The baseball season has just about hit the midpoint for most Southern Connecticut Conference teams. Fairfield Prep has emerged as the favorite to take the conference, Notre Dame-West Haven has won eight in a row and East Haven could be a surprise team in the SCC tournament.
Conversely, conference mainstays like Xavier and Amity have struggled to find consistency and Shelton is in, dare I say, rebuilding mode, at 3-7. Below are the things we learned in the first half of the season.
WHAT (WE THINK) WE’VE LEARNED
Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame-West Haven are the best teams in the conference >> The Jesuits have taken down Law 4-1, ND-West Haven 9-4 and Sheehan 7-5. Those three teams have a combined record of 22-8, so the Jesuits do not struggle with the conference’s elite. Prep began the season 7-0 before falling to West Haven 11-2. Meanwhile the Green Knights got revenge for that first loss and took Prep down 5-2 on May 3.Notre Dame-West Haven may posses the conference’s best pitcher in John Amendola, too.
Law’s pitching staff is legit >> The Eagles have given up 31 runs in nine games. Three seniors — Kevin Johnson, Rich Dow and Kurt Holden — returned for the Eagles and have not disappointed. Johnson has been sharp, as he tossed a complete game with 11 strikeouts in a 5-4 win over Hand on April 23 and one-hit Hamden in a 9-0 victory on April 17.
Cheshire’s pitching staff could be just as good but hasn’t been tested >> The Rams have surrendered 22 runs in 10 games. However, only three out of Cheshire’s seven wins are against teams with winning records, and those teams are just above .500. The Rams beat Amity, who is just over .500 at 6-5, and West Haven, who has a losing record at 5-7. However, Cheshire also beat Sheehan, which is 8-5. Despite a mostly light schedule, the Rams are beating the teams they should and may not face too many big bats until the start of the tournament.
Career is a scary team >> The Panthers have posted a solid record of 7-5 thanks to wins over Cheshire, East Haven and Hamden. The Panthers have been competitive in each game, losing its five games by an average of two runs per contest. Josh Colon, Mike Caruso and Will Jackson are just a few of the names SCC teams should get used to hearing.
Shelton is rebuilding >> The Gaels have consistently been one of the toughest teams in to play in the SCC. Shelton has only missed the SCC tournament twice since it added a first round in 2006. The last time Shelton missed the tournament was 2011, but that year the Gaels went 9-12, qualifying for states. At 3-7, the Gaels are in danger of missing the state playoffs altogether.
WHAT (WE THINK) WILL BE SECOND HALF GAMES TO WATCH
Fairfield Prep at Law, May 9 3:45 p.m. >> Law has a chance to solidify itself as the conference’s best.
Sheehan at Cheshire, May 12 4 p.m. >> Huge divisional game for both teams.
Branford at Career, May 12, 3:45 p.m. >> This could be for all the SCC Oronoque Division marbles.
Foran at Guilford, May 14, 3:45 p.m. >> This game is scheduled to be at Guilford’s new field, which the Indians have yet to play on due to inclement weather halting construction.
ND-West Haven at East Haven, May 16, 3:45 p.m. >> The Yellow Jackets lost 9-8 in the first meeting. Late in the season, this will be a very important victory if East Haven can get it.