BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: Ranks of the unbeaten shrinking
Published 6:42 pm, Monday, April 16, 2018
The baseball season is only two weeks old and only four unbeaten teams are left in Class LL.
No. 1-ranked Staples (5-0), New Milford (5-0), Manchester (4-0) and South Windsor (4-0) remain perfect in Class LL.
Running the table as a LL team in baseball is extremely difficult and all four of those teams have a long way to go and a lot of quality teams to take on.
It can be argued that an undefeated regular season is more impressive than winning a title in a one-and-done tournament, yet unbeaten regular-season teams are usually nothing more than interesting footnotes if no championship hardware is procured.
Class L has four teams without a loss, including Hand (5-0); St. Joseph (4-0) is among five teams in Class M that are perfect while Class S has six teams with no losses, though one of those teams, Housatonic Regional, is just 1-0.
YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN
Taking a quick glance at Notre Dame-West Haven’s schedule, one may have paused at seeing a team from Hopkinton, Mass., as an early season opponent.
The Green Knights won the game easily 12-2, but the real story was who was coaching Hopkinton.
The visitors were coached by none other than 1981 NDWH graduate Steve Simoes.
Simoes played three years on the varsity for NDWH, also playing football and hockey at the school, before going on to play baseball at Boston College.
Simoes took over as head coach at Hopkinton last season and wanted to bring his team, with his son Steven as catcher, down to play against his alma mater.
In another twist, Simoes was once coached in youth baseball by Steve Kirck Sr. (NDWH Class of 1964) whose grandson, Brendan, was pitching for the Green Knights on Saturday, striking out eight and picking up the victory.
FINDING A NO. 2
Ridgefield knew it had a legitimate ace on the mound in Alex Price but had some questions regarding the rest of its rotation after losing Colin Lowe to graduation.
The Tigers have found their No. 2 guy and it is Jake Artzt.
Pitching against Stamford last week and making just his second varsity start, Artzt struck out eight, allowing the one hit in pitching a complete game.
“(Artzt) was just a mop-up guy for us last year, but now he’s a senior and that was a masterpiece out there today,” Ridgefield coach Paul Fabbri said after the Stamford game. “He was pumping strikes in there and letting us play defense. They only squared a few balls up and was just fantastic. We knew we had Alex (Price), but now we know we have him, too, that gives us a chance.”
If Artzt can pitch as he did against Stamford, Ridgefield could have a real shot of making it back to the FCIAC championship game and will be a force in Class LL.
TOUCH THEM ALL, FAST
Grand slams usually end up over the fence, but last week Middletown got one another way.
Playing against Bulkeley/Weaver at Annie Fisher Field in Hartford, Middletown junior Brandon Parker hit an inside-the-park grand slam.
Parker lined the ball into a gap in the outfield and kept on trucking all the way home, clearing the bases.
Four no-hitters were tossed last week.
Jonathan Lopez of Harding threw a no-hitter leading the Presidents over Bullard-Havens 7-0.
Tommy Li of Woodstock Academy tossed his gem in an 11-0 win over Windham.
Southington duo Jason Krar and Bryce Worth combined on a no-no with Krar pitching six innings and Worth finishing it off with a clean seventh, beating Tolland 5-0.
Finally, Northwestern’s Casey Weingart struck out four and walked two in a 10-0 victory over Thomaston.
As always, please send in your no-hitters to GametimeCT.com, so they can be added to the running list.
HIGH AND TIGHT
Pete Paguaga and I have begun a Connecticut high school baseball podcast called “High and Tight,” which will be coming out every Tuesday afternoon during the season on GametimeCT.
As part of the podcast, we will be choosing a Dirt Dog of the Week each show.
The Dirt Dog award goes to a player who got his uniform dirty and made a play that might not show up in the box score but changed the game.
To nominate a Dirt Dog on Twitter, use the hashtag #DirtDogsCT or tag @EricsonSports and @PetePaguaga.