American Legion Notebook: All Local Teams Fall in State Tournaments; Tolland Teams Advance to Regionals

A number of local Junior American Legion Teams were able to make it far in the State Tournament, with the Tolland Senior squad doing the same in their tournament as well. None of the five teams were able to make it to the semifinals, but players and coaches will still have many special moments and experiences to take away from the season.

The Tolland Junior (17U) team advanced the furthest of these squads, making it to the quarterfinals and second week of the tournament before losing to RCP on Wednesday. Tolland, seeded 11th, advanced to the quarterfinals by sweeping No. 6 Windsor Locks in consecutive road games. It defeated Windsor Locks 1-0 on Saturday and outlasted them again on Sunday 6-4. Kienan Giller threw a complete game in the first contest, with Tolland scoring in the fifth. The next day, Andrew Meagher and Brett Tumosa combined to hold the Windsor Locks offense in check. The Tolland offense got going in the fifth, scoring three runs, and then broke the tie by scoring twice in the sixth.

Tolland’s hopes of advancing to the State Tournament semifinals were dashed Wednesday when Noah Budzik and No. 2 RCP defeated them 7-0 in Windsor Locks. Budzik shut down the offense, limiting it to just three hits. Tolland trailed 1-0 entering the fifth before RCP took control by scoring four in the fifth and two in the sixth. The team ended the season with a record of 16-9.

In the Senior Tournament (19U), top-seeded Tolland advanced to the Northern Division Super Regionals in South Windsor but was unable to overcome No. 6 New London, losing twice to them  in its three games to be eliminated. It lost 6-1 to New London last Saturday, as six errors and offensive struggles with men on base doomed the team. Tolland rebounded in impressive fashion the next day, blowing out Avon 10-0 while smacking 14 hits. Manager Steve Paasch said pitcher Sean Kelly had a great day and that the team’s hitting “seemed contagious”.

Unfortunately, the Tolland offense was silenced the next day by New London ace Quantique White in a season ending 4-0 loss. White threw a complete game, allowing just four Tolland players to reach base and striking out seven. Its defense also struggled behind starter Nick Paasch,  leading to two unearned runs in the third.

“The New London pitcher was very polished, which is what you’d expect from a college pitcher,” Steve Paasch said. “We could never get anything going on offense and made some early miscues on defense that gave them the momentum. It was a bitter sweet way to end a great season.”

Tolland ended the 2016 season with a record of 21-5. Paasch will always remember the outstanding chemistry of this year’s team.

“Regarding the season as a whole, the one thing I will always cherish is the way our players get along. We have kids from Tolland, Stafford and EO Smith.  They all have a great time together and that, along with a wealth of talent, is a key to our success.”

After defeating Avon and Ledyard/Pawcatuck, the Ellington Junior squad lost in the fourth round of the State Tournament at No. 8 Wallingford on Saturday, falling by a score of 1-0. It was the second time Ellington fell to Wallingford in the tournament, as it lost its first game to them 3-2. Ellington finished the season with a record of 16-10.

No. 12 Glastonbury was eliminated from the Junior tournament on Saturday with a 5-2 loss to No. 4 Cheshire. It finished the season 15-13.

No. 15 Manchester was eliminated by RCP Saturday, falling 4-2. It finished the season 12-13.

 

 

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