Thermaxx captures Greenwood title, advances to NABF
Brian Bannon has been involved in sports since wrestling at Jonathan Law, and as co-founder and chief operating officer of Thermaxx LLC in West Haven, he petitioned the West Haven Twilight League for a spot in its unlimited age, wood bat amateur baseball league, which has been in operation since 1933.
“We kept throwing our name in the hat and this is our first year,” said Bannon, who doubles as an assistant coach for manager J.P. Peloso’s club. “We were having a picnic after Milford Legion won the New England championship last summer, and said ‘Why can’t we keep these guys together?’”
Thermaxx Jackets started its inaugural campaign with a 1-8 record, but as the weather heated up so have the locals.
“Midway through the season the chemistry just clicked,” said Peloso, a member of Law’s state championship baseball team in 2008. “We keep having fun, and with fun comes winning.”
Thermaxx ended the season on a 12-4 run to qualify for the Bob Greenwood Tournament, and secured a berth in the NABF Northeast Regional playoffs with a 7-3 victory over All-Brite Electric at Quigley Stadium on July 27.
With the win, Thermaxx will join Twilight League regular season champion Baybrook Remodelers in the field of eight at regionals competing for a spot in the World Series to be held in Battle Creek, Mich. beginning on Aug. 7.
The regional games will be held with seven-inning doubleheaders at 2 and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at Quigley, Whitey Piurek Field at West Haven High, and Brinley Field in Orange.
The nine-inning semifinal games will be played Sunday at Quigley or West Haven, with the title game to follow at Quigley.
Baybrook has Milford natives Sean Cariglio, Mike Pascarella and Matt Ranaudo rostered.
Thermaxx boasts nine players from Milford, which has 21 players competing in the league.
Christian Baglini (Notre Dame-West Haven), Josh Rouse (Law), Anthony Alicki (Foran High), Jake Saley (Law), Kyle Winters (Foran High) and Joey Bannon (Law) saw action in the Greenwood final.
Brian Ward (Foran High) and Law’s Mike Nelson and Sean Cameron are also rostered.
Alicki got the pitching nod in the final, and the right hander went the distance, allowing five hits, two earned runs, with six walks and four strikeouts.
Baglini did the job from the top of the batting order, as the rising junior at Stonehill College reached base all four trips to the plate, with a single, a double, four stolen bases and three runs scored.
Rouse had a single in the fourth inning, Saley a single and a sacrifice fly, and Bannon started a key 4-6-3 double play, turned by Baglini, in the sixth.
All-Brite, which went 17-8 in the regular season, played with only 10 players. Thermaxx took advantage of its rivals by running the bases at will.
Baglini opened the game with a walk, stole second and went to third on a throwing error on the throw down. Saley scored him with a sac fly off All-Brite starter Matt Dannenhoffer.
Ryan Geffert singled, stole second, and scored on Willie Ramos’ base hit for a 2-0 lead.
All-Brite, with Christian Malave (Foran High) playing shortstop, got one a run back in the bottom of the first when Blake Barone homered over the fence in right field.
Thermaxx scored a run in the third inning to take the score to 3-1 off Sal Savo, who came on in relief to start the second inning.
Savo struck out Baglini with one out, but the pitch got away and went to the backstop as Baglini reached first easily.
He stole second and Saley followed with a single through the hole into left field. Saley stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Geffert, who singled to left to score Baglini.
Saley was out at the plate on a strong throw by Miniter to catcher Jim Cox.
Gus Constantino walked, but All-Brite’s Barone made a catch in the gap to end the inning.
All-Brite drew a run back in the home fourth. After an infield error and a walk, Malave brought the run home with a sacrifice fly
Another walk and a stolen base had the go-ahead run on second, but Alicki struck out leadoff batter Tim Geer to end the inning.
Baglini singled and stole a base, only to be left at third by a Savo strikeout.
All-Brite tied things in the fifth.
Barone walked with one out, before Cox singled inside the third base line.
After a delayed steal put runners on second and third, Rouse handled Miniter’s hot grounder to third, made sure he had a tight grip, and fired home to Rob Rosner for the force out.
Mark Consorte took Alicki’s 3-2 pitch to the fence in right-center for a double to tie the game.
When Miniter tried to follow him home, Geffert took Costantino’s relay throw and pegged him out with Rosner getting the inning-ending putout.
Thermaxx made it 5-3 in the sixth with Neffali Arroyo ripping a double down the left field line to score Constantino, who had led off the frame with a single. The second run scored when Greg Pacelli’s chopper in front of the plate was misplayed.
After a leadoff walk in the bottom of the sixth, Thermaxx took the air out of the threat with a 4-6-3 double play.
After a bloop hit by Connor Miniter and a walk to Geer with two outs, Malave was thrown out by Baglini on a grounder to short.
Thermaxx put the game away with two runs in the seventh.
Joey Bannon singled off Savo’s leg with a drive up the middle. The right hander out of Ansonia and NDWH, stayed in and Baglini doubled to right field.
Geffert’s infield single on a great stop by Malave scored a run and Constantini plated the other.