Over the last few years there has been discussion by the league’s coaches and athletic directors on whether there should be a conference tournament. But, according to league commissioner Barbara Startup, “Coaches were not all in agreement and neither were many ADs.”
A majority of the conferences in the Connecticut are holding conference baseball tournaments this week, while the CCC will be finishing out its regular season schedule with one final division championship up for grabs.
The CCC East is still sought after by two teams.
Rocky Hill currently sits at the top with a 11-1 record and three division games to play. E.O. Smith is 11-2 with one division game to play. The teams split in the regular season.
Berlin, the current No. 1 team in the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register baseball poll, has secured its first CCC South title since 2011. Southington won its second CCC West title in a row with its win over New Britain on Saturday and Manchester defeated Glastonbury, 6-1 on May 23 to secure the CCC North crown.
The conference has games scheduled on May 29, the last possible day to play games that count towards qualifying for the state tournament. This is one of the reasons a conference tournament cannot be held.
Southington coach Charles Lembo addressed this issue on Saturday after his team beat New Britain.
“You have to do some different things,” he said. “You have to get all your games in early. You can’t have any off days early in the season in early April.”
Lembo is among a group of coaches who are in favor of a conference tournament.
“I’ve been fighting for it for years,” Lembo said.
But one of the causes for concern is pitcher health and fatigue.
There are rules in place set by the CIAC limiting pitchers to 10 innings per week, but there are still coaches and ADs in the CCC who want extra rest time.
“There’s the dispute between pitching and wearing guys out before the state tournament,” Windsor coach Joe Serfass said. “So I understand both sides. Right now it hasn’t passed, maybe in the future it will.”
“If you’re the coach, you decide who you want to pitch,” Lembo said. “If you don’t want to pitch your number one and you’re in the conference championship final, then that’s up to you.”
These coaches just want to play more baseball. “The more baseball you play, the better,” Serfass said.
Manchester coach Marc DiDominzio is another conference tournament supporter.
“It gets you prepared for the state tournament,” DiDominzio said. “You get to see some plus pitching going into the tournament.”
After winning the West division on Saturday at Beehive Field in New Britain, Lembo talked about the quality of stadiums in the area where the tournament could be played.
“We have great venues up here,” Lembo said. “We have Rock Cats Stadium [New Britain Stadium], here [Beehive Stadium], we have Palmer [Field], we have Muzzy [Field]. We have plenty of places where we can play it.”
The Shoreline Conference plays its championship game at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.
Windsor senior John Nolan mentioned the parity in the CCC.
“This conference anyone can win,” Nolan said. “We say that every year coming in. Every team can win, every team competes with each other.”
The idea of a conference tournament in the CCC has come up at meetings the last few years and will continue to be a topic of discussion.
“We have a regular season champion, but that’s about it,” New Britain coach Roberto Mercado said. “To have a conference [champion] would be pretty cool.”