zone 2. Wilton also kept runs off the board, only giving up 83. However, Wilton's issue was scoring runs, as the Zone 4 posted a zone-worst 78 runs. Wilton stumbled to the finish line, going 2-8 in its last 10.
Next game: Saturday at Danbury (17-10) of Zone 5 at Danbury High, Danbury.
The skinny: Guilford put the runs up, scoring a Zone 3 second-best 141 runs. Guilford also closed the season on a five-game winning streak. It also went 7-3 in its last 10. Opposing Guilford is a Danbury team that went 10-3 at home this season. Danbury gave up 95 runs this season, too.
Day 2 (All games at 1)
Team: East Haven
Next game: Sunday vs. Guilford/Danbury winner at East Haven High, East Haven.
The skinny: East Haven closed the season on a seven-game winning streak, matched only by Branford which also won seven. East Haven's 164 runs were also second best in the zone. East Haven is the only Zone 2 team with a better road record (10-2) than home record (9-6).
Day 3 (All games at 3:30)
Next game: Monday vs. East Haddam/Ridgefield/Trumbull winner at Palmer Feld, Middletown.
The skinny: Middletown closed the season on a bad note, going 4-6 in its last 10. However, the sloppy finish does not negate Middletown's zone second best runs against total of 67. Middletown went 10-5 at home.
Next game: Monday vs. West Haven/Meriden/Norwalk winner at Orange
The skinny: Orange is arguably the second-best team in the state, with Branford earning the distinction as the Nutmeg state's best. Orange scored a Zone 2 best 197 runs and only gave up 53. Orange was consistent at home (11-3) and on the road (11-2) and closed the season on a five-game winning streak.
Day 4 (All games at 3:30)
Next game: Tuesday vs. East Haddam/Ridgefield/Trumbull/Middletown winner at Branford High, Branford
The skinny: Branford only gave up 15 runs all season. They collected shutout after shutout and closed the season on a seven-game winning streak. Arguably the state's best team.
Next game: Tuesday vs. Guilford/Danbury/East Haven/Oakville winner at Cheshire High, Cheshire
The skinny: Cheshire went a perfect 10-0 on the road and a solid 12-2 at home. The top team in Zone 3 only gave up 44 runs this season and closed the season going 8-2 in its last 10.