RCP American Legion Team Having Another Fantastic Season

Over the past few seasons, the RCP (Rocky Hill-Cromwell-Portland) American Legion 19U program has established itself as one of the best in Connecticut, a reputation that was secured when last year’s team won the Northeast Regional. In 2015, it has not missed a step. RCP is 14-2 as of July 8 and leads Zone 7 by 3 games over West Hartford.

RCP’s success has started with pitching and defense. It is allowing just 1.5 runs per game.

“In Tom Seaver, Cole Ogorzalek and Tucker Lord, we have three excellent starting pitchers who throw strikes and keep hitters off balance,” head coach TJ Grande said.

RCP’s offense has consistently improved over the course of the season. Grande said that catcher Kevin Radziewicz and infielders Chris Bouchard and Cory Baldwin have all had strong seasons in the middle of the lineup. However, he added that the offense most due a better job of hitting with runners in scoring position.

Grande has been especially pleased with the growth he has seen from the newer RCP players over the course of the season.

“The younger guys have matured hugely and become more confident. As a coach, it’s very rewarding to see that sort of development,” Grande said.

With less than two weeks of the regular season remaining, RCP is focused on improving on offense and winning Zone 7, which would be its second consecutive championship. By winning, RCP will earn a first-round playoff bye. The talent is certainly there to go on another memorable postseason run.

“We have the pitchers to win and compete for a championship,” Grande said. “The most I can ask of my players going forward is to play hard and be prepared.”

GLASTONBURY

After struggling badly in previous seasons, the Glastonbury program has made important strides in 2015. Glastonbury is 7-10 as of July 8, and has steadily improved following a 1-6 start. It is fourth in Zone 7, 2.5 games behind Hartford and 1 in front of Newington. If Glastonbury finishes in the top five and qualifies for the playoffs, it will be its first berth since 2008.

“This year has been a positive step forward,” first-year head coach Dennis Accomando said. “We’ve received both strong pitching and offense.”

Glastonbury has received strong pitching from a number of hurlers, including Drew Heymann, Brendan Clemente, and Seamus Kelly.

Glastonbury’s offense has relied on its depth to score 3.2 runs per game.

“David Kimbel has been very reliable on offense, and Andrew Takahishi and Ben Woodard have also had good seasons,” Accomando said. “We’ve consistently had guys step up when others have struggled.”

Accomando said that Glastonbury’s most notable wins so far were its 5-4 comeback victory against West Hartford on July 6 and wins against Newington on June 21st and 22nd, adding that the Newington wins “helped us get on track and gain confidence.”

Glastonbury’s chances at earning a playoff berth will be helped by its remaining schedule, in which a majority of games are against teams’ lower in the standings. Accomando believes the team will qualify if it continues playing well, and said it will focus on improving its defense and avoiding base running mistakes.

“My confidence in this team is very high,” Accomando said. “I know they will continue to work hard and be prepared. We definitely have the depth and talent to go on a playoff run.”

TRI-COUNTY

Tri-County, which features players from both RHAM and Lyman Memorial High Schools, is 5-11 and sixth in Zone 7 as of July 8. It is half a game behind fifth-place Newington.

“We’re having an up-and-down season,” head coach Len Lampugnale said. “We’re relying on some young players who are still acclimating. There have also been injuries to pitchers which have hurt us.”

Tri-County has solid depth on its pitching staff, which has been led by Sam Gagnon and Tyler Brett. Gagnon threw no-hitters against Plainville and Newington.

The team has struggled make contact and is averaging just under 2 runs per game. Infielders Jake McAnney and Joe Gamache and Brett have been its most consistent hitters.

Tri-County will have ample opportunity to make up ground in the zone and earn a playoff spot, as it faces both Newington and fourth-place Glastonbury twice more. Lampugnale is eager to see how his team will respond to the challenge.

“We need to come ready to play every game and have good at-bats and execute,” Lampugnale said. “Right now, it’s on us to seize the opportunity of making the playoffs opportunity.”

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