Staples is the No. 1 team in the state

There is no debate: Staples is No. 1.

The Wreckers left no doubt with a 3-0 win over Southington in the CIAC Class LL championship game Saturday afternoon at Palmer Field.

In this postseason, the Wreckers defeated four of the top seven teams in the final GameTimeCT Poll. They beat No. 6 St. Joseph and No. 7 Ludlowe in the FCIAC tournament before defeating No. 3 Cheshire and No. 2 Southington in the state tournament.

The FCIAC and newly crowned Class LL state champions close the season as the No. 1-ranked team in the GameTimeCT poll, receiving 14 of 14 first-place votes.

“There’s no question. We are 25-3. We won the regular season in the FCIAC, we won the FCIAC tournament and we won (the Class LL) tournament. We won eight straight elimination games,” Staples coach Jack McFarland said. “The pressure on these kids was immense. The FCIAC tournament, one game and you’re out, and they won three straight. Then five straight on the biggest mountain you have to climb, LL in baseball. They were able to do it. It’s a tough tournament and my hat’s off to Southington for a great game.”

Chad Knight pitched a complete game, giving up three hits with 10 strikeouts in the championship game.

The eventual winning run was driven in by Kevin Rabacs on a sacrifice fly, scoring pinch runner Ben Lewis in the fourth inning.

En route to the championship game, Staples handed No. 1 Cheshire its second loss of the season, 3-0 in the semifinals.

Knight also threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts in that contest.

In fact, Knight was on the mound for the final 16 innings Staples played, also coming on in relief in the quarterfinals against Trumbull with his team trailing in the sixth inning and picking up the win after the Wreckers rallied.

The Staples seniors leave with two state and one FCIAC championship on their résumés.

“My kids, my program and the community of Westport gave us unbelievable support,” McFarland said. “We’re a baseball town and that’s the way they want it and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”