Staples baseball falls to Amity in Class LL title game
The Staples baseball team made one play after another to keep advancing through the Class LL tournament, putting the Wreckers in a position to claim the school’s first championship at this level.
However on Saturday at Palmer Field in Middletown in the title game, the Wreckers ran into a team carving out a dynasty the state hasn’t seen to this point.
Amity became the first team in the state to win three straight Class LL titles, and earned its fifth in 10 years with an 8-1 win over Staples. The No. 14 Spartans (18-7) scored twice in the fourth inning, and five times in the fifth to blow the game open.
“In single elimination baseball if you don’t have a great day, you’re going to get knocked out,” Staples coach Jack McFarland said. “Give (Amity) credit; they made the plays today.”
No. 4 Staples' lone tally came on a solo home run in the third inning by Nate Panzer that temporarily tied the game at 1-1. At that point Staples had hopes of keeping the momentum going, but they were dashed quickly as the Spartans bats exploded for 10 hits in the next two innings.
“My biggest reaction (after the home run) was that the next inning was going to be big,” McFarland said. “We had to shut them down and cut the momentum, and we couldn’t.”
Amity starting pitcher Elias Oliphant held the Wreckers to four hits. A few more balls were hit hard, but the Spartans played almost spotless defense and tracked down balls that may have dropped in on another day.
“I knew I couldn’t throw anything that they could hit,” Oliphant said. “I had to keep it inside or outside, try not to go over the middle. Their No. 1-3 hitters were really solid, especially (Panzer).”
The lone inning the Wreckers had multiple runners on base was the bottom of the sixth, trailing 8-1. A fielding error and a single by Panzer put Wreckers on first and second with no outs. Oliphant struck out Ben Casparius and got Noah Yokoi to ground into an inning-ending double play to end the threat.
“Amity gave us one (walk) and one error today,” McFarland said. “They made all the plays; their right fielder made some great plays. We hit the ball hard a couple times and got nothing for it.”
Staples finished the season 22-6 and will have runners-up trophies in both the FCIAC and Class LL to show for its efforts.
“I’m proud of this team, for the seniors to get to the finals,” McFarland said. “Playing baseball in (mid) June, it’s been a great ride. These seniors set the blueprint for how to come here; we’re going to learn from this.”
Amity 8, Staples 1
AMITY 100 250 0 -- 8 11 1
STAPLES 001 000 0 -- 1 4 0
Records: Amity 18-7; Staples 22-4. Batteries: A—Elias Oliphant (W) and Pat Winkel; S—Ryan Fitton (L), Ben Casparius, George Goldstein and Phil McGovern. Highlights: A—Michael Appel went 3-for-4 with a home run. S—Nathan Panzer went 2-for-4 with a home run.