Crusaders take care of some unfinished business, beat Granby in NCCC title game

The East Granby High softball team celebrates after winning the NCCC Tournament with a 2-0 win over Granby.

The East Granby High softball team celebrates after winning the NCCC Tournament with a 2-0 win over Granby.

WINDSOR LOCKS, May 26 – A year ago, the East Granby softball team ran the table in the North Central Connecticut Conference with an undefeated regular season campaign (20-0) to win a conference championship. It was the first league title by the Crusaders since the girls basketball team nearly 20 years earlier in 1996.

But there was a sense of unfinished business, especially in the NCCC, after the Crusaders were upset in the NCCC Tournament by Suffield, 4-3.

This spring, East Granby and Ellington each finished a game behind Granby and their outstanding sophomore pitcher Kari Marks, who captured the NCCC championship for the fourth time in the last six years. It just added additional fuel to East Granby’s drive.

In a duel of two outstanding pitchers, East Granby junior Genna Hartman struck out 14 and limited the Bears to just four hits as the Crusaders won the NCCC Tournament Thursday at Veteran’s Field in Windsor Locks with a 2-0 victory over Granby.Continue Reading

Falcons snap five-game losing streak with win over Bethel in Class M tourney

Avon's Dan Magrini (8) celebrates with teammate Nick Baldwin (9) after scoring a goal in the second half of Saturday's win over Bethel at Buckingham Field.

Avon’s Dan Magrini (8) celebrates with teammate Nick Baldwin (9) after scoring a goal in the second half of Saturday’s win over Bethel at Buckingham Field.

AVON, May 28 – The Avon High boys lacrosse team certainly didn’t enter the Class M state tournament on a roll. The Falcons had lost five straight games and six of their last seven contests.

Some of the defeats have come at the hands of some outstanding opponents such as No. 5 Simsbury, Xavier, which finished the season with 12 wins and Somers and East Catholic, the No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, ranked teams in the Class S tournament.

On Friday night, Avon High had their prom – and few students that attend the prom get to bed on time. And on Saturday afternoon, the Falcons hosted their Class M tournament opener against No. 17 Bethel in sweltering 90 degree temperatures at Buckingham Field.

Yet, No. 16 Avon didn’t wilt in the bright sunshine, heat and humidity. The Falcons scored the first four goals of the game and led by as many as six as they advanced to the second round of the Class M tournament with a 13-9 victory over Bethel.

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In sweltering heat, Canton girls beat Granby for first tournament win since 2007

Sophomore Lindsay Vacca returns a serve in Saturday's Class S tournament win over Granby at Mills Pond Recreation Park. The Warriors prevailed, 5-2.

Sophomore Lindsay Vacca returns a serve in Saturday’s Class S tournament win over Granby at Mills Pond Recreation Park. The Warriors prevailed, 5-2.

CANTON, May 28 – The Canton High girls tennis team returned to the Class S state tournament Saturday morning after an eight-year absence.

It was a trying experience. Playing in steamy, 90 degree temperatures at Mills Pond Recreation Area, the Warriors battled against Granby for the third time this season. Nearly three hours after it began, the two teams were still going at it.

Canton led by one point with two matches remaining. But Canton’s Sabrina Almeida and Brina Donovan outlasted Angela Copeli and Julianna Pestretto at No. 3 doubles to clinch the victory for No. 16 Canton (14-6). A few minutes later, Canton’s Lindsay Vacca completed her comeback with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Karissa Gaughan to give the Warriors a 5-2 decision.

Canton (14-6), playing in the Class S tournament for the first time since 2008, travels to face No. 1 and undefeated Stonington (14-0) on Monday, May 30 at 1 p.m.Continue Reading

Lions spoil tournament debut for Canton lacrosse team

Jake Whittingslow had a goal in Canton's first-ever state tournament game Friday in Bloomfield. The Warriors were eliminated, 15-5.

Jake Whittingslow had a goal in Canton’s first-ever state tournament game Friday in Bloomfield. The Warriors were eliminated, 15-5. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

BLOOMFIELD, May 27 – The Northwest Catholic boys lacrosse team was too much for Canton as the No. 16 Lions rolled to a 15-5 victory over the Warriors in the first round of the Class S tournament at St. Thomas Seminary.

Eddie Melton had two goals for Canton while C.J. Giancola, Jake Whittingslow and John Graziano also scored for Canton, which finishes the year with a school record eight wins and an 8-9 record.Continue Reading

Canton girls steamroll Somers to capture NCCC Tournament crown, 14-4

The Warriors celebrate after winning the NCCC Tournament Thursday with a dominating win over Somers.

The Warriors celebrate after winning the NCCC Tournament Thursday with a dominating win over Somers.

SUFFIELD, May 26 – The Canton High girls lacrosse could have clinched their first-ever NCCC championship with a win over Somers in early May. But the Warriors were slow out of the gate and dropped a one-goal decision to the Spartans, 12-11 in double overtime.

A week later, Canton clinched their first-ever league championship. Still, that loss to Somers irked the Warriors, who were thrilled to see the Spartans line up against them in the championship game of the NCCC Tournament Thursday at Suffield High.

Canton played with a vengeance in the first half of Thursday’s championship game, scoring 11 unanswered goals to pull away from Somers and win its first NCCC Tournament title with a 14-4 decision.Continue Reading

Kirk wins three events at CCC Central championship meet; Avon girls finish fifth

Avon's Geoff Kirk won three events at the first CCC Central track and field championship meet at Simsbury High.

Avon’s Geoff Kirk, shown throwing the shot, won three events at the first CCC Central track and field championship meet at Simsbury High.

SIMSBURY, May 24 – Avon High senior Geoff Kirk relishes a challenge. It has brought out this best in him this spring. At the recent Greater Hartford Invitational, Kirk had season-best performances in the shot put, discus and javelin. He won two of three events, taking second in the javelin.

“I generally do well with competition,” Kirk said. “It gives me a little motivation to do well.”

Kirk used the competition Tuesday to propel him to three victories at the Central Connecticut Conference Central Division championship meet at Simsbury High. Kirk swept the shot, discus and javelin with personal-best performances in the discus and javelin. Not only was his throw of 179 feet, one inch a personal record but it was the best discus throw in the state so far.

Kirk helped Avon finish sixth in the CCC Central meet. The Avon girls finished fifth in the CCC Central meet, led by Kaleigh Sherman, who continued her outstanding senior season with a second place finish in the javelin, and junior Riley Abate, who finished second in the 100 meters with a school-record effort.Continue Reading

Canton boys capture 6th straight NCCC title; best-ever finish for Canton girls (3rd)

Canton's John Solomon won the 300 hurdles and was third in the 110 hurdles to help the Warriors capture their sixth straight NCCC championship. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton’s John Solomon won the 300 hurdles and was third in the 110 hurdles to help the Warriors capture their sixth straight NCCC championship. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

STAFFORD, May 24 – The question that had to be answered at the NCCC championship meet was simple. Would the undefeated Canton High boys track and field team share the league championship with Ellington or could the Warriors lay sole claim to the pennant.

Canton, which hasn’t lost a dual meet since the end of the 2010 campaign, received individual victories from Will Briggs (discus, shot) and John Solomon (300 hurdles) and four second place finishes from Max Sparks, Stephen Oliver, Carlson and Dustin Van Kirk to nip Ellington by 5½ points and capture their sixth straight NCCC title.

It was one of the closest meets in league history. In 1991, Ellington slipped past Avon by two, 138-136. In 2000, Tolland and Ellington tied at 98½ points.

In the girls competition, Ellington won its first league championship since 2004 with a 10-point win over Granby. Canton, with just 12 girls competing, finished third with its best-ever showing at the NCCC championship meet. Amber Harraden (400) and Jane Frawley (1,600) both came from behind to capture NCCC championships.Continue Reading

Jean Hunt, who helped provide athletic opportunities for girls, passes away

The late Jean Hunt speaks to friends and family at a 2000 gathering celebrating her induction into the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The late Jean Hunt speaks to friends and family at a gathering at Farmington High in 2000, celebrating her induction into the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Jean Hunt, the legendary Farmington High coach who helped expand and establish opportunities for girls to compete in high school sports in Connecticut, died on Friday in her hometown of Lexington, Mass., where she had been living for some time.

Hunt helped establish the first state tournaments in volleyball, basketball and field hockey. She coached for more than 30 years beginning in 1952 at Litchfield High School and ending in 1981 in Farmington.

She coached field hockey, basketball, softball, volleyball, soccer, track and field, badminton and cheerleading. Her teams won over 500 games (502-139-44), 11 state championships and eight conference titles. Her various teams had 20 undefeated seasons.Continue Reading

Canton softball ends the season with a victory over HMTCA

Canton's Anna Shine gets her bat on the ball in Monday's season-ending win over HMTCA. (Photo courtesy John Fitts, Canton Compass)

Canton’s Anna Shine gets her bat on the ball in Monday’s season-ending win over HMTCA. (Photo courtesy John Fitts, Canton Compass)

CANTON, May 23 – This wasn’t a season for the record books. The Canton High softball team was small in numbers and they struggled on the field. But they finished with a flourish.

In the final game of the season, the Warriors finished with a dominating 15-4 victory over Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy on Monday. Canton (3-17) rapped out nine hits, led by senior Anna Shine, who was 2-for-3 with two RBI, a triple and two stolen bases.

Canton stole eight bases and took advantage of 11 walks. Senior Sam Anderson had a RBI single and stole home in the second inning as the Warriors erased an early 2-0 HMTCA lead.Continue Reading

Farmington rallies to pin another one-run defeat upon Avon baseball team

Baseball ImageFARMINGTON, May 23 – The Farmington High baseball team’s hopes for play in the Class LL tournament remain alive. The Indians scored with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to hand Avon their fifth straight loss, 5-4 in CCC Central White division action at Tunxis Meade Park Monday night.

Farmington (7-12, 3-4 CCC Central White) can qualify for the Class LL tournament with a win on Tuesday against division champion Northwest Catholic (14-5, 7-0 CCC Central White). Avon, meanwhile, concludes the regular season on a down note. The Falcons (10-10, 3-5 CCC Central White) have lost five in a row and seven of the last eight contests.

Four of those losses have been one-run defeats.

Avon rallied to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs, Sean Del Gallo reached on an error and moved to second base on a single by catcher Jeremy Zarwanski. Andrew LeDuc belted a two-RBI triple to right field tie the game at 4-4. The rally died with a strikeout. Seven Avon batters fanned on Monday night.Continue Reading

Black Sox spoil season debut for Crushers with a dominating 16-3 victory

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

Canton’s Jim Spirito had two hits including a double Sunday.

PLYMOUTH, May 22 – Matt Donofrio had two doubles while Pat Norton was 2-for-3 with three RBI to lead the Terryville Black Sox to a 16-3 win over the Canton Crushers in the Tri-State League opener for both teams on Sunday.

The Black Sox (1-0) had 21 hits in the game. Pat Mulcahy had a solo home run for the winners. Terryville hurler Billy Armstrong had five innings of no-hit ball and he struck out 12 in seven innings of work.

Canton (0-1) had six hits, led by Spirito with two hits, including a double. Canton got on the scoreboard in the seventh inning. Shortstop Jake Bryant and Spirito had back-to-back singles. Both scored on a two-RBI double from Chris Van deBogart.Continue Reading

Golics to speak at free football symposium in Canton on Tuesday night

football graphicCANTON, May 23 — A free football symposium will be held on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., in the Canton High auditorium, featuring Mike Golic, the former NFL player and ESPN Radio morning show host, Golic’s wife, Chris, an advisor for USA Football’s Heads Up Football program and Dr. Carl Nissen from the Connecticut Children’s Hospital in Hartford.

The program is for parents, coaches and athletes interested in a better understanding of football safety and how to coach, practice and play the game to promote safety. The session will also discuss heat-related issues and sudden cardiac content. There will be an open mic Q&A session. Event schedule Continue Reading

Crushers looking for more wins, playoff berth in year three in Tri-State League

Canton's Muneeb Alam celebrates with pitcher Jimmy Spirito during Thursday night's season finale at Bowdoin Field. Canton prevailed, 3-2.

Canton’s Muneeb Alam celebrates with pitcher Jimmy Spirito during the season finale at Bowdoin Field last August against East Mountain. Canton won that game, 3-2.

CANTON, May 20 – The Tri-State Baseball League season begins their 83rd season on Sunday with a record 19 teams including the Canton Crushers, who will be searching for their first-ever playoff berth.

It’s the third season for the Crushers, who have managed to win three games in their first two seasons. Canton (2-16) is hoping for more victories in 2016 – enough to finish among the top 12 teams in the league and in the playoffs. The Crushers open year three at Terryville on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. at the Eli Terry Middle School in Plymouth (old Terryville High).

It won’t be easy. But manager Tom Dubois hopes a year of experience in the league will help the Crushers, who were more competitive last year than in their first season in 2014. Last summer, Canton played well in their last four games, going 2-2.Continue Reading

Canton gets just four hits in 7-4 loss to East Windsor in softball

Canton's Bailey Edgren goes to scoop up the ball and get it to first baseman Anna Shine in Saturday's NCCC game in East Windsor. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton’s Bailey Edgren goes to scoop up the ball and get it to first baseman Anna Shine in Saturday’s NCCC game in East Windsor. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

EAST WINDSOR, May 21 – Brooke Dotson and Bailey Edgren each had two-RBI singles but it wasn’t enough as the East Windsor High softball team beat Canton, 7-4 on Saturday at the East Hartford Reservoir.

The Panthers (6-12, 4-11 NCCC) had 16 hits led by Louisa Harmon, who was 4-for-4 with three RBI and Sarah Fisher, was 3-for-4 with two RBI.

Canton (2-17, 1-15 NCCC) had just four hits but they were in the game for most of the day. Edgren’s two-RBI single to left field in the second inning tied the game at 2-2. In the fifth inning, Dotson’s two-RBI single to center field tied the game, 4-4.Continue Reading

No. 6 South Windsor holds off Avon, hands Falcons fourth one-run defeat

Avon's Sean Del Gallo was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI in the Falcons' win over Farmington Friday.

Avon’s Sean Del Gallo was 2-for-2 for the Falcons in a 3-2 loss to South Windsor on Friday.

SOUTH WINDSOR, May 20 – The Avon High baseball team is finding the margin for error to be much smaller in the Central Connecticut Conference. A few mistakes, a few missed opportunities can cost you.

South Windsor’s Alex Rodriguez drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Bobcats survived an Avon challenge in the seventh inning to beat the Falcons Friday night, 3-2 in CCC play.

Avon (10-9) lost their fourth straight game and for the sixth time in the last seven games. The Falcons played well but couldn’t come up with the victory. Avon limited No 6 South Windsor (15-3) to just six hits. The Bobcats began the season with 13 consecutive victories.Continue Reading