Tri-State Baseball Preview. By Ed Gadomski.
The Tri-State baseball league kicks off its 2018 season on Sunday May 20 with seventeen teams in the hunt to take home the championship trophy from Ed Gadomski, who returns for his 15th season as the ‘Commish’. The Naugatuck Dogs, coached by Jay Harlamon, will be back to defend their Tri-State league championship. Former minor leaguer Ryan Plourde was the 2017 Tri-State league MVP and will be joined by all-star Second Baseman Sean Miller-Jones, all-star First Baseman Devin Murphy, and his brother all-star Third Baseman Kyle Murphy. Lance Stevens and Kevin Murray lead a strong mound crew for Naugy – who has qualified to play in the Stan Musial state tournament eight seasons in a row.
There have been 9 different Tri-State league champions in the past 11 seasons – who’s turn in 2018?
2017 Naugatuck Dogs defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2016 Watertown Blaze defeated Naugatuck Dogs
2015 Litchfield Cowboys defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2014 Wolcott Scrappers defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2013 Tri-Town Trojans defeated Naugatuck Dogs
2012 Litchfield Cowboys defeated Waterbury Wild
2011 Litchfield Cowboys defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2010 Bethlehem Plowboys defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2009 Brass City Brew defeated Bethlehem Plowboys
2008 Winsted Whalers defeated Brass City Brew
2007 Torrington Rebels defeated Bethlehem Plowboys
Among the teams looking to knock off the Dogs will be the Tri-Town Trojans, managed by Danny McCarty, who advanced to last year’s Tri-State World Series. The Trojans have added 2017 CY Young award winner Charlie Benson who will form a strong 1-2 punch on the mound with veteran Miles Scribner. Closer and all-star Outfielder James Cramphin will be back in the lineup for the Trojans that also features team leaders Casey McDonald and Steve Price. Tri-Town has played in six of the past eight Tri-State league World Series. The Terryville Black Sox (Dave Alarcon), led by All-Star pitcher Billy Armstrong, and the Kerski brothers, Ken and Kody, will form one of the best mound trio’s in the league and pose a serious threat to the Dogs. All-star catcher Ian Schmidt returns to the lineup and will be joined this season by all-star Shortstop Tony Patane and Silver Slugger Conor McEvoy.
The Bethlehem Plowboys, who will be managed this season by Pat O’Neill, also have a strong trio on the mound led by O’Neill, former minor leaguer Jesse Darcy, and Tyler Erickson. Tony Geraci, Micheal Chiovitti, and Joe Feiner lead the strong Plowboy offense. Veteran teams; Blasius Chevrolet (formerly Brass City), will be led by Paul and Gary Novakowski along with slugger Jon Conlan; Litchfield Cowboys, led by former minor leaguers Brooks Belter and Mike Odenwaelder, will join slugging catcher Steve Harrison; Amenia Monarchs led by second generation manager Tommy Downey Jr and the Dunlop twins Colby and Mike; Winsted Whalers, managed by Chet Warner and led by veterans John Lippincott and Charlie Putnam, and the Wolcott Scrappers, coached by Ryan Soucy who’s offense is led by sluggers Izzy Lugo and Elvis Martinez, all look to contend to take home this season’s crown. One up and coming squad, the Southington 66ers, managed by Joe Santovasi, could be this season’s sleeper team as they have added former minor league pitcher Zach Albin to a young team that qualified for last years’ playoffs featuring Kyle Dube, Connor Crean, and Tim Jalbert.
Rounding out the teams looking for a playoff berth this season are the Torrington Rebels (Greg Bodner), Tribury Twisters (Evan Devico), Canton Crushers (Tommy Dubois), Burlington Hunters (Andrew Bunger), East Mountain Cougars (Phil Macary), Valley Thunder (John Griffin) and Bristol Greeners (AJ Lorenzetti and Jerry Lapenta). One team noticeably missing from the list is the two-time defending Stan Musial state champion Watertown Blaze. The Blaze will not be fielding a team in 2018, with the hope of returning in 2019. Work obligations, professional baseball opportunities, player relocations, and injuries left the Watertown team uncertain of the needed commitment to field a team all year long, leaving head coach Chris Ayer with the very difficult decision to not field a team in 2018. Watertown Players who were returning for the season have joined other teams. Pitchers Benson (Tri-Town), Albin (Southington) and Steve Consiglio (Litchfield) have new homes while All-Star outfielders Ayer and Chris Callahan have joined the Terryville Black Sox.
The top twelve teams on the season will qualify for the Tri-State league playoffs beginning July 26. The 2018 Tri-State league ‘best-of-three’ World Series will be held from August 21-23. Three teams will also advance to play in the Stan Musial State Tournament beginning on Sunday July 29. The top two teams from the state tourney will advance to play in the AABC World Series beginning Thursday August 9 in Braintree, MA.
The Tri-State league boasts the CT state champion for the past seven seasons:
2017: Watertown Blaze 2016: Watertown Blaze 2015: Naugatuck Dogs 2014: Tri-Town Trojans 2013: Tri-Town Trojans 2012: Naugatuck Dogs 2011: Naugatuck Dogs
The 2018 all-star game will be played at legendary Doc Bartlett Field in Amenia, NY on Saturday June 23 at 2pm. History shows the first Amenia baseball team originated in 1890. The ‘Monarchs’ will be playing in their 85th season dating back to when the Tri-State League began as the Inter-State League in 1934. In closing, the Tri-State league would like to announce its 2018 Hall-Of-Fame recipients who will be inducted on the field just before the start of Game#1 of the Tri-State World Series on Tuesday August 21: Darrin Gould; Marc Didominzio, Kyle Weaver, Ryan McDonald, Jimmy Mischke