With the Legion season kicking off today, and most likely taking a backseat to the CIAC state tournament, here’s a little preseason love for the boys of summer. Below is a Triple Play preview of what you can expect from Zone 2 and Zone 3 area teams this season. Here’s what caught my eye:
3 Zone 2 teams to watch
Branford: The defending state champs will be without starter, and sometimes reliever, John Amendola this season. However, Branford does return contributors, Kyle Hart, Mike Funaro, Mike Schettino and the enormous bat of Nick Perrelli. Branford also added Brandon Wynne, the former Notre Dame-West Haven standout, from the East Haven 89ers.
Orange Post 127: Yet again Branford and Orange should battle all summer for Zone supremacy. Orange lost pitchers Mike Concato and Sam Nepiarsky. However, they lose two Amity slingers and bring back two, in Nick Fusco and Ross Weiner. Also Mike Appel joins the crew to form what could be the stingiest pitching staff in the Zone.
East Haven 89ers: This season’s team brings in some experience as Peter Grippo, Nick Poulin and Tyler Gaudino are just a few of the Yellow Jackets that played on this past season’s Southern Connecticut Conference Oronoque Division championship winning team.
3 Zone 2 players to watch
Nick Perrelli, right field, Branford: Walk him every time. Okay maybe not, but at least pitch around him. Perrelli was constant threat to hit a double or home run last season. He was clutch, too, with seven RBIs in a Northeast Regional victory over Rochester last season.
Sean Bonaparte, pitcher, Ansonia: He twirled a no-hitter this season for the Chargers and had another one going in the semifinals of the NVL tournament against Seymour until the fifth. If he keeps the ball down, he’s tough to hit.
Nick Fusco, pitcher, Orange Post 127: The pitcher starred for SCC finalist Amity and could make up the toughest pitching staff in the Zone.
3 Zone 2 series to watch
Orange Post 127 vs. Branford, June 17-19: Arguably the best rivalry in the Zone continues. From the solid pitching of Fusco, Weiner to the timely hitting of Perrelli and Wynne, this will again be a neck and neck series.
East Haven 89ers vs. Branford, July 12-13: This series should do two things for East Haven: One, get it ready for the playoffs and two, give it a chance to see how close it is to the top against one of the zone’s best.
Ansonia vs. East Haven 89ers, July 8-10: Ansonia could be the dark horse of the zone. East Haven should emerge as a possible zone contender.