Round of Applause
The Newport Gulls clinched the best record in the New England Collegiate Baseball League in their regular-season finale on Monday with a dominant, 12-0 win over the New Bedford Bay Sox. The Gulls are the top team in the NECBL playoffs, which started on Wednesday when Newport began a best-of-three series against the Laconia Muskrats. This is the first series of three potential series in the postseason. The division finals start on Saturday before the league championship series begins Tuesday. The Gulls entered the playoffs on a 12-game winning streak, which is the best stretch in team history. The team’s top two pitchers—Arkansas State’s Jacob Lee and Michigan’s Brandon Sinnery—have ERAs of 0.66 and 1.00 while two hitters—Maryland’s Tim Kiene and Vanderbilt’s Conrad Gregor—are top-five in the league in home runs. This is without a doubt the most impressive team I’ve ever been a part of and these guys are the most fun to be around and to watch. Too bad we’ve only got (hopefully) a week left of this season. Should Newport win the league championship, it would be the organization’s league-record fifth title after victories in 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2009. None of you are probably especially interested, but if you’re bored any night over the next week, check out necbl.com to check out the scores and even the live broadcasts of the games (I’m part of the home broadcasts).
Maddie Hupprich recently finished an outstanding softball season with the Cheshire Wildcats 12U team from the Central Valley Fastpitch League. The Beacon Falls resident helped her team to the semifinals of the CVFL tournament with a victory and two scoreless innings of relief early in the tournament. Hupprich posted an 8-4 record with a 1.98 ERA in 15 starts during the regular season and pitched even better in the league tournament. After the CVFL tourney, her final stats were pushed up to a 9-4 record with a 1.81 ERA in 16 starts. Congratulations to Maddie and the rest of her family—Gary, Diana, and Evan—who are always faithful readers of this Overtime column.
Chorus of Boos
The Philadelphia Eagles’ salary cap is ridiculous. Seriously, where are they getting all this money from in a year with a lower salary cap than has existed in several years? First, they give huge money to prized cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (no sour grapes there after he stiffed my Jets). Then, they hand out a pair of big-money, five-year deals to defensive linemen Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin. But the Eagles weren’t done yet. They signed backup quarterback Vince Young to a one-year, fairly sizeable deal before doing the same with former Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown. All of this was done without making any significant cuts. I don’t actually want to research how the Eagles pulled this off because I guess it’s impossible for them to have broken the rules, but that’s incredible how they managed to do this. Good luck to the rest of the NFC East—everyone better figure out how to stop the Philadelphia offense while managing to throw around Asomugha, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel. Yikes.
1 State championship for the Naugatuck Dogs after defeating Chad’s Lawncare of Bridgeport, 4-1, in the Stan Musial state tournament finals on Monday
3 Million dollars, plus a few more thousands, that wide receiver Plaxico Burress will make on his one-year deal with the Jets to be the team’s No. 2 receiver
6 Fantasy football leagues—and counting—for me this season; I completed my first live, in-person draft ever last week and it’s much better than a computer draft
1.81 ERA for Beacon Falls’ Maddie Hupprich, who pitched this spring and summer for the Cheshire Wildcats 12U softball team
2.59 ERA for the Newport Gulls pitching staff, nearly a half-run better than the second-best staff in the league, which belongs to the Vermont Mountaineers
12 Straight wins to end the regular season for the Gulls, who finished the season with an NECBL-best 29-13 record to earn home-field advantage throughout the league playoffs
24 Wins in the last 30 games for the Gulls, which is the second-best 30-game stretch to end a season in team history
Lips to CN’s Ear
“I don’t know what was harder, the therapy or staying away from baseball. I’ve been playing this game since I was a little kid. I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I just knew I had to work hard to get back out there.”
Former Woodland baseball standout Kyle Georgia on his return to baseball this summer after undergoing hip surgery. Georgia, a 2010 graduate of Woodland, excelled on the diamond from his earliest days of playing in Beacon Falls through his AAU teams and during high school. Georgia returned to baseball this summer and was the top pitcher for Prospect-Beacon Falls American Legion Posts 194-25. He will attempt to play for Manchester Community College in the fall.
“He was injured. We just told him that we wanted him ready when we got to the big game. He called me at 9 in the morning [on Monday] and said, ‘I’m ready.’”
Naugatuck Dogs manager Jay Harlamon on pitcher Lance Stevens, who pitched a three-hitter in his return from a hip injury to lead the Dogs to their first-ever Stan Musial state championship. Stevens, a 29-year-old former pitcher of the Bridgeport Bluefish, had missed a month of action before returning to help Naugatuck to a 4-1 victory over Chad’s Lawncare of Bridgeport.
“I like being out of the limelight. I prefer to do my business in the background.”
Little League District 3 administrator Wendle Stiber after being honored by Prospect Little League before the Little League state finals on Saturday. The Beacon Falls resident had a tee-ball field at the Fusco Field complex named in his honor after nearly 60 years of volunteer service to Little League in Prospect, Naugatuck, and throughout District 3, Connecticut, and the United States.