BRISTOL - St. Paulâ€™s state title defense, along with the potential title paths of Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central and Terryville took shape on Friday, as the CIAC released the baseball state tournament brackets, providing the teams with their first-round matchups and road to the finals.
The Falcons finished the regular season with a 16-4 record, one win better than last yearâ€™s championship team, which earned them the No. 4 seed in the Class S tournament. When it won the title last season, St. Paul was also the No. 4 seed.
In the first round, the Falcons will host No. 29-ranked St. Bernard, which owns an 8-12 regular season record, on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
The Saints reached the second round of the Class S tournament last season as the No. 26 seed, toppling No. 7-ranked Shepaug, but fell in the second round.
Knowing its first-round foe, St. Paul is confident entering the tournament.
â€śWe like that weâ€™re at home and weâ€™re not making an hour and a half bus ride trip to Montville,â€ť St. Paul coach Vic Rinaldi said. â€śBut weâ€™re definitely not looking ahead just because weâ€™re the higher seed. Theyâ€™re in the tournament for a reason. They have talent up there. They have some good pitching, so weâ€™re going to prepare like weâ€™re playing any other team in the NVL and take it one game at a time, kind of like we did last year.â€ť
Another local team competing in Class S is Terryville. The Kangaroosâ€™ 9-11 finish was good enough for the No. 21 seed and they will face No. 12-ranked East Granby on the road on Tuesday.
The Crusaders won 12 games this season. The Falcons and Kangaroos could meet in the quarterfinal round if both teams win their first two games.
Both of Bristolâ€™s public high school teams are in Class L. With a record of 11-9, Bristol Eastern earned the No. 19 seed, while 10-10 Bristol Central enters the first round as the No. 25 seed.
The Lancers were the top seed in the Class L tournament a year ago, so they will have a much different path to the title this season. That run will begin on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., when they travel to take on No. 14-ranked New Canaan.
The Rams finished the regular season with a 13-7 record and are just four seasons removed from a Class L title and back-to-back finals appearances.
Bristol Central earned just one fewer win than it did last season, but enters the tournament five spots lower.
The Rams will visit No. 8-seed Platt Tech on Tuesday with a start time of 3:30 p.m.
The Panthers own a 14-6 regular season record.
The Rams and Lancers are in different halves of the bracket, meaning the two rivals could only meet in the championship game.
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or email@example.com On Twitter: @K_baum30