Below are our most memorable moments from the 2022 CIAC spring sports championships:
While many believe the bunt is being phased out of baseball across all levels, both Fairfield Warde and Southington proved it’s not entirely true.
Both teams squeezed home their first runs in the Class LL championship game Saturday, a game won by Fairfield Warde.
Warde coach Brett Conner calls an aggressive game, but when there is a runner on third base and Griffin Polley up, it’s almost a guarantee he will call for a squeeze. Polley made his name known with his pitching skills, but his bunting skills are becoming something of legend throughout the state.
The Central Connecticut Conference is always a mystery. With so many schools in the conference, not every top team plays each other during the regular season.
This season, the CCC silenced many doubters — raises hand slowly — with Southington reaching the LL finals and Windsor and Maloney facing each other in the L finals.
Windsor defeated Maloney to win its first state title since 1991.
While Joel Barlow’s 20 runs scored in the Class M final was a major story this championship weekend, the story before the game was pretty big itself.
After pitching six innings and throwing more than 100 pitches in the semifinals on Tuesday, would Matt Scott — who was fully rested according to CIAC rules — take the mound for the Falcons, and if so what inning would we see him?
Everyone had their opinions and guesses, but no one thought he would start the game. Even Barlow coach, Matthew Griffiths wasn’t sure his ace would start, until late Friday night.
When the decision was made, Griffiths and Scott told no one right away. They held it from the team for a little and even the scouts that have flocked to see Scott all season.
The reason? Let Matt Scott be a high school player one last time.
Whether he is drafted in the MLB Draft this July or goes on to play at Stanford, Scott will have eyes on him the rest of his career.
Scott delivered Saturday, striking out 10 in five innings. His reward? Being covered in water head to toe after his team kept pouring water on his head after the game.
Back in 1986, Platt defeated New London 4-3 in the Class M baseball championship, the last time the Panthers won a state title. Hitting a home run in that game was Peter Daniels.
On Saturday, Ryan Daniels hit a home run in St. Paul’s 5-0 win over Somers, matching his father’s accomplishment from 36 years ago.
As Ryan rounded third base, he pointed to his dad in the stands.
Peter Daniels went on to play at the University of Hartford before transferring to Eastern Connecticut State University and winning a National Championship.
Ryan Daniels is off to continue his baseball career at UConn.
There is no high school softball team in the country with more state titles than the Southington Blue Knights.
Southington, defeated Bristol Central 13-1 to claim its 20th state title, breaking a tie with Salem (N.H) and Crescent (Iva, SC).
It was the third straight Class LL state title for the Blue Knights.
The 10 seniors on the team lost just three games in their career and ended every season holding a state title plaque.
Masuk challenged itself this season by filling its regular season schedule with powers like Fairfield Ludlowe, Southington and St. Joseph.
The Panthers lost their opener to Ludlowe, then went on to win 26 straight games to claim its fourth-straight state championship with a 4-0 win over Waterford.
Masuk pitcher, Kat Gallant topped off her high school career with another shutout.
Can the Panthers get one for the thumb next season?
After a disappointing finish to last season, Woodland would not be stopped this year.
The Hawks went 26-0, including a 4-0 win over Oxford in the Class M finals, to claim the program's first state title.
Woodland was dominant all year. The team allowed just three runs in the regular season and 14 overall.
Samantha Sosnovich was in complete control on the mound, striking out 13 and Kylie Bulinski had four hits, including a home run.
Cromwell bowed out of the Shoreline Conference tournament in the semifinals.
It was not what the Panthers wanted, so they took it out on their state tournament opponents.
Cromwell outscored its opponents 28-1 in four state tournament wins, including a 3-0 win over North Branford, winning the program’s first title.
“I have never pitched in a state championship before and definitely not in front of this many people,” tournament MVP Lily Kenney said. “I was really nervous in the beginning, but I realized my teammates had my back and I couldn’t do it all myself.”
Darien has been the toast of the boys lacrosse in the state for decades.
Staples didn’t care.
The Wreckers dominated the Class L finals from start to finish, knocking off Darien handily, 12-3 to win the program's first state title. It was also the program’s first postseason title of any kind.
Staples’ Henry Dodge dominated the faceoff X all game, giving the Wreckers possession often and the Wreckers cashed in, with Gavin Rothenberg scoring four goals and Charlie Howard three.
On May 28, Wilton lost to Darien in the FCIAC finals.
Sixteen days later, the Warriors captured the Class M title with ease, scoring the most goals in state final history with 22.
And there was one thing on the Warriors mind, “How do we get back into Class L?”
The Warriors want a shot at being named the best in the state and they know the only way to do that is play in the biggest division.
Weston’s Rowan Bradshaw-Mack was sitting at home, not playing lacrosse when his future teammates were celebrating the Class M championship.
Lucky for the Trojans and coach Josh Thornton, Bradshaw-Mack decided to come out for the lacrosse team this season.
The sophomore was the only player to put it in the back of the net early on Saturday, scoring the first five goals in the Trojans’ 16-3 win over Northwest Catholic in the Class S finals.
Darien beat New Canaan in the regular season and New Canaan returned the favor in the FCIAC title game.
With the tiebreaker being played in the Class L final, it was once again the Rams who were victorious, handing Darien the second of its only two losses of the season, 14-13 in the Class L final.
That’s what rivalries are.
New Canaan lead by four goals late, but Darien didn’t go away quietly, scoring three times to pull within one with a minute left.
Maddie Epke is arguably one of the best overall athletes in the state.
She has been named an All-State selection in three sports — field hockey, girls ice hockey and lacrosse.
So it was not a surprise Epke would excel in her final high school game.
Epke scored three goals and added four assists to lead the Grizzlies to their second straight title, a 12-8 win over St. Joseph.
There was nothing getting in the way of the New Fairfield girls lacrosse team.
Ten different players scored a goal in the Rebels’ 16-1 win over Lauralton Hall in the Class S championship game.
It was the fifth straight state title for the Rebels and sixth overall.
Warde’s Petro Kuzmenok was the defending boys tennis Invitational champion, but heading into this year’s tournament he was the No. 2 seed and had lost this season to the top-seed.
It was no big deal for the junior, who beat Tighe Brunetti in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
He gets to go for the three-peat next spring.
Gabby and Ellie Price were veterans on the Ludlowe girls tennis team, but it wasn’t until this spring that they were paired together as the Falcons’ No. 1 tandem. The sisters didn’t lose a single match.
The duo swept the doubles pair from Darien in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2 to capture the Invitational doubles title.
“We went into (the tournament) confident and we knew that when we play our best, we could really take down anyone,” Gabby, a senior, said. “We lifted each other every day and went into it with a positive mindset.”
“It was really fun,” Ellie, a junior, said of playing with her sister. “It’s easy to talk to your sister. You can be blunt and honest which I think is really nice during matches. We just clicked and it really worked out.”
Earlier this school year, the Fairfield Prep golf team made the decision to become an independent program and play in the fall season with other teams in the state, while the rest of SCC continues to play in the spring.
So what did Prep do in its final spring season? Win the whole thing obviously.
Led by Mike Rothberg’s 2-under-par 69, the Jesuits won their second straight Division I title.
The Joel Barlow boys volleyball team might have been the most perfect team in the state this season.
Seriously, the Falcons not only finished the season undefeated with a 25-0 record, but the team did not drop a single set all year.
They swept every team, including New Canaan to win the CIAC Class M title.
If you include last season, the team has dropped one set while winning two state titles.
One needs to go back to 2019 to find the most recent lost for the Darien boys volleyball team.
That was in the Class L final, when the Blue Wave dropped a 3-2 decision to Staples.
Since then the Blue Wave have won every match — 49 in a row — including consecutive state titles.
Darien won its second consecutive CIAC Class L boys’ volleyball championship to go along with three straight FCIAC titles following a 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-10) win over league rival Trumbull.
Hillhouse’s Gary Moore put the finishing touches on his amazing Connecticut high school field career at the State Open, capturing titles in the shot put, discus and javelin.
His 30 points helped Hillhouse win the boys team State Open title.
Moore graduates as the state record holder in both the shot put (66-4.25) and discus (192-10). The discus record had stood since 1969.
He will compete at Baylor University next season.
Heading into the State Open, all eyes were on Danbury’s Alanna Smith and Housatonic’s Sydney Segalla.
The two competed against each other in three races (100, 200 and 400 meters).
Smith won the 100, Segalla won the 400 and then in the 200, Segalla took home the title, by .01.