St. Paul baseball looks to sew up return to state final tonight in Middletown

The top-seeded St. Paul baseball team needs one more win to return to the Class S state championship game, but it won’t be an easy task. Not if last year’s semifinal is any indication.

The Falcons (24-1 overall) play No. 12 Immaculate-Danbury (16-9) tonight at 7 o’clock at Middletown’s Palmer Field in a rematch of the 2021 Class S semifinal. St. Paul won that marathon, interrupted by lightning and dampened by rain, 12-8, at Berlin’s Zipadelli Field. Immaculate has defeated No. 21 Canton (6-5), No. 5 Lyman Memorial-Lebanon (6-3) and No. 20 Northwest Catholic-West Hartford (3-2) to get back to the semifinal round. The Mustangs return 2021 SWC All-Patriot Division selection, senior Cody Meier, along with SWC Honorable Mention choice, senior Jack “J.T.” Gunzy, from last year’s team. Meier is headed to Eastern Connecticut State University while Gunzy is going to Roger Williams University. Wyatt Jarbo, Fred Hubbard and Nathaniel Varda round out the Immaculate senior class. Gunzy, a right-hander, or sophomore southpaw Thomas Conley could get the ball on the mound, according to The Zone article by Mark Jaffee.

St. Paul reached its fourth semifinal in the past six state tournaments by defeating No. 32 Terryville (22-0), No. 16 St. Bernard (3-1, 8 innings) and No. 9 North Branford (18-2). The Falcons needed a dramatic three-run, walk-off home run by senior catcher Casey Cerruto to escape the upset bid of St. Bernard in the second round. Cerruto in particular is swinging a red-hot bat with four homers so far in the state tournament. Ryan Daniels, Joey Tonnotti and Jamie Leggett have also swung the bats well, but they are far from the only threats in a deep St. Paul lineup.

Senior southpaw Brendan Foley is scheduled to pitch for the Falcons, according to Jaffee’s article. At stake for St. Paul is a spot in a seventh appearance in a state final and third in the past six state tournaments. The Falcons won state championships in 1971, 1972 and 2016. They have appeared in the state final in 1971-1973, 1976, 2016 and 2021.

PHOTO CAPTION: Devin Kulas, left, Ryan Daniels and St. Paul are looking for back-to-back appearances in the state championship game. They must first get past Immaculate tonight for the second consecutive postseason in the semifinal round. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)