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Baseball and Lacrosse Qualify for First Ever Founders League Playoffs

Baseball and Lacrosse Qualify for First Ever Founders League Playoffs

Although the school year is winding down, the spring sports season is starting to heat up with the first ever Founders League playoffs. 

While most of the athletic programs at Avon Old Farms end the season with a playoff tournament, the timing was never right for athletes playing spring sports to experience the same. 

This year, however, the Founders League has organized playoff tournaments for baseball and lacrosse. 

Head Baseball Coach Rob Dowling Jr. '91 said that this has been in the works for a while. 

“We have been pushing for a playoff system for years, and we’re excited to finally be doing it,” Dowling said. 

He said with schools ending their academic years at different times, and with so many events happening at the end of the year, it was difficult to organize a post-season tournament schedule that worked for everybody. 

“The pandemic, in that sense, was helpful,” Dowling said. “It gave us time to come up with a schedule.”

Geoff Barlow ’98, director of athletics at Avon Old Farms, worked to get that schedule in place for this year. He said the goal was to add a bit more flair and excitement to the end of the season, and to make the final games more meaningful. 

“I just think for the kids, it brings some excitement to the end of the year,” Barlow said. “Now you have the chance to play for a title.”

He also said it’s more likely that college coaches or scouts will attend the games, because there is more to play for.

Mathematics teacher Brian Malchoff ’07 played on the Varsity Lacrosse Team during his time as a student at AOF, and is now one of the varsity team coaches. He said that the team is still focusing on one game at a time, but agreed that adding a post-season tournament is definitely better for the athletes. 

“In my opinion, it’s always felt like an anti-climactic end of the season,” Malchoff said. “When you’re in a playoff setting there’s a difference— you’re playing for something tangible.”

He also indicated that this is a better way to really determine who the best team is. 

“When you play a team once, it just tells you who was better on that day,” Malchoff said. 

The new playoff setup is the same for both sports, and is organized into two playoff brackets—a championship bracket for the top four teams in the standings, and a consolidation bracket for the next four. The teams will play a semi-final game, and then a final to decide the champion. 

The Avon Old Farms baseball and lacrosse teams have already cemented their place in the winner’s bracket. 

Barlow said that with how well both teams have done in the regular season, excitement is starting to build for the playoffs.

“The kids are getting excited,” Barlow said. “They’re checking the standings to see where they might end up and who they might end up playing.”

James Morr '22, of Colebrook, Connecticut, is a pitcher and one of the captains of the baseball team. He said that team chemistry has never been better. 

“I’m really confident in our guys,” Morr said. 

He said that after losing to Loomis Chaffee twice during the regular season, he’s hoping to have another chance against them in the playoffs. 

“They have a good team, but I think we’re definitely going to pull ahead and win the whole thing.”

Tyler Marmo '22, of Spring Lake, New Jersey, is an attackman and captain of the lacrosse team. He acknowledged that there is more to play for this season. 

“I think last year there was no main goal,” Marmo said. “I think with the playoff style this year everyone’s really excited.”

He said based on the team’s recent form they have a really good shot at winning it all.

His teammate, midfielder and captain Samuel Tomak '22, of North Haven, Connecticut, felt the same way. 

“I think that we run a solid system, so I’m not worried about anything really,” Tomak said. “I think our team will do fine.”

Both baseball and lacrosse have one more game to go in the regular season, both against Taft. 

The baseball team plays their final game on Thursday, May 19, and could end up as the first, second, or third seed in the tournament, depending on how the rest of the season plays out. 

For the lacrosse team, the winner of their game against Taft on Wednesday, May 18, will earn the one seed, while the loser will settle for the second seed. Either way, the lacrosse team’s first playoff game in school history will be a home game. 

“It’s going to be fun,” Barlow said. 

To stay up to date on spring sports playoffs, or for more information on AOF athletics in general, visit the school’s website