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State Tournament home games await Torrington baseball, softball on Tuesday afternoon.

POSTED May 31, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Patrick Austin and the Torrington baseball team will be in action on Tuesday afternoon when the host a Class L State Tournament game against Tolland at 3:30 at Fuessenich Park in Torrington.

TORRINGTON-It’s State Tournament time for the Torrington baseball and softball teams and staying at home is a very good thing.

One team, the boys, have grown accustomed to playing at least one game in the friendly confines of Fuessenich Park, but it will be a welcome change for the Raiders girls.

The girls, who come in ranked No. 14 with a 13-7 record while their opponent, Guilford, weighs in ranked No 19 with a 12-8 record.

Not much of a spread and considering the Indians play in the always tough Southern Connecticut Hammonasset League, this will be a tough game for the home-standing Raiders.

Torrington has shown toughness this season and considering how young a good portion of their team is, they have had a terrific year an surprised a number of Naugatuck Valley League coaches with the quality of their play.

Any discussion of the Raiders success starts with freshman standout, Sydney Matzko, who has rising to the level of elite hurlers in the NVL in a very short period of time.

Matzko finished the regular season with 10 of her teams wins and posted 177 strikeouts, second in the NVL to Tori Cheske of Holy Cross who had an unearthly total of 277 in 2011.

At the plate, Matzko has been a force all season, leading her team with four home runs and constantly getting her team going.

In the Raiders 7-2 loss to NVL Tournament Champions, Seymour in the semi-finals, the Wildcats pitcher, standout Steph Burt, wanted nothing to do with the ninth grader late in the game as the Raiders looked to mount a comeback.

It’s not been a one girl show in 2011 though, not by any means.

Talia Zabbara has played a solid third base while also seeing time behind the plate.

Zabbara has been strong at the plate as well; her booming leadoff double to the left center field fence against Seymour in the semi’s, helped her team jump out to a fast 2-0 lead after three innings and had the best team in the NVL on their heels.

Chelsea Matzko, who finishes off a solid career with the Raiders when the States end, won her two games on the mound and played a terrific first base while contributing at the plate as well.

Freshman Nikki Jamieson grew as the season went on, both at second base and at the plate.

Junior Mollie Bartles was a steady influence at shortstop and pitched in with a win on the mound.

Catcher Sam Pelow improved game by game behind the plate and carried an effective stick as well.

“We are happy we have a home game,” coach Maryann Musselman said, “The last few years we have been on the road and got beat pretty good. We are looking to change that on Tuesday.”

On the boys side, a team that seemed to be clicking on all cylinders three weeks ago needs to find that magic that saw them start the year with an 11-0 record.

Since then, the Raiders have played .500 ball in their last 10, including a 7-2 loss to St Paul in the NVL Tournament quarterfinals after handling the Falcons by an 18-3 score just a few weeks earlier.

Senior Pat Austin will take the ball for coach Gerry Carbone, who hopes his team can get the match lit again.

“You can throw the records out the window when it comes to the States,” Carbone said, “The team that gets hot now usually take it all.”

The Raiders come in as the top seed in Class L.

When the Raiders were rolling, everyone was contributing at the plate including catcher Garrett Perusse (5 long balls this season), Nathan Katz (three bombs of his own), Bryan Failla and Austin Patenaude.

Failla and Patenaude have been solid up the middle with Sam Mateo anchoring third.

Mateo gave Carbone solid innings as the Raiders number too as well.

It had been the Raiders defense that left them vulnerable down the stretch, something they will have to avoid in the one loss-and-done States.

The No. 1 ranked Raiders face off against a team Carbone saw advance out of the play-in game on Saturday.

“Tolland reminds me a lot of St Paul,” Carbone said, “They hit the ball pretty well in that game. We will have to be on our game on Tuesday.”

Tolland comes in ranked No 33 but beat New Fairfield by a 12-5 score with their number two or three starter in the qualifier.

Unlike basketball, which changed the number of potential state tournament home games a team could earn to three instead of two, two is the max this spring.

As the calendar approaches the end of some of these players careers at THS, all don’t want it to end any time soon.


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