Little miscues add up as RCP eliminates Simsbury in Legion tournament

SImsbury's Mike Amato tries to lay down a bunt in Tuesday night's Northern Division final against RCP.

SImsbury’s Mike Amato tries to lay down a bunt in Tuesday night’s Northern Division final against RCP.

SOUTH WINDSOR, July 28 – Throughout the post-season, Simsbury American Legion baseball manager Thomas E. Vincent would often say that he hoped his team’s best baseball was ahead of them. Unfortunately for Post 84, it wasn’t.

Simsbury squandered opportunities, hit batters, had wild pitches and passed balls. It wasn’t the recipe for success, especially against defending Northeast Regional champion Rocky Hill/Cromwell/Portland (RCP) in Tuesday night’s Northern Division final.

RCP gave up just three hits and three RCP pitchers combined to strike out 13 Simsbury batters to eliminate Post 84 with a 5-2 decision at Rotary Field. The win puts RCP into this weekend’s best-of-3 state championship series for the third time in the last four years.

Twice, Simsbury (25-5) left the bases loaded. They stranded runners on second and third base in the first inning. They left 13 runners on base.

It was a tough loss to swallow after a spectacular season for Post 84.Continue Reading

Simsbury dominates New London to earn another shot at RCP in Northern final

First baseman Ryan Gothers celebrates another successful inning with pitcher Jordan Whaley Monday night in South Windsor. Simsbury remained alive with an 8-1 decision.

First baseman Ryan Gothers celebrates another successful inning with pitcher Jordan Whaley Monday night in South Windsor. Simsbury remained alive with an 8-1 decision.

SOUTH WINDSOR, July 27 – Even Thomas E. Vincent, Simsbury’s American Legion baseball manager, admitted that Saturday’s 11-inning loss to RCP (Rocky Hill/Cromwell/Portland) was a crushing loss. Post 84 gave up a two-run lead in the eighth inning and let a one-run lead in the 11th inning slip away, too.

Simsbury has been aching to take the field against RCP again. But before they could do that, they had to win two games. Ryan Gothers of East Granby made his first start of the summer for Post 84 and pitched seven strong innings Sunday to help Simsbury eliminate host South Windsor.

On Monday night, it was Jordan Whaley’s time to step up. Whaley went eight strong innings, scattering four hits and striking out six to lead Simsbury to an 8-1 win over New London at Rotary Field. The victory pushes Simsbury (25-4) into the championship game of the Northern Division against RCP, the defending Northeast Regional champion.

Simsbury will have to beat RCP (25-3) twice but at least Post 84 has the opportunity. And they will have their two strongest pitchers ready to go. Peter Myers (5-0), the right-hander from Canton and The Master’s School, will start on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Should Simsbury prevail, a winner-take-all game against RCP will be Wednesday night at Rotary Field with Matthew Gill (4-1) scheduled to pitch for Post 84.Continue Reading

Ferry steps down at Avon to take athletic director’s job at Southington

New Avon High athletic director Greg Ferry (Photo courtesy of CHS Rampage)

Greg Ferry is leaving Avon for Southington

AVON, July 27 – Avon High School is looking for a new athletic director. Greg Ferry has resigned and is taking the job at Southington High School.

It was a little over a year ago that Ferry took the job in Avon. He spent the year helping the Falcons prepare for its transition from the North Central Connecticut Conference to the Central Connecticut Conference in September.

But when Southington High athletic director Eric Swallow resigned after seven years on the job in June to take the athletic director’s position at Norwich Free Academy, an opportunity arose for Ferry, 39, who was a guidance counselor for 11 years at Cheshire High before coming to Avon.

“Without Avon, I don’t get to sit in the Southington interview,” Ferry said. “I am extremely grateful for the good coaches and good people who helped move the program forward. I met a lot of good people in Avon. I can’t say enough good things about the principal (Chris Trannerg) at the high school. He is a very good man.”Continue Reading

A hot, fun time for all in Collinsville at Collinsville HOT festival

CANTON, July 25 – Thousands of spectators from around the region came to Collinsville Saturday for the Collinsville HOT festival. They came for the crafts show, outdoor yoga on Main Street, a magic show, events for the kids, a chalk walk competition and bands on new Main Street stage and a second stage set up at the Gazebo along River Road.

They came for the food – a Farm to Table dinner outside Francesca’s on Main Street, several vendors and the existing Collinsville restaurants – LaSalle’s had monster lines inside during the event.

And they crowded along the bike trail and on the flower bridge on River Road to see the fire parade, led by Anatolia and her fellow performers in Matica Arts. They marched from the Main Street stage to the River Stage where they put on a performance of wonder with fire. And 16 fires were lighted on the Farmington River.

Anatolia performs at the River Stage near the Gazebo on River Road Saturday night in Collinsville.

Anatolia performs at the River Stage near the Gazebo on River Road Saturday night in Collinsville.

Dozens participate in free Saturday morning yoga on Main Street.

Dozens participate in free Saturday morning yoga on Main Street.

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Simsbury Legion bounces back from tough loss to shutout South Windsor

Ryan Gothers pitched seven strong innings to help Simsbury remain alive in the state tournament Sunday.

Ryan Gothers pitched seven strong innings to help Simsbury remain alive in the state tournament Sunday.

SOUTH WINDSOR, July 26 – After twice giving up leads in Saturday’s American Legion state tournament game and falling in the 11th inning to RCP (Rocky Hill/Cromwell/Portland), the Simsbury American Legion baseball team bounced back on Sunday with a strong 8-0 win over South Windsor at Rotary Field.

Simsbury (24-4) had nine hits from six different players and six different players drove in runs as Post 84 remained alive with the win. Simsbury faces New London Monday night at 6:30 p.m. at Rotary Field with the loser being eliminated.

Simsbury’s Ryan Gothers, the right-hander from East Granby, pitched seven strong shutout innings for Post 84, scattering four hits and striking out two. It was his first victory of the season on the mound. Reliever Kevin Gurry pitched the final two innings, allowed just three hits and no runs.Continue Reading

Comstock waits for good conditions to swim across English Channel

Douglas Comstock earlier this month.

Douglas Comstock

East Granby’s Doug Comstock, the Canton High graduate who hopes to swim across the English Channel, is in England waiting for favorable conditions to embark on his swim.

He is continuing to swim an hour each day to be ready should the conditions improve. When the captain of his escort boat decides the weather is right, it will be time to swim. Comstock is on call 24 hours a day.

Comstock, 60, arrived in England about a week ago. He hopes to swim 21 miles across the English Channel from Dover, England to Cape Gris Nez, France.Continue Reading

Simsbury sweeps Bristol to advance in Legion state tournament

The Simsbury American Legion baseball team celebrates after sweeping Bristol to advance to the final four of the Northern Division in the state tournament.

The Simsbury American Legion baseball team celebrates after sweeping Bristol to advance to the final four of the Northern Division in the state tournament.

SIMSBURY, July 23 – The Simsbury American Legion baseball team took advantage of their opportunities in Thursday’s American Legion state tournament game at Memorial Field. Bristol did not.

The two-time Zone 1 champions led from start to finish in a 5-3 Northern Division victory to sweep the best-of-3 series and earn a berth in the final four of the Northern Division. Simsbury (23-3) beat Post 2 by an 8-1 margin on Tuesday.

The win lifts Simsbury into the final four of the Northern Division with Zone 7 champion RCP (Rocky Hill/Cromwell/Portland), New London, who finished in a four-way for first place in Zone 4 and  Zone 8 champion South Windsor. That double elimination group begins Saturday.

Twice, Bristol had the bases loaded with one out – in the first and third inning. They came away with just one run. Post 2 stranded 10 runners in the contest.

“That was kind of a killer,” Bristol manager Jerry LaPenta, Sr., said. “We couldn’t tie it up. When you give away those type of opportunities, it can come back to haunt you.”Continue Reading

Southington South outslugs Avon Little League team in state tourney opener

Baseball ImageAVON, July 23 — Two of Avon’s three District 6 Little League championship baseball teams are still alive in their respective state tournaments.

The Major Division team (ages 11-12) dropped their opening state tournament game on Wednesday night to Southington South, 9-3. Southington South broke open a scoreless ball game with a six-run third inning to hand Avon its second loss of the summer, 8-3. Mickey Gurzenda had a three-run home run for Southington and added a triple in the fifth inning.

Avon (7-2) returns to play on Friday when they tangle with George Hummel of Seymour, the District 3 champion, at 5:30 p.m. at P.J. Foley Little League in Naugatuck. Avon will play again on Saturday, Sunday or both days depending on how Southington fared against George Hummel.Continue Reading

Simsbury Legion opens playoff series with dominating 8-1 win over Bristol

Simsbury Legion pitcher Pete Myers improved to 5-0 with a win over Bristol Wednesday.

Simsbury Legion pitcher Pete Myers improved to 5-0 with a win over Bristol Wednesday.

SIMSBURY, July 22 – Left handed pitcher Peter Myers from Canton allowed just five hits over six innings to lead the Simsbury American Legion baseball team to an 8-1 victory in game one of a best-of-3 Northern Division series Wednesday at Memorial Field.

Simsbury (22-3) can advance to the final four of the Northern Division tournament in South Windsor with a win against Bristol on Thursday at Memorial Field. If Bristol can capture a win in game two beginning at 3 p.m., the third and deciding game will be played immediately following game two.Continue Reading

Sanchez fans nine as Crushers top East Mountain for first win of season

Canton's Jake Bryant was 2-for-2 with a triple and single Sunday against Bethlehem.

Canton’s Jake Bryant had a double for the third straight game Wednesday night.

WOLCOTT, July 22 – Starting pitcher Miguel Sanchez struck out nine and scattered three hits to help the Canton Crushers earn their first victory of the season with a 4-1 Tri-State League win over the East Mountain Cougars at the BAW Complex Wednesday night.

Not only did Canton snap a 20-game losing streak dating back to last season but the Crushers left the field feeling good after a tough loss by forfeit to Amenia on Sunday. Canton was leading 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning when second baseman Jon Scippa was hurt in a collision with teammate Tom Dubois. Scippa couldn’t finish the game and with just eight players, Canton had to forfeit.

“We talked about it before the game that we wanted to win it for Scippa,” said Dubois, who is also the team manager. “This was nice after Sunday. This was definitely a morale booster, definitely a good pick up.”Continue Reading

The late Brian Sullivan made an impact in our sports world, too

Brian Sullivan, who worked in Connecticut for    several years in the 1980s, died unexpectedly Monday at his home in Pittsfield, Mass.

Brian Sullivan, who worked in Connecticut for several years in the 1980s, died unexpectedly Monday at his home in Pittsfield, Mass. (Photo courtesy Berkshire Eagle, 2006)

All that is left is the memories and the lessons. I’ve been searching through old boxes and a file cabinet in my basement full of files and old newspaper clippings. But I can’t find what is in my mind’s eye.

It’s a photo of Brian Sullivan sitting in a dugout in Torrington’s historic Fuessenich Park in a New York Giants sweatshirt with sunglasses on. He has a scorebook in one hand and looks so content. The photo is part of a full page ad from the Register Citizen newspaper in Torrington in 1987 talking about the members of the sports department team.

I just want to see it. I want to see my friend as he was more than 25 years ago. It’s been 25 years?

Brian passed away earlier this week at the age of 62 in his hometown of Pittsfield, Mass. For most of his adult life, he was a writer. From 1989 to 2011, he worked at the Berkshire Eagle, the paper he grew up reading in Pittsfield, Mass. He was the sports editor form 2000-08 before transferring to the news desk.

He left the Eagle in 2011 and worked with the local school system as a paraprofessional. But it gave him to the opportunity to do what he did best – write stories about people. He became a weekly columnist with the Eagle with a popular column about Pittsfield called “The City I Love.”Continue Reading

Canton contributions help Simsbury win back-to-back Zone 1 titles

Five of the six Canton players on the Zone 1 champion Simsbury American Legion baseball team. From left, Peter Myers, Kevin Gurry, Jack Nedorostek, Jake Wood and Brendan Reilly.

Five of the six Canton players on the Zone 1 champion Simsbury American Legion baseball team. From left, Peter Myers, Kevin Gurry, Jack Nedorostek, Jake Wood and Brendan Reilly.

For the first time in its history, the Simsbury American Legion baseball program has captured Zone 1 championships in consecutive years. Is it a coincidence that over a third of the team is from Canton for the second straight year?

Pitcher Chris Enns

Pitcher Chris Enns

Perhaps. A year ago, Simsbury had seven players from Canton on its Zone 1 championship squad that qualified to play in the Northern Division final of the state tournament with four other teams. Simsbury was among the final eight in the state left standing.

This year, six of those seven Canton players have helped Simsbury win a Zone 1 championship with a sparkling 21-3 record. Team Canton and their Simsbury teammates face Bristol in a best-of-3 series on Wednesday and Thursday at Memorial Field in Simsbury. The winner advances to the four-team Northern Division final.

Like a year ago, Simsbury manager Thomas E. Vincent isn’t really sure which the town the players are from. Well, that is what he says. On the field, they all wear the blue, green and gold of Simsbury American Legion baseball. “They all give 100 percent effort which is why we’ve been so successful this season,” Vincent said.Continue Reading

Collision derails Canton’s attempt to secure a victory

Canton's Jim Spirito had a RBI double Thursday against Thomaston.

Canton’s Jim Spirito didn’t allow a run in over seven innings of work against Amenia Sunday.

AMENIA, N.Y., July 19 – Perhaps, this isn’t Canton’s year in the Tri-State League. The Crushers were five outs away from securing their first victory of the season Sunday against the Amenia Monarchs.

Canton led 2-0 with pitcher Jim Spirito on the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning when second baseman Jon Scippa and outfielder Tom Dubois collided in right field going after a fly ball.

Scippa was hurt in the collision and had to leave the game leaving the Crushers with just eight players. Only nine players made the trip to New York leaving Canton one player shy, so Amenia was awarded a 1-0 victory by forfeit.

Tri-State League rules require that teams have nine players on the field to complete a game. Teams can carry up to 25 players on their team rosters, according to league president Eddie Gadomski.Continue Reading

Three Avon Little League teams bring home District 6 championships

Avon won the District 6 championship in the Minor Division (ages 10-11) -- the first of three D6 pennants won by Avon this summer.

Avon won the District 6 championship in the Minor Division (ages 10-11) — the first of three D6 pennants won by Avon this summer. (Photo courtesy Avon Baseball via Facebook)

For the first time in nine years, one Little League baseball program has captured three District 6 championships. With Avon’s age 9-10 All-Star baseball team beating Burlington on Sunday, Avon won the Major Division (ages 11-12), Minor Division (ages 10-11) and 9-10 pennants.

Avon is the second D6 team to accomplish this achievement and the first since Simsbury Nationals swept all three tournaments in 2005.

All three teams advance to the divisional round of the state tournament. The tournament has four three-team divisions.Continue Reading

Avon rolls past Burlington to capture District 6 baseball championship

The Avon Little League baseball team won its first District 6 Major Division title since 2012 with a 14-2 win over Burlington Saturday.

The Avon Little League baseball team won its first District 6 Major Division title since 2012 with a 14-2 win over Burlington Saturday.

THOMASTON, July 18 – The Avon Little League baseball team was dominant in the first seven games they played in the District 6 Major Division tournament. Avon won six times, scored 97 runs and gave up just 32.

That domination continued in the championship game of the District 6 tournament Saturday at Reeves Field. Avon rolled to its eighth District 6 title in the last 14 years with a 14-2 win over Burlington in four innings on Saturday afternoon.

Avon (7-1) rapped out 15 hits in the game while pitcher Arjun Grover allowed just three hits and struck out nine batters in four innings of work. “We got some great at-bats and we played well in the field,” Avon manager Steven Angus said. “We played well in every aspect of the game and had fun doing it. And they did it with sportsmanship.”Continue Reading