Pickens' Perspctive: Storylines abound for eliminated teams
The spring state tournament sure is a fickle beast.
Teams work hard for almost three months. Then in a single day, a team's season can be over. If a team survives day one, it can be out in the next day's second round.
Eleven of the 13 Fairfield state tournament qualifying teams were eliminated in the state tournament's first two rounds. Only Prep lacrosse-- who still could be eliminated if it loses to Staples Saturday-- and Ludlowe girls lacrosse, whose first-round game at Simsbury was completed too late for this edition, were left unscathed as of Thursday morning.
These eliminated teams can not get the due coverage they deserve. Many of those 11 had impressive or unexpectedly successful seasons.
Consider ND and Warde's boys lacrosse teams. Both were 1-15 a year ago, but drastically improved to .500 records and a state tournament berth. Both were ousted Wednesday, but the Mustangs fell just 7-4 to Class M's No. 4 seed, East Lyme.
How about the Ludlowe boys lacrosse team? The Falcons were blasted in their opening round FCIAC tournament game at Wilton, yet went back to Wilton Wednesday and were narrowly edged, 9-8.
The Warde and Prep baseball teams both built on breakout 2011 seasons with successful 2012 campaigns.
Jesuits starter Brett Young pitched with guts all year and into the state tournament. Young shut out Newington in the opening round, pitching Prep to its first state tournament win since 2007, and head coach Rudy Mauritz's to his first state win.
Warde had its second straight winning season, the future looks bright for the Mustangs as well.
"I'm happy with the results of the season," Warde baseball coach Mark Caron said. "To have back-to-back winning seasons in the FCIAC is challenging."
Warde's softball team rallied from 3-8 to reach the state tournament. Ludlowe's softball team won 14 games and made FCIACs. The Falcons started four sophomores and two freshmen in their 5-1 loss to Danbury Wednesday.
"For us to come back with 14 wins is pretty big," Ludlowe softball coach Tony Samuelian said. "We were highest we've ever been seeded as a team. You've got to consider that a success. We know we're building."
I could keep going on. Perhaps you know about the Ludlowe girls tennis team that went 17-4? Or the co-op boys volleyball club that reached states for the first time since 2009. The track teams had standout performances at conference meets and state meets. The golf teams stood out again, too.
But unlike any other state tournament, it's amazing how quickly the spring ends. The season is more of a sprint than any other, and its tournament reflects that. If you're a baseball or softball team and don't win three games in four days, you're done.
Plus with the spring season being the school year's last, there is finality to it. Seniors don't get to play games anymore. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors don't practice again until August. The year's over.
It's unfortunate that it's the way it is. But it is that way.
The spring is, after all, quite fickle.