A look at the 2016 Tri-State campaign from commish Ed Gadomski.
Tri-State set to open with record 19 teams
Following its induction into the Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame on October 11, 2015; the Tri-State Baseball League will open its 83rd season of play on Sunday May 22, 2016 with a record number of nineteen teams. All seventeen teams return from the 2015 season and will welcome two new franchises, the Southington 66ers (coached by Joe Santovasi) and the Valley Thunder (coached by John Griffin). Each team will play an 18 game regular season capped by a 12-team playoffs beginning in August.
The returning league champion Litchfield Cowboys will be coached this season by Andrew Gauvain. The Cowboys were also league champions in 2011 and 2012. Hot on their trail will be four teams who qualified for the Stan Musial State Tournament last season, a 12-team tournament that featured Tri-State eliminating every other team outside the league leaving just the four Tri-State teams to battle it out. The Naugatuck Dogs coached by Jay Harlamon took home their 3rd state championship in 2015 after also winning back in 2011 and 2012. The runner-up Tri-Town Trojans, coached by Kyle Osolin, were state champions in 2013 and 2014 and Tri-State league champions in 2014 as well. The Wolcott Scrappers coached by Ryan Soucy (league champions in 2015) and Terryville Black Sox, coached by Dave Alarcon, finished 3rd and 4th respectively in the Stan Musial Tournament.
Also in the hunt for a Tri-State league championship will be long-time powerhouses Bethlehem Plowboys (Tony Geraci), Watertown Blaze (Chris Ayer), Brass City Brew (Paul Novakowski), and Amenia Monarchs (Tommy Downey). The Tribury Twisters will be coached this season by Zach Brown and look to take another step forward after qualifying for the playoffs each of the past two seasons. The Winsted Whalers (Chet Warner), Torrington Rebels (Greg Bodnar), Bristol Greeners (Shawn Mirmina), Burlington Hunters (Alex Hansen) and Thomaston Threshers (Scott and Trevor Bellemare) all look to 2016 to regain their past glory days. The Southington 66ers and Valley Thunder will join third year team Canton Crushers (Tommy Dubois) and second year team East Mountain Cougars (Phil MaCary) all of whom will be fighting for their initial Tri-State league playoff berth.
Monday July 4th will feature an extravaganza at Fuessenich Park as the Torrington Titans of the FCBL will host the Tri-State League all-stars in a home-run derby beginning at 11am and will be followed by an exhibition – game time is 12:30pm. The 10th annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place just before game #1 of the Tri-State World Series in mid-August. This year’s inductees are Donny Crossman, Chris Beach, Dan Hamel, TJ Campion, Jimmy Isaacson, and Tony Santoro.
Tri-State would like to announce its 2015 award winners and All-Star team:
MVP: Jeff Sturm Naugatuck Dogs
Silver Slugger: Kyle Dean Wolcott Scrappers
Cy Young: Joey Serafin Litchfield Cowboys
C – Chester Warner Winsted Whalers
1B – Izzy Lugo Wolcott Scrappers
2B – Zach Dandrea Terryville Black Sox
SS – Michael Fabiaschi Tri-Town Trojans
3B – Kyle Murphy Naugatuck Dogs
OF – Chris Ayer Watertown Blaze
OF – Casey McDonald Tri-Town Trojans
OF – Alex Struzinski Winsted Whalers
P – Charlie Benson Watertown Blaze
DH – Justin Morhardt Winsted Whalers