State champion Staples finishes season ranked No. 1 in final baseball poll

It was an exceptionally strong year for FCIAC baseball this spring season as Staples finished ranked No. 1 in the state to lead a quartet of conference teams ranked among the top nine in the final 2017 GameTimeCT/Register Baseball Top 10.

After Staples’ top ranking, Ridgefield was ranked sixth, Westhill eighth and Wilton ninth in the final state poll of the year voted on by 10 media members.

Staples captured the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL Baseball Tournament championship when it dethroned four-time defending state champion Amity, 5-1, in the championship game. Staples, which finished 18-8, received five of the 10 first-place votes.

So impressed were the pollsters with coach Jack MacFarland’s Wreckers that they surged all the way up to No. 1 after not even being ranked in the Top 10 in the preceding poll.

Amity (25-3) received one first-place vote to finish second and Class M state champion Waterford (22-3) received two first-place votes to finish third.

Class S state champion Holy Cross, which won 24 of 25 games this year, received the other two first-place votes to finish fourth.

Foran had an amazing run in the months of May and June, culminating with the Class L championship and an ironic No. 5 ranking with a sub-.500 record (12-13). Winning 11 of their final 13 games after a being 1-11 midway through the season gave credence to Foran’s lofty ranking.

Ridgefield’s 20-7 record, finishing runner-up in the FCIAC and making it to the CIAC Class LL semifinals made the Tigers worthy of the No. 6 ranking.

Class L runner-up North Haven (18-8) was ranked seventh.

Westhill had the best conference record in the FCIAC during the regular season and the 19-5 Vikings advanced to the Class LL quarterfinals to earn the eighth spot.

Staples had to beat all three of the other ranked FCIAC teams in the state tournament and Wilton (19-5) was the first victim. Wilton coach Tim Eagen had guided his Warriors to their second FCIAC championship in the last three years prior to the state tournament, a good reason why they finished No. 9 as that fourth conference team among the top nine.

East Lyme (21-4) completed the Top 10.

Danbury received the 18th most points in the polling and was the only FCIAC team among the 16 total in the “Others receiving votes” category.

The Staples Wreckers, shown after winning the CIAC Class LL championship, finished the year as the state’s top-ranked team in the GameTimeCt poll. — photo

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