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Pickens' Perspective: Spring 2013 awards

Published 3:34 pm, Thursday, June 27, 2013
  • Rachelle Barone and the Fairfield Warde softball team possess the greatest upside for any Fairfield team in 2014. Photo: J. Gregory Raymond / Stamford Advocate Freelance;  © J. Gregory Raymond
    Rachelle Barone and the Fairfield Warde softball team possess the greatest upside for any Fairfield team in 2014. Photo: J. Gregory Raymond

 

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Another season is behind us.

The spring is over, and the summer is here. This may seem like a late addition to the sports section, but I wanted to wait for all the spring sports to end.

And now that the track campaign has officially come to a close, they have.

Shall we release the awards? I think so.

BEST TEAM: Fairfield Ludlowe, girls tennis.

Aha! You didn't see this coming, did you? While Fairfield Prep lacrosse can stake a claim to this crown, the Falcons' girls tennis team came merely a few games from winning both the most competitive league -- the FCIAC -- and state Class L this year. Add to those accolades a 22-3 record and division title, and you have Fairfield's top team this spring season.

BEST [JUNIOR] ATHLETE: Cate Allen, Fairfield Warde.

Another upset. Prep people, you may have a complaint, but hear me out. While Christian Alvarado did advance to nationals in three seasons, Allen was posting nearly unreal times in five events. The junior posted a sub-5-minute mile, a sub-11-minute two mile, a sub-1-minute 400 meters and anchored relays for the Mustangs. She capped her junior campaign with an 18th-place finish in the 1,600 at New Balance nationals. Expect that to improve next year.

BEST GAME: Ludlowe vs. Warde baseball, May 3.

The Mustangs carried a two-game win streak against their crosstown rivals, built a two-run lead early and clung to a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard.

But Charlie Meder's RBI single and aggressive baserunning allowed the Falcons to take a 3-2 lead into the seventh. After Mike Foley reached first in the frame, Vic D'Ascenzo induced Tom Luckner to pop to left, then Foley was doubled off, ending the game in one of the most exciting fashions possible.

The game was a microcosm of each team's season. Ludlowe went 15-9 and won both an FCIAC and Class LL state tournament game. Warde was 7-13 and didn't qualify for either.

BEST TEAM TO FINISH EMPTY HANDED: Fairfield Prep baseball.

The Jesuits have never won a state baseball championship but came as close as they have since 1985 to the state finals. After a 14-6 regular season, they won their lone SCC Tournament game, then beat Simsbury, Ridgefield in extra innings and upset second-seeded Bristol Central.

The Jesuits came six outs from unseating sixth-seeded, and eventual Class LL state champion Amity -- perhaps the state's best team all year -- before the Spartans roared back late to beat them.

If not for the monsoon we endured on Memorial Day weekend -- which canceled the SCC Baseball tournament's semis and final -- the Jesuits could have been the team of the year. Instead, they were not privy to a trophy.

BEST TURNAROUND: Fairfield Warde girls lacrosse.

The Mustangs were 2-15 in 2012 with nine of their 15 losses coming by six-or-more goals. In 2013, Warde was 9-9, reached the state tournament for the first time since 2009 and the FCIAC tournament for the first time ever.

BEST COMEBACK: Fairfield Warde boys lacrosse, April 13.

The Mustangs trailed Norwalk by six goals with a little more than nine minutes to play then staged one of the great lax comebacks of this year. Warde scored six fourth-quarter goals, then one in overtime to stun the Bears, 10-9.

HIGHEST UPSIDE FOR 2014: Fairfield Warde softball.

The Mustangs, who endured a roller-coaster 8-13 campaign, did not have a senior on their roster. Gaby Natoli may have taken some lumps as a freshman pitcher, but I have a feeling she'll be better for it.

SPORT IN NEED OF A STATE TOURNAMENT OVERHAUL: Boys Tennis.

Where do I begin with this? You play your entire season as a team -- including the conference tournament -- UNTIL the state tournament. Then each player plays individually and collects points for his team. Then there's a State Open. And somehow the girls DON'T do this. It's downright zany.

Congrats to Warde's boys for being the best collection of individuals in Class M, though. Or, being tied for the best collection of Class M individuals. I think. My head's spinning.

Take a breather and come back refreshed for fall. That's what I'm intending to do.

ppickens@bcnnew.com; twitter.com/Pat_Pickens

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