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Quality, not quanity – The Collinsville Press
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Quality, not quanity

Low on numbers but high on talent, Canton rolls to Senior Division title

CANTON, Aug. 3 – There wasn’t much of a margin for error for the Canton entry this summer in the Senior Division of the Jaycee-TD Bank baseball league. With only 13 players on the roster, fielding a team became a challenge at times.

Twice, Canton had to forfeit games because they could only get eight players to the field due to injuries and other commitments and interests that young boys have in the summertime. And there were times when Canton had just nine or 10 players.

Canton pitcher Travis Lane

As long as there were enough players, it was no problem. It was of athletes that loved to get dirty, play hard and play baseball. Canton (14-6) won 10 of the 14 regular season games they played this summer and rolled through the playoffs, winning four games to claim the Senior Division championship for the first time since 2003.

In the championship game, Canton built a 5-1 lead to beat Monaco Ford of Glastonbury, 7-4 at Northwest Park in Manchester. All-State pitcher Travis Lane went the distance, striking out 10 and allowing just six hits.

Aras Banevicius had an RBI double while Mark Medico added an RBI single. Lane had a sacrifice fly to help Canton grab an early 2-0 lead.

“These kids are baseball players,” Canton coach Bill Kelley said. “They have speed and athleticism. They’re good with the bat and the glove. We led the league in steals. They know how to get good jumps, read pitchers and it can drive the other team nuts.”

Pitcher Marc Medico

Six of the players on the team were invited to try out for Simsbury’s American Legion team. They turned down the offer. Medico played with Simsbury last year but chose to play with Canton instead.

There are a lot of expectations playing American Legion baseball. The teams can play up to 40 games and there are several practices to attend. Canton played 16 regular season games and had four playoff games. After the season began, practice was incorporated into pre-game preparations.

And it worked out great for Canton. A majority of the team has played together for years at Canton High, where they won the NCCC Tournament this spring and advanced to the Class S semifinals before losing to Cromwell.

Most have been together in the summer, too. A year ago, Canton went 17-4 in the Senior Division, dropping a 2-1 decision to the eventual champion in the quarterfinals. In 2008, the group played on a Junior Legion team for Canton.

“They’re always laughing and having fun,” Kelley said. “And they can play baseball.”

Canton’s Tyler Plourd (catcher), Nick Quattro (shortstop), Aras Banevicius (third base), Brian Magna (center field), Travis Lane (left field) and Kyle Beattie (right field) generally started in the field along with Mack Lauzon of Westminister School (first base), Sean Kelley, a Canton resident who attends Westminister (second base).

Medico played outfield when he wasn’t pitching. Doug DeMarco, Austin Bronson, Aaron Deaver and Tyler Detoire all came off the bench but with limited numbers, they saw plenty of playing time this summer.

Medico and Lane started each game in the playoffs. Lane had an ERA just under 2.00 and he averaged eight strikeouts a game. Beattie was the closer. Magna and Quattro were available to pitch, if necessary.

At the plate, Canton hit over .360 as a team with Magna, Kelley and Lauzon each hitting over. 400. Quattro, Banevicius, Lane and Plourd each hit over .300.

Still, the road to a championship was uncertain even in the final week of the season. After Cricket Press of West Hartford beat Canton in the bottom of the seventh, 3-2, the mood of the team was upbeat but cautious. Getting enough players was still a challenge, even with the playoffs looming.

One player didn’t play in enough regular season games and was ineligible for the playoffs. Two others had previous plans, including Lauzon who was scheduled to attend a baseball camp in Florida.

But at a impromptu cookout at Kelley’s house after the loss to Cricket Press, Lauzon stood up and said he would stay. “I’m not going to go,” he said. “I want to stay and play.” Every player attended every playoff game.

In the playoffs, Canton was dominant. They opened with a 15-0 win over Quinn & Quinn of West Hartford. In the quarterfinals, Lane went the distance on the mound in a 7-3 win over New Britain Park and Recreation. Kelley had two hits and two RBI while Lauzon added two hits.

In the semifinals, Meddico earned the win in a 10-1 win over the Newington Mustangs. Magna was 4-for-4 while Lauzon hit a home run.  Medico aided his own cause with four hits of his own.

More photos at our Facebook page.

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2010 Jaycee-TD Bank Senior Division playoffs
First round
Canton 14, Quinn & Quinn 0
Newington 6, Purves Plumbing 3
New Britain PR 10, Farmington Bank 3
Cricket Press 6, Simsbury 5
Vernon 2, Cromwell 1
Canton 7, New Britain Park & Rec 3
Newington 14, CT Dirt Bags 3
Herb’s 12, Cricket Press 5
Monaco Ford 4, Vermon 1
Canton 9, Newington 1
Monaco Ford 4, Herb’s 2
Canton 7, Monaco Ford 4

2010 Jaycee-TD Bank Baseball
Eastern Division     Div.      Overall
Conn. Dirt Bags-Colchester  15-1     15-2
Monaco Ford-Glastonbury   13-2     15-2
Vernon Fire Department        9-6     10-7
Newington Mustangs             8-6    10-7
Cromwell                               6-9     6-10
Quinn & Quinn-West Htfd    3-11     3-12
South Meriden                     3-11     3-11
Imperial Oil-So. Windsor      2-13     2-13
Western Division     Div.      Overall
Herb’s Sport Shop-Bristol    12-3     13-4-1
New Britain Park & Rec       11-5     12-6
Canton                                10-6     13-6
Cricket Press-West Htfd      9-6-1   10-7-1
Purves Plumbing-Granby     7-9       7-10
Simsbury                              4-12     4-13
Farmington Bank                 2-14      2-15

Regular season standings only

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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