Greenwich senior Cannons locked in on state tourney

It has been a frantic month for the Greenwich junior and senior American Legion squads. Although July is coming to an end shortly, that doesn’t mean the Cannons are slowing down.

In fact, things are just getting interesting for both programs.

On Saturday, both Greenwich programs will be busier than ever, competing in the American Legion state tournament.

 

Throughout the season, the Greenwich senior Cannons have been lights out. Only losing twice, Greenwich posted a record of 25-2 overall and earned the Zone IV regular season championship. In addition to getting an automatic bid to the final 16 of the state tourney, the senior Cannons also earned the No. 1 ranking in the state.

“We play one game at a time, but our goal was to make the state tournament,” Greenwich senior Cannons head coach Mike Abate said. “Once we did that, we wanted to win the Zone. Coming up towards the end of the season we noticed we could be the overall No. 1 seed and we did that. I am so proud of these kids because they worked their butts off and came ready to play each and every game. At the end of the regular season, we’re sitting on top of everything and that’s very nice.”

The senior Cannons will start play in the senior legion double-elimination tournament Saturday at 3:30, when they travel to Stamford’s Cubeta Stadium and battle Unionville. Unionville finished the regular season with a 17-10 overall record and finished fourth in Zone I.

“It’s a double-elimination tournament, so everybody will go into Saturday using their top pitcher,” Abate said. “Our kids have been working hard every day and getting better every day. Our record might be the best in the state, but by no means are we taking any team lightly. Whether you’re the top team or the 16th team, you got to go out there and play hard. Hopefully we can do that. These kids love to win and love to compete. They were so close last year and I think that left a bitter taste in their mouths. This year I think we are motivated for the tournament and know they can’t take anything for granted.”

Win or lose, Greenwich will be back in action on Sunday and will return to Cubeta. If Greenwich beats Unionville, they will play the winner of the Stamford versus Southington game during the evening game. If the senior Cannons fall, they will face the loser of that Stamford versus Southington game around 12:30 p.m.

The senior Cannons will be led on the mound by Brian Schutzman and Dylan Callahan, the two workhorses for the team. Harry Pollack is Greenwich’s third pitcher, however a sprained ankle might force him to miss a start or two. Brendan Hardin is the team’s closer, but might have to pitch every other game to seal the deal. Also joining the pitching staff will be Kyle Dunster. If Pollack can’t play, Abate might move Dunster into the closer role and see if Hardin could be the team’s third starter.

When it comes to hitting, Abate is a firm believer that its a team effort. Callahan will be leading things off for Greenwich, with Hardin batting second and right fielder Taylor Olmstead batting third. Hitting clean-up will be third baseman Cameron Fennell.

“We all got to hit the ball well,” Abate said. “We can all hit, but we need to do the little things, like bunting, putting on the hit and run and put the ball into play with runners in scoring position.”

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