Amity dominated all of last season, making voters’ jobs easy when picking the top team in Connecticut. This season the Spartans’ nine losses made the decision a little tougher, but the result remained the same.
The defending two-time Class LL champs were voted the No. 1 team in Connecticut for the second straight year in the final Register/GametimeCT.com Top 10 poll on Monday. Amity received nine first-place votes, collecting 462 points from 14 voters. The Spartans only picked up 69 points in the final poll before the state tournament.
“This always means a lot,” said coach Sal Coppola. “Especially with Notre Dame-West Haven, which is a great team, too.”
The Southern Connecticut Conference took the top two slots in the poll with Class L champion Notre Dame-West Haven finishing second with three first-place votes and 422 points. Much like Amity, the Green Knights were not ranked high before the state tournament. Notre Dame was No. 10. Central Connecticut Conference power Rocky Hill, which won Class M on a walk-off walk, was voted third with three first-place votes and 380 points.
Amity (19-9) knocked off one of the CCC’s best teams for the second straight year to win the Class LL tournament, downing Southington 8-2. The Spartans defeated the Blue Knights 4-0 last season in the final. Amity started this season 0-3 and its nine losses were the second-most by any champion this season. Class S champion Portland lost 10 games.
“We’ve come a long way,” said senior Nick Fusco. “I think we’re the best team in Connecticut right now.”
Amity’s pitchers were masterful, allowing a total of five runs in five state tournament games. The 17th-seeded Spartans topped Danbury, top-seeded Fairfield Prep, Glastonbury and Simsbury before to reach the final.Although last season’s Spartans may seem like a more convincing pick for the No. 1 team in the state, the two teams had nearly identical tournament runs.
Last year’s Spartans, the sixth seed, bowled through Class LL and won games by an average margin of 6.2 runs per game. This season’s 17th-seeded Spartans won by an average of 5.6 runs. The closest game in this year’s tournament was a 3-0 shutout of Simsbury in the semifinals. Last year Amity beat Fairfield Prep 3-2 in the same round. Also, both teams entered the final having only given up three runs.
To put the back-to-back titles in perspective, the Spartans used two different pitching staffs in two years and only allowed eight runs in 10 tournament games. Cycling through Mike Concato and Sam Nepiarsky in 2013 and Fusco and Ross Weiner in 2014, Amity also amassed five shutouts and collected a no-hitter, Concato’s last year, in the process.
At the plate, with Justin Ashworth and Keith Klebart in 2013 and Anthony Capozziello, Sebastian DiMauro and Jake Russo this season, Amity scored a combined 67 runs in 10 games.
“Year in and year out we always do a great job,” said Russo, who also starred on the 2013 team. “We always make a good run.”
Poll closes Saturday at noon.