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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Sweet 16

We are down to the semifinals and all four No. 1 seeds are still alive in the state baseball tournament. That should not be a surprise, but predicting baseball is not like other sports.
How many people outside of Newington had the Indians taking out Fitch in 12 innings? But Newington deserves a lot of credit to hang tough against Fitch ace Matt Harvey in relief before using a suicide squeeze in the 12th to win. That is the biggest surprise of the tournament.
The one team to beat Harvey, Plainville, almost provided the knockout punch to another ECC school, Waterford, in Saturday's M quarterfinals. But Waterford rallied in the seventh to stay alive. I was not there, but Waterford has shown some resiliency in the late innings this year, including a come-from-behind win against Bunnell. This is probably a stretch, but this team could resemble the moxie of the 2002 Fairfield team that came from behind to beat West Haven in extra innings in the Class LL quarterfinals at Yale Field, then went onto win the title and finish No. 1 in the Register Top 10 poll.
Speaking of No. 1, the top two teams, Amity and Waterford are still there. I would imagine if one of them loses, the other would finish in the top spot. It would be difficult for Bunnell or Stamford to come from out of the top 10 to finish first. Newington came in ranked ninth.
Bunnell-Newington should be a fine tilt at Yale Field Tuesday at 3:30, followed by Amity-Stamford at 7. In Class L, Guilford takes on a perennial Class L contender, Berlin, in the semis at Palmer Field in Middletown at 7. This will not be easy at all for Guilford, which has had a storybook season and has handed Amity its only loss of the season. Bristol Eastern played second fiddle in town to Bristol Central, but Eastern vs. Pomperaug, last year's finalist, should be interesting as well.
The remaining two NVL schools, Woodland and Seymour, must battle a pair of ECC schools, Waterford and Montville, respectively, in the semifinals Tuesday at at eastern Connecticut. Can Woodland derail Waterford? Will Montville return to the title game and possibly defend its championship? That would make for a another storybook season.
St. Bernard took out Career in the S quarterfinals. That team should reach the final where the Northwest Catholic-Windsor Locks winner will await. Windsor Locks is the defending champion.
In fact, the only defending champ eliminated is Branford in Class L. Should be an interesting day Tuesday.

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