Fiery Avon Legion squad pull away from Simsbury for tenth win of the year

Simsbury pitcher Joe Patrina gets ready to catch the ball before tagging out Ryan Ollestad (12) in the seventh inning of Friday night’s Zone 1 game in Simsbury.

SIMSBURY, June 23 – When Avon American Legion baseball coach Donny Annicelle played high school baseball at Trumbull High, he called himself the energy guy or the sparkplug. He was that player full of enthusiasm, hustle and energy helping his teammates to keep their focus on the game.

“I’m a high energy guy,” he said Friday night at Memorial Field. “I’ve always been that way as a player and now as a coach. I hope the kids feed off that because they need it.”

Annicelle had plenty to cheer about Friday night as Post 201 used three pitchers to limit host Simsbury to just three hits and played outstanding defense to secure their sixth shutout win of the year in 10 games as Avon beat Simsbury at Memorial Field, 8-0.Continue Reading

Spieth maintains one stroke lead at Travelers at the midway point

Jordan Spieth followed up Thursday’s career-best opening round score on the PGA Tour with another solid round of golf Friday here in Cromwell at the Travelers Championship to remain in first place, one stroke ahead of Troy Merritt and Patrick Reed.

Wesley Bryan and Daniel Summerhays are two strokes back with a two-round total of 134. Farmington native Zach Zaback played better than he did in his PGA debut at TPC River Highlanders with an even-par 70 but he still missed the cut by six strokes.

This is the ninth time that Spieth has held a share of the lead at the midway point of a tournament. He has won four of those tournaments with the most recent win coming at the 2017 AT&T People Beach Pro-Am. He also won the 2015 Masters and 2015 U.S. Open.Continue Reading

With fifth shutout win, Avon Legion tops Torrington for ninth victory

Avon’s Joe Suski had a two-run double in the second inning to put Post 201 ahead for good in Thursday’s Zone 1 victory over Torrington at Buckingham.

AVON, June 22 – Pitchers Jake Coppen and Brady Williamson combined to allow six hits and strike out five as the Avon American Legion baseball team won by shutout for the fifth time this season with a 3-0 Zone 1 win over Torrington at Buckingham Field Thursday.

Coppen pitched five innings, allowed four hits and struck out four to earn his first victory of the season. Williamson pitched two scoreless innings to earn his third save of the campaign for Post 201, who improve to 9-1.

Justin Olson led Avon at the plate with a pair of doubles while Chris Jacobs was 2-for-2 with one RBI.Continue Reading

Crowds help energize Spieth in Travelers’ debut; Zaback gets off to slow start

The weather was great Thursday for the first round of the Travelers’ Championship at the TPC River Highlands here in Cromwell. The crowds were strong. And Jordan Spieth was on a roll. Spieth had eight birdies to shoot a 7-under-par 63 to take the lead after the first round of the Travelers’ Championship.

Spieth has a one stroke lead over Johnson Wagner and Brett Segmaier, who each had a 6-under-par 64. Segmaier sank seven birdies in a stretch of nine holes.

Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk and Patrick Read are four shots back with 67 while defending champion Russell Knox shot an opening round 69. Farmington native Zach Zaback, who won a qualifier on Monday to earn a spot in the tournament, struggled with a six-over-par 76 in his PGA Tour debut.

Spieth began the tournament with a pair of birdies on the first two holes and kept it going with five birdies on the first eight holes.Continue Reading

Avon’s Hahn finishes tied for second at New England championships

Avon’s Tyler Hahn earned All-New England honors by finishing in a three-way tie for second place Tuesday in Keene, N.H.

KEENE, N.H., June 20 – Avon High junior Tyler Hahn shot a three-under-par 69 to finish in a three-way tie for second place at the 2017 New England boys golf championship tournament Tuesday at Bretwood Golf Course. Ryan Quinn of Winnacunnet, New Hampshire won the event with a six-under-par 66.

Hahn, who qualified for the New England tournament by finishing third at the CIAC Division II tournament, is believed to be the third Avon boys golfer to compete in the New England tournament.

A year ago, former teammate Jake Avery was tied for sixth with a 74 while Jay Molchan shot an 84 in 2001.Continue Reading

Zaback, former Farmington High golfer, earns chance to play at Travelers

Former Farmington High and UConn golfer Zach Zaback qualified for the Travelers’ Championship on Monday.

ELLINGTON, June 19 – Former Farmington High golfer Zach Zaback, 23, shot a five-under-par 67 to earn a spot in this week’s Travelers Championship open qualifying tournament on Monday at Ellington Ridge. He was one of four golfers to qualify for the PGA Tour event at the qualifier.

It will be Zaback’s first appearance in Cromwell at the Travelers.

Zaback graduated from UConn in 2016 and won three collegiate tournaments including the 2014 New England Division I championship. He has won the Connecticut State Amateur championship twice in the last three years in 2016 and 2014.

At Farmington, he played golf for four years with the Indians and was a three-time All-State selection.Continue Reading

Seasons of growth for Avon and Canton girls golf teams

It was a season of growth for the Avon High and Canton High girls golf teams this spring.

The Falcons, led by junior Katie O’Brien, finished at the .500 level for the first time since 2014. With a young team, Canton snapped a 40-match losing streak dating back to 2014 with a pair of victories this season.

O’Brien, who was named to the CCC Central White All-Star team, was medalist five times for the Falcons (10-10, 3-7 CCC Central White) who picked up wins against New Britain, Wethersfield, Simsbury, Hall, Canton and East Hartford.Continue Reading

Twisters rally in ninth to beat Canton

Canton catcher Jake Bryant had two of Canton’s five hits and scored a run in Sunday’s loss to Tribury.

WATERBURY, June 17 – Catcher Mike Rosa’s two-out RBI single drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the Tribury Twisters to a 4-3 win over the Canton Crushers on Saturday afternoon at East Mountain Field.

Tribury (4-2) erased a three-run deficit to earn the win. Pitcher Ben Guisto struck out seven and scattered five hits to earn the victory.

Canton led 3-1 going into the bottom of the eighth inning when Nate Zappone reached base on an error and scored on a RBI groundout by Jack Dibiase to cut the lead to one run. In the ninth, Allaire got the first out of the inning before giving up a walk and a RBI single to Jeff Cappa to tie the game at 3-3. Guisto singled to put two men on base.Continue Reading

Avon Legion team has eyes on another Zone 1 title and a state championship

Avon left fielder Brady Williamson dives for a shallow fly ball into the outfield as center fielder Joseph Suski comes in to assist. The ball fell in for a single.

AVON, June 18 – The Avon American Legion baseball team has some big goals this year. Post 201 hopes to defend their Zone 1 championship, qualify for the state tournament, win it and capture a berth to the Northeast Regional.

Second-year coach Donny Annicelle isn’t focused on end-of-the season accolades at this point of the young 2017 campaign. “We have a mantra,” he said. “It’s one play at a time, one inning at a time, one game at a time. If you can do that, you take each game as their own. We have to get better as a team.”

Avon returned every player from last year’s Zone 1 championship squad that went 20-8 and went 2-2 in the state tournament before falling in the four-team Northern Division finals.Continue Reading

Booster Club recognizes Avon seniors planning to play collegiate sports

The Avon High Booster Club recently honored seniors who will be participating in collegiate athletics beginning next fall.

AVON, May 22 – The Avon High Booster Club recently recognized 17 senior athletes who plan on playing varsity sports in college. Athletes from seven different teams were represented at the reception that was attended by athletes, their coaches and families.

Avon athletic director Tim Filon congratulated the athletes on their accomplishments in athletics and academics.

“We are so proud of you,” he said. “Please keep in touch. Come back; visit us, and be an inspiration for the student-athletes coming after you.”Continue Reading

Hits are scarce as Crushers drop third straight in loss to Winsted

Canton outfielder Ben Sullivan had one of four hits in Thursday night’s 4-1 Tri-State League loss to Winsted at Walker Field. Sullivan also had five putouts in left field.

WINSTED, June 15 – The Canton Crushers are getting a few hits in each game but not enough to put together rallies and get some runs. The Crushers have had just seven hits in the last two games.

Canton had four hits and scored one run in Thursday night’s 4-1 Tri-State League loss to the Winsted Whalers at Walker Field. Canton pitcher Taylor Riley went the distance, allowing just four hits and struck out four. But he was hurt by six walks and two errors.

The Crushers (2-6), who have scored just six runs in the last three games, took a 1-0 lead in third inning. Ben Sullivan led off the inning with a walk and moved to second when Jim Spirito also walked. After a strikeout, shortstop Heath Cotton followed with a one-out RBI single to drive in Sullivan.Continue Reading

Canton’s Dustin Van Kirk wins CIAC decathlon with seven top 10 finishes

Canton’s Dustin Van Kirk became the first Warrior to win the CIAC decathlon Wednesday in New Britain.

NEW BRITAIN, June 14 – A year ago, the CIAC decathlon ended with Canton’s Dustin Van Kirk sitting with his teammates watching the decathlon competitors struggle through the tenth and final event – the 1,500 meters. Van Kirk had turned his ankle in the pole vault and couldn’t run the 1,500.

But Van Kirk knew he would have another opportunity this spring. Van Kirk had top 10 finishes in seven of 10 events and exceeded his personal best in the javelin by 50 feet to become the first Canton athlete to win the CIAC decathlon Wednesday.

He was second in the javelin with a personal-best throw of 150 feet and three inches, fifth in the discus and fourth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.97 seconds. He had a personal-best leap of nine feet in the pole vault – and most importantly, he came out healthy.

Van Kirk beat Lyman Memorial’s Dan Brown by nearly 200 points with 5,598 points compared to 5,411 for Brown. Ellington’s Joshua Prouty was third with 5,328 points. It was Van Kirk’s first state championship.Continue Reading

Carpino, Harraden set school records, finish in top 10 of CIAC heptathlon

Four area athletes competed at the CIAC decathlon Wednesday. From left to right, Canton’s Amber Harraden, Maggie Archangelo, Avon’s Carly Carpino and Hayley Dougela. (Photo courtesy Samantha Harraden)

NEW BRITAIN, June 14 – Avon High junior Carly Carpino broke her own school record in the CIAC heptathlon Wednesday finishing third – the highest ever finish for a Falcon athlete in the event.

Canton’s Amber Harraden, still slightly limping with a strained Achilles tendon that she injured at the NCCC championship meet about three weeks ago, finished ninth to give the Canton High girls program their highest finish in the heptathlon at New Britain’s Willow Brook Park.

Harraden also set a new school record for Canton with her 3,571 points, breaking the old mark set by Lucy Tanner in 2015.Continue Reading

At midway point, Van Kirk is 2nd in decathlon; Carpino is 3rd in heptathlon

Dustin Van Kirk gives it his all in the long jump competition at the recent Class S championships in New Britain.

NEW BRITAIN, June 13 – Canton senior Dustin Van Kirk is second at the midway point of the CIAC decathlon in New Britain while Avon junior Carly Carpino is third after day one of the CIAC heptathlon.

Van Kirk, who had top 10 finishes in four of five events, is second behind Lyman Memorial’s Dan Brown, who has 3,160 points. Brown won the high jump and was second in the 100 meters. Van Kirk was third in the high jump with a leap of 5-9¾ and was sixth in the 100 meters in 11.64 seconds. He has 3,049 points after day one in the decathlon.

Canton teammates Patrick Lagonigro (44th) and Michael Cavanaugh (50) also competed but were not among the top 32 that advance to day two. The best finish for a Canton athlete in the decathlon was a third place finish by Cam Daley in 2015.Continue Reading

Patriots honor Friends of Canton Football’s Kathy Wood with Myra Kraft Community MVP award

Canton’s Kathy Wood, center, received the Myra Kraft Community MVP award from Patriots official Andre Tippett, left, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft. (Photo courtesy of Eric J. Adler/New England Patriots)

Each year, the New England Patriots and owner Robert Kraft donate $200,000 in the name of his late wife Myra to New England residents who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism.

Twenty-six men and women were honored at Gillette Stadium last week during the Myra Kraft Community MVP awards including Canton’s Kathy Wood, who was awarded $5,000 for Friends of Canton Football.

Fifteen local volunteers, including Wood, received a $5,000 grant for the non-profit organization for which they volunteer. Ten others received grants of $10,000 for their New England-based non-profit and one grand prize winner was presented with a $25,000 grant for their charity.Continue Reading