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Down On The Farm
Matt Barnes of Bethel continues to dominate hitters in his first season of professional baseball. On June 14, The 2012 first-round pick of the shut down Carolina over five innings, giving up just one run on two hits while striking out nine. For the season, the hard throwing right-hander is 7-1 with a 0.99 ERA. More impressive is the fact that he's struck out 95 hitters while walking just 12. Opponents are batting just .176 against Barnes this season.
Mike Olt of is having one of the best offensive seasons among players in all of the minor-league levels. Playing for the Frisco Roughriders, the Texas Rangers' AA affiliate in the Texas League, Olt has 20 home runs and 58 RBI's, both are tops in the league. He's also hitting a robust .312.
Curt Casali of New Canaan is putting together an outstanding year playing for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the single-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers of the Midwest League.belted three home runs in his last ten games and now has eight for the season. Overall, the 10th round pick of the Tigers in the 2011 MLB draft is hitting .288 with 25 RBI's. He's only struck out 18 times this year while recording an on-base percentage of .402.
Casali's teammate at Vanderbilt, Jason Esposito, is still trying to find his stroke and consistency in the South Atlantic League. graduate and second-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles is hitting .233 with three home runs and 27 RBI's playing for the Del Marve Shorebirds.
Dan Paolini of has been rock solid playing for the Clinton Lumberkings, the Seattle Mariners single-A affiliate in the Midwest League. The gritty second baseman has raised his average to .260, belting three home runs while driving in 23.
Former Bear Is Now A Cub
Matt Iannazzo, who graduated from in 2008, signed a free-agent contract with the Chicago Cubs. Undrafted after a stellar career at the University of Pittsburgh, the left-handed pitcher was offered a chance to play professional baseball with the Cubs. Iannazzo finished his senior year at Pitt with a 7-4 record and a 3.95 ERA.
The event is called the Pat Griskus Triathlon but organizers might want to consider re-naming the trophy after . Last Saturday, the Easton resident won the race for the sixth consecutive year. The 40-year old Thomas blew away the field with a time of 2:01:58, nearly five minutes ahead of the next finisher. The reigning male triathlete of the year is off to a great start in 2012, also winning the Harriman Olympic distance triathlon in May.
of Naugatuck might take the title from Thomas some day as the 22-year old phenom continues to make a name for himself in the triathlon world. Steiskal finished eighth in the event with a time of 2:12:01. He was first out of the water in the one-mile swim with a time of 22:57.
Cassandra Maximenko, also of Naugatuck, captured the woman's division of the event. The 29-old triathlete posted a winning time of 2:22:25. Jeanne Theleen, 21, of Southbury came in second, crossing the line in 2:26:35.
Other male competitors from the area to finish in the top 20 overall were: David Ellis of Milford, 15th, (2:15:16), Matt Art of Ridgefield, 17th (2:16:02) and Zachary Yannes of Oxford, 18th (2:16:13).
Ted Varga of Southbury won the Clydesdale division (200lbs plus) with a time of 2:32:40.
Dawn Dodsworth of Woodbury placed third in the Athena division as she recorded a time of 3:05:17.
Kudos to New Canaan's Keri Chaisson Harden who finished the Eagleman Half-Ironman in Maryland on June 10. The 40-something mother of three recorded a time of 5:26:14 in the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile event. She competed in the event despite having a pinched nerve in her neck.