High school base­ball tour­na­ment pre­view

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Scott Eric­son

5 PLAY­ERS

1 Ben DeLaubell, Cheshire: The ace of the Rams; staff has made his case as one of the top arms in the state. Runs will be at a premi- um any time he takes the bump. 1 Will Lucas, Fair­field Prep: Lucas does it all, play­ing stel­lar SS, mash­ing the ball at the plate and serv­ing as a su­per closer by fin­ish­ing out games with mul­ti­ple-in­ning ef­forts.

1 Sean O’Mal­ley, Darien: The Blue Wave DH has es­tab­lished him­self as one of the best hitters in the state with his abil­ity to hit for power but also to take what is given, slap­ping balls the other way, at times. 1 Will Nowak, South Wind­sor: Throw­back SS/P has led South Wind­sor in every way. He swings an elite bat, is like a vac­uum in the field and is per­haps the best hurler in the CCC. 1 Mike Bur­rows, Water­ford: There are a lot of great pitch­ers in the state, Bur­rows is prob­a­bly the best. Mul­ti­ple no-hitters, 10+ strike­outs nearly every time he toes the rub­ber. The UConnbound se­nior is le­git.

CAN STA­PLES RE­PEAT

The de­fend­ing Class LL cham­pi­ons are back with one of the best 1-9 line­ups in the state an­chored by slug­ger Chad Knight who has power to all fields. The Wreck­ers path back to Palmer be­gins with a FCIAC re­gional fea­tur­ing the win­ner of Sta­ples-Westhill fac­ing the win­ner of Darien-Danbury. The rest of the LL field is pretty stacked. New­town has never won a state base­ball ti­tle and have not played in a fi­nal since 1985. This team has the tal­ent to get there. Ridge­field has as good of a start­ing ro­ta­tion as any team in the state, New Mil­ford is a dan­ger­ous 11 seed and, of course, Amity is al­ways a threat once the Class LL tour­na­ment be­gins.

PUB­LIC VS PRI­VATE

In a con­ver­sa­tion that comes up prior to every state tour­na­ment in Con­necti­cut, will the pub­lic schools be able to over­come pri­vate schools. In LL, it is Prep stand­ing as one of the few pri­vate schools in a class loaded with stel­lar pub­lic-school teams. As we go lower, the pri­vate schools and their small en­roll­ments have more im­pact in Classes M and S. St. Joe’s leads the pri­vate pack in M but it comes in as a

12 seed. The small pub­lic schools in Class S face the big­gest chal­lenge with Holy Cross, St. Paul, Notre DameFair­field and Im­mac­u­late all with shots to win it.

CHALK IN CLASS L

While lower seeds like Bran­ford, Platt and Water­town could make runs, it is the top four seeds in Class L draw­ing ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion. No. 1 Wind­sor are win­ners of 13 in-state games in-a-row and the Warriors are primed for a run to Palmer Field. A po­ten­tial show­down with No. 4 Water­ford looms in the semis. The SCC was loaded this year and No. 2 North Haven emerged with only four losses. Also out of the SCC, the No. 3 Hand Tigers have felt they were ti­tle contenders all sea­son. They will get their chance to prove it, now.

CLASS S RE­VENGE

For St. Paul, the per­fect re­venge for a 1-run loss to Holy Cross in sea­son fi­nale would be beat­ing them for a trip to Palmer. The Fal­cons feel they have been over­looked this sea­son. The Class S tour­na­ment is the per­fect place to state their case. Run­ning through Class S will not be easy with teams like Notre Dame-Fair­field who did not lose two-in-a-row all sea­son in tough SWC; Old Say­brook who will be play­ing at home un­til the semi­fi­nals, which will be a big boost for the Rams; and Im­mac­u­late, an­other team out of the SWC that can go deep in Class S.

LUCK OF THE DRAW

A po­ten­tial Sec­ond Round game in Class M could be wor­thy of cham­pi­onship Sat­ur­day had the seed­ing worked out dif­fer­ently. No. 5 Montville out of the ECC and No. 12 St. Joseph out of the FCIAC both have le­git­i­mate as­pi­ra­tions of play­ing at Palmer Field but will first have to get by each other if they both can win their open­ers. Both teams have spent time in the GametimeCT top 10 this sea­son and both have proven they can beat top teams in the state.

An­thony E. Parelli / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Darien’s Sean O’Mal­ley con­nects on a dou­ble in the first in­ning dur­ing a game against Stam­ford ear­lier this sea­son.

Matthew Brown / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Westhill’s John MacDon­ald makes his de­liv­ery in the first in­ning against Darien on May 11.

Matthew Brown / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Sta­ples pitcher Chad Knight makes his de­liv­ery against Darien in the top of the sec­ond in­ning of an FCIAC base­ball game on May 4.

Chris­tian Abra­ham / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Fair­field Prep’s Will Lucas does it all for the Je­suits, a team that is the newly crowned SCC cham­pion.

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