Simsbury, Hartford begin 3-game state tournament series Wednesday

The Simsbury American Legion baseball team returns to the diamond Wednesday against Hartford.

The Simsbury American Legion baseball team returns to the diamond Wednesday against Hartford.

SIMSBURY – The Simsbury American Legion baseball team gets back to business Wednesday when they host game 1 of a best-of-3 series at Memorial Field at 3:30 p.m. with upstart Hartford in the Connecticut American Legion state tournament.

Simsbury (21-7, 18-6 Zone 1) captured its first Zone 1 championship since 2008 and will be looking to advance to the four team Northern Division finals at Muzzy Field beginning on Saturday. Simsbury won 10 of 11 games including three straight over Avon to clinch the zone championship. 

Standing in Post 84’s way will be Hartford, a spunky, quick team that upset Avon, 3-2 and Enfield, 11-4 to advance in the tournament. Hartford (15-11-1, 11-10 Zone 7) was the fifth and final qualifier from their zone. They have yet to trail in the state tournament. 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

Courant names Grillo as player of the year in girls golf

Avon High's Marissa Grillo is the Courant's player of the year in girls golf.

Avon High’s Marissa Grillo is the Courant’s player of the year in girls golf.

Avon High senior Marissa Grillo was named as player of the year by the Hartford Courant in girls golf for this spring. Grillo was selected as the as the top player from within the 76 high schools across Connecticut that the Courant considers in their primary circulation territory.

Grillo helped Avon win their third straight Southern Connecticut Girls Golf League championship and earned All-State and All-SCGGL honors. Grillo tied for fourth place in at the CIAC championship event and helped Avon finish fourth – its best-ever finish. She will be attending Boston College in the fall.Continue Reading

Simsbury rallies again to top Avon in eight, tops Wolcott to win Zone 1 title

Simsbury's Jake King gets past Avon catcher Cody Doyle as he scores the game-winning run in Simsbury's 3-2 win in eight innings Thursday at Memorial Field.

Simsbury’s Jake King gets past Avon catcher Cody Doyle as he scores the game-winning run in Simsbury’s 3-2 win in eight innings Thursday at Memorial Field.

SIMSBURY – The Simsbury American Legion baseball team played another thriller Thursday night against Avon – its third such game in less than a week. It helped Post 84 capture its first Zone 1 championship since 2008.

Jake Wood’s RBI single to centerfield in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted Simsbury to a 3-2 victory over Avon at Memorial Field, virtually clinching the title for Simsbury. Post 84 made it official about two hours later with a 10-2 win over Wolcott.

Simsbury beat Avon three times this week. On Sunday, Post 84 prevailed in a game that had been suspended after seven innings in June with a 10-7 win in 12 innings. Then, Simsbury beat Avon, 1-0 with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Last night, Avon took a 2-0 lead but Simsbury rallied with two runs in the fourth inning and won it in the eighth.

Were these your toughest games of the season? “By far,” said Simsbury’s E.J. Lavoie, who picked up his second win on the mound in five days against Avon. Continue Reading

Simsbury, Avon Legion meet Thursday; Canton 9-10 wins state tourney debut

Manager Brian Doyle and the Avon American Legion baseball team have a key Zone 1 game with Simsbury on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. at Memorial Field.

Manager Brian Doyle and the Avon American Legion baseball team have a key Zone 1 game with Simsbury on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. at Memorial Field.

Now, that a few days of rain has ceased, the summer baseball season picks up speed as the regular season moves toward its conclusion.

In Little League play, Canton’s 9-10 baseball All-Star team is playing in the Division II state tournament – a three-team, double-elimination affair for the right to play for the Section I championship. 

Canton (6-1) won its first-ever state tournament game Wednesday, beating Farmington, 10-8. Canton will face Beacon Falls (District 3 champion) tonight at Peter Foley Little League in Naugatuck beginning at 7 p.m. The winner of tonight’s game goes Saturday’s Division II title game.

It’s just the fourth Little League baseball team from Canton to ever win a District 6 championship. The Canton/Granby junior division (ages 13-14) won the D6 title a year ago and Canton’s Major Division baseball teams (ages 11-12) won the District 6 crowns in 1988 and 1977.

AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL: Simsbury and Avon are battling for the Zone 1 championship as the regular season comes to end this week. Simsbury, which features six players from Canton, currently holds a slim lead over defending Zone 1 champion Avon.

Simsbury (16-4) has four Zone 1 games remaining while Avon (17-5) has just two. Post 84 swept a pair from Avon on Sunday to take command of the Zone 1 race.

Simsbury hosts Avon Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. at Memorial Field and then will host Wolcott immediately following at 7:30 p.m. Post 84 is at Southington on Friday and closes out the regular season with a game at Unionville. Continue Reading

Simsbury Legion can see chance for Zone 1 title after sweeping Avon

Simsbury's E.J. Lavoie pitched over eight innings of relief in Post 84's 10-7 win over Avon in 12 innings Sunday.

Simsbury’s E.J. Lavoie pitched over eight innings of relief in Post 84′s 10-7 win over Avon in 12 innings Sunday.

SIMSBURY – The Simsbury American Legion baseball team took advantage of their opportunities and are now in a position to win the Zone 1 championship this summer.

Post 84 swept a doubleheader Sunday evening at Memorial Field from defending Zone 1 champion Avon. Simsbury scored three runs with two outs in the top of the 12th inning to top Avon, 10-7 in the completion of game on June 25 suspended after seven innings.

In the nightcap, Simsbury outlasted Avon’s Michael Castellani with two hits in the bottom of the seventh inning and a 1-0 decision.

The two teams complete their season series on Monday night at 5:45 p.m. at Memorial Field. Simsbury (15-4) has four games remaining after playing Avon on Monday night and another win over Post 201 would put Simsbury in good position to win its first Zone 1 title since 2008. Continue Reading

Canton 9-10 baseball team beats Avon to win first-ever District 6 championship

The Canton 9-10 baseball team pose with Avon after winning the District 6 title Sunday.

The Canton 9-10 baseball team pose with Avon after winning the District 6 title Sunday. After many tournaments, the two finalists pose with the championship banner. (Photo courtesy Amy Tober Brown)

CANTON – The Canton Little League 9-10 baseball All-Star team captured its first-ever District 6 championship on Sunday with an 8-2 victory over Avon.

Canton, now 5-1 on the summer, advances to the state tournament where they will participate in the double-elimination Division II tournament at Peter Foley Little League in Naugatuck against Farmington (District 5) and Beacon Falls (District 3). Continue Reading

Kennedy ties for 2nd in 50 free at Bulldog Grand Slam

Swim graphic DSC_4491ATHENS, Ga. – Avon’s Madison Kennedy finished tied for second in 50 meter freestyle at this weekend’s Bulldog Grand Slam meet at the University of Georgia. Kennedy and U.S. Olympic medalist Amanda Weir each swam 25.44 seconds in the 50 meter final. 

They finished behind Kennedy’s SwimMAC teammate Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, a two-time Olympian from the Bahamas, who won the race in 24.67 seconds. Kennedy had finished third in qualifying with a time of 25.73 seconds. Continue Reading

Canton wins first Tri-State game with dramatic win over Amenia in 11 innings

Crushers pitcher Jim Spirito went 11 innings on the mound to help Canton win its first-ever Tri-State League game Saturday at Bowdoin Field.

Crushers pitcher Jim Spirito went 11 innings on the mound to help Canton win its first-ever Tri-State League game Saturday at Bowdoin Field.

CANTON, July 12 – The Canton Crushers baseball team came up big in several spots to win their first-ever Tri-State League contest Saturday at Bowdoin Field, beating the visiting Amenia (N.Y.) Monarchs, 4-3 in 11 innings. 

Canton rallied to extend the game in the eighth inning and won it in the 11th inning. Starting pitcher Jim Spirito went the distance, scattering seven hits and striking out four to earn the win. He pitched out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning to keep the Crushers in the game. 

It’s the initial victory for the Crushers, who lost their first 13 Tri-State League contests. 

“It feels good,” Canton manager Tom Dubois said. “I feel good for Jim. He’s been a workhorse or us. It was good for the team, too. We’ve been starting to play better ball in the past few weeks.” Continue Reading