MIDDLETOWN >> We’re in the middle of the American Legion baseball postseason. The one-and-done round is over — Middletown’s 4-3 loss to Monroe was brutal — and the best-of-three series with the eight weekend survivors and the eight zone champions begins Wednesday.
In the Northern Division, RCP — Rocky Hill, Cromwell, Portland for those who haven’t been paying attention — opens up Wednesday at 3 p.m. hosting old friend West Hartford, which survived an 11-10 game over Waterford Sunday, at Fran Monnes Field at Cromwell High School. The teams will play on Thursday — a doubleheader if necessary — with the winner joining three others in the Northern Division tourney at South Windsor Saturday.
The Southern Division series’ include Trumbull at Stamford, Monroe at Branford, Hamden at Cheshire and Greenwich at Waterbury.
The four winners of those best-of-three series will come to Palmer Field for a double elimination series of two games on Saturday, two on Sunday and single games Monday, Tuesday and — if needed — Wednesday.
Then on Friday, the climactic series between the Northern and Southern Division winners will be held at Palmer Field to determine the state champion.
It was not a good weekend for Zone 3 as Middletown and Wallingford lost first round games and after winning on Saturday, Meriden and Berlin — which lost to Monroe — went down. Bristol was the only one of four to survive the weekend from Zone 1 and West Hartford was the only survivor of three teams from Zone 7.
On Sunday. Aug. 2, the 17u division, commonly known as the Juniors, plays its state title game at 1 p.m. and at 4 p.m., the 15u division, commonly known as the Prep Division, will hold its title game. Both are at Palmer Field.
Middletown’s Prep team goes in as one of the favorites at 16-2.
The Regional opens in Bristol on Aug. 5. The first game is New Hampshire vs. Massachusetts at 9:30 a.m. followed by Maine vs. Rhode Island. At 4:30, Connecticut takes on Vermont and that will be followed by host team Bristol vs. the Massachusetts runner-up.
Advance tickets — 10 admissions — will be on sale at Palmer Field during the state tourney. The tickets costs $35 vs. $6 per admission at the gate. Even I know that 10x$6 = $60. So the advance ticket — which can be used by many folks — is a deal.
There will be changes come this fall in high school football.
Each year teams move up and down in classification. The CIAC tries to have the same number of schools in each class so each year, schools at the margins move.
Classes should be in effect for three years, methinks. It strikes me as unfair that schools yo-yo back and forth from class to class, simply because the cut-offs change by a few kids, or that a school’s enrollment goes up or down by a similar few.
Some notable examples of changes include Bristol Central and South Windsor dropping from LL to L, Hillhouse moving up to L from M, and Darien — long a Class L power — moving up to LL.
Not much has changed for area schools, with the significant exception of Valley Regional/Old Lyme moving up from S to M.
Xavier remains in LL, Middletown in L, Vinal/East Hampton/Goodwin Tech in L — which makes no sense, except that numbers rule — Haddam-Killingworth, Coginchaug and Cromwell/Portland in Class S.
There was some thought that Cromwell and Portland’s combined enrollment would kick it up to M, but not so.
Interestingly, Middletown High’s schedule is now exclusively Class L schools.
Xavier’s schedule is a combined LL and L slate. but the L slate includes Notre Dame, which is expected to be very good, and Daniel Hand. Everybody knows about the Tigers.
The playoff schedule, which returns to sanity with four classes after the too-many eight of last year, opens with quarterfinal round games on Tuesday, Dec. 1, semifinal games on Monday, Dec. 7 with championship games on Friday, Dec. 11 or Saturday, Dec. 12.
The first two rounds will be played at the higher-ranked school and the neutral sites for the four title games will be announced. It seems to me that semifinal round games should also be at neutral sites. That’s much more fair.