WEST HAVEN >> After Mother Nature kept Amity from defending its Southern Connecticut Conference title last season, the Spartans will finally get the chance again on Saturday.
Weather permitting, of course.
The seventh-seeded Spartans topped No. 3 seed Law 6-1 in the SCC semifinals on Thursday night at Yale Field to advance to the title game on Saturday at noon. Amity won the conference in 2012 and advanced to the semifinals last year before the tournament was canceled due to rain.
“We’re psyched,” said Amity coach Sal Coppola. “We loved the way our guys played the last couple of games.”
The Spartans will face fourth-seeded Xavier, which outlasted Fairfield Prep 3-2 in 12 innings in the other semifinal. The last time Xavier was in the final, in 2006, it lost to Amity.
“We didn’t play defense the way we’re capable of playing,” said Law coach Greg Simler. “We left some pitches out over the plate and they took advantage of us.”
Amity (14-8) got the ball rolling early, plating three runs in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Sebastian DiMauro reached on an error before Anthony Capozziello drove him in with an RBI double. Chris Winkel reached on a bunt and Kyle Mattei’s two-run single scored Capozziello and Winkel.
“We like to score first,” Capozziello said. “It gets the team momentum going and it usually bodes well for us.”
The Spartans would keep Law (18-4) in check, working out of a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the bottom of the first as Ross Weiner got Kevin Johnson to fly out. With two on and two out in the fourth, Weiner got Mack Taylor to ground out and end the threat. Amity tacked on some insurance runs in the third and fourth innings.
Earlier in the day, it took 12 innings to determine the first team which would play in the SCC final.
Heading into the tournament, Xavier coach Rich Magner wanted his players to take it one game at a time.
After his fourth-seeded Falcons knocked off top seed Fairfield Prep 3-2 in 12 innings, Magner’s mantra may change.
“I’d like to take it an inning at a time, to be honest with you,” a smiling Magner said.
The Falcons survived the three-hour semifinal marathon and head to their first final since 2006. Xavier (17-5) last won the SCC tournament in 1998, its only conference title.
Xavier senior Larry Hill had two hits and scored the winning run. Relief pitcher Jon Signore pitched 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven.
“This feels great,” Signore said. “They already beat us on our home field, at their field, but we took it here.”
Fairfield Prep dropped to 18-4.
Both bullpens were locked in until the 11th inning. Xavier’s C.J. Caprio singled home Alex Pia, who walked and went to second on a Nick Roy base hit, to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the 11th, Xavier second baseman Andre Marchessault’s error allowed Kevin Stone to score from third on a routine ground ball from Jake Berry to tie it up.
Xavier again took the lead in the top of the 12th when Hill scored on a wild pitch. He singled, stole second and reached third on a groundout.
AMITY 6, LAW 1
(at West Haven)
Amity 301 200 0 — 6 7 1
Law 001 000 0 — 1 2 3
Ross Weiner, Sebastian DiMauro (7) and Gerald Farace; Rich Dow, Nick Cantandella (4) and Dillon Rocha.
WP: Ross Weiner. LP: Rich Dow. 2B: (AM) Anthony Capozziello; (LAW) Griswold. 3B: (LAW) Jake Rouse.
XAVIER 3, FAIRFIELD PREP 2
(at Fairfield Prep)
Xavier 010 000 000 011 –3 8 3
Fairfield Prep 000 010 000 010 — 2 7 2
Nick Rascati, Jon Signor (5), Dan Lawlor (11) and Chris Cardi; Grant Stone, John Carrol (8) and Jake Berry.
WP: Dan Lawler (). LP: John Carroll ().
Team records: Xavier 17-5; Fairfield Prep 18-4.
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