SOFTBALL: Area’s best square off Monday night in Tri-Town Tournament

SOFTBALL: Area’s best square off Monday night in Tri-Town Tournament

Record-Journal
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Ashley Rossi and Midstate Painting of Meriden are back to defend their Tri-Town Tournament championship Monday night at Nessing Field in Meriden. | Justin Weekes / For the Record-Journal

MERIDEN — The annual battle of softball supremacy in Wallingford, Meriden and Southington will be decided Monday night as the Tri-Town Tournament goes down at Ben Nessing Field.

Men’s and women’s A Division champs from the three towns will play simultaneously on adjoining field in hopes of hoisting the championship trophy at the end of the night.

Making up the men’s field will be Meriden’s Double Play Cafe, Wallingford’s Incredible Oil and Southington’s Fragola Performance.

The women’s teams are Meriden’s Midstate Painting, Wallingford’s Fosdick Fulfillment and Southington’s Pal’s Power Washing.

Midstate Painting is the reigning women’s champ. A Double Play Cafe won the 2016 men’s title — not Double Play-Meriden, but Double Play-Wallingford.

The Tri-Town Tournament, sponsored and administered by the Meriden Amateur Softball Association (MASA), is in its 21st year.

“I feel it’s growing,” tournament administrator Dan Terribile said. “The heartbeat is growing a little stronger each year. The teams have shown up and last year was a really good turnout with some really close games. There were no blowouts last year. It’s great to see that competitiveness.”

The Wallingford and Meriden teams will get the tournament started at 6 p.m. The losers of the opening games face the Southington champs at 7 p.m. The Southington teams stay on the field at 8 p.m. to play the winners of the 6 p.m. games.

If three teams all emerge with a 1-1 record, the two with the highest run differential will square off for the championship at 9 p.m. If a team finishes 2-0, it is the Tri-Town champ.

Meriden being the host town means Meriden rules are in play, including a maximum of eight home runs per game. Anything over eight is an out.

Here’s a breakdown of the six teams.

Men’s field

Double Play Cafe: Scott Rowe’s squad defeated regular season champs and top seed Peruti Properties in back-to-back games in the finals, the last being on Monday.

Double Play Cafe (23-6) bludgeoned opponents to a 203 run differential, scoring 411 runs while allowing 208. The Silver City team lost its postseason opener, then ripped off four straight wins to win the championship.

This is the first year that Double Play Cafe has been together.

“Most of our guys on our team play high level tournament ball,” Rowe said. “There have been games when we have scored 30 and 40 runs. We string hits together and play solid defense. We also have one of the best pitchers around in Larue Graham.”

Rowe said his team hits three to four dingers a game on average.

“Every game someone different steps up,” Rowe said. “That’s why we went on that run in the playoffs.”

Incredible Oil: Wallingford has produced the last two men’s Tri-Town champions.

Incredible Oil (17-3) was no Cinderella. Wallingford’s regular-season champs for the past three seasons were again the best team all year and rolled through the playoffs as the No. 1 seed.

Increible Oil was the Tri-Town champion two years ago. Last year, the team was forced to forfeit in the Wallingford playoffs due to scheduling conflicts. Many of the players on Incredible Oil also play in Meriden.

“We started up this team four years ago and we are pretty much the same team,” manager Gary Stanley said. “Our defense has been great and we play together as friends, and that helps and makes it fun.”

Stanley said No. 3 Kris Selvaggi is the team catalyst. The outfielder was a Tri-Town MVP.

Incredible Oil usually exceeds the maximum number of homers allowed (six is the rule of the land in Wallingford). On Monday, the squad will have two more at its disposal.

“We are a power-hitting team,” Stanley said. “Nine of our 11 starters can hit home runs.”

Fragola Performance: The Southington squad was the No. 2 seed in its town playoffs. Blown out 17-1 by previously undefeated Spartans II in the opener of the best-of-three final, Fragola won the next two by scores of 15-7 and 21-9.

Fragola (17-7) lost in the town finals to Spartans II the previous four summers.

“We really came together as a team and did well,” Fragola manager Franco Pabst said. “We’ve hit all year and just went on a hot streak. We had an 11-run inning and never looked back. Making the Tri-Town is absolutely big for us.”

Pabst said Tyler Dube and Ben Nichols have been the team’s best all-around players this summer. Dube was a record-breaking wide receiver at Sacred Heart University.

Women’s field

MidState Painting: The Meriden team is making its fourth straight appearance in the Tri-Town Tournament and has collected Tri-Town crowns in two of the last three seasons, including 2016.

Ashley Rossi’s girls are 24-1 and overcame an initial loss in the postseason with four straight wins.

“We are back and we are the same team,” Rossi said. “Our defense has been amazing. We have a lot of players that can play all over the field. We look forward to this tournament every year. We are happy that it’s in Meriden again and the men and women play at the same time.”

Rossi said pitcher Leah Milner has been the team’s top player. As Leah Hettrick, Milner was state volleyball champion at Maloney, an All-American volleyball player at Springfield College and inductee in the Connecticut Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Rossi and her twin sister Amanda were members of Lyman Hall’s 2003 state championship softball team.

Fosdick Fulfillment: Dulcey Worth has been player-manager for this squad, which has won the Wallingford regular season in each season with her at the helm. That run as included five Wallingford postseason championships and Tri-Town berths.

Fosdick Fulfillment won the Tri-Town title five years ago and enters the fray on Monday with an 18-2 mark. The only two losses for this squad came on forfeits.

“We are a team, through and through, and we stick up for each other. That’s how we survive,” Worth said. “We have girls in college up to grandmothers and we just have fun.”

Fosdick took the town championship with a 1-0 win over No. 3 Ortho Ouch Care on Monday night.

“Our pitching and defense have carried us to this point,” Worth said. “It’s been a full team effort.”

Pal’s Power Washing: The Southington squad was placed third during the regular season with a 12-4 record, but went 3-0 in the postseason to earn a Tri-Town berth. Pal’s Power Washing defeated defending Southington champ Rossitto Welding in back-to-back games in the final.

“A lot of our players are in our 50’s and a lot of players on that team were in their 20’s,” Pal’s Power Washing manager Maggie Moniz said. “We’ve been playing together as long as a lot of them have been alive. Some of us have been playing for 20-25 years.”

Moniz managed a Tri-Town champion a few years ago when the team played as Grace’s Diner.

She said it’s been a team effort getting this team into the Tri-Town, but that leadoff hitter Chris Robarge has been the spark.

“She’s been hitting extremely well,” Moniz said. “She’s played at any position and is a great motivator and played fantastic softball.”

Men’s rosters

Double Play Cafe: Scott Rowe, Zak Sokolis, Steve Connors, Lou Penna, Scott Czaja, Joe Drury, Larue Graham, Mike Federico, Jesse Castaldi, Ed Holcomb, Billy Knight, Jeff Gagne, Brian Joy, Phil Rodgers, Brendan Behm, Casey Tyler, John Sokolis, Matt Timmons, Kyle Craven, Tony Balderacchi and Manager Tim Roussin.

Incredible Oil: Jason Wyatt, Keith Sobkowiak, Kris Selvaggi, Matt Shubert, Gary Stanley, Chris Mappa, Frank Destefano, Scott Sobkowiak, Mark Tamsin, Mike Monack, Adam Desjardins, Evan O’Hara, Kevin Ridley, Jason Stanley, Joe Valentino.

Fragola Performance: Ryan Gemmel, Sean Aldieri, J.J. Pabst, Ben Nichols, Tyler Dube, Nick Gothberg, Justin Rose, Tommy Matters, Connor Butkiewicz, Nick DeFeo, Franco Pabst.

Women’s rosters

Midstate Painting: Ashely Rossi, Amanda Loubier, Leah Milner, Emma Papandrea, C.J. Sabith, Taylor Odell-Smith, Kristen Muir, Mallorie Dorflinger, Skye Sgambati, Megan Jakiela, Gabrielle Wagloria, Rebecca Costello, Marissa Costello, Angela Sorensen, Jill Bedard, Brittany Virgulto, Reiley Knight, Alle Sabith, Erin Weber, Maegan Rodriguez.

Fosdick Fulfillment: Robyn Oram, Heather Dorsey, Mary Schneider, Deanne Rackie, Diana Murchison, Charity Singer, Sherry Robiatelle, Leann Cipriani, Kelli Marnalse, Linda Brockett, Kelly Hampp, Katie Gill, Jenna Paul, Stephanie Seymour, Carol Morris, Tricia Smith, Carey Messenger, Jaslin Lombra, Dulcey Worth.

Pal’s Power Washing: Brandy Celella, Chris Robarge, Deb Schwarz, Denise Henninger, Donna Theriault, Julie Sopchak, Kelly Stuper, Kim Swarts, Kristina Tolles, Laura Barnard, Lindsey Lempicki, Liz Collins, Liz Piper, Maggie Moniz, Michele Lucas, Shawna Baron, Stephanie Kowalec, Rachel Valdes, Joan McDonnell, Carmela Stewart.


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