Tuesday, May 31, 2016

TUESDAY'S TOURNEY ROUNDUP: Mastropietro and Spina reach Class M doubles semifinal round

The great run of Wolcott boys tennis duo Matt Mastropietro and Matt Spina continued on Tuesday.
Mastropietro and Spina, ranked No. 12 in Class M doubles, took down the No. 5 tandem of Mukesh Kurumbail of East Lyme, by the score of 7-5, 6-3. In the quarterfinal round, Mastropietro and Spina continued their amazing run with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Jeff Eng and P.J. Malafronte of Guilford. Eng and Malafronte entered as the No. 4 seed.
Mastropietro and Spina will face Miles Conlin and Daniel O'Neill of Branford in the semifinal round at Yale University tomorrow. Conlin and O'Neill are the No. 9 seed.

Both singles and doubles are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

First game, first win for WCA softball
What an amazing first varsity year it has been for Waterbury Career Academy softball. 
The Spartans are the No. 7 seed in Class S and earned a first round home game at Huntingdon Park. All WCA did was smoke No. 26 Parish Hill 21-6 in that first tournament game. The Spartans get another home game tomorrow at 4 at Huntingdon against No. 10 Stafford.

Long road trip doesn't matter for BC baseball
The Rams are the No. 20 seed in Class LL, and that put them on a long bus ride to Greenwich to face the No. 13 Cardinal. Central pulled out a 3-0 win, however, making the long ride back a very pleasant one.
The Rams make another long bus ride tomorrow to play No. 4 New Milford at 3:30.

Two wins for St. Paul
The Falcons were home in baseball and softball, and each emerged with a first round victory.
St. Paul baseball, ranked fourth in Class S, smacked No. 29 Coginchaug 15-6 to earn a second round matchup tomorrow against No. 13 Notre Dame-Fairfield. That game is scheduled for 3:30.
No. 15 St. Paul softball earned its second matchup in the past three years with Thomaston by rolling over No. 18 Westbrook by a 9-1 score. The Falcons and Golden Bears are scheduled to start tomorrow at 4. Thomaston is the No. 2 seed.

Bristol Eastern baseball wins at Muzzy
The Lancers, the top seed in Class L, did what they had to do and knocked off No. 32 Joel Barlow by a 2-0 tally at Muzzy Field.
In the second round, Eastern will face No. 16 Windsor tomorrow at 3:30 at Muzzy.

Holy Cross baseball also moves on
The Crusaders, seeded second in Class S, jumped all over No. 31 Somers and emerged with an 11-4 victory.
Holy Cross earned another home game in the second round, tomorrow at 3:30 against No. 15 Gilbert.

Kaynor Tech softball gets win, Vega a milestone
The Panthers, seeded 15th in Class M, won 5-4 over No. 18 University. In the game, pitcher Nathalia Vega recorded her 500th career strikeout.
Kaynor Tech earned a second round game against No. 2 Wilcox Tech, tomorrow at 4 p.m. in Meriden.
 


SEASON OVER
These teams saw their seasons come to an end. They are listed with their final record, which includes regular season and the state tournament.
Sacred Heart baseball (13-9)
Waterbury Career Academy baseball (10-11)
Kaynor Tech baseball (11-9)
Wolcott softball (11-10)
Bristol Eastern softball (9-12)
Sacred Heart softball (8-13) 

A day in the state tournament: A Wolcott double dip, then a finale at Bristol Central

Working an early morning shift has its advantages.
I was able to get out and get to some CIAC state tournament events today. I started out at Wolcott High School, where the Eagles were hosting Class S girls tennis second and Class M baseball first round contests.
Wolcott's Kaylee Bosques hits a forehand return during her No. 2 singles match.
Wolcott girls tennis had a solid season, but it wasn't meant to be for the No. 8 seed against No. 9 Old Saybrook. The Eagles were downed 6-1 by the Rams and saw their season come to an end with a record of 15-4.
After spending some time at girls tennis, I took in the last couple innings of the Class M first round baseball game between No. 8 Wolcott and No. 25 Bacon Academy. 
Wolcott's Ike Negretti delivers a pitch during a Class M first round baseball game against Bacon Academy.
The Eagles and Bobcats were locked in a 2-2 tie entering the top of the sixth inning. Bacon threatened to grab a lead when it loaded the bases, but Ike Negretti got out of it with a strikeout. Two-run singles in the bottom of the inning by Nick Longo and Nate Murphy gave Wolcott a 6-2 lead. Negretti closed out the game in the seventh, and the Eagles moved on. Wolcott will play No. 9 Ellington tomorrow at 3:30 at home. 
My last stop of the afternoon was down Route 69 to Bristol Central High School. The host Rams were taking on another bunch of Rams from New Canaan. The young New Canaan squad jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, then Central used its senior experience and some long at bats to come back.
"They're a young team, and they came out on fire," Central head coach Monica Hayes said. "They took advantage of some missed spots and put us on our heels."
Hayes said her team's senior experience was key. Central's hitters know how to battle, and battle they did.
Bristol Central head coach Monica Hayes talks to her team during the seventh inning
of a Class LL first round game against New Canaan.
Big hits came from all over the lineup, including Allie Martel and Sam Laviero. There was also Sarah Strilkauskas and Alyssa Pasniewski, who providing hits at the bottom of the lineup. 
At one point, Lindsay Holden made the New Canaan pitcher throw 11 pitches before hitting the 12th for a single. Holden didn't score, but she made the pitcher work. Alexa Caron put in a similar at bat.
"They were selective, especially when [the pitcher] started struggling," Hayes said.
Ali Holden settled down in the circle, and she punctuated the 8-4 win with a strikeout for the game's final out. Central (16-5) faces No. 23 Darien tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Bristol Central High School.

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Wolcott's Mastropietro and Spina only area boys tennis players left

You already know about St. Paul girls tennis reaching the Class S state tournament quarterfinal round (they beat Sacred Heart yesterday), but there was plenty more tennis going on this past weekend.
Here's a quick wrap-up of the opening weekend of the state tournament:

BOYS TENNIS
Class S
Holy Cross and Sacred Heart both had singles and doubles players in the Class S tournament, but none made it out of the second round.
The Crusader combo of Daniel Huang and Liam Palilla defeated Francis McGuire and Thomas McGuire of East Hampton 6-0, 6-1 in the first round. In the second round, Huang and Palilla lost 6-0, 6-0 to East Catholic's Hunter Stone and Troy Romano. Stone and Romano are the No. 2 seed in Class S doubles.
Holy Cross also saw Dom Setaro and Connor Solik reach the second round. Setaro and Solik took down Garrett Jordan and Kienan Tierney of East Hampton 6-2, 6-2. In the second round, Setaro and Solik were downed by Patrick Lazor and Timothy O'Donnell of Northwest Catholic, 6-1, 6-0. Lazor and O'Donnell are the No. 11 seed in Class S doubles.
For the Hearts, David Gallino and Michael Saunders won a wild three-set match against Westbrook's Phillip Hartzell and Austin Herzy in the first round. The scores were 2-6, 6-1, 12-10. Gallino and Saunders advanced to play Lyman Memorial's Stephen Gervase and Alex Starr, the No. 4 seed. Gervase and Starr won 6-2, 6-0.
No singles player from Holy Cross or Sacred Heart made it out of the first round.

Class M
Wolcott was able to put several players in the singles and doubles tournaments. 
The most successful are Matt Mastropietro and Matt Spina, ranked No. 12 in doubles. After a first round bye, Mastropietro and Spina took down Jack Hegarty and Fazil Quaisar of Brookfield, 6-4, 6-3. Mastropietro and Spina are scheduled to play No. 5 seed Mukesh Kurumbail and Davon Chen of East Lyme today in the third round. 
In singles, Alex Hale won his first round match 6-1, 6-1 over Shawn Magill of Lewis Mills. Hale lost 6-2, 6-0 to Mike Thramann of Avon in the second round. 

Class L
The Bristol Eastern doubles team of Greg Plachno and Nicholas Trottier advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Dylan Condon and Charith Tirumani of Masuk. Their reward was the top-seeded duo of Jordan Lord and Henry Murphy of Wilton, who won 6-0, 6-0.
In singles, Bristol Eastern saw Muhammad Abdousalam won an exciting three-set match, 6-4, 1-6, 10-7, over Torrington's Scott Dixon in the first round. Abdousalam's reward was Newington standout Ron Abraham, who beat Abdousalam 6-0, 6-0. Devon Plourde won an opening round match, 8-1 over Hunter Seegers of New Milford. Plourde then faced top seed Roy Smith of Hillhouse, who beat Plourde 6-0, 6-0.
Colin Savino was the lone Bristol Central player in the tournament. He lost 6-1, 6-1 to Joseph Alvord of Pomperaug in the first round.

Note: The boys tournament is singles and doubles only, no team against team competition. The girls tournament features team vs. team, then an open individual competition.

TODAY
There is a ton going on. I will do my best to wrap it up later tonight, but sorry in advance if I miss anything.  

St. Paul girls tennis downs Sacred Heart in Class S first round

On a day where the weather forecast wasn't promising, Sacred Heart and St. Paul kept their Class S first round girls tennis tournament matchup on as planned.
The NVL foes battled it out on Monday afternoon at Fulton Park, and the visiting Falcons pulled out a 4-3 win over the Hearts. It's the second straight victory for St. Paul in this year's Class S tournament. The Falcons took down Immaculate on Saturday at Bristol's Peck Park in a qualifying round matchup.
St. Paul faces the winner of No. 2 Valley Regional and No. 15 Westbrook tomorrow at 3:30 in the quarterfinal round. Ever since the 4-3 NVL quarterfinal setback to Watertown, St. Paul has regained momentum and is looking to ride it into the semifinals of Class S.
Sacred Heart finished a strong season with a record of 15-4. It was the last match for seniors Bridget Bergin, Aimee Duprey, Ireland Gilmore, Mary Gryniuk, Madison Laferriere, Brianna Montambault, Hannah Riseman and Jessica Spillane.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

St. Paul girls tennis takes down Immaculate in Class S qualifying round

The St. Paul girls tennis team began the Class S state tournament at the friendly confines of Peck Park in Bristol on Saturday against Immaculate.
The No. 10 Falcons did what they had to do and claimed a 5-2 win over the No. 23 Mustangs in their qualifying round matchup. St. Paul earned a first round tilt with NVL foe Sacred Heart, the No. 7 seed, on Monday at 1 p.m. at Fulton Park in Waterbury.
The Falcons and Hearts faced each other once during the regular, on April 19 at Fulton. Sacred Heart knocked off St. Paul 5-2 that day. 
The Hearts were the top seed in the NVL Tournament and made it to the semifinal round, where they were defeated by eventual league champion Naugatuck.

Friday, May 27, 2016

QUICK LOOK: Locals in the state tournament

The state tournament pairings have been released by the CIAC, and here's a quick look at where the locals are seeded:

PLEASE NOTE: Times and locations may end up getting changed. Check the CIAC Tournament website for the latest updates!

YOU'RE NO. 1!
  • For the second straight year, Bristol Eastern baseball is the top seed in Class L. The Lancers open the tournament with a first round game against No. 32 Joel Barlow Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Muzzy Field.
  • A year after winning a Class S state championship, Holy Cross softball is the top seed in Class S. The Crusaders have a bye in the first round and face the winner of No. 16 Coventry and No 17 Tourtellotte Wednesday at 4 p.m. in a second round game.
ALSO A TOP 10 SEED
  • Holy Cross baseball is the No. 2 seed in Class S. The Crusaders take on No. 31 Somers Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
  • St. Paul baseball is the No. 4 seed in Class S. The Falcons host No. 29 Coginchaug Tuesday
  •  at 3:30 p.m.
  • Waterbury Career Academy softball is the No. 7 seed in Class S. The Spartans are making their first state tournament appearance, and oh yeah, this is their inaugural varsity season. WCA plays No. 26 Parish Hill in a first round game Tuesday at 4 p.m.
  • Bristol Central softball is the No. 7 seed in Class LL. The Rams host No. 26 New Canaan Tuesday at 4 p.m.
  • Sacred Heart girls tennis is the No. 7 seed in Class S. The Hearts will get the winner of St. Paul/Immaculate Monday at 1 p.m. in a first round matchup.
  • Wolcott baseball is the No. 8 seed in Class M. The Eagles play No. 25 Bacon Academy at home Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
  • Wolcott girls tennis is the No. 8 seed in Class S. The Eagles host the winner of a qualifying round match between No. 9 Old Saybrook and No. 24 New London. The first round matchup is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. at Wolcott High School.
  • Sacred Heart baseball is the No. 9 seed in Class S. The Hearts will host No. 24 Old Lyme Tuesday at 2 p.m.
  • St. Paul boys lacrosse is the No. 10 seed in Class S. Since there are only 22 teams in Class S, the Falcons go on the road Wednesday to play No. 7 North Branford at 4:30 p.m.
  • St. Paul girls tennis is the No. 10 seed in Class S. The Falcons play No. 23 Immaculate today at 1 p.m. in a qualifying round matchup.
THE REST
These are listed in alphabetical order by school name. Opponent, date and time also listed.

Bristol Central
  • BASEBALL -- No. 20 seed, Class LL first round at No. 13 Greenwich, Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
Bristol Eastern
  • SOFTBALL -- No. 27 seed, Class LL first round at No. 6 Amity, Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Kaynor Tech
  • BASEBALL -- No. 21 seed, Class M first round at No. 12 Plainfield, Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
  • SOFTBALL -- No. 15 seed, Class M first round vs. No. 18 University, Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Sacred Heart
  • SOFTBALL -- No. 29 seed, Class S first round at East Granby, Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Waterbury Career Academy
  • BASEBALL -- No. 21 seed, Class S first round at No. 12 Portland, Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
Wolcott
  • SOFTBALL -- No. 23 seed, Class M first round at No. 10 Stonington, Tuesday at 4 p.m. 
For outdoor track and field, divisional start lists are to be posted by 3:30 p.m. today, according to the CIAC. Pairings for boys tennis are scheduled to be released by 8 p.m. today. Outdoor track and field divisional start lists have been released, as have the pairings for the boys tennis tournament. Go to this site for those details. Golf isn't scheduled to be released until next Thursday by 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

QUICK BITES: St. Paul's Natasha Kempes wins NVL girls tennis singles title

St. Paul junior Natasha Kempes claimed the NVL singles tournament championship on Thursday at Woodland Regional High School.
Kempes first beat teammate Victoria Kilbourne 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals, then dispatched Woodland's Ally Mayne in the final, 6-1, 6-1. Those were the scores reported by the Waterbury Republican-American on their website The Zone.
Kempes made the All-NVL team, along with Kilbourne.
In doubles, Sacred Heart's Brianna Montambault and Heather Brown were knocked out in the semifinal round.

BOYS LACROSSE
Watertown 11, St. Paul 6
The Falcons appeared in the Western Connecticut Lacrosse Conference final for the first time on Thursday afternoon, but the Indians came away with the victory and the title.
It has still been a very successful season for St. Paul, which saw its overall record drop to 11-7. The Falcons are the No. 10 seed in Class S and will play at No. 7 North Branford (12-4 regular season) next Wednesday in a first round matchup at 4:30 p.m. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wolcott wins NVL boys tennis doubles title

Less than a week after claiming the NVL boys tennis team title, Wolcott now owns the doubles championship.
In an all-Eagle doubles final, the team of Jay Caggiano and Ryan Collins knocked off the tandem of Alex Hale and Jackson Yost in three sets. The set scores were 6-3, 4-6 and 6-4.
Wolcott No. 1 Matt Spina made it to the NVL singles final, where he lost a three-set heartbreaker to Woodland Regional's Mike Roulanaitis. The set scores were 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5). Spina had his chances, but Roulanaitis was able to rally, force the tiebreaker, and win the match.
All-NVL: Singles -- Mike Roulanaitis (Woodland), Matt Spina (Wolcott), Andrew Dzinski (Holy Cross), Sagan Butwell (Watertown); Doubles -- Jay Caggiano and Ryan Collins (Wolcott), Alex Hale and Jackson Yost (Wolcott), Haydon Frisbie and Dom Setaro (Holy Cross), Liam Palilla and Dan Huang (Holy Cross)

Rough night for Crusaders in NVL finals

It wasn't a good night for the Holy Cross baseball and softball teams on Wednesday at Naugatuck High School.
The No. 2 baseball team lost to top-seeded Oxford 9-3. On the softball diamond, the second-seeded Crusaders were blanked 6-0 by No. 1 Seymour and star pitcher Raeanne Geffert.
Here's a quick wrap on each contest:

BASEBALL
Oxford 9, Holy Cross 3: Matt Bonvicini was 3-for-3 at the plate for the Crusaders in their loss to the Wolverines.
Bonvicini had a solo home run and two doubles for Holy Cross (18-5). Tim Zupkus continued his hot hitting with two hits, including a double, and two RBI.
The Crusaders tallied a run in the top of the first inning, only to see the Wolverines get three of their own in the bottom frame. Holy Cross never got closer than 4-2 the rest of the way.
All-NVL: Ike Negretti (Wolcott), Matt Warren (Wolcott), Matt Bonvicini (Holy Cross), Peyton Stephens (Sacred Heart), Connor Crean (St. Paul)

SOFTBALL
Seymour 6, Holy Cross 0: The Crusaders had just two hits off of the star right-hander Geffert, who struck out 12 and walked just one.
Sarah Lawton pitched all six innings, struck out three and walked three for Holy Cross (20-3). Lawton and Allie Brown had the only hits for the Crusaders.
All-NVL: Sarah Lawton (Holy Cross), Marissa Morales (Wolcott), Brigid Johndrow (St. Paul)
 

QUICK BITES: Waterbury Career Academy softball and baseball make state tournament in their debut seasons

What a debut for the Waterbury Career Academy softball team.
The Spartans closed out their inaugural regular season with a 5-0 win over Whitney Tech on Tuesday afternoon at Huntingdon Park. With the win, WCA closed the regular season at 16-4. 
Here's what head coach John O'Toole had to say on Twitter:
"Spartans cap off a great inaugural varsity season with a win over Whitney Tech finishing as the #7 seed with a 16-4 record."
That "#7 seed" O'Toole mentioned is where WCA is currently ranked in the Class L state tournament standings. The Spartans, who are an independent this season, played mostly technical high schools in their first season, though they also beat Kennedy twice and Crosby once. If the Class S standings hold where they are right now, WCA would host Parish Hill, another tech school, in the first round.
Bottom line is, no matter where WCA is seeded, it will be in Waterbury for its first-ever state tournament game. Quite the accomplishment for a first-year varsity program.

Baseball also in for WCA...
Speaking of state tournament qualifiers, the Spartan baseball team also made the cut. WCA baseball closed out its inaugural regular season with a 7-1 win over Two Rivers Magnet from Hartford. Jordan Lyman had three hits while Jacob Torres added two. Adrian Velez had a home run and three RBI for the Spartans.
WCA was 7-10 after a 9-6 loss to Kennedy on May 16 at Bucks Hill Park, but it won three straight games to close the regular season. The Spartan baseball team was also an independent and played mostly tech schools. 
WCA is 21st in the Class S state tournament standings. When those standings become official, the Spartans will open on the road against No. 12 Portland of the Shoreline Conference in their first-ever state tournament game.
 
NOTE: WCA will become a full-fledged NVL member in 2016-17.

NVL FINALS PREVIEW: Holy Cross aiming for two championships tonight

The Holy Cross baseball and softball teams will each be trying to earn a NVL title tonight at Naugatuck High School. The baseball team takes on Oxford at 6 p.m., then softball begins its quest a half hour later against Seymour.
Here's a look at both games:

BASEBALL
No. 2 Holy Cross vs. No. 1 Oxford, 6 p.m.
How they got here: Holy Cross--def. No. 7 Ansonia 6-1, def. No. 6 Wolcott 9-8; Oxford -- def. No. 8 Naugatuck 5-1, def. No. 4 Watertown 5-4. 
Records: Holy Cross 18-4, Oxford 18-4.
When they met during the regular season...: Oxford won 4-3 at Oxford High School on April 11. The Wolverines scored twice in the sixth inning to tie, then won the game in the seventh on an Andrew Cuomo RBI single. Cole Chudoba picked up the win while Fran Phelan took the loss.
Notes: Oxford is taking aim at its first NVL baseball title. If Holy Cross wins, it would be the 11th time it has taken the NVL, with the first coming in 1983. 
Holy Cross head coach Mike Phelan's quotes:
- As I said before the tournament, if we advance to the NVL championship, which is where we said we wanted to be, we're going to face three great teams.
- We throw strikes, we play good defense, and we hit when we need to hit.
Holy Cross player Tim Zupkus' quotes:
- It feels amazing [to reach the NVL final]. It's what we've been leading to all season. It's great to finally be here.

SOFTBALL
No. Holy Cross vs. No. 1 Seymour, 6:30 p.m.
How they got here: Holy Cross--def. No. 7 St. Paul 10-1, def. No. 3 Torrington 4-3; Seymour--def. No. 8 Woodland 1-0; def. No. 4 Oxford 9-0.
Records: Holy Cross 20-2, Seymour 21-1.
When they met during the regular season...: A day after losing 3-1 at St. Paul, the Crusaders were hammered at home, 11-0, by the Wildcats on the morning of April 30. Raeanne Geffert tossed a one-hitter with 17 strikeouts for Seymour. Leadoff batter Rebecca Johnson was a perfect 3-for-3 for the Wildcats that day. Alexandra Lombardo had the lone hit for the Crusaders.
Notes: This is actually the third meeting between Holy Cross and Seymour in the NVL title game since the tourney began in 1999, according to Seymour softball's Twitter account. Seymour has 17 NVL titles overall, according to its Facebook website. Holy Cross has seven overall, but none since 1992.
Holy Cross head coach Meg Dwyer's quotes:
- I think that throughout the season, they've worked hard.
- ON SARAH LAWTON'S PITCHING IN THE SEMIFINALS: She refocused and she got better the game went on.
- ON NICOLE STRIELKAUSKAS' TWO-OUT DOUBLE IN THE SEMIFINALS: She's the go-to player in those situations.
- ON AUBRY DEFOE'S WALK-OFF HOMER: Aubry works so hard, and it's great for her to come out and get that win.  
 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bristol Eastern baseball picks up win over Bristol Central at Muzzy Field

The first high school game at Muzzy Field this spring featured a pair of strong left-handed pitchers.
Nate Carney went for Bristol Eastern and Brad Burney took the ball for Bristol Central as the rival teams met at the historic park on Monday night.
Bristol Eastern's Nate Carney improved to 7-0 after Monday night's 4-2 win over Bristol Central at Muzzy Field.
Carney grabbed his seventh win of the season against zero losses as the Lancers knocked off Burney and the Rams by a score of 4-2. Eastern improved to 17-2 with the victory, including a 7-1 mark in the CCC South Blue Division. The Lancers claimed the division title by two games over New Britain.
Cory Fradette had a two-run triple for Bristol Eastern in its 4-2 victory over Bristol Central
on Monday night at Muzzy Field.
Cory Fradette had a two-run triple for Eastern, which will be the No. 1 seed in Class L for the second straight year. The Lancers have one final game against Hall on Wednesday at Bristol Eastern High School.
Central is 11-8 (4-4 Blue Division) and has one final game at home against Maloney on Wednesday. The Rams are currently 18th in the Class LL state tournament standings.

Bristol Central softball wraps up CCC South Blue Division title

It was a great way for the Bristol Central softball seniors to go out in their final regular season game.
Playing on Senior Day at home against the rival Bristol Eastern Lancers, the Rams left no doubt who the top team in the CCC South Blue Division was. Central rolled to a 12-2 victory over Eastern and clinched the division title. The Rams honored seniors Sam Laviero, Allie Martel, Alexa Caron, Brittany Stancavage, Bethany Reek, McKenna Driscoll and Lindsay Holden before the game, then sent them out with a division title.
Central finished the regular season with a 15-5 record, including a 7-1 mark in the Blue Division. Eastern was their closest competition and went 5-3 in the division (9-11 overall).

For photos from Senior Day and the game itself, check out T.J. Dowling's website.

Perseverance, hard work keep Holy Cross going in NVL baseball, softball tournaments

The Holy Cross baseball and softball teams both faced tough situations in their NVL semifinal games on Monday at Naugatuck High School.
On the baseball diamond, the Crusaders trailed the Wolcott Eagles 5-1, then were down 8-5 with just three outs left in their NVL postseason. 
As for softball, Torrington put Holy Cross in a quick 3-0 hole.
In both cases, the Crusaders came back to win in walk-off fashion, baseball by a 9-8 tally and softball by a 4-3 margin.
Here's how both Holy Cross teams pulled it out:

BASEBALL
Many teams fold under pressure. The Crusaders are the opposite.
"Our guys thrive on it," Holy Cross head coach Mike Phelan said.
One guy who didn't feel the pressure was freshman Tim Zupkus. Zupkus was 3-for-4 with a solo home run, a two-run single, and a double to the wall. Zupkus also scored two runs.
Holy Cross' Tim Zupkus (18) gets congratulations from his teammates after his solo home run on Monday
against Wolcott in a NVL baseball semifinal game at Naugatuck High School.
"He's a very confident player because he's a good player," Phelan said.
Phelan also had this to say: "Timmy's swinging a hot bat. You wouldn't think he's a freshman."
What did Zupkus have to say about playing under pressure?
"I feel like we feed off that," Zupkus said.
When Holy Cross got to within 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning and Matt Bonvicini came up with two runners on, Zupkus felt good.
Holy Cross' Matt Bonvicini puts a swing on the ball early in Monday's NVL semifinal against Wolcott. Bovincini later hit
a critical three-run home run to bring the Crusaders all the way back from a 5-1 deficit.
"When he stepped up to the plate, I had no doubt in my mind he was the right man for the job," Zupkus said.
Bonvicini launched a three-run homer to tie the game. The Crusaders had been down 5-1 to begin the inning, but they had new life.
A rough top of the seventh for ace pitcher Fran Phelan saw Holy Cross fall behind Wolcott 8-5. Coach Phelan had a message for his team as they got ready to hit in the bottom of the inning.
"One swing's not going to win it," Mike Phelan said he told his team. "We got to get a couple baserunners."
Fran Phelan was hit by a pitch to open the inning. Bonvicini followed with a walk, then Don Mangini singled to load the bases. Zupkus came up and ripped a two-run single down the left field line to make the score 8-7. Michael Keating was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, then Mangini scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
After a flyout for the first out, Adam Razza stepped to the plate. Razza got into a 2-2 count, fouled off a pitch, then took balls 3 and 4 for a walk-off walk and a stunning 9-8 win.
"Adam's last at bat, he fouled a couple balls off," Mike Phelan said.

SOFTBALL
How were the Crusaders able to respond to an early 3-0 deficit against Torrington?
They did so by relying on what got them there all season.
"I think that throughout the season, they've worked hard," Holy Cross head coach Meg Dwyer said.
Holy Cross softball was able to regroup after falling behind 3-0 to Torrington in the second inning
of Monday's NVL softball semifinal at Naugatuck High School.
Dwyer said the team kept its focus and determination for all seven innings, something it has done in other close wins this season. 
Pitcher Sarah Lawton settled down after a three-run second inning.
"She refocused and she got better as the game went on," Dwyer said.
The comeback began in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hannah Brown singled to lead off, then Allie Brown walked. Both advanced a base on Lawton's grounder to second, then Hannah Brown scored on a groundout by Alexandra Lombardo. With Val Nobrega at the plate, Allie Brown scored on a wild pitch to make the score 3-2.
The game stayed at 3-2 until the bottom of the seventh. Torrington standout pitcher Ali DuBois got a groundout and called third strike to put the Lady Raiders one out away from the win.
Sophomore Nicole Strielkauskas had other ideas. Strielkauskas, who brought home the first run of last year's state championship game with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt, doubled to keep her team alive.
"She's the go-to player in those situations," Dwyer said.
Up stepped Aubry DeFoe, and the count reached 2-2. DeFoe lined a homer on the next pitch over the center field wall to give Holy Cross a shocking 4-3 win. 

From all but done to the NVL championship game. It happened not once, but twice, for Holy Cross on Monday. Both teams take their shot at a NVL title on Wednesday, and they can thank their hard work and perseverance for that.

Monday, May 23, 2016

CRUSADER CRUSH: Holy Cross gets a pair of walk-off wins in NVL semifinals

What a day to be involved with Holy Cross on the diamond.
The Crusader softball and baseball teams each won their games via walk-off. Both move on to the NVL Tournament finals, which will be played Wednesday at Naugatuck High School.
Softball trailed Torrington 3-2 in the last of the seventh inning of their semifinal game at Naugatuck on Monday. Worse still, the Crusaders were down to their final out. Nicole Strielkauskas help Holy Cross going with a double, then Aubry DeFoe unloaded for a two-run, walk-off home run and a stunning 4-3 victory.
Holy Cross softball fell behind Torrington 3-0 in Monday's NVL semifinal, but ended up winning 4-3
on a dramatic two-run walk-off homer by Aubrey DeFoe.
"Aubrey works so hard, and it's great for her to come out and get that win," Holy Cross head coach Meg Dwyer said.
In the baseball semifinal, Wolcott jumped on Holy Cross for four runs and a 5-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning. The Crusaders responded in a big way. First, a sacrifice fly made the score 5-2, then Matt Bonvicini launched a three-run homer to tie the game.
Holy Cross freshman Tim Zupkus had this solo home run in Monday's NVL baseball semifinal against Wolcott, but he also added a key two-run single in the seventh inning of a wild 9-8 victory.
The Eagles surged ahead 8-5 in the seventh, but the Crusaders again had the response they needed. Tim Zupkus, who had already homered in the game, ripped a two-run single down the left field line to cut the deficit to 8-7. A wild pitch tied the game, then Adam Razza put together a terrific at bat before drawing a walk-off walk for the 9-8 win.
"As I said before the tournament, if we advance to the NVL championship, which is where we said we wanted to be, we're going to face three great teams," Holy Cross head coach Mike Phelan said.
Normally, it's pitching and defense that does it for the Crusader baseball team. This time, it was the bats.
"We did have good at bats," Phelan said. "We battled at the plate."
Both Holy Cross teams battled on Monday, and now each will play for a NVL title on Wednesday.

That's it for tonight. Look for more from me on Holy Cross softball and baseball tomorrow.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

NVL quarterfinal day: A Holy Cross sweep, and Wolcott baseball moves on

The NVL baseball and softball tournament quarterfinals were played Saturday, and several area teams moved on to Monday's semifinal round.
Holy Cross baseball and softball both picked up wins at Holy Cross High School. The Crusader baseball team took down Ansonia 6-1 while the softball team blew out St. Paul 10-1. Wolcott baseball also moved on, defeating St. Paul 4-3 on the road in Bristol.

Holy Cross baseball
The second-seeded Crusaders trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, then erupted for six runs to take the game from the seventh-seeded Chargers.
Connor Goggin singled to lead off, then Adam Razza drew a walk. A bunt single by Fran Phelan loaded the bases, then Matt Bonvicini singled to right field to drive in Goggin and Razza. Don Mangini singled to make it 3-1, then Tim Zupkus reached on an error to up the lead to 4-1. A William Marshall single brought in two more runs for the 6-1 advantage.
Phelan was terrific on the mound for Holy Cross. He pitched a complete game and gave up one run on four hits while compiling nine strikeouts. Phelan threw a ridiculous 61 of his 79 pitches for strikes and didn't walk a batter.
The Crusaders move on to play Wolcott. The semifinals are Tuesday at Naugatuck, according to The Zone (Waterbury Republican-American). Holy Cross and Wolcott play at 4 p.m., followed by Oxford and Watertown at 6:30 p.m.

Wolcott vs. St. Paul baseball
The No. 6 Eagles managed just three hits off of Connor Crean, but Matt Warren came up with a huge one when he smacked a two-run homer in the fifth inning. Warren's blast to right field scored himself and Steve Urbanski and gave Wolcott a 3-1 lead. A Ray Bartoli sac fly in the seventh scored Urbanski and made it 4-1.
No. 3 St. Paul rallied for two runs in the last of the seventh, one on a Nick Morrell single and another on a Jackson Hines sacrifice fly. Bobby White got a fly out and pop out to pick up the save and preserve the win for Isaiah Negretti and Wolcott.

Holy Cross vs. St. Paul softball
The second-seeded Crusaders scored four runs in both the first and second innings of their way to victory over the seventh-seeded Falcons.
Hannah Brown, Sarah Lawton and Aubrey Defoe (double) each had two hits. Allie Brown and Lawton scored two runs each while Alexandra Lombardo had two RBI. Hannah Brown, Lawton, Val Nobrega (triple), Nicole Strielkauskas and Defoe each had one RBI.
In the circle, Lawton gave up a single run on eight hits and struck out 11.
For St. Paul, Brigid Johndrow and Jessica Persechino each had two hits. Persechino had the lone RBI for the Falcons, who scored in the top of the fourth inning. Alessandra Milardo, Brooke Perez, Corinne Johndrow and Katelynn Oullette had one hit each.
Holy Cross plays No. 3 Torrington in a NVL semifinal matchup on Monday at Naugatuck High School. That game is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Information compiled from GameChanger (Holy Cross baseball, Wolcott baseball, Holy Cross softball).

 

Wolcott boys tennis beats Holy Cross for third straight NVL title

Holy Cross boys tennis put up a fight on Friday afternoon at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls, but Wolcott was just too much.
The Eagles beat the Crusaders 7-2 in the NVL Tournament team final and collected their third straight championship.
Wolcott claimed singles victories at No. 1, No. 2, No. 4 and No. 6. A sweep of the three doubles matches cinched it for the Eagles.
Wolcott has won 58 straight in the NVL, with the last loss coming in 2013.
Wolcott's Matt Mastropietro won over Holy Cross' Chris Frappier at No. 2 singles.
 The No. 2 singles match was the first to finish on the day, and it went to Wolcott's Matt Mastropietro, 8-3 over Chris Frappier. Frappier tried to battle his way back in, but Mastropietro was able to put him away.
Holy Cross' Liam Palilla claimed victory over Wolcott's Jay Caggiano at No. 3 singles.
 Holy Cross evened the team score at 1-1 with a victory at No. 3 singles from Liam Palilla, 8-4 over Jay Caggiano. Palilla, a tall player, used a strong serve to challenge Caggiano.
Wolcott's Matt Spina picked up a big win over Holy Cross' Andrew Dzinski at No. 1 singles.
A big match ended right after at No. 1 singles. Holy Cross' Andrew Dzinski, the top player in the NVL, had one loss entering Friday. The loss came to Wolcott's Matt Spina.
On Friday, Spina got Dzinski for the second time. The No. 1's went back and forth with each other in a strong matchup. It was a test of wills and strong volleys, and Dzinski closed to within 7-6. Dzinski threatened to even it up, but Spina was able to pull out the victory and put Wolcott ahead 2-1 overall.
Alex Hale won 8-1 for the Eagles over Haydon Frisbie at No. 4 singles. At No. 5 singles, Holy Cross' Dan Huang defeated Wolcott's Ryan Collins by an 8-5 margin. No. 6 singles went Jackson Yost, 8-2 over Dillon Collins.
According to Joe Palladino of the Waterbury Republican-American, Wolcott clinched the team title when the the No. 3 doubles team of Hale and Yost posted an 8-1 victory over the combination of Frisbie and Huang.
At No. 1 doubles, Spina and Mastropietro knocked off Dzinski and Frappier, 8-1. Caggino and Ryan Collins beat Palilla and Dillon Collins 9-8 (7-2).
The individual and doubles state tournaments are up next. Wolcott plays in Class M while Holy Cross heads to Class S.
 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Solid regular season for St. Paul baseball, but rematch with Wolcott looms in NVLs

St. Paul baseball closed out the regular season Wednesday with a 5-0 win over Derby on Senior Day.
Andrew Owsianko tossed a one-hitter for the Falcons, who finished the regular season with a 15-5 record.
Andrew Owsianko was solid for St. Paul in its season finale against Derby on Wednesday.
Pitching has been a key all season for the Falcons.
 "We had a good year, 15-5, nothing really to complain about," St. Paul first-year head coach Vic Rinaldi said Thursday at practice.
The Falcons earned the No. 3 seed in the NVL Tournament, and they earned a rematch with the No. 6 Wolcott Eagles on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a quarterfinal game at St. Paul Catholic High School. Wolcott beat St. Paul to win the NVL title last year.
"We like where we're at, we think we're in a good position to compete," Rinaldi said.
Rinaldi is happy to get the Eagles at home.
"It gives us somewhat of an advantage, I'd like to think," Rinaldi said.
What has helped St. Paul put together a successful season. One word: pitching.
"Our pitching has kept us in nearly every game," Rinaldi said.
Be it Owsianko, Connor Crean, Wes Lahey or others, the Falcons have been solid on the hill. Rinaldi gives credit to pitching coach Jarrett Stawarz, who was with St. Paul when Pat Holden was head coach. Holden moved on to Central Connecticut State University.
"[Jarrett] calls all of our pitchers, and he calls good games," Rinaldi said.
Rinaldi felt like St. Paul showed signs of breaking out on offense against Derby. After a hot start, the Falcons hit a rough patch. Rinaldi hopes St. Paul will hit its stride at the right time.
The postseason's a different animal, and it all starts Saturday against Wolcott.

Click here to see photos from Wednesday's Senior Day game against Derby.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jillian Kilmer signs with Sacred Heart for track and field

Jillian Kilmer at her signing Thursday at St. Paul Catholic High School. From left to right
are coaches Jim Husbands (track and field), Meaghan Pattani (track and field) and Joe Mone (basketball).
For senior track and field standout Jillian Kilmer, Sacred Heart University is the next closest thing to St. Paul.
Kilmer, who also had interest from Mount St. Mary's in Maryland and even a school as far away as Florida, went on a visit to Sacred Heart and fell in love with the school. 
"I really thought it was a good fit," Kilmer said. "It's like a bigger St. Paul."
Central Connecticut and Southern Connecticut state universities were also interested, but Kilmer's heart was set on Sacred Heart, the private Catholic school located in Fairfield.
On Thursday, Kilmer committed to the Pioneers when she signed a National Letter of Intent in front of family, friends and coaches from her three sports -- track, basketball and soccer.
"I can't wait!" Kilmer said. "It's going to be great. I love it."
Kilmer was truly appreciative of the support she has, not only Thursday, but during her lowest points while dealing with a torn ACL in her left knee. 
Sacred Heart wasn't scared away by the torn ACL. Kilmer did miss most of her basketball and track senior seasons, but she amazingly qualified for the state class meet recently in track in two different events while putting most of the pressure on her right knee.
"I was going to the gym a month after surgery and working out on the elliptical," Kilmer said, which gives an example of her determination. That will only help her at the Division I level.
For Kilmer, the biggest obstacle with the injury was a mental one. The injury occurred during the annual Rybczyk Memorial basketball tournament in Plainville last December. Kilmer walked off and said she begged head coach Joe Mone to put her back in. Mone told her she needed to get the knee checked out.
"It's always a possibility (torn ACL), but it wasn't the first thing I thought of," Kilmer said.
Kilmer, who has always been a great athlete at St. Paul, goes to physical therapy two days per week.
"It can't stop me," Kilmer said with a laugh.
Kilmer stood out in track, especially during the heptathlon at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London.
"There are way more people competing from all over the state, and they are my motivation," Kilmer said.
High jump is Kilmer's favorite event.
Kilmer has every intention of doing well at Sacred Heart. As long as she's healthy, more excellence from her would be no surprise at all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bristol Eastern baseball rallies for win over Berlin in battle of Class L's top teams

The much-anticipated showdown between the Bristol Eastern and Berlin baseball teams turned into a pitchers' duel between Nate Carney and Brendan Ebert.
When the dust settled on a windy day at Bristol Eastern High School, Cory Fradette brought home the winning run for the Lancers in a 2-1, eight-inning victory over the Redcoats. 
Bristol Eastern's Cory Fradette smacks a double in the bottom of the eighth inning. Fradette later scored the winning run.
Fradette had lifted a double between the left and center fielders with one out, then moved up to third on a wild pitch. He later scored the winning run on another wild pitch.
Eastern improved to 15-1 and has won 14 straight games since a 7-6, nine-inning setback on the road to Tolland. Berlin dropped to 13-2. The game pitted the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Class L against each other.
The Lancers trailed 1-0 and had just two hits entering the bottom of the seventh inning. Eastern was down to its final out when Evan McGinley stepped in against Ebert. With Adrian James on third (a single, wild pitch and ground out got him there), McGinley ripped a single to left to tie the game at 1-1.
Bristol Eastern's Evan McGinley ties the game in the bottom of the seventh with a RBI single.
Berlin threatened to go ahead again in the top of the eighth when it loaded the bases with two outs. Carney bore down and ended the threat with his ninth and final strikeout.
Fradette hit his double in the bottom of the inning, then made it home on two wild pitches with Nate Hickey at the plate to seal the comeback win.
Nate Carney was effective again on the hill for Bristol Eastern.
Carney allowed one unearned run on eight hits without walking a batter. The left-hander improved to 6-0 on the year. Carney also had a double in the game, but was later called out at home on a controversial call (see the photo from T.J. Dowling by clicking on that link).
Ebert was effective for most of the game, yielding four hits, one walk and two runs. The right-hander struck out four batters.
The walkoff win is the third this season for Bristol Eastern.

Wolcott boys tennis cruises past Kennedy in NVL quarterfinal

The top-seeded Wolcott boys tennis team began their run toward a third straight NVL Tournament title with a 9-0 quarterfinal sweep of No. 8 Kennedy on Monday afternoon at Wolcott High School.
Wolcott cruised to a 9-0 win over Kennedy in a NVL Tournament quarterfinal matchup on Monday.
 Wolcott dropped just eight games on the way to victory. Matt Spina defeated Rilind Racaj
8-1 in No. 1 singles. Matt Mastropietro claimed a 8-0 win over Florjan Bablusha at No. 2 singles. In No. 3 singles, Jay Caggiano knocked off Camilo Barrera 8-1. At No. 4 singles, Alex Hale shut out Frenkli Rusi 8-0. Ryan Collins won 8-1 over Klajdi Sosoli at No. 5 singles. At No. 6 singles, Jackson Yost won 8-0 over Jordan Crosby-Williams.
Wolcott also made quick work of its doubles matches against Kennedy. Hale and Jackson beat Racaj and Bablusha 8-2. Mike Perrault and Raheel Chowdhury won No. 2 doubles 8-3 over Barrera and Rusi. At No. 3 doubles, Ryan Watts and Qasim Gondal defeated Edgar Yepez and Joni Pasholi 8-0.
Wolcott will host No. 4 Naugatuck in the semifinals. 

Click here for more photos from the Wolcott-Kennedy quarterfinal matchup.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Blandino, Cruz playing in same NCAA Regional three years after being drafted by Reds

Three years ago, Matt Blandino and Manny Cruz were drafted by the same Major League Baseball team.
Felician University athletics
Blandino, a standout Bristol Central High School pitcher, was taken in the 33rd round by the Cincinnati Reds. Six rounds later, Cruz, a star shortstop and pitcher at Wolcott, was chosen. 
This week, Blandino and Cruz will play on the same field, only at the collegiate level.
Blandino's Felician University team, and Cruz's Southern New Hampshire University squad, are part of NCAA Division II's East Region. SNHU is the No. 2 seed, Felician is the No. 4 seed. The Penmen won the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament title while the Golden Falcons captured the CACC. Top-seeded Franklin Pierce, the NE-10 regular season champion, is the East Region host.
Both Blandino and Cruz had a chance to chase a dream, but each passed on signing with the Reds. 
Blandino went to Central Connecticut State University, made a stop at Tunxis Community College, then ended up transferring to Felician University in New Jersey. All Blandino did in his junior season was earn Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Pitcher of the Year honors, along with a spot on the CACC First Team.
SNHU athletics
Cruz has been at SNHU since his freshman year, and he was a second team All NE-10 selection at shortstop. Cruz's defense has been stellar, so good that a diving grab earned him a nod on SportsCenter's Top 10 one night. He has also been solid at the plate for the Penmen.
With Franklin Pierce having the only bye in the seven-team bracket, both Felician and SNHU hit the diamond Thursday. The Golden Falcons take on fifth-seeded Bridgeport at 11 a.m. The Penmen take on No. 7 Dowling at 3 p.m. The regional is double elimination, with the championship set to be played next Monday.
In 2013, Blandino and Cruz were drafted by the same team. This week, the college standouts from neighboring towns could end up facing each other on the same field.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bristol Eastern baseball hosts Berlin in Class L showdown tomorrow

They may not be in the same division any more, but Bristol Eastern (CCC South Blue) and Berlin (CCC South White) will meet on the baseball diamond at Bristol Eastern High School today at 3:45 p.m.
If you are a fan of local high school baseball, this game is worth getting out to. The contest pits Class L's No. 1 and 2 ranked teams against each other. Between them, they have 27 wins and just two losses. Each team is ranked in the Top 10 in the New Haven Register / GameTimeCT poll, and they have been mainstays there. Berlin was No. 5 in last week's poll while Bristol Eastern came in at No. 7
Bristol Eastern is 14-1 and is ranked No. 1 in the Class L state tournament standings. The Lancers have won 13 straight games since a 7-6 nine-inning setback against Tolland. That streak includes a 12-2 dismantling of East Catholic (13-3) yesterday at BEHS. The Eagles are no slouches in their own right -- they're ranked third in Class M.
How has Eastern been so good?
One reason is pitching. Left-hander Nate Carney (5-0) is a known commodity, but right-hander Tyler Troth (5-0) has been solid as well, leading to a devastating 1-2 punch. Gary Gagnier is 3-1 while Zach Marquis is 1-0.
Another reason is hitting. The Lancers can do plenty of that, as they displayed in a 14-hit attack yesterday against East Catholic. Nate Hickey was 4-for-4 with three RBI to lead the way. Back-to-back five-run outbursts in the fourth and fifth innings blew the game wide open.
Eastern has scored in double digits four times this season. Not surprisingly, they have won every one of those contests. 
It's not just Hickey hitting the ball. Others like Marquis, Gagnier and Adrian James have taken their turn leading the offense. Gagnier and Cory Fradette have each launched home runs this season.
Eastern has also been able to win close games. Twice this season, the Lancers have entered the seventh inning of a road game down two runs or more, without having a run of their own on the scoreboard. Eastern came out with a win in both of those games.
In an April 18 game at Beehive Stadium in New Britain, the Lancers trailed the Golden Hurricanes 3-0 entering their last at bat. Eastern scored four times to stun New Britain by a 4-3 score.
In a May 5 game at Bristol Central, Eastern trailed its rival 2-0 entering the seventh. The Lancers tallied three runs to rattle off a 3-2 comeback victory.
Eastern also owns walkoff wins over Wethersfield (4-3 on April 29) and New Britain (2-1 in eight innings on May 11).
If there is one issue with the Lancers, it has been picking the ball up. Eastern had made at least one error in 12 of 14 games, according to results reported to The Hartford Courant. There have been multiple times where three or more have been committed, including four -- the season high -- in the loss to Tolland.
If Eastern cleans up its defense, it could turn into a really dangerous team.

Speaking of potentially dangerous teams, include Berlin in that list. The Redcoats, ranked second in Class L, have one loss, 2-1 at home (Zipadelli Field) to Plainville on May 5. Berlin has won four straight games since. The Redcoats have also been really good at winning close games. In fact, nine of the 13 Berlin wins have come by two runs or less. The Redcoats own a victory over defending Class M champion Sheehan, a 6-5 win over Southington, and a 5-4 triumph over New Britain.

This game has the potential to be a classic. Don't miss out. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Wolcott baseball grabs Iron Division title with win over Woodland

Good pitching, good defense and timely hitting will win you some baseball games.
Wolcott was fortunate enough to get all three in a 3-1 Saturday afternoon win over Woodland Regional at Wolcott High School. The win gave the Eagles the Iron Division title.
Isaiah Negretti delivers a pitch during Saturday's Wolcott baseball game against Woodland.
First, the pitching. Isaiah Negretti, who is still battling back from strep throat, gave up one run in a complete-game effort.
"He's been throwing good all year," Wolcott head coach Tary Scott said. "Right now, he should be 6-0, but he's like 3-0."
Some things haven't gone Negretti's way, but he's a "gamer", according to Scott.
Next up, defense. Wolcott played that well, for the most part. There was one lapse in the top of the seventh inning that brought in the only run for Woodland.
"It's been that one mental lapse," Scott said of his 11-6 team. "If we put seven innings together, we'll be tough."
In one inning, Wolcott spun a 4-6-3 double play, then picked off a runner at first with a snap throw from home plate. There were also some good grabs in the outfield.
 
Last but not least, the offense.
Matt Warren blasted a triple off the left field wall in the bottom of the first inning. Ray Bartoli did his job, grounding out the other way to second base for the game's fist run.
In the second inning, Steve Urbanski singled to bring home the second run.
In the third inning, Nick Longo sent one into orbit over the left field wall for a solo homer and a 3-0 lead.
"Longo's a sophomore, he's been swinging the bat well," Scott said.
Nick Longo launches a solo home run for Wolcott.
Wolcott is 11-6 with three games left, but there is still plenty more potential to unlock, according to Scott, who has been the head coach since 1996.
"I still say this is probably the best team I've had since I've been here," Scott said. "We've just got to come together."
There's three games left in the regular season, then Wolcott looks to defend its NVL Tournament title. After that is the Class M state tournament. 

Click here to see my photos from the game.

Another undefeated regular season for Wolcott boys tennis

Rain may have knocked out most of Friday's area sporting events, but Wolcott boys tennis didn't let the wet weather dampen their quest for another undefeated regular season.
The Eagles took down Sacred Heart 8-1 at Wolcott High School to finish the regular season with a 16-0 record. Wolcott hasn't lost a regular season team tennis match since 2013.
Next up for a dominant Wolcott squad is the NVL team tournament, which begins either Monday or Tuesday with a quarterfinal round at the higher seed. Semifinals are Wednesday or Thursday, followed by the final on Friday at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. Next Saturday serves as the rain date for the team final. That schedule is from "The Zone". The individual tournament begins on May 23 at Woodland. The individual competition continues on May 25 at Woodland or Fulton Park.