Overtime

Dave Ruden offers news, commentary and analysis on the FCIAC and local sports

Baseball parity is reinforced; the best baseball/softball school is…?

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EXTRA-BASE-HITS2

Baseball parity has been a common theme here this spring and will not be going away anytime soon — likely at all.

It is not an FCIAC phenomenon: I just cast my vote in the state writers’ baseball poll. It took me twice as long as usual. I always look at my previous week’s vote in all polls I participate in, as my starting point, then factor in what happened during the past seven days, moving teams up and down, in and out.

Of the teams in last Monday’s top 10, only four — including New Canaan — went unbeaten during the week. One school lost all three games, another went 1-2.

It would take too long to research, but I will throw all my chips in that the state baseball poll is more fluid than any other sport. Part of it is the nature of baseball — it is much more prevalent for teams with inferior records than their opponent’s to win games.

Andrew Casali is one of the leaders for the New Canaan baseball team.

Andrew Casali is one of the leaders for the New Canaan baseball team.

Right now, in conference play, there are still five teams with just one loss. That will shake out as each of the teams start facing off more frequently. Already, though, New Canaan lost to St. Joseph, which lost to Wilton, which lost to Greenwich, which beat Ridgefield, which beat St. Joseph, which beat….

You get the picture.

On Wednesday, St. Joseph faces Trumbull for town bragging rights — and playoff positioning — while New Canaan plays Staples. Two days later, New Canaan takes on Ridgefield, while Danbury and St. Joseph meet.

Almost every day brings a game involving teams that right now have a legitimate chance at being the top seed for the FCIAC Tournament.

It will be surprising if the top seed can make it through a balanced league with fewer than three losses. You could make a case for each of the teams that currently would be one of the top six seeds in the league playoffs winning the conference championship.

If the season ended today, I would put my money on either Trinity Catholic or Fairfield Warde. They would be the No. 7 and 8 seeds, respectively.

Given how lower seeds have weaved their way to baseball championships in the past, it would appear to be a sound bet.

Which is the best baseball/softball school?

Just something random I was mulling the other day: Stamford is first and foremost considered a baseball and softball city. There is a rich tradition to back it up as the best city or town for the sports in the FCIAC.

Right now, if you took the combined records of the three Stamford schools in the two sports, Stamford comes in at 9-7, while Westhill and Trinity Catholic are 7-7. The softball teams at Westhill and Stamford are carrying the weight right now.

In the bigger picture, which FCIAC school is currently king and queen of the diamonds? Based not on combined records, but having the best chance to win twin titles, you would have to go with Danbury, St. Joseph and New Canaan.

Considering it is known more for lacrosse, tennis and golf in the spring, New Canaan’s 14-3 mark might seem a surprise. The Rams’ baseball team has to be considered a slight favorite in a pretty even field right now, while the softball team has demonstrated more grit thus far than in recent years, though it has a number of tough games ahead.

St. Joseph comes in next at 13-3, with Danbury right behind at 12-3. The races in both sports are wide open, which would make one school sweeping both titles an added longshot.

But if it were to happen, New Canaan, Danbury and St. Joseph would be the favorites.

Top of the order

BASEBALL

1. NEW CANAAN (8-1): An impressive week for the Rams, who won four games by a combined 43-8 margin. The only thing you could possibly question at this point is pitching depth, but it hasn’t been an issue to date.

2. ST. JOSEPH (6-2): The Cadets remain in the No. 2 spot — well, they were 1B last week — by virtue of a win over Greenwich, which…

3. GREENWICH (6-2): ….in a difficult week had quality wins over Wilton and Ridgefield to offset a quality defeat.

SOFTBALL

1. FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE (8-1): The Falcons have been rolling, and on a day when they struggled in the field and allowed 8 runs, they still rolled to an easy win over Staples by scoring 20.

2. DANBURY (6-1): Everyone is talking up the Hatters, whose only difficult conference game so far resulted in a one-run loss to New Canaan. Are they for real? A big game on Friday against St. Joseph should be telling.

3. ST. JOSEPH (7-2): The Cadets have their groove on right now. Their game against Danbury, along with Monday’s Ludlowe-Westhill contest, is the highlight of the week.

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Categories: General