Tag: vernon orioles

Back! Jets Take Aim at Orioles in Championship Rematch

On June 2, 2021, the East Hartford Jets, Twi-loop playoff champions of 2020 will battle the Vernon Orioles at McKenna Field, East Hartford at 7 PM.

The Jets will feature many of the same players from last season such as shortstop Jeff Criscuolo, pitcher/outfielder Jimmy Schult and player-manager Taylor Kosakowski. Some new faces will include Cole Lalli and Jack Blake who hail from Eastern Connecticut State University.

The Orioles have a trusted core of veteran players who are expected to return in 2021. Manager Jack Ceppetelli has also recruited a handful of new players. Without disclosing specific names, Vernon’s roster will likely be one of the best in Connecticut’s amateur ranks.

Each GHTBL franchise will play 18 Regular Season games this year. A 10-team double-elimination tournament (maximum of 19 league-wide playoff games) is scheduled to begin on August 3, 2021.

Ten Twi-loop franchises will compete this summer: Bristol Greeners, East Hartford Jets, Hartford Colts, Malloves Jewelers (Middletown), People’s United Bank (Wethersfield), Rainbow Graphics (Manchester), Record-Journal Expos (Meriden), South Windsor Phillies, Ulbrich Steel (Cheshire) and the Vernon Orioles.

The GHTBL allows players to apply for a roster spot until July 15th by filling out a Player Application at www.GHTBL.org/Join.

Krajewski & Powell Return to the Vernon Orioles

The GHTBL Executive Committee has recently welcomed Steve Krajewski and Kevin Powell back to league. They will support Manager Jack Ceppetelli with club operations serving as General Manager and Assistant General Manager.

Steve Krajewski grew up in Rockville, Connecticut, and attended Rockville High School. Before his freshman year at the age of 13 years old Krajewski played for the Vernon Orioles in a GHTBL game.  More than likely, he was the youngest player in league history. Krajewski also played American Legion and eventually suited up for Eastern Connecticut State University for head baseball coach Bill Holowaty. He restarted his twilight career in 1974 after finishing the American Legion program. As a Vernon Oriole, he had 333 RBI, a .331 batting average and 55 home runs. He was selected to the GHTBL All-Star team 10 times. He led the league in hits and average in 1988.

Steve Krajewski of the Vernon Orioles (right), 1990.

Krajewski enjoyed playing for long time friend, coach, sponsor and GHTBL Hall of Fame inductee Frank J. McCoy. Krajewski also took great pride in representing his hometown of Vernon. He coached Vernon’s American Legion program for three years and then managed the Vernon Orioles for two years, winning the 1999 GHTBL Playoff Championship. Krajewski spent nearly 30 years with the Vernon Orioles and now returns as General Manager. He was inducted into the GHTBL Hall of Fame 1995 and the Rockville High School Hall of Fame in 2014. He is now retired after working for the Town of Vernon as the Vernon Parks and Recreation Assistant Director for 42 years.

Steve Krajewski, General Manager, Vernon Orioles, 2021.

Born on December 14, 1959, Kevin Powell grew up in Brooklyn, New York and attended St. Francis Prep. There he earned a City Championship and was recruited to play at Iona College. He later became player-manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball Club in the New York City Baseball League. Powell was the 1985 recipient of the league’s Walter Alston Memorial Award given for dedication to the game, on and off the field. He moved north to Connecticut and was a member of the Vernon Orioles under Frank McCoy (1990-1994). He has returned in 2021 to work with Orioles Manager Jack Ceppetelli as Assistant General Manager. Kevin currently resides in Coventry, CT with wife Karen and daughter Kristen.

Kevin Powell, Assistant General Manager, Vernon Orioles, 2021.

The Vernon Orioles look forward to the 2021 Regular Season. Vernon’s twilight team, loyal baseball fans and proud community will be hard to beat this summer. As for the Orioles roster, veteran players like the Trubia brothers, Tyler Pogmore and Jordan English will welcome newer, younger players to the franchise this season. Vernon has won a total of 9 Regular Season titles and 6 Playoff Championships since entering the GHTBL in 1966. The Vernon Orioles start the 2021 regular season against the East Hartford Jets on June 2nd at 7 PM, McKenna Field, Remington Road, East Hartford.

Jordan English, OF/P, Vernon Orioles.

Ron Pizzanello, A Baseball Life

In 1977, former star catcher at Bulkeley High School and Eastern Connecticut State University, Ron Pizzanello, signed a professional baseball contract. He did so with the Colombo Nettuno team of the Italian Baseball League (now known as Serie A1). At the time of his signing, Pizzanello played for the Vernon Orioles of the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League managed by Frank McCoy. After playing in Italy, he returned to the Vernon Orioles franchise as the team’s backstop.

Hartford Courant excerpt, 1977.
Ron Pizzanello (#12) and Colombo Nettuno teammates, 1977.
Ron Pizzanello, Catcher, Vernon Orioles, 1985.
Hartford Courant excerpt, June 12, 1987.

After a battle with diabetes that claimed both of his lower legs, Pizzanello has persevered. He was a successful American Legion baseball for South Windsor in the 1990’s and 2000’s. In 2018, Pizzanello came back to the GHTBL as manager of the South Windsor Phillies franchise. Also supporting the team with Pizzanello is Reading Phillies Hall of Fame inductee, Gary Burnham Jr who serves as the team’s General Manager. The team’s sponsor is Tony Desmond of Allstate Insurance – South Windsor.

Diabetes forces Pizzanello to end his playing career, 1990.
2018 South Windsor Phillies

GHTBL Career

  • West Hartford Merchants, 1974
  • Vernon Orioles, 1975
  • East Hartford Merchants, 1976
  • Vernon Orioles, 1978 – 1989
  • South Windsor Phillies (Manager), 2018 – present
Ron Pizzanello, Manager, South Windsor Phillies, 2019.
Ron Pizzanello, Manager, South Windsor Phillies, 2019.

Awards & Accomplishments

  • Little League Connecticut State Champions, Hartford All Stars
  • All City Baseball Catcher, Bulkeley High School, 1971-72
  • All Conference, Bulkeley High School, 1971-72
  • Captain Bulkeley Varsity Baseball
  • All-Conference Wrestler, Second Team
  • Received a degree from Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Starting varsity catcher, ECSU Baseball, 1974-76
  • Elected Captain, ECSU Baseball, 1976
  • All-New England Second Team Catcher, ECSU Baseball, 1976
  • Inducted into the Bulkeley High School Hall of Fame, 2017
  • 2020 GHTBL Regular Season Title
GHTBL meeting with Ron Pizzanello (standing, right), 2018.

3 Clubs Aim for Playoff Championship

People’s, Vernon and East Hartford to play final games of 2020.

GHTBL’s 2020 Playoff Tournament is nearly finished and our mid-August  classic is down to 3 clubs; People’s United Bank, Vernon Orioles and the East Hartford Jets. 

G11 – TUESDAY, 8/18, MCKENNA FIELD – 7 PM

G12 – WEDNESDAY, 8/19, MCKENNA FIELD – 7 PM

G13 – THURSDAY, 8/20, MCKENNA FIELD – 7 PM (IF NECESSARY)

On Tuesday, People’s will face Vernon at East Hartford’s McKenna Field. Superior batting and 2 homers from Infielder, Willy Yahn along with gritty pitching performances from Aidan Dunn have led Manager Tom Abbruzzese’s bankers franchise in the Tournament thus far. As for Manager Jack Ceppetelli and the Vernon Orioles, veterans like Third Baseman, Dan Trubia and First Baseman, Jack  Halpin along with new additions such as Infielder, Jimmy Titus and Pitcher, Matt Cleveland will look to win their way into the championship game.

Jimmy Titus (left), Third Baseman, Vernon Orioles and Neifi Mercedes, Shortstop, People’s United Bank.

On Wednesday, the East Hartford Jets will take on the winner of Game #12. Manager Taylor Kosakowski has guided the Jets to 3-straight playoff victories. Bryan Albee has been the team’s ace on the mound. Designated Hitter Jimmy Schult, Shortstop, Jeff Criscuolo and Outfielder, Mike Santiago are currently having success at the plate. However, if the Jets are defeated on Wednesday, then Playoff Game #13 will be played on Thursday.

At each game, the league will request a $5 donation at the main gate. Admission is free for kids 14 & under.

We look forward to seeing you at McKenna Field this week!

Vernon Orioles Win 5th Consecutive Championship

Manager Jack Ceppetelli’s franchise is a cut above the rest.

The 2019 GHTBL Playoff Tournament finale featured Tom Abbruzzese’s People’s United Bank club versus the Vernon Orioles at Palmer Field in Middletown, Connecticut.  Abbruzzese as well as Orioles third baseman Dan Trubia were honored before the game by GHTBL President Bill Holowaty with a plaque of appreciation for their service to the Twilight League.  Afterwards, a near no-hitter thrown by lefty pitcher Paul Dougan led the O’s to a 10-1 victory. Celebrations in the parking lot ensued. 

Many Orioles players are veterans of the league, and experience has worked Vernon’s favor in recent years. The franchise has always been a mix of veterans who mentor and motivate younger players to improve. Veteran players like Matt Purnell, Dan and Tony Trubia, Tyler Pogmore, Peter Kelley and Jordan English made significant contributions this season.

As important were efforts made by more junior players. Brothers Ian and Jack Halpin, Zach Donahue and Alex Hoss stepped up in key spots throughout the season. Ian Halpin took home this year’s Ray McKenna Award (Player of the Year) and posted a .424 batting average, hit 4 home runs (2 in the playoffs), drove in 19 RBI and finished with a 1.112 OPS in the regular season.

This marks 5 years in row that Manager Jack Ceppetelli and the Vernon Orioles have captured the GHTBL Playoff Championships. The 2019 Season Title winner of the GHTBL was the Record-Journal Expos led by their manager and man on the mound, Charlie Hesseltine. Congratulations to all championship and award-winning players and managers.

Thank you sponsors and fans who supported the GHTBL this year – our 91st year in action.

Orioles Win Championship, Continue Dominance

Jack Ceppetelli manages O’s to 2nd Straight Playoff Title.

The defending champions, the Vernon Orioles capped their playoff title run on Saturday night at Trinity College with a 4-0 win over the Record-Journal Expos to take home the championship trophy. Jared Hyde threw five no-hit innings with four walks and two strikeouts to earn the victory before giving way to Tyler Pogmore, who allowed two hits with one strikeout in recording the final six outs to preserve the shutout.

Vernon took the lead in the bottom of the second as Alex Zachary stroked a leadoff ground-rule double to center field, stole third, and came home on a one out sacrifice fly by Wes Hurty. The Orioles added three more runs in the fifth. After a leadoff single by Zach Donahue, a walk to Dan Trubia and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with one out, Jack Halpin lined a single to left scoring two. Paul Dougan followed with a single to left to drive in Halpin, who had advanced to second on the throw.

The win was Vernon’s 5th in 5 days and second straight win over the Expos, avenging Vernon’s 2-0 opening round playoff loss, after which the Orioles outscored their opponents 32-2 in the run through the loser’s bracket. The Orioles, who finished the season with a combined record of 28-2, also earned their fifth consecutive Regular Season Championship.

Congratulations to the O’s!

Expos, Outlaws Face Off in Winner’s Bracket

Both teams are 2-0 in the GHTBL Playoff Tournament.

The Record-Journal Expos and the Middletown Outlaws have each won two straight playoff games to advance to the Winner’s Bracket. The Expos, led by Charlie Hesseltine and the Outlaws, managed by Tony Franco will match up for the fifth time this season.

Meanwhile, the Vernon Orioles and the Marlborough Braves will play each other as they vie for the winner of the Loser’s Bracket.

Best of luck to all remaining teams!

Orioles Win 5th Straight Regular Season Title

The Vernon Orioles had a near perfect season.

The Vernon Orioles won their fifth consecutive Regular Season Championship, making 2017 one their best years ever and one of the most dominating in GHTBL history. Stellar pitching and plenty of slugging led to one of the best Orioles teams the franchise has run out in decades.

Many congratulations to their longtime Manager, Jack Ceppetelli and veterans such as Nick Roy and Dan Trubia who each ranked in the Top 5 of hitting categories this season.

The Orioles enter the 2017 Playoff Tournament with a bye as the #1 seed and will face the winner of the #4 seeded Ulbrich Clippers vs. #5 seeded Record-Journal Expos on 8 PM, Friday, August 4th at Trinity College.

Tony Trubia and Dan Trubia of the Vernon Orioles