Brass City Brew – Pitching looks strong as Sean Keegan, Eric Gormley and Marc DiDominzio all threw well in the Mother’s Day Weekend all-star game. Mike Padavoni is the Mariano Rivera of the Tri-State league. Brass City adds Mike ‘Joe Wieder’ Morin to an already powerful batting lineup that includes Justin McCulloch, Eric Rovenetti, Steve Carosella, and Paul Novakowski. Question is: Can Brass City find the drive to go 18-1 again during the regular season and finally win a championship?
Winsted Whalers – Anytime you have Donny Crossman and Toby Nylin on the mound then you are a championship contender. Ricky Langer, Charlie Putnam, Brian Stumpf and company will learn it’s easier to win a championship then it is to defend it.
Torrington Rebels – Pitcher Brandon Cardoni has lost nearly 80 pounds during the off season as he looks to form an intimidating duo with Dan Livingston on the mound. Steve Richards, Jay Wetheral, Darrin Gould and Shaq have many new faces to help try and reach the championship game this season. Former Cy Young winner Curtis Anthony takes over the managerial duties for the Rebels.
Bethlehem Plowboys – Sam Iverson and Jason Krajesky return to give Bethlehem a solid 1-2 punch on the mound. Watch out for youngsters Kyle Capaldo and Nick Chiovetti who join Aaron Granahan, Dave Green, Tony Geraci, and John Conlan (back from Iraq) as the youth movement is here for the Plowboys.
Tribury Pavers: Yes, they have a new sponsor and a new team name but just like the old Tribury Titans and Turkey Vulture teams, they will be a force to reckon with. Eric Villanova, Craig Prasauckus, Kyle Dean, and a healthy Pat O’Neill lead the offense while Don Maki at 49 years young, Jamie Kimberly, and Brian O’Niell will keep the Pavers in every game.
Wolcott Scrappers: Last seasons arm injury to Alex Narus you knew would hurt the team eventually as Wolcott was knocked out early in the Tri-State playoffs. Ryan Soucy – coming off an impressive performance in the all-star game – still leads this team on and off the field. Pierre Lepage and Ed Belval lead the offense while Zach and Eric Sehnal, along with Omar Taveras leave Wolcott in good shape on the mound.
Amenia Monarchs: The Monarchs are quietly building towards a championship team. Two years in a row they jumped out of the gate with great first-halves before falling in the early rounds of the playoffs. Tom Downey Jr, Joel Judson, and Matt Hosier carry the offense along with all the Pomeisl’s. A solid #1 pitcher on the mound who can stay healthy is the key for the Monarchs to go deeper into the playoffs.
Naugatuck Dogs: The surprise team of 2008, I dare to say, will struggle to achieve the lofty status they had in last years state tourney, due to injuries and the loss of several starters. Bobby Schiaroli is a HUGE question mark after severely injuring his arm last season. Pitcher Steve Hiscock will be playing for the Danbury Westerners in the NECBL. Head Coach Jay Harloman has pieced together a new starting lineup with many new faces and will win coach of the year if he achieves the same success in 2009 as he did in 2008.
Litchfield Cowboys: With Carl Rivers and Kevin Murray on the mound, they have arguably the best two-some out there. If Chris Beach returns to his days of old hitting bomb after bomb then the Cowboys could return to being the #1 seed as they did just 3 short years ago. Kyle Weaver is still a presence at shortstop and in the batter’s box.
Burlington Hunters: Out with the old (Gadomski, Ricker, Morin, Ryan Smith) and in with the new as Burlington has many new faces this season and will surely be a better defensive team (which has been their downfall in past seasons). Jimmy Spirito is a solid #1 pitcher and if they Hunters can find a solid #2 guy then they will achieve the playoffs for the 4th year in a row. Young blood has definitely brought a rejuvenated attitude to the Beaver Hunters. Justin Campbell and Steve Dubois can swing the bats with the best of them.
Thomaston Spoilers: Timmy Hamel and Gary Swierzcynski look to get the Spoilers back into the playoffs after missing out in 2008. The Spoilers hopes may hinge on the production of Joe Deming as their stopper. Many new faces in 2008 now have a year under their belts as the Spoilers are finally making a youth movement towards the future.
Waterbury Wild: Will win more games this year than they did last year. An influx of players from Post College and a fresh new start with head coach Tom Van Stone has the Wild looking towards a playoff berth in 2009. Long time standout Robert Malaspina still leads this team offensively.
Tri-Town Trojans: Andrew Osolin is back from Florida and will team with a slimmed-down Wayne Brewington to give Tri-Town solid pitching. Danny McCarty and Kyle Osolin give the Trojans the defense they need. If they can hit than they will find there way into the playoffs for the 5th season in a row.
Terryville Black Sox: My pick to make the biggest jump in the standings. Tyler Wenz is a solid #1 guy on anyone’s staff and Ken Martinik is a solid #2 guy. Matt Gardiner, Ben Gawitt, Chris Rogers, and Steve Tedd provide the offense. Do not take this team lightly!!
Mazda Dodge Red Devils: Will be vastly improved with the addition of 3 new pitchers and several new faces who were part of the 2008 Thomaston Class S state champions team. If the Red Devils can score more than they did last year than they will double their amount of wins.
Farmingbury Longshots: Will be improved over last year with many new faces on the team, trouble is, I think everyone else is improved also. The Longshots will be the talk of the league if they can manage to squeek into the playoffs.
Bristol Greeners: Pitcher Dan Rosa (UNH) is a top 3 pitcher in our league so the Greeners have their #1 guy. They play great defense and put the ball in play. We all knew that Bristol would be a force, question is, will it be this year? All teams struggle in their first year in the Tri-State league. Their schedule is a downfall to them with many double-headers. If the Greeners can make it to the playoffs, they can surprise everyone and go very, very deep into the final rounds. It will certainly be a pleasure to play at Muzzy Field and don’t be surprised to see some BIG crowds cheering on the Greeners!!
Pre-Season Power Rankings:
- Brass City Brew
- Winsted Whalers
- Torrington Rebels
- Bethlehem Plowboys
- Terryville Black Sox
- Bristol Greeners
- Tribury Pavers
- Litchfield Cowboys
- Wolcott Scrappers
- Burlington Hunters
- Tri-Town Trojans
- Amenia Monarchs
- Waterbury Wild
- Naugatuck Dogs
- Thomaston Spoilers
- Mazda Dodge Red Devils
- Farmingbury Longshots
Soucy’s opening day ‘upset’: Burlington over Tri-Town
Bristol will lose to Brass City and defeat Naugatuck…