Local players dot the Tri-State baseball landscape

The Tri-Town Trojans are unbeaten and have a commanding lead in the 2023 Connecticut Tri-State Baseball League season.

Tri-Town is 13-0 and four games clear of both the Bethlehem Plowboys and Burlington Hunters, who are each 9-4. The influence of area players can be felt on both the Bethlehem and Burlington rosters, and the rosters of those teams that follow them in the 10-team league.

Bethlehem has received local contributions from the likes of Matt Mancini, Chase Belisle, Jesse Swartout and Alex James. Mancini, a former Sacred Heart High standout and current Wolcott High assistant baseball coach, is the veteran among that local bunch. Belisle and James played for Wolcott High while Swartout suited up for SHHS.

Burlington has gotten some strong play from Zack Martin and Ryan Raponey, who both played their high school ball at Bristol Eastern.

After the Amenia Monarchs in fourth place (8-6), the next three teams all have a local influence to them. 

The fifth place Brass City Vipers (5-6) get strong contributions from their host city. There’s A.J. Petrillo (SHHS), Xavier Gonzalez (Holy Cross) and Bryant Bonilla (Kennedy, Wilby). Brass City also sports former Wolcott players Branden Casanova and Jake Santulli.

The sixth place Valley Ducks (6-8), who play their home games at Wolcott High, boast local product Ty Pelletier. There’s also Kyle Daddona (Kaynor Tech) and Nick Forino (Kennedy).

The seventh place Naugatuck Nightmare (5-8) also have a Waterbury influence with Christian Cuevas (Holy Cross), Brandon Spadolino (SHHS) and Anthony Quinones (Kennedy). Steve Urbanski (Wolcott) also suits up for Naugatuck.

The Winsted Whalers (4-9) and Canton Crushers (3-10) follow Naugatuck in eighth and ninth place. It’s been a tough year for the last place CT Gamecocks in terms of wins and losses (2-9), but they are still battling. There’s a trio of former St. Paul players on the squad who have led the way, and they are Pat Raymond, Josh Dobratz and Christian Peterson.

Tri-Town is aiming for its third straight championship. The Trojans have used their usual formula of strong pitching and defense to secure those 13 victories this season. Tri-Town features its three-headed starting pitching monster of Miles Scribner, Bobby Chatfield and Dan Livingston. In relief, the Trojans can bring in power arms Connor Gannon and Aidan Donohue. The offense has some good balance with Willy Yahn, Mike Fabiaschi, Danny McCarty, Coleby Bunnell and Joey Grantmeyer, among others.

Bethlehem is looking for a return trip to the World Series and another shot at Tri-Town, which defeated them in last year’s final. The Plowboys can also pitch and play defense, and they swing the bats pretty well as well. Bethlehem has actually scored one more run than Tri-Town (99-98) to this point. Burlington has been able to win its fair share of close games (81-73 scoring margin). Valley, which has played one more game than Tri-Town and Behtlehem, has scored the most runs in the league at 100. Naugatuck has had trouble stopping opposing offenses while Brass City and the CT Gamecocks have had issues scoring runs.

All 10 teams make the playoffs, which begin with single-game wild card elimination (7 vs. 10 and 8 vs. 9) between the bottom four teams. The top six teams automatically advance to the first round. Each round following the wild card round will consist of best-of-three series. The wild card games are slated for June 25. First round series are to be contested from July 29-Aug. 1. Aug. 4-6 is the semifinal round while the World Series is slated for Aug. 11-13. Game 1 is at Fuessenich Park in Torrington at 7 p.m. Games 2 and 3 (3 if necessary) are at noon at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.

Note: Names have been taken from game roundups submitted by the teams. If I missed a local name, I apologize.