Friday, June 10, 2016

Wolcott baseball goes for first state title tonight

Wolcott baseball has a chance to make history tonight.

The eighth-seeded Eagles are going for a historic state championship in the Class M title game against No. 14 Northwestern Regional at 7 p.m. at Palmer Field in Middletown. In boys sports, Wolcott owns championships in golf (2011) and boys outdoor track (1969). This will be the first time the Eagles have played for a state baseball championship.

Wolcott baseball takes aim at its first state title tonight.
People in Wolcott know how big the game is. The players and their fellow students know how big the game is. Just look at Twitter over the last couple days. Everyone is being asked to wear red and have a "Red Out" at Palmer Field (someone even posted about a "White Out" on Twitter).

This is the biggest game in Wolcott baseball's history. No need to say it any other way.

The Eagles went 14-6 in the regular season. Wolcott was 5-5 after 10 games, then closed the season with nine wins in the last 10 contests.

The Eagles beat St. Paul in a NVL Tournament quarterfinal road game, then had Holy Cross on the ropes in an NVL semifinal. Wolcott suffered a brutal 9-8 loss, but maybe that loss turned out to be the motivation that the team needed.

The Eagles were the No. 8 team in Class M and opened with No. 25 Bacon Academy. Wolcott and Bacon were tied 2-2 into the sixth, then the host Eagles ripped off four runs to take a 6-2 victory. 

A second round game against No. 9 Ellington was even more insane. The Eagles trailed the Purple Knights 11-4 in the fifth inning, but scored seven times to tie the game. Ellington again took the lead at 12-11 and held it into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Wolcott rallied for two runs and walked off with a 13-12 victory.

In the quarterfinal round, Wolcott upended top-seeded Waterford 5-2. The strong play continued for the Eagles in the semifinals as they buried No. 4 Haddam-Killingworth 10-1.

That run has put Wolcott into its first state final, and the juices are sure to be flowing. The Eagles have been led by senior ace and co-captain Ike Negretti. Offensively, many have contributed to the effort, including but not limited to Steve Urbanski, Matt Warren, Ray Bartoli, Jacob Gabriel and Eric Gillotti.

Wolcott faces a Northwestern Regional program that is in its second state final in the past four years. The program has been in two state title games and has yet to win a championship.

The Highlanders smacked No. 30 Wolcott Tech 8-0 in the first round, then upset No. 3 Tolland 2-0 in the second round. Northwestern blasted no. 27 Stonington 11-2, then took down defending state champion Sheehan, the No. 15 seed, 6-1, to reach the final.

It's the final game for Wolcott seniors Negretti, Jacob Ramos, Nate Murphy, Brad Grasso, Christopher Hull, Warren, Gabriel, Gillotti and Philip Olmstead. These Eagle seniors hope to make history and leave the program with its first state title.

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