Video: Pivotal triple play
See an eighth-grader start a triple play in a Mississippi state title game
The philosopher Plato had a way with words and knew a little something about numbers, too. Of the latter, he said, "A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers."
Plato's opinion of numbers applies to CIAC tournament rankings. Teams that play in weaker conferences may end up with a top seed. A team that plays against tougher competition may be seeded lower, but they're often better prepared for states and knock off a higher seed or two.
The higher seeds generally prevail in the CIAC's softball tournaments. Twenty-one top seeds have won one of the 64 softball state titles this millennium. Twelve No. 2 seeds won a championship. It's not often that a double-digit seed wins a state title, which Sacred Heart Academy (Hamden) did as a No. 23 seed in the 2011 Class M tourney.
The CIAC baseball tournament would be the gonzo brother to the softball tournament, as it's always unpredictable. Softball has had six double-digit seeds win state titles this millennium. Baseball has had that many the last three seasons. Last year was as wild as it's been for baseball, as teams seeded 14, 22 and 27 won championships.
The baseball upsets began early in Tuesday's first round. Xavier of Middletown and defending Class L champion North Haven, seeded 31st in Class L and LL respectively, both beat No. 2 seeds. Class LL had its fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth seeds all fall.
Northwest Catholic of West Hartford, last year's Class S champion, was also defeated.
There's no fool-proof way to identify double-digits seeds that may become Cinderella during states, but the MaxPreps Computer Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
may be as good barometer as any. The program takes quality wins and strength of schedule into account when ranking teams.
Here are some baseball teams that MaxPreps' computer rankings rated in the top 10 in their respective divisions who could surprise as double-digit seeds.
Trumbull (20-9), seeded 14th
The Eagles' play in the FCIAC and had enough quality wins to impress the computer. That included victories over FCIAC champion Darien (5-2, May 17) and Fairfield Warde (3-2, April 15). They also played for the FCIAC title, losing to Darien, 3-2, in eight innings. Trumbull got another crack at the third-seeded Blue Wave on Wednesday and won again.Class L
Notre Dame (West Haven) (16-8), seeded 11th
The Green Knights have good pedigree (five state titles) and endured the rigors of the Southern Connecticut Conference, Connecticut's best baseball league. ND beat Prep and Sheehan twice as well as Hamden in the conference semis.Class M
Sheehan (Wallingford) (15-9), seeded 15th
Yup, another SCC team and the defending class champion. The Titans also play in arguably the state's toughest division (the SCC Housatonic Division) with perennial heavyweights Amity, Cheshire and Shelton. Sheehan won't face many teams in Class M tougher than they've already played. It began its title defense with a 4-3 win over No. 15 North Branford. It then won against No. 34 Brookfield, which stunned No. 2 East Catholic of Manchester, 5-3.Class S
Cromwell (15-10), seeded 23th
Yes, 10 losses is a lot, but the Panthers play in the Shoreline Conference, one of the state's top small-school leagues. A Shoreline team has made the Class S final the last six seasons and won three times. Cromwell also beat Haddam-Killingworth (seeded fourth in Class M) in the Shoreline quarterfinals and Valley Regional of Deep River (the sixth seed in Class S) to win the title. Junior Luke Matchett
(.351, 12 runs, 15 RBIs) has been Cromwell's top hitter, and senior pitcher Amir Nitowski
has been its workhorse (7-1, 1.45 ERA, 53 IP, 46 strikeouts). The Panthers beat No. 10 Thomaston, 9-8, in 12 innings on Tuesday. They then beat No. 26 St. Bernard of Montville on Wednesday.