Leo Durocher, the diminutive but feisty manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s (his nickname was “The Lip”) once said he never saved a pitcher for tomorrow because it might rain. So we know how Durocher would handle the dilemma facing Windsor in the Class LL tournament.
There was a time when it seemed as if Windsor might not reach the Class LL tournament, but a five-game winning streak, including a 4-3 upset over East Catholic, has placed them right in the middle of the LL bracket. The Warriors opening game will be against Newington (12-8) on Tuesday and the winner will meet top-seeded Glastonbury (18-2) the next day.
Windsor has played Glastonbury twice and lost both times. Once the score was 11-1. Once it was 2-0. Guess which game Devin Over, the hard-throwing right-hander on his way to UConn, pitched?
So Windsor coach Joe Serfass must determine whether to pitch Over against Newington, a team the Warriors might handle without him, thus saving Over for a potential meeting with Glastonbury. Of course, if Serfass follows that path and Newington wins then Serfass will have sent seniors Albert Nunes, Brian Mazella and Garrett Thomas into the summer without throwing a rested ace in the state tournament.
This is why coaching isn’t easy. One suspects Over will pitch against Newington.
Windsor isn’t the only local team in the tournament.
Manchester (9-11) will meet Danbury in Class LL. The Indians were 2-8 over the final 10 games but seniors Adan Portilla, Charles McComber, Ryan Fisher, Matthew Webber, Michael Spencer, David Grande, Jeffrey Cate, Travis Mistretta, Nolan Cardwell and Christopher Montanez have enough experience to know the tournament is an entirely new season.
In Class L, No. 33 Tolland defeated No. 32 New Fairfield 12-5 to earn the right to play No. 1 Torrington. Seniors Troy Ciesco, Corey Keane, David Ferris, Nick Cassarino and Alex Clifford will be looking to manage an upset.
No. 10 Fermi (13-6) can already take satisfaction in delivering the school its first Central Connecticut Conference division title. Now seniors Andrew Roy, Pat Bordeau, Joe Bowker, Tyler Barile, Jeff Kraucunas, Trevor Breton and Travis Smith are looking to make a run into June. The Falcons begin with Woodstock Academy and, with a win, would likely travel to Sheehan-Wallingford which meets North Haven. This is as difficult double.
No. 24 Cheney Tech gets Bacon Academy. Seniors Rob Bolduc, Ben Begin, Dan Lima, Jake Haley, Chris Porter and Ryan Benton closed on a two-game losing streak but won three games against non-Tech schools, which bodes well for a strong showing.
No. 22 seed Rockville (12-8) meets Bristol Eastern (13-7), which is a tough draw. The two sides have a significant number of opponents in common, but it’s difficult to make much from the information. Eastern beat Tolland and E.O. Smith by a combined 21-6 but Rockville beat both teams twice. Eastern beat Plainville 7-2. Plainville beat Rockville 11-2 on Opening Day, but the Rams beat Conard 1-0 while Eastern lost to Conard 5-2. So if the results argue the two teams are similar it will likely come down to how well each team handles tournament pressure. Rockville will rely on seniors Alex Schwarz-Grzesiak, Bryan Leonard, Taylor Botteron, Kevin Babcock, Patrick Witham, Tyler Glidden, Kamyno Royal and Alex Mann for leadership.
Enfield (14-5) is the No. 5 seed in Class M but would do well not to underestimate No. 28 Weston (9-11), which plays a difficult schedule. The Raiders have won three of their last four or three of their last six, depending upon how you want to look at it. Seniors Joseph Turcotte, Edward Lajoie, Ian McDonald, Aric Gates, Dan Cezus and Nick VanOudenhove lead a team that is relatively young. Weston has eight seniors.
It’s hard to know what to make of No. 13 Ellington (12-7) and its draw. The Purple Knights will host Montville (12-8) in a game that is difficult to forecast since neither team played a cross-state game. Ellington also comes in on a two-game skid but Dustin Mocadlo, Justin Vamvilis, Kevin Dwire, Zach Graves, Matt Janiga and Ryan Anderson can rely on last year’s run to the quarterfinals as a blueprint.
As for No. 27 Suffield (9-11), the Wildcats drew a favorable first round opponent in Wilcox Tech-Meriden but Luke Allen, Kevin Gundersen, Kevin Chmiel and Mario Frare manage to extend their season another day they will need their best in the second round against either Seymour or Haddam-Killingworth. Either way it makes for some lengthy road trips.
East Catholic (17-3) has one of only three byes in Class S and will play the winner of Thomaston-East Granby. The Eagles won 15 straight games during the middle of the season but closed 2-2. Fortunately, neither Glastobury nor Windsor plays in Class S so seniors Sean Coughlin, John Brownell, Jack Molleur, Tucker Panciera, Mike McMahon, Kelvin Sims, Chris Brodeur, Jason Smith, Nick Fleming and Dan DiFiore merely need to focus on returning to the winning baseball they played all season.
Perhaps one team who will be waiting for East Catholic at the end of the bracket is Windsor Locks, the No. 3 seed, which closed the season 6-1 to finish 16-4. Charles Vogt, Michael Spath, Mike Chemolowski, Brian Oddo, Zachary Sherman, Patrick Roy, Joshua Poissant and Ben Bolin will open with either Somers or Housatonic Regional. The Raiders are intimately familiar with Somers. They beat the Spartans 1-0 in the final game of the regular season. For Somers, seniors Joshua Fredette, Jacob Scheuer, Justin Liquor, Peter Vamvilis, Adam Guerrette, Jonathan Merrick, James Oakley and Ryan Bartolf will be looking for help from the arm of junior Jake Alvaro to make their season last a few more weeks. Certainly any team that tossed two no-hitters (by different pitchers) during the season has to be considered a threat in a one-game knockout tournament.
AROUND AND ABOUT
In lacrosse, No. 12 Windsor got a tough draw in the Class M tournament. Seniors Matthew Bianchi, Edward Burke, Scott McOmber, Alexander Sedergren, Justin Daniels, Perry Booker, Jonathan Misseri and Cory Fullana will try to extend their careers against No. 5 Wilton.
In Class S, top-seeded Somers will meet the winner of Old Saybrook and Waterford. The Spartans are undefeated and the graduating class of Daniel Bell, Matthew Garcia, Neil Cardwell, Jon Pellegrino, Nicholas Marrocchini, Matthew Lynch, Michael Hanna, Zachary Thresher, Quinn Aslin, Daniel McDonald and Garrett Ficara aim to head off to college with a state championship and an undefeated season.
No. 10 Suffield (8-8) is significantly less experienced but will meet a more familiar opponent in Granby. Andrew Fahle, Justin Abrams, Zachary Biederman, Cory Allen, Christian Skawski and John Kopec are the only seniors for the Wildcats.
No. 11 Ellington (8-8), led by C.J. Schiessl, Stephen Pernal, Brian Borbas, Aaron Daley, A.J. Barone, Connor Defemia and Logan Marcus, qualified on the final day of the regular season with a win over Rockville. The Purple Knights will meet Lewis Mills-Burlington.
In Class M volleyball, No. 5 Fermi gets a bye to the second round where it will meet Bloomfield. Seniors Brian Carey Joseph Fragomeni and Nick Robert helped defeat Bloomfield 3-0 on May 6, but Bloomfield got revenge with a 3-0 victory less than a week later.
No. 8 Enfield meets Farmington in the first round with the winner to face top-seed Darien in the second round. Seniors Kishan Vachhani, Conor Boyle, Harrison Kime and Pete Rutkowski helped defeat Farmington twice this season.
Windsor’s Daniel Jamieson is the top track qualifier in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the boys Class L meet. Teammate Zachary Langs is the top qualifier in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. In Class MM, Tolland’s Brian Fowler had the best regular season time in the 1,600 meters while Cheney Tech’s Tevin James will be the top seed in the long jump. In Class S, East Catholic’s Andrew Hastings is the top seed in the discus and Jacob Shippee is No. 1 in the javelin.