Bristol Knights playing for a better ending in 2017 postseason

Scott Dickens would love to end his playing career with a Connecticut Twilight League
championship. It would also be redemption for the Bristol Knights, who were sent home
earlier than expected in the 2016 playoffs. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The Bristol Knights may not have won the 2017 Connecticut Twilight League regular season title, but that doesn’t matter.
What matters to Bristol is reclaiming the championship trophy it gave up last year after winning the regular season title. The Knights were 20-game winners and the best team in the CTL. That is, until they got to the playoffs.
Bristol lost its first game of the double elimination tournament to the Brickhouse Indians and their ace pitcher Devin Over. Over was a solid Division I pitcher for UConn.
In their second game, the Knights faced the Elmer’s Silver Bullets and pitcher Alex Fretz. Fretz mixed his pitches and kept Bristol off balance, and Elmer’s eliminated the two-time defending champion.
“It’s probably good for the rest of the league that we didn’t win three in a row,” Knights general manager/coach Scott Dickens said with a laugh following Friday evening’s regular season finale.
All joking aside, Bristol wasn’t at all happy with what transpired in the 2016 postseason.
“It was a hard thing,” Dickens said. “Of the three seasons, last year was the one where we were good all season. We were solid all season.”
Bristol will be the No. 2 seed in the 10-team playoffs that start next week. The Knights, like the top-seeded, regular season champion Chicago Sam’s Orioles, have a bye through the first two days. Bristol will play the winner of the Glastonbury Pirates and East Hartford Angels, a matchup of the No. 3 and 6 seeds.
“We just beat Glastonbury a couple weeks ago, 1-0,” Dickens said.
Earl Oakes started and pitched well, then Mike Castellani came on in relief and picked up the victory. This year’s Glastonbury team is actually a combination of players from the Pirates and the Portland Panthers after the teams merged. East Hartford won’t be a pushover either.
For Dickens, this season is his last go-around as a player after 15 seasons.
“The last couple years, the younger guys have really become the core,” Dickens said.
Dickens has had fun during the regular season, but said he knows there’s better players who need to play in the postseason.
“It’s been fun,” Dickens said. “It’s been 15 years.”
Longer than that if you go back to when Dickens, 40, played in Bristol leagues as a kid. The Knights played at Bristol Eastern High School on Friday, a place that brought back memories for Dickens, a former Lancer.
Dickens and Eddie Dickman are the longest tenured players on the Knights. Dickens said Dickman will be back next season, but this is the final ride for Dickens. Along the way, there have been four twilight league championships and one more in fall baseball.
Dickens would like nothing better than another championship for the team he helped build. A championship would also expunge the bitter taste left behind from last year’s postseason.
The push for redemption begins next Wednesday at Rotary Field in South Windsor.

PHOTOS: Click here for images from Friday’s regular season finale.