Tri-State League 14 Strong
The Tri-State Baseball League, entering its 38th year after starting out as the Inter-State Baseball League back in 1934, is inflating by leaps and bounds as two more teams (Mazda Dodge of Thomaston and Naugatuck Dogs) have entered the 14 team league that will be broken down into 2 divisions for the 2006 season. Each team will play a 19 game regular season, with opening day slated for Thursday May 18th. A round-robin style double-elimination playoff tournament (top 5 in each division qualify) will begin in late July to determine a league champion. Tri-State would also like to announce its 2005 season award recipients:
|Tri-State MVP:||Jay Wetherell||Torrington Rebels|
|Best Hitter Award:||Marc Didominzio||Brass City Brew|
|Pitcher(s) of the Year Award:||Erik Williams||Bethlehem Plowboys|
|Jamie Krofssik||Bethlehem Plowboys|
The four teams who qualified for last year’s Stan Musial tourney are expected to be the favorites at a run for the 2006 league championship:
Bethlehem Plowboys (23-4): League champions who have now been crowned in 5 of the last 8 seasons.
Torrington Rebels (18-10): Runner-up in 2005 after winning the league title in 2004.
Tribury Turkey Vultures (20-6): Qualified for the 2005 Stan Musial regional tournament after reaching the Stan Musial state tournament “championship” game last season.
Litchfield Cowboys (15-10): Hope 2006 is their year after losing in the semi-finals of the Tri-State playoffs 2 seasons in a row.
The surprise team of 2005 was Brass City Brew who finished (14-11) on the regular season after winning just 3 games in 3 years and will work to continue their climb towards a league championship while two long-time teams the Winsted Whalers (10-11-2) and the Thomaston Spoilers (8-14-1) look to rebound after disappointing seasons. Waterbury Wolves (7-15) finished out 2005 winning 5 of their last 7 games and making their first ever trip into the Tri-State playoffs. Tri-Town Trojans (11-14) qualified for the playoffs in their expansion year of 2005 while league historian power Amenia Monarchs (11-14) returned after a 10 year absence to also claim stake in last years post-season. Expansion teams East End Outlaws (4-18) and Burlington Beavers (4-17-1) look to improve on their records in 2006.
Chairman of the Board Ed Gadomski welcomes the two new teams into the Tri-State league. “Mazda Dodge, (sponsored by Modern Motors of Thomaston), has been a long time supporter of amateur baseball so we’re extremely happy to have them join us.” Mazda Dodge will be coached by Trevor and Scott Bellemare.
“Naugatuck has a rich baseball history and we feel like adding an NVL team to our league is adding another feather in our cap.” The Naugy Dogs will be coached by Jay Halarmon.
Returning to its roots, one big change you’ll hear this season is the ‘crack’ of a wood bat as opposed to the ‘ping’ of an aluminum bat in the Tri-State league. “We were really won over as a league last year when we hosted the Stan Musial tourney which is an all wood bat tourney. With wood bats, you’ll see more of the ‘short’ game being played like bunting and playing hit and run yet the way composite wood bats are made these days, the big hitters in the league should still generate the ‘long’ ball excitement that the fans want to see.”
Tri-State is also planning on hosting this year’s Stan Musial state tournament to be played the first week of August. “We had so many compliments on how the tournament was run last year that we have decided to host the tournament again. In addition, we are proud of our representation in last year’s tournament sending 4 teams into the winners’ bracket after round 1, and advancing 2 of the final 3 teams on Championship Sunday.” Games will be played at Fussenich Park (Torrington), Municipal Stadium (Waterbury), Walker Field (Winsted), and Thomaston High School