Sunday, May 26, 2013

SLC softball semifinal: H-K def. Hale-Ray, 2-0

Shoreline Conference semifinal

No. 1 Haddam-Killingworth def. No. 5 Hale-Ray, 2-0

H-K’s Lauren McCann and Caroline Fortuna had back-to-back RBI singles in the first inning for the game's only runs, leading the Cougars to their third consecutive Shoreline Conference title game with a 2-0 win against Hale-Ray Sunday.
The Noises put the winning run on first base in the seventh inning, loading the bases with two outs, before H-K shortstop Lauren McCann fielded a ground ball and dove to second base with the game-ending forceout.
Ciara Samuels pitched a complete-game shutout for the Cougars, while Hale-Ray’s Becky Pease went all seven innings in the loss. Hale-Ray outhit H-K, 8-6.
Alex LaFemina was 3-for-4 for the Noises.

H-K will meet the Old Saybrook/Morgan winner in the SLC title game today at Westbrook. Tentative start time is 4 p.m.

Friday, May 24, 2013

SLC TENNIS: Old Lyme's White, Coginchaug's Frank are singles winners

Check out full results from this week's Shoreline Conference tennis championships below:

Boys tennis

No. 1-2 singles

Final: Morgan White (Old Lyme) def. Kyle Peterson (Valley), 7-5, 7-5
Semifinals: Morgan White (Old Lyme) def. Eli Phelps (Morgan),  6-2,6-3; Kyle Peterson (Valley) def. Justin Danielewicz (Portland), 6-1, 6-3

No. 3-4-5 singles:

Final: TJ Salvatore (Portland) def. Andrew Geres (Portland), 6-1, 6-2
Semifinals: TJ Salvatore (Portland) def. Harris Freudenthal (Westbrook), 6-1, 6-0; Andrew Geres (Portland) def. Alex Brault (Old Lyme), 3-6, 6-3, 6-3


Final: Suraj Khosla/Sam Henry (OS) def. Richard Le/Steven Churchill (Portland), 6-4, 6-3 
Semifinals: Richard Le/Steven Churchill (Portland) def. Luke Grabowski/Brian Buttrick (Old Lyme), 4-6, 6-0, 7-6; Suraj Khosla/Sam Henry (Old Saybrook) def. Kelvin Peterson/Will Bodner (V) 7-6, 6-2

First Team All-Shoreline 

Morgan White (Old Lyme)
Kyle Peterson (Valley)
Eli Phelps (Morgan)
Justin Danielewcz (Portland)
TJ Salvatore (Portland)
Andrew Geres (Portland)
Sam Henry (Old Saybrook)
Suraj Khosla (Old Saybrook)
Richard Le (Portland)
Steven Churchill (Portland)

Team champion

Portland (19-1)

Girls tennis

No. 1-2 singles

Final: Melanie Frank (Coginchaug) def. Reilly Fitzgibbons (H-K), 6-0, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6)
Semifinals: Melanie Frank (Coginchaug) def. Rachel Scrivano (Cromwell), 6-0, 6-0; Reilly Fitzgibbons (H-K) def. Abby Wolff (Valley), 6-2, 6-4

No. 3-4 singles

Final: Halle Lavieri (H-K) def. Christie DeAntonis (Old Saybrook), 6-1, 6-2
Semifinals: Halle Lavieri (H-K) def. Hannah Halsey (Valley), 6-2, 6-1; Christie DeAntonis (Old Saybrook) def. Jackie Stevens (Valley), 6-1, 6-0


Final: Mia Neas/Mary Kate Morrison (Old Saybrook) def. Sarah Burzin/Lexi Riggio-McGrath (Valley), 7-6 (11-9), 4-6, 6-2
Semifinals: Sarah Burzin/Lexi Riggio-McGrath (Valley) def. Callie Burns/Lydia Murphy (Westbrook), 7-6 (11-9), 6-2; Mia Neas/Mary Kate Morrison (Old Saybrook) def. Hannah O’Brien/Michelle Gao (Old Lyme), 6-3, 6-4

First Team All-Shoreline 

Melanie Frank (Coginchaug)
Reilly Fitzgibbons (H-K)
Abby Wolff (Valley)
Rachel Scrivano (Cromwell)
Halle Lavieri (H-K)
Christie DeAntonis (Old Saybrook)
Mary Kate Morrison/Mia Neas (Old Saybrook)
Sarah Burzin/Lexi Riggio-McGrath (Valley)

Second Team All-Shoreline

Callie Burns/Lydia Murphy (Westbrook)
Hannah O’Brien/Michelle Gao (Old Lyme)
Jackie Stevens (Valley)
Hannah Halsey (Valley)
Lindsay Knepshield (Old Lyme)
Meredith Aird (Old Lyme)
Alex Steward (Old Saybrook)
Mackenzie Earley (H-K)
Daniela Palomeque (Old Saybrook)
Meghan Farley/Hannah VanBenSchoeten (Valley)

Team champion

Old Saybrook (16-2)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Area updates: Keep up with high school sports updates in the area, on Twitter

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Streaking Mercy rallies against Foran, 4-3

A three-run homer by junior Astin Donovan erased a 3-0 deficit in the fifth inning, sparking Mercy softball to a 4-3 win against Foran Tuesday in Middletown.
Even at 3 runs apiece, Mercy’s Steph Mangiameli hit a sacrifice fly to send Catherine Wrang home with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth.
Mercy scored four runs on four hits against Foran starter Jess Harkness, and took advantage of a Foran error in the sixth inning before scoring the winning run. Mary Adametz was the winning pitcher, striking out three and scattering five hits in a complete-game effort.
The win is Mercy’s 13th in a row, lifting the team to 15-2.
Foran is 13-4, and the loss snapped a four-game winning streak.
The two teams will meet again in a regular-season finale Monday in Milford. The Southern Connecticut Conference quarterfinals will take place Tuesday.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Coginchaug walks off with a 3-2 victory against Old Saybrook on April 15.

On the first day of the season, it became clear the Shoreline Conference would have a shake-up year.

Portland beat East Hampton for the first time in at least four years, Jake DeCarli of Haddam-Killingworth pitched a three-hit shutout while striking out 15 and Valley Regional came back by scoring eight in the top of the seventh to defeat Coginchaug.

And that was just the first day. Here are some quick hits from the last few weeks of SLC baseball:

  • Portland has been the surprise of the season thus far with victories over East Hampton, Old Saybrook, H-K, Westbrook and Old Lyme. The Highlanders sit atop the Small Division standings.
  • The top two teams in the conference's Large Division (H-K and Cromwell) faced off on April 5. The Cougars nabbed a 6-2 victory against the defending state champion Panthers. It's the only loss so far for Cromwell (6-1).
  • On April 16, H-K sophomore Brian Moskey threw a perfect game against Hyde Leadership, striking out nine on 72 pitches. The Cougars won 20-0.
  • Two of Coginchaug's wins have come in walk-off fashion, a 3-2, 10-inning win over Old Saybrook on Monday and a 1-0 win over Hale Ray a week earlier.
  • In summation, the Shoreline Conference is up for grabs, and there are some big games in the near future. On Friday, Coginchaug plays at Haddam-Killingworth, East Hampton at Cromwell, Morgan at Hale-Ray, Valley Regional at Old Lyme and North Branford at Portland.

Shoreline Conference baseball standings

Team Conf. Overall
Large Division
1. Cromwell 4-1 6-1
2. H-K 4-2 5-2
   North Branford 4-2 5-2
3. Coginchaug 4-3 5-3
4. Morgan 3-3 4-3
5. Valley Regional 2-4 2-4
6. Old Saybrook 2-5 2-5
Small Division
1. Portland 5-1 5-2
2. Old Lyme 4-2 5-2 (Head-to-head)
3. East Hampton 4-2 4-3
4. Hale-Ray 2-3 2-4
5. Westbrook 0-6 0-6
6. Hyde 0-7 0-6

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

INFOGRAPHIC: State final appearances (baseball), Middlesex County

BASEBALL: Area capsules

Coach: Ted Lombardo (14th year)
Last year’s record: 10-11
Key returners: Mike McShane, Sr., P/OF; Jack Granger, Jr., SS; Christian Adams, Jr., CF; Jeff Grumm, Sr., 2B/P; Evan Rand, Sr., P/OF; Steve Thody, Sr., P/1B; Ben Kelly, Sr., P; Charlie Anderson, Jr., C; Will Neri, Sr., DH/OF
Outlook: The Blue Devils could be this year’s dark horse to win the Shoreline, returning good, experienced pitching and most starters. Expect their record to end up above .500.

Coach: Lewis Pappariella (6th year)
Last year’s record: 23-5; Class S state champion
Key returners: Alex Ramirez, Sr., P/OF; Kevin Radziewicz, Jr., C; Christian Budzik, Sr., INF/P; Douglas Davenport, Sr., P/OF; Kevin Francis, Sr., OF/P; Logan Lessard, Jr., P/1B; Jake Regula, Jr., INF/P
Outlook: ERA, all the way. The defending Class S champion returns the deepest pitching corps in the conference, and also carries a bunch of players who advanced to the state’s American Legion championship game with RCP this summer. These Panthers know how to win, and enter this season as the Shoreline favorite.

Coach: Scott Wosleger (7th year)
Last year’s record: 17-6
Key returners: Nate Heroux, Sr., 2B; Marvin Gorgas, Jr., P/SS
Outlook: The Bellringer program is 40-10 over the last two years, and is always a Shoreline threat. Behind the pitching of Gorgas, a return to a third straight SLC title game (they won in 2011, lost in 2012) is not a bad bet.

Coach: Mark Brookes (37th year)
Last year’s record: 18-8; Class M finalist
Key returners: Rob Annino, Sr., OF/P; Joe Aitken, Jr., 3B; Brian Moskey, So., 2B/P; Joe Silvia, Sr., C; Griffin Bremer, Jr., OF/P; Nick Landell, Sr., SS; Jake DeCarli, Sr., P/1B; Cody Harlow, Sr., DH/1B; Liam Gallagher, Jr., P
Outlook: The Cougars lost five starters from last season’s Class M runner-up team. DeCarli leads four returning pitchers who look to be the strength in this rebuilding year for H-K.

Coach: Rich Gable
Last year’s record: 11-10
Key returners: Tom Murphy, Sr., P/1B; Hunter Humble, Sr., SS/P; Jon Comer, Jr., 2B/SS; Jason Traceski, Jr., CF; Jake Linares, So., C
Outlook: Some new faces will dot the starting lineup, which could make things difficult in what looks to be a competitive Shoreline Conference. Keep an eye on Murphy, who threw a no-hitter last year against Old Saybrook.

Coach: Jason Serra (6th year)
Last year’s record: 7-13 (3-11 in conference)
Key returners: Malcolm Alleyne, Jr., P/SS; Max Barreuther, Sr., 1B; Luke Sorenson, Jr. P/OF; Jose Ramos, Sr., OF/P;  Billy Waldner Sr., C; Shane Wickham, Sr., P
Outlook: The Blue Dragons are hoping to build on the success they found in the last few games last season. Sorenson and Alleyne lead a high-potential pitching staff, but the infield will need to find some new talent.

Coach: Richard Borg (3rd year)
Last year’s record: (6-14)
Key returners: Matt Ryan, Sr., SS/P; Nick Stokke, Sr., 1B; Jason Staub, Jr., P/OF; Hayden Manning, Jr., P/OF; Nick Adamsons, Jr., INF/P
Outlook: The entire pitching staff is back for the Highlanders, and so are six position starters. Chances of improving on last year’s record? High.

Coach: Gary Ballestrini (2nd year)
Last year’s record: 3-17
Key returners: Dan Thayer, Sr., C; Kevin Penkala, Sr., SS; Mike Miezejeski, Sr., OF; Dave Bradbury, So., 3B/P; Tristan Suedmeier, So., P/3B
Outlook: The Warriors are young, but have a strong sophomore class that include top pitchers Bradbury and Suedmeier.

Coach: Tyler LaMontagne (1st year)
Last year’s record: 9-10
Key returners: James Annino, Sr., 1B/3B; Ryan Fazzino, Jr., OF/C; Sean Paradis, Jr., P/OF
Outlook: Things are looking up for the Hawks, who return good hitting in Fazzino (he batted .523 last year) and captain Annino. If the pitching is solid, Vinal Tech should return to the Class M state tourney.

Coach: Rich Magner
Last year’s record: 16-8
Key returners: Matt Albanese, Sr., OF/P; Ben Criscuolo, Sr., P; Jay Schaff, Sr., INF; Mike Purcell, Sr., 1B; Ellis Snyder, Sr., OF; Joe Violette, Sr., C; Justin Williams, Sr., INF
Outlook: The Falcons have a relatively young team, but return a good-looking offense that can hit with the best of the SCC. Look for the Falcons to contend for the Quinnipiac Division title.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Call it the Valparaiso: Breaking down Mercy's game-winning buzzer beater in the Class LL championship game

It will go down as one of the greatest finishes in the history of Connecticut high school basketball.

Mercy senior Maria Weselyj, with the weight of three consecutive title-game losses on her shoulders, sank a game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift her Tigers to the Class LL state championship. If you didn't read all about it, check out Jim Bransfield's piece here.

So let's break it down.

We can't begin without drawing immediate comparisons to the Valparaiso play in the 1998 NCAA tournament. Trailing by two with 2.5 seconds left, Valparaiso's Jaime Sykes heaved an inbounds pass beyond halfcourt, Bill Jenkins leapt for the ball, caught it, then quickly dished to a streaking Bryce Drew up the right side for a game-winning 3-pointer. Here it is:

Eerily similar, right?

Anyway, back to Mercy. The concept of the play is the same: inbounds heave, leap-catch-pass, streaking player catches and shoots. Let's check it out in slow motion:

It really becomes more amazing every time you watch it. Lauralton Hall played great defense (though they decided not to defend the inbounder, Sheena Landy), and actually got a hand in Weselyj's face right at the end. Let's go step by step:

The Pass

To this point, senior Sheena Landy was better known for her feet. She's an all-conference soccer player, and will play at Trinity next year. 

But this throw is really something. It's a deliberate, one-handed launch. The shoulder turn comes right on time, like a tennis serve or baseball pitch. And the way she follows through is reminiscent of a golfer, almost trying to will the ball exactly where she wants it.

The Catch

As soon as the ball is in the air, all five Lauralton Hall defenders move toward it. Senior Olivia Levey hangs back as a safety, but if you freeze the video at 0:14 you'll see a wide-open Weselyj running up the sideline -- no one's looking at her.

That's not Lauralton's fault, per se  most defenses would probably focus on that 50-foot inbounds pass with only a couple seconds on the clock. If a Lauralton defender catches it, somehow bats it back beyond halfcourt or forces a jump ball, this game is probably over.

So Weselyj is wide open, but it's really the result of a high-risk play. Mercy will get a decent shot if the inbound-catch-pass combination works, but it's going to take some magic for that combo to happen.

Especially because Lauralton played it so well. As the ball starts to descend, Emma McCarthy and Carly Fabbri get in prime position in front of Mercy senior Cassie Santoro. Maura Fitzpatrick, the other Tiger up for the jump ball, leaps forward too early and falls out of the play.

So basically, it's Santoro against three Crusaders: McCarthy and Fabbri in front, Levey behind. Pause the video at 0:15. There's no way Mercy comes up with it.

But it does. Santoro does. By some grace of the hoop gods, the basketball gets above/through the hands of Fabbri and McCarthy and into the palms of Santoro  who showed off some great control as she grabbed the ball in midair. And she maintains possession and sends a chest pass to Weselyj.

Anyway, first time I watched this bit in slow motion, I immediately thought of:

The 'Bryce Drew'

Here's where it all happens.

The first two phases worked: Landy's heave found Santoro, Santoro's catch-and-dish found Weselyj.

But this happens hundreds of times every season. In close/tied games, teams manage to execute pretty well their go-to-last-second play (as this was for Mercy). But it all comes down to the shot.

No one blames Weselyj if she misses it. She was still running when she caught the ball. She was off-balance. Lauralton's Levey does a suprisingly good job reacting, moving to the ball and getting a hand up. It even looks like the two make contact, as Weselyj's right leg seems to kick out.

It's no one's fault. It's a play-and-shot combination that works once in a hundred tries.

Then it went in. And it gave Mercy the win they so craved the last three years, and a championship they wanted so badly for so long.

Coincidence? I think not.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fairytale finish: Best pics from Valley Regional's championship win

Check out the best snaps from Valley Regional's win against Weston in the Class M state championship game Friday night at Mohegan Sun. If you missed the recap, click here.

Perfect Panthers: The best pics from Cromwell's championship win

Check out the best snaps from Friday night at Mohegan Sun. If you missed the recap, click here.