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Between The Lines 5/21/13

POSTED May 21, 2013
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

Between The Lines 5/21/13

Congrats to the Northwestern baseball team for clinching the Berkshire League title with an 11-8 victory over Lewis Mills on Monday afternoon.

The Highlanders continued their roll through the regular season and the BL by outslugging the Spartans to improve to 19-0.

Northwestern is only a win over Terryville on Wednesday from a perfect 20-0 season and the top seed in the upcoming Class M tournament.

Northwestern coach Tom Germano told me before the season even started he thought his team would be pretty good and they have not disappointed.

Zach August and Jimi Phillips have led the way on the mound and a number of Highlanders including Conor Guiheen, Mike Jeffko. John Lippincott, Zack Risedorf and Edward Eseppi all contributing at the plate.

The balance has made Northwestern the team it is. The Highlanders have the ability to win a close game because of their experienced pitching and they can also put some crooked numbers up on the scoreboard with a balanced offense that can get production from just about any sport in the lineup.

It's been quite a year for some of the guys too.

Lippincott started at quarterback for the GN football team that was close to another state playoff berth and he, Guiheen, Jeffko and Phillips all had key roles on the Northwestern basketball team that won the BL regular-season and tournament crowns and was 24-0 before a state Class M quarterfinal loss to Bloomfield.

Baseball, perhaps more than any other of the sports, is really unpredictable come tournament time and the Highlanders have their work cut out for them, but they have shown this season that they can win a number of ways and have the team to do some damage in June.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Lewis Mills boy’s lacrosse team finished its regular season at 11-5, a school record for wins in the regular season and the Spartans also won the Western Connecticut Lacrosse Conference regular-season title.

Not bad considering it is essentially a team without a home.

It's usual practice and game field at the school has been shut down for nearly a year to recover from the beating it took last season after being used by high school and local rec teams. A turf field and some facility improvements would be the best remedy, but until that comes teams will have to make do and that's exactly what the Spartans did this season.

The preseason was spent busing to fields and space around the state, including Cheshire Academy so that the team could prepare for the season. The Spartans played only five of their 16 games at home and just one, a 19-1 victory over Wamogo on Saturday, was played on school grounds.

The other four "home" games were played at the Malerbo Rec complex on its undersized field that is used and more suited for Burlington Youth Lacrosse Association games.

Despite the adversity, Coach Pat Schmitt continues to grow the program and have success. In 2011 the Spartans won 10 games and made the state tournament.

After missing out on the postseason a year ago, Mills is back in the Class S tournament and exceeded 10 wins for the first time.

The numbers are up as well. A total of 47 players are in the program this season and with an incoming wave of freshman, almost all of who have played in the BYLA program, that number will come close to 60 next season.

"I like where the program is and I like where we are heading," Schmitt said. "Considering what we've dealt with the kids have accomplished a lot."

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME: The Nestor’s decided to brave the elements Sunday and head to the RockCats game against New Hampshire and I am glad we did.

It rained most of the afternoon and certainly wasn't the nicest day out but it didn't stop us from having a great day at the ball park.

An affordable $6 per ticket gets you a great seat to see some future major leaguers in action and it's hard to beat a day at the ballpark, even a rainy one.

Yours truly got his first ever foul ball, James got on the jumbotron and the RockCats put together a late rally before falling short, 7-4.

It was a great day and a reminder that, if you are a baseball or sports fan, take advantage of the great local action we have in the area.

The Torrington Titans season is a few short weeks away and you'll see some college stars who are trying to get noticed and make their way to the professional ranks.

The RockCats are barely more than a half hour away or just take in a high school game as the LCS area will have a number of good teams in the upcoming state tournament.

NEWS AND NOTES: I saw Sydney Matzko has topped 300 strikeouts for the season and the Torrington softball team ran its record to 21-0 with an NVL quarterfinal win over Kennedy. Having seen Matzko pitch a number of times over the past three years I am stunned when anyone gets a solid hit, let alone scores a run off her.

Kudos to the Terryville/Plymouth little league group for giving the Harwinton Orioles the star treatment Saturday. Lineups and batters were announced and it was a real treat for the kids, who played their best game of the season. Probably no coincidence there.

Happy Memorial Day to all and a special thank you to all Veterans and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I'm the son of a Vietnam Veteran and have nothing but respect and admiration for the men and women who serve our country, they deserve nothing less.

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