by MICHAEL LETENDRE
The Plainville Senior Legion team’s 2012 season might be over but the squad made some significant progress from the start to the conclusion of its summer.
Plus, it looked like the Connecticut Legion officials might have had in it for the club from Plainville as a couple rule changes ultimately affected the team and its chances for a state tournament berth this year.
Here are some quick thoughts:
New ruling on playoff qualification:
After tweaking the playoff format a few years ago that included a play-in round, the Legion committee made another change to start the 2012 season.
“For 2012, the state tournaments (both senior and junior Legion) will be the same as they were in 2011 with the exception that teams must be three games over .500 instead of just two games to qualify.”
The shame of it all was the fact that Post 33, at 13-11, finished the year with a .542 winning percentage which was the highest winning percentage for a team that did not qualify for state tournament play.
And under last season’s guidelines, Plainville would have been a play-in qualifier as all a team needed to do was be two games over the .500 barrier.
Again, it seemed the baseball gods wanted to deny Plainville a tournament berth and the rumor is that Legion committee wants to make the tournament available to teams with .500 and above for future seasons.
Don’t be surprised to see that come down the pike very soon.
The squad from West Hartford was the Zone 7 champion this year and ended its season tied with RCP at 19-5.
But within those five losses were two defeats to the locals at Plainville.
In a 13 inning war on July 13, Plainville defeated West Hartford 3-2 and one day later, Post 33 was victorious from Alumni Field with a 5-4 triumph.
And in a game in West Hartford on July 12, Plainville lost to the squad by only a 2-1 margin.
Taking the season series two games to one is impressive enough and, according to reports, it was the first series loss by West Hartford in over two seasons.
The tri-group over at RCP had a pretty good year, sweeping all three games from Plainville in the season series.
But the first game against the RCP contingent was only a 2-0 loss in the first game of a doubleheader on July 1.
And the second contest was a close 6-2 defeat.
Credit belongs to the RCP squad as it made it all the way to the state championship game, dropping a tough decision to Milford 6-5 on Friday, Aug. 3.
That certainly was very good baseball team but if you got to take the best players off a state championship team (Cromwell) and then add the best-of-the-best from two other towns, aren’t you supposed to be good?
Earned runs…too bad pitcher Tyler Guimond didn’t know the meaning of those words.
The pitcher, in his last year of Legion eligibility, did not yield a single earned run in any of his appearances in a Plainville uniform.
How many pitchers around the state can say that this past summer?
The Legion committee seemed to be making a point after a situation last summer that got blown out of proportion and caused the ejection of several Plainville players over two games.
Plainville coach Jim Tufts was also suspended for a series of games over the incident.
The committee came up with this rule for 2012:
“Any team that has any combination of more than four players, coaches or team officials kicked out of a games during the same regular season that team may be made ineligible for participating in that season’s State Tournament by the State Committee. Any team made ineligible under this rule may be given the opportunity to appeal this decision to the State Director or his designee.”
The rule was in vain as Plainville, once again, played a clean game and behaved the whole season long.
Outside of one grumpy umpire looking to start trouble, Post 33 kept its cool and, as always, just played baseball.
And you can appeal suspensions?
That’s what Tufts did last season and he got nowhere with it.
It you have a rule and a possible solution, follow through with it.
Over the past two seasons, Tufts has led Plainville to a .500 ledger (24-24) in Zone 7 play and the veteran coach will be looking for a shot a state tournament berth in 2013.
The team is certainly headed in the right direction and while an outgoing class of veterans will leave the program, several more will be rising from the ranks of the Junior team and will take the field next year.
by MICHAEL LETENDRE