Pickens' Perspective: Warde baseball closing in on FCIAC berth
The FCIAC is a cutthroat beast is every sport.
Just ask the Fairfield Warde baseball team.
The Mustangs have ripped off seven wins in nine games, including a perfect game tossed by Lance Kreizer on Monday over Bassick.
Despite that-- and 10 FCIAC wins -- the Mustangs enter their final week of the regular season needing to win two of their final three games to assure themselves a trip to the conference playoffs. Three wins might be enough to earn Warde to earn a home playoff game
Thirteen FCIAC wins wouldn't guarantee a home playoff game? That is ridiculous.
"There are a lot of teams in this league who are pretty close together," Warde coach Mark Caron said after his team lost to New Canaan on Wednesday. "What determines whether you win is how you're playing on that given day."
The Mustangs want to be as high a seed as possible and get a home playoff game because of its prowess on its home turf. Warde is 7-2 at home this year and just 4-3 on the road.
The Mustangs have been, without a doubt, the turnaround team of this season. Warde went from out of the state playoffs to an FCIAC and state playoff team, which is no small feat.
But the Mustangs are not satisfied with simply qualifying for the state playoffs. They know that once you get into any baseball tournament that is one-and-done, it is anybody's race. Warde certainly has the pitching and defense to keep it in games and the team's bats and speed have been able to produce runs whenever it has needed them.
Warde simply needs to believe that it belongs in this spot. Four of Warde's five losses have come against teams that are ahead of it in the standings. The only team Warde has not played that is ahead of it in the standings is No. 2 Danbury, and the Mustangs will get the Hatters on Wednesday.
But Warde should believe that as long as it gets in the FCIACs it has a chance to win the whole thing. The Mustangs have lost close games to No. 3 McMahon and fourth-seeded Staples. All Warde needs to do is cut back on the mistakes that it made in those games, and victory is attainable.
And even if the FCIAC championship-- or even FCIAC tournament-- doesn't come Warde's way, the class L state title is still there for the taking. In fact, winning the FCIAC has come almost as a detriment to teams' state championship hopes. The last outright FCIAC champion to win a state title was Trinity Catholic in 1994 and its state title was in Class S.
The Mustangs sit as the No. 7 seed in the Class L currently, and that can always improve with wins next week. Ludlowe advanced to the state final out of the No. 7 seed in 2008, so anything is possible.
Who knows? Warde is talented enough to turn the double play and win the state and slay the cutthroat FCIAC beast.