High-SchoolConnecticut: Baseball

The state tournaments are down to the final four, and the favorites are hard to find. Only one of the four No. 1 seeds has made it to the semifinals, as upsets have been prevalent through the first three rounds.

Greenwich earned the top seed in the Class LL bracket and entered the tourney ranked No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings, but the Cardinals were bounced in the quarterfinals by upstart East Hartford.

The Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in Class LL were also upset, with Pomperaug and Bristol Central falling to lower-ranked teams. Cheney Tech, the No. 1 seed in Class L, lost in the first round, and No. 1 seed Montville fell in the Class M quarters, leaving Northwest Catholic as the only top seed (Class S) to reach the semifinals.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Shelton (20-4) — Last week: No. 5
  2. East Hartford (18-5) — Last week: NR
  3. Northwest Catholic (18-2) — Last week: No. 7
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
With conference tournaments settled last week, it's time to focus on the state tourneys. Greenwich is No. 1 in the rankings, but after losing in the FCIAC championship game, the Cardinals are no lock in Class LL. No. 2 Pomperaug, No. 3 Bristol Central, No. 4 Amity and No. 5 Shelton are all contenders, though Greenwich wouldn't have to face any of those teams until the semifinals.

No. 7 Northwest Catholic is the top seed in Class S, and No. 9 Montville is the top seed in Class M. The state tournaments begin Tuesday, but top seeds have a first-round bye and begin play on Wednesday.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Greenwich (22-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Pomperaug (21-2) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Bristol Central (18-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
For the third week in a row, Greenwich sits atop the POWERADE state rankings. Sporting a perfect 20-0 record, the Cardinals are the odds-on favorites as we start to move into conference tournaments and ultimately the state tourney.

Pomperaug is holding strong at No. 2, as the Panthers are currently in the midst of a 19-game winning streak that began on the second day of the season. Bristol Central has been one of the steady climbers the past few weeks, and the Rams are locked into the No. 3 spot for the second week in a row.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Greenwich (20-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Pomperaug (19-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Bristol Central (17-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Greenwich continues chugging along as the No. 1 team in the POWERADE state rankings. The Cardinals are the last undefeated team in the state, and they are clicking on all cylinders right now.

Senior Casey Gaynor is making a push for Gatorade State Player of the Year honors, doubling as the team's top hitter and pitcher. Gaynor is batting .371 with a team-high 22 RBIs, and on the mound he's 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA. Though he didn't earn a decision in either of his last two starts, he did lead Greenwich to huge wins over New Canaan and St. Joseph by tossing 11 combined innings and allowing just three runs.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Greenwich (17-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Pomperaug (15-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Bristol Central (13-2) — Last week: No. 5
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
Notre Dame-West Haven suffered its first loss last week, but retained the top spot in the POWERADE state rankings. The Green Knights weren't so lucky this time around, as their second loss of the season sent them tumbling to No. 3.

Greenwich moves into the No. 1 position in this week's edition of the rankings. The Cardinals are the last remaining undefeated team, but there are a pair of tough tests on the schedule this week: at No. 9 Staples on Friday and vs. No. 8 St. Joseph-Trumbull on Monday.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Greenwich (14-0) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Pomperaug (13-1) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Notre Dame-West Haven (13-2) — Last week: No. 1
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
When the No. 1 team suffers a loss, it usually means there's a shake-up in the next week's POWERADE state rankings. But that's not the case this time, even though top-ranked Notre Dame-West Haven lost its first game of the season.

Notre Dame remains at No. 1 because there is no shame in losing to Law, 1-0, in 11 innings. That's just a well-played game tough loss. And the Green Knights bounced right back by beating No. 3 Amity, so no harm done. Notre Dame stays at No. 1 this week.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Notre Dame-West Haven (11-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Greenwich (12-0) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Amity (9-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Notre Dame-West Haven remains No. 1 in this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings after going 3-0 and flashing a dominant pitching staff to go along with an explosive offense. The Green Knights won its three games last week by a combined score of 16-4.

McMahon makes one of the biggest jumps this week, climbing from No. 6 to No. 3 after beating No. 10 New Canaan. East Hampton (5-0) and Bristol Central (4-0) enter the rankings for the first time, checking in at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Notre Dame-West Haven (7-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. St. Joseph (4-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. McMahon (6-1) — Last week: No. 6
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
It's still very early in the spring season, with most Connecticut teams having played just two or three games at this point, so there was a concentrated effort not to shake up the POWERADE state rankings too much this week.

Because of the small sample size, most of the teams that opened the season in the top 10 received the benefit of the doubt, despite some early-season stumbles. Glastonbury and Masuk have started out 0-2, but both remain in the rankings at Nos. 8 and 9, respectively. Let's see if they can turn things around as the weather warms up.

At the top, Notre Dame-West Haven holds on to its spot after an impressive win over No. 4 Amity. St. Joseph jumps from No. 5 to No. 2 by beating quality squads in Darien and No. 5 New Canaan.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Notre Dame-West Haven (2-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. St. Joseph (2-0) — Last week: No. 5
  3. Montville (3-0) — Last week: No. 7
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
Few teams have been as consistent as Amity baseball in recent years. If the Spartans weren't winning the state championship, they were certainly in the running. Last season, they came up just short, losing an extra-inning game to Newington in the Class LL state semifinals. But with most of the key players returning this season, Amity coach Sal Coppola is confident that the team will be a contender again this spring.

"I expect we're going to be a team that can last deep into the tournament," Coppola says. "I'd put us in that group near the top, in terms of potential."

Senior shortstop Vinny Siena has more potential than just about any player in the state. Last year he hit .380, slugged well over .500 and cracked seven home runs while playing stellar defense at shortstop. An ESPNHS All-State first team selection, Siena will be the centerpiece of Amity's championship drive this season.

"Vinny is the best defensive player in the state, in my opinion," says Coppola. "He's been clocked at 88 throwing across the diamond, so he's got an incredibly strong arm. He led our team in just about every offensive category last year, and he's gotten bigger this year because of his hard work in the weight room."

The though of Siena with added power is not a pleasant one for opposing pitchers, but he's not the only talent on the Amity squad. The pitching staff will be led by a pair of junior right-handers, Sam Nepiarsky and Mike Concato, and both have the raw stuff to dominate. Nepiarsky has already committed to UConn (as has Siena), and his fastball/slider combo should make him one of the state's best pitchers this season. Concato is also being recruited by Division I schools after a solid sophomore season.

Add it all up, and it looks like Amity baseball is right where you'd expect it — in the hunt.
ESPNHS has announced its preseason All-State baseball teams, so feel free to start debating the Connecticut selections.

It's hard to argue with elite players like Amity senior SS Vinny Siena and McMahon RHP Bryan Daniello, both of whom made the first team, but take a look for yourself and let us know if we missed anyone.

Click here for the Connecticut All-State baseball team.

Click here for any of the other 49 states.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

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