Pennant Race heats up after Holiday break

The 2017 season picks back up following the weekend and holiday break allowing teams to rest up for a busy playoff push with post season around the corner. The regular season ends on Saturday July 22nd. With 12 playoff spots and 4 state tourney spots still up for grabs, each game becomes that much more important heading into the final lap of the race. Teams will enjoy the holiday break with parties but also a chance to heal up and rest those pitching arms.
The Watertown Blaze has not missed a beat following their magical 2016 season. The blaze at 12-0 have a 3 game lead for the #1 spot in the league playoffs and first pick of the state tournament draft. Basically the entire core of Watertown players has returned this season led by league MVP SS Tony Patane.. The other big story so far this season is the resurgence of two ball clubs with powerhouse histories now once again becoming serious contenders to take home the league title, and they are taking two completely different paths. Blasius Chevrolet (formerly Brass City) are tied for 2nd place with an 8-3 record as the OLD GUYS are back. Adding veteran slugger Jon Conlan and pitching stud Joey Serafin certainly changed the ‘atmosphere’ in the Blasius dugout where they know they can compete with anyone in the league. The Amenia Monarchs (7-4) have more league titles in Tri-State history than anyone and they are well on their way to competing in future years to come thanks to an influx of young players graduating into Tri-State from a very successful Connie Mack team. Colby and McKenzie Dunlop (the twins) are a part of the resurgence in the best baseball town in America!!
The Naugy Dogs, well, are simply the Naugy Dogs and are also tied for 2nd place with an 8-3 record. With probably more players on the team, with some form of Independent and MLB experience (Ryan Plourde, Murphy boyz, Lance Stevens) and the list goes on, the Dogs will be a threat to any team they play the rest of the season. They key to this years Naugy team, they are healthy and deep on the mound. The runner-up surprise team to me is the Torrington Rebels. The Rebels broke out last season finishing in the top third of the league but after Dan Livingston took his rubber arm to Tri-Town, the question was will the Rebels continue their growth? And the answer is YES as a host of young players led on the mound by Chris Greatorex and Cody Lemieux have the team sitting pretty with a 7-3 record. You can never count out the Bethlehem Plowboys (8-4). With stud pitchers Jesse Darcy, Tyler Erikson, and Pat O’Neill they Plowboys are set for the playoff push. Almost in the exact same position, the Terryville Black Sox boast a pitching staff of Ken Kerski, Billy Armstrong and Dave Alarcon and will also have something to say come post season time. Alarcon, suffered a fractured bone in his pitching arm after a line drive right back at him in the All-Star game, should be back for the post season. Not done yet, Tri-Town Trojans, add them to this paragraph as Miles Scribner, Bobby Chatfield and the previously mention Dan Livingston makes Tri-Town also a serious contender for the trophy.
The Litchfield Cowboys and Winsted Whalers both sit at 6-6. Scary part for the rest of the league is that I believe they are just warming up. The return of Mike Odenwaelder to the Cowboys and Dan Hedden on the mound gives the Cowboys a legitimate 1-2 starting punch. As for Winsted, they boast two of the most underrated players in the league in Ben Schumacher and Johnny Lippincott. The Tribury Twisters at 5-5 are lead by veteran Ben Guisto and the Brown boys (Zach and Ben) as they must hold off the Wolcott Scappers (5-7) and the resurgent Southing 66ers (5-6). Wolcott has Justin Koutros and Jesse Vermeech on the hill, two guys who have past experience pitching not just in the league playoffs but also the state tourney. Southington is a team to watch. Several players are coming off recent successful high school careers where they had all kinds of individual and team honors and success. Josh Dobratz, Kyle Dube, Tim Jalbert, and Connor Crean are players who will be considered come draft time.
That’s 13 teams mentioned but only 12 can make the playoffs. Can any of the other teams still make a run at the playoffs. You betcha!! The Waterbury Cougars already have more wins this year than last year and are jelling at the right time lead by Justin Proteau and Anthony Maura. The Burlington Hunters and Canton Crushers have the pitching to keep them in every game. Ty Morin Alex Stackpole, Alex Hansen, and Andrew Bunger for the Hunters and two guys, Jimmy Spirito and Tyler Riley, both are former draft picks for the state tourney, anchor the Crushers pitching staff. Matt Meier is a stud for the Valley Thunder as he is in every single game write up smashing the ball at the plate and earning countless innings on the mound. Bristol is young and hungry, Led by Jerry Lapenta and AJ Lorenzetti. We all know Bristol and the town baseball history. Just a matter of time before Bristol is back.
HUGE thank you to everyone who helped put together the Old Timers Day and All-Star game festivities. Kudo’s to Drew Gauvain of Litchfield, who went out to catch the game for the Old Timers after playing a morning game. 10 thirty-packs of beer, gone. All steak sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs gone. Tri-State T-Shirts for the players – all gone!! It was a great turnout and great day. Thx to all and I will let you know when LCS has our 30 minutes show on TV, with interviews and highlights.
Stan Musial Tournament: Dates – Monday July 24th through Saturday July 29th. Top 4 teams from Tri-State will qualify to play. 8 teams total will compete (2 teams from Bridgeport Senior City League and 1 team each from Wallingford Twi-light league and Housatonic League). Each team will be allowed 3 draft picks from the remaining teams in their league. Teams will play Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Rain-out date on Thursday. Continue Friday and crown a league champion on Saturday July 29th.
Tri-State Playoffs 1st Round: Dates: Saturday July 29th, Sunday July 30th, Monday July 31st. This is a best-of-three format. The seed pairings will be:
#5 seed vs #12 seed; #6 seed vs #11 seed; #7 seed vs #10 seed; #8 seed vs #9 seed
Higher seed will be home team for games 1 and 3. Lower seed home team for game 2.
AABC Eastern World Series: Dates Thursday August 3rd – Sunday August 6th. This will be a 10-team tournament. All games will be played at Municipal Stadium or Fuessenich Park. CT will be sending the State Tournament champion and the runner-up. The other 8 teams will be coming from the surrounding New England states. Each CT team will be allowed 10 draft picks from the entire state – capping at a 24 man roster. More than likely, all World Series games will be 9 innings. You will need a ton of pitching!!
Tri-State Playoffs – 2nd round: Dates Friday August 11th, Saturday August 12th, Sunday August 13th. The 4 teams who advanced from the 1st round of the playoffs will join the 4 state tourney teams in a double-elimination format meaning you will play a different team, every day of the weekend. Higher seed will be home team. Friday games are set as:
#1 seed vs (#8 – #9 winner)
#2 seed vs (#7- #10 winner)
#3 seed vs (#6 – #11 winner)
#4 seed vs (#5 – #12 winner)
NOTE: Winner on Sunday from the winners bracket advances automatically to the Tri-State World Series. That means you won Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Quarter-Finals: Date Wednesday August 16th. This will be the 2 teams left coming out of the LOSER’s Bracket from the weekend.
Semi-Finals: Date Thursday August 17th: Will be the loser from Sunday’s winners bracket final vs Wednesday winner. The winner of this game is the 2nd team to advance to the World Series.
Tri-State World Series: Dates Tuesday August 22nd, Wednesday August 23rd, Thursday August 24th. Best-of-Three series.
NOTES: Just a reminder:
1. Players must play in a minimum of 5 games to be eligible for Tri-State playoffs. Eligibility for State tourney and AABC World Series is just 1 game.
2. All Tri-State playoff games must complete 9 innings. Games will be suspended and finished if a rainout occurs, no matter how many innings you play.
3. Rain-out dates for all post-season games is the very next day so be prepared to play.
A list of all playoff rules and dates can be found under the Post Season tab above on the home page of the Tri-State website.
Have a great weekend and 4th of the July holiday!!
The Commish