Tri-State 2012 Preview

The Tri-State Baseball League opens its 79th season of play on Sunday May 20th with all eighteen teams in action. Each team will play a 20 game regular season with the ‘Top Twelve’ teams qualifying for post-season play in August to determine a league champion. In addition, five teams will qualify for the AABC Stan Musial ‘State’ tournament to be held the last week of July to determine a state champion. One Tri-State team will also qualify for the AABC ‘Regional’ tournament in Wallingford, CT beginning on Thursday August 2nd with a chance to qualify for the AABC World Series to be held in Port St. Lucie, Florida beginning August 9th.
Tri-State has also joined the National Amateur Baseball Federation for the 2012 season and will send one team to the NABF Regional tournament held in West Haven, CT beginning Thursday August 9th with a chance to advance to the NABF World Series in Buffalo, NY beginning on August 16th. There is no state tournament for the NABF.
Parity is the name of the game in the Tri-State Baseball League as there have been five different league champions in the past five seasons. The Litchfield Cowboys (2011) are the defending league champions while the Bethlehem Plowboys (2010), Brass City Brew (2009), Winsted Whalers (2008), and Torrington Rebels (2007) will all be gunning for another championship. Equally impressive are the Tri-Town Trojans whom have advanced to the Tri-State World Series each of the last two years and the 2011 AABC state tournament champion Naugatuck Dogs. The Wolcott Scrappers and Watertown Blaze, who finished in the top 5 rankings in each of the last two seasons are also in the hunt for their first league title as well as the Waterbury Wild whom qualified for last year’s AABC Regional tournament.
The Ansonia Valley Vikings will be playing their inaugural season in 2012 as the eighteenth member of the league and will be coached by Mark Georgia. Rounding out the league will be the Bristol Greeners, Terryville Black Sox, Amenia Monarchs, Thomaston Threshers, Prospect Chargers, Burlington Hunters, and Lakeville Outlaws.
For the second year in a row, the Tri-State all-stars will take on the Torrington Titans in a ‘Fourth of July’ game at Fuessenich Park – game time is 7pm. The mid-summer classic will be filled with festivities including a pre-game skydiver carrying the American Flag and a Home Run Derby. A Public Home Run Derby will begin at 3pm sharp with the winner joining the Tri-State stars and Titans players in the Main Home Run Derby beginning at 4:15pm. More announcements will be forthcoming on the day-long events.
Tri-State will host a Campership Fundraiser on Saturday July 14th with three games being played at Fuessenich Park – game times will be 10am, 1pm, and 4pm. Admission will be FREE at the door but donations will be accepted all day long to benefit the Glen E. Winn Campership Fund. The Torrington Rebels will host the Sandy Hooks Vintage Baseball team on Saturday July 28th at Fuessenich Park. Game time is 1pm. The baseball game will be played under 1867 rules. The Easton Banjo Society Band will provide old fashioned entertainment during the game featuring music from the 1860-1880’s era. Admission will be FREE but donations will be accepted at the door for the Campership Fund.
The 2012 Old Timers Day game and Hall-Of-Fame ceremony will be held on Sunday June 3rd at Community Field in Litchfield. Batting practice will begin for the Old-Timers at 11am sharp followed by the Hall-Of-Fame ceremony at 12noon and the start of the Old Timers game at 12:30pm. The Litchfield Cowboys will host the Amenia Monarchs in a Tri-State regular season game at 3:00pm to round out the day’s events. This year’s Hall-Of-Fame class includes Rich Blazek, Fred Bunnell, Geoff Merchant, Mark Murphy, Bob Clinch, Don Rhynhart, sportswriter Rick Wilson, and umpire Jim Shove.
Tri-State will also participate in the first annual CT Classic Showdown which will showcase 2011 league champion teams from (Tri-State, Wallingford, Housatonic, and Bridgeport) in a ‘friendship’ fundraiser for charity on Saturday June 16th to be held in Danbury. A Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser is also being planned in Mid-August in Wallingford, CT which would feature ‘all-star’ teams from the ‘four’ regions as well.
The best part of Tri-State baseball – every regular season and playoff game is FREE admission. The Tri-State baseball league can be followed all season long on its website with schedules, standings, news updates, and history archives.
 Tri-State would also like to announce its 2011 award winners and all-star team:
MVP:                          Adam Claire     Litchfield Cowboys
Silver Slugger:           Chris Beach       Litchfield Cowboys
Cy Young:                  Miles Scribner   Tri-Town Trojans

           All-Star team:Catcher:      Paul Novakowski – Brass City Brew
1st Base:     Justin McCulloch – Brass City Brew
2nd Base:   Sean Miller-Jones –Watertown Blaze
Shortstop:   Nick Palmisano – Bristol Greeners
3rd Base:    Steve Pryce – Tri-Town Trojans
Outfield:     Dave Casanova – Bristol Greeners
Outfield:     Ismael Bolorin – Wolcott Scrappers
Outfield:     Chris Blazek – Litchfield Cowboys
DH:             Ryan Soucy – Wolcott Scrappers
Pitcher:       Ken Kerski – Waterbury Wild
  1. 1.      Vintage Baseball Game

The Sandy Hooks ‘Vintage Baseball’ team will play a double-header at Fuessenich Park on Saturday July 28th beginning at 11am. The first game will feature Sandy Hooks versus the Simsbury Taveneers ‘Vintage’ baseball team in an 1886 match and the second game (1pm) will be Sandy Hooks versus the Torrington Rebels of the Tri-State Baseball League in an 1867 match. The 1886 match is an overhand pitched game and the 1867 match is an underhand pitched game. Both games will be sponsored by the Torrington Historical Society.
The Rebels will wear ‘Old’ blue jeans or “Overalls” as baseball pants, any white collared shirt, and any type of hat (straw hats, Military hats, old baseball caps, etc.), no baseball gloves are to be worn but players may wear “workout/gym” gloves (that have the padded palms and cutoff fingers). Sandy Hooks will provide bats which are specially made and typically 40 inches long as well as a ‘Vintage’ umpire and ‘Vintage’ baseballs.
There are many very interesting differences from today’s game and the 1867 rules. The catcher stands about 15 feet behind home plate and catches the pitch on one bounce. Runners are allowed to take just a 1 step lead off any base and cannot steal until the ball is released by the pitcher. Pitcher’s mound is 48 feet from home plate where a line is drawn. Pitchers can throw anywhere, at any distance to the left or right of the mound – as far as they want – they do not have to be on the mound – so the pitch could come in from all different angles. There is no infield fly rule, so any pop-up to the infield with men on base becomes very interesting. If you argue with the umpire, the fee, according to 1867, is 25 cents. The game is played with 1 ball (which is a bit softer style ball and the size is between that of a baseball and softball). Foul balls caught on one bounce are an out. All foul balls must be retrieved because you play with 1 ball. If the fielder cannot find the ball, then all his teammates go help him look. If they can’t find the ball then the other team also helps to look. If ‘they’ can’t find the ball then the fans are all signaled to come help look for the ball.
 The Easton Banjo Society Band will provide old fashioned entertainment during the game featuring music from the 1860-1880’s era. Admission is free at the door but donations will be accepted to benefit the Glen E. Winn Jr. Campership Foundation.

  1. 2.      ‘Fourth of July’ Public Home Run Derby

So you think you have what it takes to hit the long ball? Follow the link to register for the home run derby on July 4, before the Titans take the field against the Tri-State All Stars. All proceeds go to benefit the United Way Glenn Winn Jr. Campership. Come on out and help send a kid to camp.
 Brief Description
This is a fundraising event for the United Way Glenn Winn Jr. Campership Fund. Glenn Winn was a 19 year old young man who was killed in an auto accident. As a youngster, Glenn used to love to attend summer camp and so in an effort to allow other area youths to go to camp; this campership was founded to honor Glenn.
Additional Information
Eligibility: Open to anyone player of 18 years and older. Date / Time: Wednesday, July 4, 2012. Registration & check-in begins at 2:30 pm. Play begins at 3 pm sharp. Cost: $10/10 Swings Rules of Play: Each participant will be given 10 swings. After the batter has used all their swings, the scorekeeper will count the number of home runs (balls hit beyond the home run marker) and log that number as their score. The top home run hitter from this round will enter the main home run derby with the Titans and Tri-State batters at 4:15pm! Participants must wear batting helmets, which will be provided if you don’t have your own. No cork bats or any bat that contains illegal materials or substances will be allowed. Any batter found using such a bat will be ejected from the competition immediately and fees will not be refunded. Wood bats only. Weather: In the unfortunate event that Mother Nature chooses not to cooperate and a weather delay of more than 1 hour is inevitable, the 2012 United Way Glenn Winn Jr. Campership Home Run Derby will be canceled. Public Home Run Derby is limited to the first 50 registrations online or contact the Torrington Parks and Rec Dept for registration form.

  1. 3.      Glen E. Winn Campership Fundraiser Day

The Tri-State League will feature three regular season games to be played at Fuessenich Park in Torrington on Saturday July 14th with all proceeds being donated to the Campership Foundation. Admission will be FREE to the games but donations will be taken at the door to help under- privileged kids attend camp over the summer.
Terryville  vs  Torrington     10:00am   Fuessenich Park 
Bethlehem  vs  Burlington      1:00pm   Fuessenich Park
Winsted   vs  Litchfield           4:00pm   Fuessenich Park

  1. 4.      AABC Stan Musial State Tournament

Sixteen teams (double-elimination) will again battle it out to crown a state champion from Tuesday July 24th through Monday July 30th. Fields will be used across the state… Teams will be responsible for one umpire fee per game and must split baseballs.
Top five teams (who accept state tourney invitation) from Tri-State League; Top 4 teams from Bridgeport; Top 4 teams from Housatonic; Top 3 teams from Wallingford will make up the entrants. Each team will be allowed three draft picks. The first ‘17’ regular-season games played will be the cut-off for “state tourney qualification” so that those teams can prepare to play (and because our Tri-State regular season technically ends after the state tourney is played).
NOTE: Naugatuck Dogs are the defending state champions (will have to qualify again to play in the state tourney)

  1. 5.      AABC Regional Tournament

Six teams (double-elimination) will battle it out from Thursday August 2nd through Sunday August 5th in Wallingford, CT to advance to the AABC World Series in Port St Lucie, Florida beginning on Thursday August 9th. Four teams from CT will participate in the Regionals and two teams from Massachusetts.  Each region (Tri-State, Bridgeport, Housatonic, and Wallingford) will send one team to makeup the CT representatives. Gate fee is $350 (which covers fees for umpires and baseballs). Top seeded team (who accepts the Regional invitation) from the regular-season 17 game cut-off will automatically qualify to play in the Regionals from the Tri-State League. There will be no state tourney qualification to decide who advances but ‘that’ team may also still participate in the state tournament. The one benefit to this is that the regional team will have a minimum of 2 weeks to prepare for Regional play. Each regional team will be allowed two additional draft picks in addition to their three state tourney picks. The team who advances to the World Series will be granted a $5500 allowance from the CABC towards expenses.

  1. 6.      NABF Regional Tournament

The Tri-State League will send one team to the NABF Regionals being held in West Haven, CT from Thursday August 9th through Sunday August 12th. The winning team from the regional will attend the NABF World Series held in Buffalo, NY from Thursday August 16th through Sunday August 19th. There is no state tournament in the NABF. Gate fee for the Regional is $350 (which covers fees for umpires and baseballs). Tri-State will send its highest seeded team that is no longer a participant in the Tri-State League Playoffs (as agreed upon during our off-season meeting).  The NABF regional typically has approximately 12 teams participating and is pool-play. Each team will be guaranteed a minimum of four games played in the NABF regional. Six draft picks are allowed in NABF Regional play.

  1. 7.      Tri-State Baseball League Division Format:

Litchfield Cowboys, Tri-Town Trojans, Bristol Greeners, Bethlehem Plowboys, Torrington Rebels, Amenia Monarchs, Winsted Whalers, Burlington Hunters, Lakeville Outlaws
Wolcott Scrappers, Waterbury Wild, Watertown Blaze, Naugatuck Dogs, Terryville Black Sox, Thomaston Threshers, Brass city Brew, Ansonia Valley Vikings, Prospect Chargers

                        Wildcard Playoffs – 1st Round      
Thursday August 2:   #5 seed vs #6 seed  (single elimination) in each division.
NOTE: Winners advance to Saturday Wildcard final game    
                         Wildcard Playoffs – 2nd Round      
Saturday August 4:  Thursday winner vs #4 seed (single elimination) each division.
NOTE: Winners advance to “Pool-Play” best-of-three Tri-State Playoffs
                   Tri-State 8-team  ‘best of three’  Playoff Tournament  
Sunday August 5, Wednesday August 8, Saturday August 11 in each division…           (#1 seed  vs  Wildcard Winner)     &       (#2 seed  vs  #3 seed)

                          Division Championship   
Sunday August 12, Tuesday August 14, Thursday August 16 (best of three)
                     World Series (North vs South)  
  Saturday August 18, Sunday August 19, Wednesday August 23 (best of three)  

  8.      Tribury set to rejoin Tri-State Baseball League in 2013
 I was approached by a gentleman named Ray Brown at the AABC State Tourney meeting and he asked me about joining the Tri-State league in the Woodbury/Southbury area. Some of you may recognize the name Ray Brown as he is very well known and respected in the baseball community and has served as the President of the Sandy Koufax league for years. He has had a bunch of kids that he has coached for years and whom are now seniors in high school (including his own son) and/or freshman in college.
 After much discussion and planning, it was decided it would be best for him to apply next year (2013) as nearly all of his kids have a year left of Legion eligibility, a couple will be playing AAU travel baseball, and a couple I will help place with other Tri-State teams just for the 2012 season. Nearly all of his players are from Middlebury/Southbury/Woodbury. Ray has also been in contact with the head baseball coaches from Pomperaug HS and Nonnewaug HS who are onboard and excited about bringing ‘Tribury’ back to the league and giving the kids, in that area, somewhere to play.
 As I mentioned, following the completion of the 2012 season, Ray and I will touch base again and get the ball rolling immediately for 2013. He is very excited and appreciative of the opportunity.
 9.      CT Classic Showdown
 I have been approached to have us participate in the 1st annual CT Classic Showdown (directed by Housy commish Pat Egan). This is a showcase, not a tournament, and will be for charity. It will take place on Saturday June 16th in the Danbury/Bethel area this season. Bridgeport, Wallingford, Housatonic, and Tri-State will send their 2011 league champions and each play in one game, a showcase game. This years schedule; Bridgeport vs Housatonic, and Wallingford vs Tri-State. The two games will be played at the same field, back to back, so that we can all see ‘the best the other leagues have to offer”.
 The idea is too kind of do what the NFL does that always has a BIG opening night, matching past Super Bowl winners, or previous years division champs or big rivalries. This isn’t opening night in amateur baseball, but it is early enough in each league’s season to consider it ‘kick-off’ for our summer baseball leagues, as well as build relationships (including a cookout) between the leagues and the spirit of the game without ‘taxing’ anyone’s pitching staff’ in the middle of their regular season. 
 Each season we would rotate leagues, and destination fields, so you play someone different each year. We can also designate different charities on a yearly basis. There is also discussion of putting together a ‘four-league’ all-star ‘mini-tournament’ in mid-August for Breast Cancer Awareness (directed by Wallingford commish Tom Hanley) and I will keep you up-to-date on those happenings… The 2011 champion Litchfield Cowboys will represent the Tri-State League at this this years’ CT Classic Showdown.