5 Storylines To Watch
1. Can Amity complete its “Drive for Five”?
The Spartans are the first school in state history to win four straight Class LL titles. Obviously, they can become the first to win five straight, as well. The SCC champs and No. 1 overall seed host NFA in their opener on Tuesday.
2. Can the SCC continue to dominate Class L?
The league has spawned nine of the last 11 Class L champions. Notre Dame-West Haven won it last season as a No. 11 seed. The Green Knights are the No. 18 seed this year after a 11-9 regular season. East Lyme, the top seed which lost to ND in last year’s final, faces Foran on Tuesday.
3. How good is Ellington?
The Knights were the last unbeaten team in the state until falling to old rival Tolland a week ago. At 19-1, they’re still the top seed in Class M and open up against Northwestern on Tuesday. Its only state title came in 1971 in Class S. It’s only other appearance was a 2009 loss to New London in Class M.
4. On a Crusade?
Holy Cross avenged last season’s loss in the NVL title game by dispatching Seymour for this year’s title. The Crusaders are 22-1 and the top seed in Class S. The school has never won a state championship (going 0-2 in two appearances, the last in 2008). Holy Cross hosts East Windsor in its tourney opener on Tuesday.
5. Dark horse?
Amity coach Sal Coppola said one team he wouldn’t want to face in the first round is Cheshire, which has plenty of strong pitching led by Mike Hickey and Gary Costello, who tossed a no-hitter a few weeks ago. The Rams are a No. 22 seed, and No. 11 Staples gets the unenviable task of hosting them in a first-round game Tuesday.
5 Players To Watch
Winkel in time
Patrick Winkel, the cannon-armed junior catcher from Amity has already committed to UConn, where he’ll team with his older brother, Chris, in a couple of years. Unless, of course, he’s taken high in the 2018 MLB draft, which isn’t out of the question.
Ben Casparius, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior righthander from Staples, is the most highly-touted senior in the state this season. He’s committed to play at North Carolina, but that could change if he hears his named called high enough in next week’s 2017 MLB draft.
East Haven’s Nick Kraszewski has had big hits all season, none bigger than the walk-off bomb he hit in an SCC quarterfinal round win over North Haven last week.
Be all that you can be
A pair of Army-bound players, Fairfield Prep’s Karl Johnson and Amity’s Max Scheps, still have some work to do before beginning their careers at West Point.
Hall’s Chase Jeter, who hurled a perfect game against Rockville early in the season, is no relation to the former Yankee captain. Or, for that matter, the former Duke basketball player also named Chase Jeter who recently announced he’s transferring to another school.