Local Teams Look to Be Contenders

The Ellington Knights baseball team is young and varsity inexperienced, but coach Keith Tautkus is very excited about his team.

“Fitting all the pieces together will be the key to our success,” he said.

Ellington graduated seven lettermen – five of them starters. While varsity experience may be a weakness, depth in the number of quality players on the roster is a strength.

The Knights return senior captains Joe Leslie (shortstop and pitcher), Jon Bassett (second baseman), and Winston Chow (catcher and outfielder) to a team that went 11-10 last season. Also returning are junior catcher Derek Litty and junior first baseman Brandon Bogrette.

Tautkus feels sophomore pitcher and first baseman Cam Rosa, sophomore pitcher and outfielder Graeme Caso, junior first baseman James Harney, junior infielder Danny Hayes, and sophomore pitcher and third baseman Jay Skorulski will have an impact.

Avon and Suffield are the teams to beat, as they are returning many varsity players.

Rockville

Greg Caron, who spent the last six years as an assistant coach for the Rams, will take over as head coach this season.

Caron and his team are very excited for the season and believe they can compete with any team they face this year.

“We have a great group of kids that all work very hard to improve each day both individually and as a team,” he said. “We expect to qualify for the state tournament this year.  Our success will hinge on our pitching and ability to close out games.”

The Rams graduated three lettermen, including two starters, from a team that went 6-14 last season.

Seniors Carlos Adamson (pitcher, outfielder), Adam Barselau (outfielder, pitcher), Preston Burgess (pitcher, outfielder), Brian Ducas (outfielder, pitcher), Jon Frank (shortstop), Matt Goff (third baseman, pitcher), and Matt Woodtke (first baseman) all return.

Also returning is junior second baseman Brett Montminy.

Caron feels junior outfielder, pitcher, and designated hitter Mason St. Germain and sophomore catcher Caleb Tourtelotte will have an impact this year.

Experience is a team strength, while consistency is a potential weakness.

Caron says Tolland, RHAM, and Rocky Hill are the teams to beat because they are very tough every year and they always have solid pitching.

Tolland

Coach Scott Czerwinski feels the team should have good pitching depth and be a very good defensive team.

“Dallon Asnes is a two time all-conference and all-state selection on the mound,” he said. “With Asnes and junior Ben Clough, we should have two very good high school pitchers. There is plenty of potential with some younger pitchers who will be getting their first taste of varsity baseball so we are excited about our pitching and defense. We expect to be a very competitive team in our league.”

The Eagles graduated six from a team that went 12-9 overall and 10-4 in the CCC East last year.

In addition to Asnes and Clough, Tolland also returns senior second baseman Mike Johnson, senior shortstop Tyler Lechman, and senior center fielder Alex Suchecki.

Junior infielder Andrew Clockey, junior pitcher and outfielder Zach Dionne, and sophomore pitcher and outfielder Nick Paasch may also have an impact this season.

Czerwinski says the teams to beat will be Rocky Hill, E.O. Smith, and RHAM.

“Rocky Hill and E.O. bring back numerous players and should be very good,” he said. “RHAM is always competitive – so our league will be very tough.”

South Windsor

South Windsor looks to be a contender this season.

The Bobcats graduated four starters from a team that went 12-9 last season.

Seniors Nick Nowak (pitcher and centerfielder), David Caye (pitcher and right fielder), and Mike Kelly (catcher) are the captains this year.

Mike Bastis, the senior third baseman, also returns to the Bobcats. Bastis and Nowak were All-CCC North Conference players last year.

Coach Jim Abbott feels that pitching – there is very good depth with six pitchers – should be a strength. He says the team will need to focus on defense and baserunning.

East Catholic, Wethersfield, and Glastonbury are the teams to beat. “They are all great programs with a lot of depth and talent,” said Abbott.

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