Since October 20, 2013, CT's Blue Razrs have been the tallest Redwood in the forest. Winners of last year's GSWL Fast Pitch National Championships in Savannah, GA, it has been a good winter for them, no doubt.
Yesterday in their own backyard of Cromwell, CT, the Razrs were reminded that when playing with the Golden Stick buzz saw, even the strongest of wood can get chopped up quick. In a semi-final game won by the slimmest of margins, MA's newly organized squad, The U, brought '13 MVP Kevin Norris' Razrs down 1-0 to move on to a final game vs. NH's 603 All-Stars.
Led by Matty "Lil' Griff" Griffin, The U dismantled 603 in the right field corner of the Cromwell, CT softball field. Griffin, an 11 year staple in Golden Stick appeared to be refocused in the opener, his sneaky out-n-in riser coming in and stealing he outside pipe like it had a key. With massive jump on the 2014 point race, The U looks good to have already claimed one of the four spots in the 1st North East Fast Pitch Championships this coming Fall.
The nine team event was not only graced by perennial monsters. Also in the field was Kris Morse's 1st time Clintondale Cardinals. The Cards bounced from the DII Semis had a great event, citing "We'll be back for sure" before parting.
Also at their first event was Matt Borelli's Conquerers. Borelli and his counterpart Luke Higgins grabbed K9 veterans Cody Blake, Elliot Knower, and Eric Rosenberg to aid them in their first GSWL event. The Conquerers made it to the DII Final where they lost to the ever-orange Freaky Franchise from Rochester, NY. Freaky, led by Ryan Bush sampled GSWL events last year only to fully commit for 2014. With the type of roster to contend in either DI or DII, the Franchise walked with a cool 10 pts and will find themselves right in the mix when the standings come out this week.
Other notes to note:
NJ's Crusaders look good. Both in uni and on paper. League veteran Anthony Didio will no doubt be a key piece in this team's season. The Crusaders fell just short at last year's OPEN in Georgia and with Didio this year, don't sleep on the Crusade.
Bad Chemistry was short on the day, missing a few key pieces, including the rumored '14 add on Dan Lanigan. However, with the aid of Giovanni Torres and his AAU baseball mate, Michael Caruso they had a good day. A 2-3 record and 7 pts will be a fine launching point in #2.
NY's Craig "Taco" Caras (NY Swingmen) & Frank Kollias (NY Throwbacks) brought in their team Hot Taco into the event. A 3-1 record and 10 points earned them the 2 seed and a bye in the DI bracket. Only after a 3-0 Semi-Final loss to 603 did their epic day end. Great stuff from this team, who are now rumored to commit for the 2014 Fast Pitch run. League vets Sean Mcrae and Phil Fresiello filled in on the team. We'll see if they stay on for the season.
With #1 in the books, the season is underway. With the Fast Pitch League entering it's 2nd bout on May 10, in MA, the plot should only thicken going forward.