Once again, we’re going to attempt a running blog here at a state championship game. It’s Seymour vs. Waterford for the Class M championship at Yale Field.
They’re announcing the starting lineups, so let’s get underway… SPB
I vote in the baseball state poll, conducted by Joe Mo of the NHR. It’s one of three polls of which I’m a voter. It’s also the one I give the least amount of credence.
After all, in baseball, more than any other sport, a team cannot be measured on a single game. The true strength and character of a team depends almost solely on the strength of its pitching staff. Even the best pitcher is capable of having an off-day. So if an ace is uncharacteristically giving up walks and home runs, there’s very little his teammates can do about it. It’s up to the other pitchers to account for these unlikely, but common snafus.
With that in mind, ideally you need about a five- or seven-game series to figure out how good one team is over another (in high school baseball, we’ll even accept the best out of three).
Yet we’re constantly asked to debate the merits of a team based on single games. The state tournament is the biggest culprit. How many times over the years have we seen too many of the 5 or 10 seeds getting knocked out by No. 28s or No. 30s?
That’s the problem, even if your ace has his usual stuff, he still can be trumped by the guy on the other team who happened to go 8-0 during an 8-12 season. That’s high school baseball, take it or leave it. (I’m more of a fan of the state’s American Legion tournament, where the best teams in the state at least get two games in a double-elimination format. Have a bad game, you still have one left.)
This is not to devalue the state champion, but to make some excuses for teams that really should have been in contention late in the year instead of sitting home the day after Memorial Day.
Anyway, in a week we voters will bang heads and come up with a No. 1 team–most likely either Amity (if it wins Class LL) or Waterford (if Amity loses and Waterford wins Class M).
If neither of these teams win, wish us all luck… we’re going to need it.
SPEAKING OF POLLS, in lacrosse (for which polls make a lot more sense)… If Greenwich and Darien win their respective state tournaments, who’s No. 1? I’ll have to go with Greenwich. If someone like Prep beats Greenwich and Darien can win Class M, they’re No. 1 again.
Because People absolutely go bonkers for this stuff (this stuff and recruiting)…
The League by League Tournament Scoreboard
Class LL: 1 SCC (Amity); 1 SWC (Bunnell); 1 FCIAC (Stamford); 1 CCC (Newington).
Class L: 1 SCC (Guilford); 1 NWC (Berlin); 1 SWC (Pomperaug); 1 CCC (Bristol Eastern)
Class M: 2 NVL (Seymour, Woodland); 2 ECC (Montville, Waterford);
Class S: 1 ECC (St. Bernard); 1 FCIAC (Trinity Catholic); 1 NWC (Northwest Catholic); 1 NCCC (Windsor Locks)
So, for those of you scoring at home (Joe Mo, this means you):
Two SCCs, Two FCIACs, Two CCCs, Three ECCs, Two SWCs, Two NWCS
Kind of a shocker over at Eastern where Fitch lost to Newington in the Class LL quarterfinals, 2-1 in 12 innings, which shakes up the brackets a bit.
I know we were all agog about Fitch, but I’m not saying Newington’s win is a real upset. After all Falcons’ All-American prospect Matt Harvey can only pitch every four days and, as Ned Griffen from the Day of New London said: “They’re going to have to win all of their games 3-1 or 2-1 because they can’t hit.”
That leaves Amity, which dispatched Masuk 4-0 tonight, as the odds-on favorite to claim the title. The Spartans play hot Stamford in the semifinals.
On the other side, Bunnell is finally playing the way we all felt it could when the season started. The Bulldogs and their star pitching staff edged Fairfield Prep to reach its first semifinal in (years?) They’ll play an obviously good Newington team. The Bulldogs need to get the bats going or they’re going to be in trouble.
Both of the Class LL semifinal games are at Yale Field on Tuesday.
Also, don’t look now but Seymour is quietly heading for a showdown with Woodland for the Class M championship. Both NVL teams reached the semifinals of that draw. Seymour plays defending champion Montville Tuesday at Eastern.
BTW, everybody should be lucky enough to hang out with Stratford baseball coach Joe Reitano during a game. He’s a treat, regaling me and Elm City Sports writer Mike Madera with stories of his coaching days in South America.
“This was in 1985,” Joe says after a sprawling story about boxing matches in Cartegena, Columbia, interspersed with segues into what he called his ‘inside baseball stuff.’ “My buddy and I are walking to a restaurant and we spot a chicken crossing the street. ‘I want that chicken,’ my buddy says.
“An hour later, we ate it.”
Cheshire 1, Southington 0.
Mercy 2, Amity 0
OK, so maybe softball isn’t THAT predictable.
But things like scoring the game’s only run on a Little-League play–a runner on third with two outs, a walk to the batter who keeps running to second, drawing a throw from the catcher, eliciting a rundown, enabling the runner on third to practically walk home–are annoying.
Now, we have Masuk embroiled in a tit-for-tat, whouldathunkit, suspended-after-nine 0-0 battle with league rival Newtown for the right to face Mercy in the semifinals. The bracket has certainly opened up for Masuk, who should now be a huge favorite to win Class LL. But, one little mistake in today’s resumed against Newtown and the Panthers will be going home.
So, yes. Unpredictable. Mea Culpa, softball peeps
But, still, let’s move the mound back to the college distance, huh? Until we do that, this is little league.