Tri-State League is still going strong

copyright Peter Wallace Register-Citizen newspaper June 16,2018

Northwest Corner baseball fans still miss the Torrington’s Titans in this second summer after their departure from the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. But Tri-State Baseball commissioner Eddie Gadomski is here to remind them they have the same high-level option — in home towns all over the area — they’ve had since the league was formed in 1934, with individual teams dating back much further than that. The league, open to players of any age as long as their skills and commitment are high enough, is better than ever.

“I’m amazed, on a yearly basis, how the talent level grows,” said Gadomski, in his 15th year as commissioner, including a year of double duty as the Titans’ general manager. Sprinkled with former and future minor leaguers, along with a preponderance of past, present and future college players, the league has grown to 17 teams under Gadomski’s guidance, in Litchfield; Terryville; Naugatuck; Bristol: Amenia, New York; Bethlehem; Wolcott; Waterbury; Southington; Winsted; Woodbury; Torrington; Burlington; and Canton. While too many youth leagues have trouble filling their rosters, Tri-State Baseball overflows. “Every year, I get about 30 emails from players wanting to join our teams and I have a hard time placing them because our teams are so stacked,” Gadomski says. “And that keeps raising the talent level.

“Why? Part of it is because of social media — we have our own web site — and publicity. Part of it is because we’re town oriented. And, as far as amateur baseball, we’re the highest level in the state (Tri-State teams have won the Stan Musial State Tournament for the last seven years). “We’ve had at least one person drafted by MLB every year and we have minor leaguers still wanting to get back there. The Pittsburgh Pirates released an area kid recently and told him to come back and play with Tri-State to work on his skills.” The league was a talented beer league before Gadomski’s arrival, but the popular commissioner instituted strict rules and penalties turning it into the serious family-friendly baseball institution it is now.

With a schedule spreading from May through August, talent spreads out enough to allow nine different league champions in the past 11 years. Naugatuck, Watertown, each of Litchfield’s two teams, Wolcott, Bethlehem, Waterbury, Winsted and Torrington have all won at least one crown at the end of an elaborate play-off system for the top 12 teams. Now seven or eight games into a season that typically sees teams playing Tuesday and Thursday evenings and all day Saturdays or Sundays, undefeated Terryville and Litchfield’s Tri-Town Trojans face each other at the top of the heap this Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Litchfield’s Community Field.

Following them in the current standings, the defending champion Naugatuck Dogs are 4-1; Bristol Greeners, 5-2; Amenia’s Monarchs, 4-2; Bethlehem Plowboys, Litchfield Cowboys, Valley Thunder and Wolcott Scrappers, all 4-3; Waterbury’s Blasius Chevrolet and Southington 66ers, 3-3; Winsted Whalers and Tribury Twisters, 3-5; Torrington Rebels, Burlington Hunters and Canton Crusaders, 1-6; and the East Mountain Cougars, 0-6.

The league plays its all-star game next Saturday, 2 p.m., at Amenia’s Doc Bartlett Field, honoring the Monarchs’ 85th season as an original Tri-State member. For detailed schedules, current ranking and other information, go to the league website, Connecticut Tri-State Baseball League.

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