Canton captures 4th straight CT Women’s Softball League title

Canton catcher Amy Mantha successfully blocks the plate and tags out the runner for the final out of the game in a 4-3 win over West Hartford.

Canton catcher Amy Mantha successfully blocks the plate and tags out the runner for the final out of the game in a 4-3 win over West Hartford.

CANTON – Canton softball coach Charlie Batan was a bit concerned before his squad opened the 2014 Connecticut Women’s Softball League championship tournament Saturday morning at Canton High.

The players were all discussing the championship game and a potential clash with the Connecticut Tides, who won the regular season championship with an 11-3 record. But Canton had two games to win before they could play for a title.

Game one didn’t start well. Canton gave up three runs to West Hartford in the first inning. West Hartford still had a three-run lead in the fifth inning. However, Canton scored one run in the fifth and three in the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead.

And then Canton preserved the win by throwing out a West Hartford runner trying to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning for a thrilling 4-3 victory. Continue Reading

Simsbury can’t solve Regula or stop Baldwin in loss to RCP in state tournament

Simsbury's E.J. Lavoie, left, had two hits Sunday in a loss to RCP while Dakota Hunter had a double.

Simsbury’s E.J. Lavoie, left, had two hits Sunday in a loss to RCP while Dakota Hunter had a double.

BRISTOL – Simsbury and RCP waited a long time to hit the field Sunday in the American Legion baseball state tournament at Muzzy Field. Rain delayed the opening game with Waterford and Tolland until 3 p.m.

And then Waterford and Tolland engaged in a titanic struggle. Waterford scored twice in the ninth inning to the game at 4-4 and the game went deep in extra innings until Tolland’s Ben Clough hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 15th inning to give Tolland the victory.

RCP, the Zone 7 champions from Rocky Hill, Cromwell and Portland, made short work of Simsbury Sunday night. Undefeated RCP pitcher Jake Regula (8-0) went the distance, pitching nine innings, scattering five hits and striking out 10 to lead RCP to a 7-2 victory. The game took a little less than two hours.

The win puts RCP Post 105 (21-4) in the Northern Division championship game on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Simsbury (21-7) will face Tolland on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. with the winner facing RCP immediately following that contest.

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Stellar defense helps Simsbury Legion get past Tolland, 6-1

Simsbury shortstop E.J. Lavoie beat a Tolland runner to the bag to get the out in Saturday's state tournament game at Muzzy Field.

Simsbury shortstop E.J. Lavoie beat a Tolland runner to the bag to get the out in Saturday’s state tournament game at Muzzy Field.

BRISTOL, July 26 – Jake King was an All-State shortstop at Granby High this past spring. But King is more comfortable in the outfield. And he displayed that in Saturday’s Northern Division tournament game at Bristol’s Muzzy Field.

King ran down and caught two deep fly balls in center field that could have jumpstarted Tolland as Simsbury remained undefeated in the American Legion state tournament with a 6-1 victory.

With Tolland leading 1-0 and one out in the third inning, King ran to his left and dove to make a spectacular diving catch on deep fly ball by Tolland’s Alex Hoss. That could have been Tolland’s fourth baserunner and Simsbury hadn’t gotten a man past second base at that point in the game.

In the eighth inning, he chased down a deep fly ball from Dallon Asnes and leaped at the last second to make the catch. Later in the inning, Tolland had the bases loaded but King was able to race in and make a great grab on a dying fly ball to retire the side.Continue Reading

Team Canton helps drive Simsbury Legion baseball team toward a championship

Six of the seven Canton players on this year's Zone 1 champion Simsbury American Legion baseball team. From left, Kevin Gurry, Chris VandeBogart, Chris Enns, Jake Wood, Jeff Nedorostek and Peter Myers.

Six of the seven Canton players on this year’s Zone 1 champion Simsbury American Legion baseball team. From left, Kevin Gurry, Chris VandeBogart, Chris Enns, Jake Wood, Jeff Nedorostek and Peter Myers.

Ever since it was first formed in 1948, the Simsbury American Legion baseball team has attracted talent from area towns. This year is no different.

Brendan Reilly

Brendan Reilly

The Zone 1 champions have players from Simsbury, Canton, Granby and East Granby on its roster. In the past, they have had players from Avon before Avon formed its own Legion squad. 

Post 84 has 18 players on its roster and seven come from Canton – a larger number than normal. Usually, it has been a player or two from Canton on the squad. In some years, there have been no Canton players. 

Simsbury coach Tom Vincent III said he doesn’t pay much attention to where the kids live. When the team holds tryouts, he is looking for the best talent he can find. 

Canton’s seven players are:

  • pitcher/first baseman Chris Enns
  • pitcher Kevin Gurry
  • pitcher Peter Myers
  • infielder Jack Nedorostek
  • second baseman/shortstop Brendan Reilly
  • catcher/first baseman/outfielder Jake Wood
  • outfielder Chris VandeBogart 

Canton had an American Legion team for five seasons in the early 1990s but the team never won more than seven games in a single season. Now, this Simsbury team is fueled, in part, by a group of Canton players as Post 84 continues on its quest for a state championship. Continue Reading

Enns, Simsbury Legion sweep past Hartford into Northern Division finals

Chris Enns and his Simsbury American Legion teammates are all smiles after sweeping Hartford to advance in the 2014 state tournament.

Chris Enns and his Simsbury American Legion teammates are all smiles after sweeping Hartford to advance in the 2014 state tournament.

SIMSBURY – A year ago, Simsbury American Legion baseball pitcher Chris Enns could only watch and dream of a day he would take the mound again. At the conclusion of an All-State campaign with Canton High, Enns underwent Tommy John surgery with famous surgeon Dr. James Andrews to repair his injured arm. 

On Thursday, despite being limited to just 90 pitches, Enns pitched a complete game, limiting Hartford to just four hits and striking out seven to help lift Simsbury to a 10-0 victory in seven innings and into the Northern Division finals on Saturday at Muzzy Field in Bristol. 

Zone 1 champion Simsbury (20-6) swept the best-of-3 series, 2-0 and will join Zone 6 champion Waterford, Zone 7 champion RCP (Rocky Hill/Cromwell/Portland) and Zone 8 champion Tolland in the double-elimination event. The Northern Division final winner earns a berth in the best-of-3 state championship series with the Southern Division champion and secures a bid to the Northeast Regional in Middletown in August. Continue Reading

One big inning lifts Plowboys past Canton

Canton's Brian Kulik had a double in Wednesday night's loss to Bethlehem.

Canton’s Brian Kulik had a double in Wednesday night’s loss to Bethlehem.

BETHELHEM, July 23 – One bad inning doomed the Canton Crushers Wednesday night. The Bethlehem Plowboys scored seven runs in the first inning to roll to a 7-0 Tri-State League win over the Crushers in six innings. The Plowboys had four hits and three walks in the first inning. 

Chris Callahan had a three-home run for Bethlehem (12-4) while Teddy Gravel added a double in the first inning. Eric O’Toole was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. On the mound, Rob Geraci went five innings and struck out five to earn the win. Continue Reading

Wood, Coen keep Hartford off balance as Simsbury takes series opener

Simsbury's Jamie Coen pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits in Post 84's 7-0 win over Hartford.

Simsbury’s Jamie Coen pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits in Post 84′s 7-0 win over Hartford.

SIMSBURY, July 23 – Simsbury’s Jake Wood was an all-conference catcher for Canton High this spring. But as the Simsbury American Legion baseball season progressed, Wood fell into a slump at the plate, struggling to hit curve balls.

But he has been working with Simsbury assistant coach Ed Lavoie to shorten his swing. Wood’s work paid off Wednesday with a single, double and three RBI as Post 84 won the opening game of a best-of-3 series with Hartford, 7-0 in the American Legion state tournament at Memorial Field.

Zone 1 champion Simsbury (19-6) needs one more win to advance to the Northern Division finals that begin Saturday at Muzzy Field in Bristol.Continue Reading

Sadness and disappointment after original snack shack at Sperry Park burns

The current snack shack at Sperry Park suffered minor damage Wednesday from vandals who burned down the original snack shack.

The current snack shack at Sperry Park suffered minor damage Wednesday from vandals who burned down the original snack shack.

AVON – Vandals may have destroyed Avon Little League’s original snack shack at Sperry Park but league president Mike Ryan and the league officials have been comforted by the response from many town residents Wednesday.

“As disappointing as the vandalism is, we are heartened by how many people have expressed the desire to donate to the league and help us get back on our feet,” Ryan said.

The building, which was being used as a storage shed, was destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning. Firefighters responded to the blaze around 3:20 a.m. Multiple media reports said the police are investigating the cause of the fire. Anyone with any information about the blaze should call Avon police at 860-409-4200.

A freezer that stored food for the current snack shack building, some pitching machines and t-shirts and hats were lost in the fire along with several signs on the outside of the building that recognized recent District 6 baseball championship teams from Avon. Ryan estimated the loss of equipment between $5,000 and $10,000. Continue Reading

Canton hopes to win 4th straight CWSL championship tournament at home

Softball graphicCANTON – The Connecticut Women’s Softball League will hold their annual season-ending championship tournament in Canton on Sunday, July 27. 

Games will be held at Canton High, the River Road field near the town garage and the Dyer Avenue softball field. 

Canton is a three-time defending CWSL tournament champion. Canton, which finished second in the league this season with a 9-4-1 record, is the No. 2 seed behind regular season champion Connecticut Tides (11-3).Continue Reading

Former Canton girls hoop coach Paul Grossman isn’t ready to leave the gym

CP basketball graphicFor most of the 1990s, Paul Grossman was the coach of the Canton High girls basketball team. From 1992 through 2001, Grossman’s teams won a program-record 165 games (165-73). In 10 years, he had nine winning seasons.

His Canton teams won three NCCC championships in 1993, 1998 and 1999. They captured two NCCC Tournament titles in 1994 and 1997. His Warriors had an undefeated season in 1998. They advanced to the Class S semifinals in 1997 and 1998. They made to the Class S championship game in 1999 before falling to Valley Regional.

After leaving Canton, he coached the Gilbert School in Winsted for another 10 years from 2002-11. Columnist Rick Wilson of Litchfield County Sports caught up with Grossman, now 75, at a recent Gilbert/Northwestern football fundraising golf tournament in Winsted. Retired? I wouldn’t count on that.
Litchfield County Sports, July 20: Grossman is back in the game

Naugatuck spoils home finale for Crushers

Baseball ImageCANTON, July 20 – The Naugatuck Dogs maintained their hold on first place in the Tri-State League Sunday with a 9-1 win over the Canton Crushers.

It was the final home game of the season for the Crushers, who had two hits from Dan Huff. Continue Reading

Hartford hangs on for 3-2 win and ends season for Avon Legion

Hartford's Merlyn Herrera (45) celebrates after Hartford eliminated Avon. 3-2 Sunday in the American Legion state tournament. Right, Avon's Ben Suski (3) can't believe the game is over.

Hartford’s Merlyn Herrera (45) celebrates after Hartford eliminated Avon. 3-2 Sunday in the American Legion state tournament. Right, Avon’s Ben Suski (3) can’t believe the game is over.

AVON, July 20 – It’s been a tough week for the Avon American Legion baseball team. 

In its past four games, Avon scored one earned run and won just once. Simsbury swept three games from Avon to claim the Zone 1 championship and had two pitchers combine to throw a no-hitter against Post 201 in one of the three victories. 

Avon tried to snap out of its offensive funk Sunday in the opening round of the 2014 American Legion state tournament against Hartford. Post 201 had 10 hits but struggled to get a timely hit, stranding 15 runners in a 3-2 loss at Avon Old Farms. 

Hartford led 3-0 going into the ninth inning when Avon tried to rally. Post 201 had the bases loaded with no outs and pushed two runs across. Continue Reading

2014 American Legion baseball state tournament results and pairings

Baseball ImageResults and pairings from Connecticut’s 2014 American Legion state baseball tournament.Continue Reading

Avon hosts Hartford in Legion opener Sunday, could face Simsbury again

Simsbury third baseman Jeff Nedorostek tags out Avon's Ben Suski, who was trying to stretch a double into a triple earlier this week. The two teams could meet in the state tournament if Avon can win its first two games.

Simsbury third baseman Jeff Nedorostek tags out Avon’s Ben Suski, who was trying to stretch a double into a triple earlier this week. The two teams could meet in the state tournament if Avon can win its first two games.

The Simsbury and Avon American Legion baseball teams played three outstanding games in the last week to decide the Zone 1 championship. They might get the chance to do it again.

Simsbury and Avon were both placed in the same group in the 2014 Connecticut American Legion baseball tournament that begins Sunday. Pairings for the 40 teams that qualified for this year’s tournament were released Saturday. The top five teams in each of the eight zones qualified. 

Participants in Zone 1, 6, 7 and 8 play in the Northern Division tournament while teams from Zone 2, 3, 4 and 5 play in the Southern Division tournament. The respective divisional champions play a best-of-3 series to determine the state champion. 

Simsbury and Avon both finished the regular season with records of 18-6 in Zone 1. Simsbury claimed the championship because Post 84 swept the three-game series between the two teams.

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Canton 9-10 baseball team eliminated; Avon’s Minor Division squad still alive

Avon won its sixth District 6 championship earlier this week with a win over Tri-Town. Avon is playing in the Division II tournament Saturday in Southington. (Photo by Richard Messina, courtesy of Avon Little League)

Avon won its sixth District 6 championship earlier this week with a win over Tri-Town. Avon is playing in the Division II tournament Saturday in Southington. (Photo by Richard Messina, courtesy of Avon Little League)

The run has come to an end for Canton in the 9-10 Little League state baseball tournament. Canton (6-3) was eliminated Friday night by Farmington in the Division II tournament, 10-6. That comes on the heels of a 9-8 decision to District 3 champion Beacon Falls on Thursday night.

Canton, which won its first-ever District 6 title, had a thrilling rally to beat District 5 champion Farmington, 10-8 on Wednesday night, erasing a seven-run deficit. Farmington plays Beacon Falls Saturday at Peter Foley Little League in Naugatuck for the Division II title and will have to beat Beacon Falls twice to advance.

MINOR BASEBALL (age 10-11): Earlier this week, Avon won its sixth District 6 championship in the Minor Division with a 14-7 win over Tri-Town. But Avon (5-1) lost their first game of the summer with a 13-3 loss to District 3 champion Seymour on Thursday night in the Division II tournament at Southington West Little League.Continue Reading