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Tuesday, March 20 Sports

Connecticut Wolfpack paced by Fairfield players

The Connecticut Wolfpack baseball team for players 15-years-old and younger has earned success in out-of-state tournaments this summer. The organization, which sponsors 11 travel teams for players ages 10 to 15, is based out of the Black Rock section of Bridgeport and draws players from throughout Fairfield County with a large percentage from Fairfield. Baseball is offered year-round, with games in the spring, summer and fall and practice indoors in the wintertime.

Eight of the 17 players on the U15 team, which allows 16 year olds whose birthdays are on or after May 1, are town residents. That team reached the Round of 16 last week in a tournament in Atlanta among 184 teams that entered the World Wood Bat Association National Championships. The Wolfpack went 7-1, losing to the Georgia Jackets, who won it all by going 7-0 and not allowing a run. Connecticut was seeded third of 23 teams for the playoffs.

This week, following a series of rainouts in pool play, the Wolfpack beat the Florida Hardballers 5-2 on Tuesday morning in tournament play in Fort Myers, Fla., but were eliminated in the afternoon by the Texas Sun Devils 10-2. The Wolfpack's 14-and-younger team, though, won the BCS National Finals in Florida with victories on Tuesday and Wednesday. That team also has players who live in town.

In Georgia, Clay Curley, of Fairfield, was named to the all-tournament team. Curley, 16, an outfielder and pitcher, will be a junior at Fairfield Warde High School for the 2014-15 school year. He started and won two games, lasting 5 1/3 and 5 innings, while not allowing a run.

Thomas Cullimore, of Westport, a junior at Fairfield Prep in the fall, was named all-tournament as a pitcher. Max Richlin, of Staples, a first baseman, earned tourney honors, too.

Jono Zarrilli, 16, of Fairfield, did not accompany the U15 team down south because an ankle injury ended his summer season in mid-June. He is a Hopkins School rising junior who plays shortstop, second and third base as well as being a pitcher. Zarrilli is aiming to return to action by the autumn.

Because of other recent injuries, two U14 players from Fairfield were called up to the U15 team and played in Georgia but returned in time to the U14 club in Florida to help it win the BCS national title. Each was a member of the 2013 Little League District 2 champion Fairfield American team that reached the World Series in Williamsport, Pa. -- Ryan Meury and Will Lucas, both 15.

Meury will be a sophomore at Hopkins and Lucas will be a freshman at Fairfield Prep. Lucas went 10-for-20 with four runs batted in. Meury was hit by a pitch in three of his eight plate appearances. Each pitched in three games in Georgia.

Prep rising junior Brendan Bucher, 16, started at third base in metropolitan Atlanta and hit .333. Jack Cohen, 16, an 11th-grader at Warde in the fall, played in right field and at first base, batting lefty and driving in three runs in five games. CJ Hanrahan, 16, a junior at Ludlowe in two months, was the Wolfpack's catcher, playing in every game and knocking in three runs. Chris Ray, 15, will be a sophomore at Prep in the fall and was a reserve outfielder in the southern tournaments, appearing in two games.

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Bucher, Cohen, Hanrahan and Ray are all from Fairfield.

Most of the players on the U15 team have been together on the Wolfpack for the last four or five years, with the roster fluctuating with one or two additions and departures each summer.

The U15 team plays home games in the East Shore Travel League in East Haven. The team practices at Fairfield University. The balance of the summer will be spent in regional tournaments and playing East Shore games.