SOUTHINGTON VS ELLINGTON (best-of-three series)
When: Friday, 6:30 p.m. (Game One, Series continues Saturday)
Where: Ceppa Field, Meriden
Championship game appearances: Ellington making first state final appearance. Southington won the Senior American Legion Championship in 1993, was runner-up in 2013
What to look for: Runs may be tough to come by in the championship series as both teams come in with deep pitching staffs which have been rolling so far in the state tournament. For Southington, Dan Topper leading off has been one of the biggest difference makers in the tournament with his disruptive speed. If he gets on base with less than two outs, he has a pretty good chance of coming home with a run…Southington’s lineup is deep with Dylan Chiaro, Josh Panarella, and Brandon Kohl all batting in front of 6-foot-5-inch masher Brayden Cooney…Pitching has carried Southington with one of the deepest staffs in the state. Southington pitchers allowed 1 run in the Super Regionals with Nick Borkowski leading the way as he was in total control in Southington’s first win over Cheshire in the Southern Super Regional. Ryan Henderson, Jeremy Mercier and Ryan Sheehan have all contributed big innings during the playoffs. Mercier threw 6 and 1/3 innings in the 13-inning win over Cheshire, striking out 9. For Ellington, starter Dakota Aldrich pitched a complete game, allowing no earned runs, three hits and striking out 5 in the final game of the Northern Super Regional against RCP… Prior to Aldrich’s gem, the team got complete games from Brayden Barone (4-2 win over West Hartford) and Kevin Smith (4-1 win over Tri-County) as well as a dominating performance by Stefan Lesco in the first game of the finals against RCP… In the Northern Super Regional, Ellington’s pitching staff combined for a 0.40 ERA, allowing only two earned runs and eight total runs in the five games… Offensively, the team scored at least four runs in every game it won…Ellington has used right fielder Adam Muzsi and center fielder Chase Kidd at the top of the batting order in front of Lesco, Aldrich and SS Brady Coleman. The top of the order produced runs time and time again for Ellington in the Super Regionals… Catcher Aaron Young has been solid behind the plate but has also been contributing with his bat, going 3-for-3 with a double and run scored in the final against RCP.
You should know: Ellington finished in a 3-way tie at 16-5 on top of Zone 8 along with Tolland and South Windsor with Tolland winning the tiebreaker, finishing first in the Zone…Southington was 20-8 in the regular season and despite having the fourth best record in the state, finished second in Zone 3 behind Cheshire (25-3). Southington beat Cheshire twice in the Southern Super Regional to advance to the championship…Ellington took a tougher road, losing the opening game of the Super Regional before rattling off four-straight wins including two over RCP in the Northern Super Regional final… This is the first season Southington competed in the Southern Division Tournament after moving from Zone 1 in the Northern Division to Zone 3 in the Southern Division to help balance the divisions after 10 Legion programs in the state folded prior to the season…Ellington competes out of Zone 8 which will not exist next season when the state contracts to 6 Zone.