This is the third in a multi-part series highlighting the Class of 2022 inductees into the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame.
1999 PHS Baseball Team
The 1999 Plainville High School baseball team entered the season with question marks. It ended the campaign as Class M state champions and one of the most dominant squads in the illustrious history of the program. The Blue Devils compiled a record of 20-3 and added a league title to its state crown, taking sole possession of the Northwest Conference over Class L state champion Berlin and Class S semifinalist St. Paul. Led by the dynamic pitching duo of Nick Macellaro (6-1, 1.52 ERA) and Byron Treado (5-1, 2.55), the Blue Devils allowed just three runs in four games as they rolled through the state tournament.
Offensively, Phil Rothkugel led the way with a .500 average, adding eight homers and driving in 39 runs. Brett Federowicz hit .459 while striking out only twice all year in the leadoff spot, and Macellaro hit .462 with seven home runs. Keith Mirante stole 11 bases and Brian Sparks nine for a team that could win with power, speed or pitching.
After starting the season with two losses in its first three games, coach Bob Freimuth had concerns about the team’s chemistry, and his team looked off again in a setback against St. Paul in early May. He and assistant coaches Lou Mandeville, Brian Edge and Frank Marchione implored the group to get back to fundamentals, and the players heeded his words. Two days later Macellaro beat future major leaguer Jesse Carlson and Berlin, sending Plainville off to the races. In fact, Plainville never lost again.
Forced to play home games at Norton Park much of the year, Plainville opened its new field at the high school with a win over Farmington on a Macellaro no-hitter and two Rothkugel homers. Mirante helped lead Plainville over East Catholic to clinch Plainville’s first outright NWC title, and T.J. Susco punctuated the regular season with a no-hitter of his own, the second in three games on the new field.
After Plainviille got a bye in the first round of the state tournament, Freimuth credited stellar defense for a second-round win over Plainfield. Macellaro struck out 16 in a quarterfinal win over Tolland, and Niko Koutouvides got the game-winning hit in a 2-1 thriller over Notre Dame-Fairfield, backing Treado’s strong pitching effort and an incredible catch in left by Susco, putting Plainville back in the finals.
It was only fitting for the 1999 season to end with a no-hitter, as Macellaro blanked Nonnewaug 3-0 in the final. Jason McIntyre, Federowicz, Sparks and Macellaro keyed a rally early, and Koutouvides was brought home by Mirante for another run that provided the final margin. When McIntyre made a diving catch for the final out, the 1999 Blue Devils had etched their names in school and state history.
The Plainville Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held October 22 at Hawk’s Landing in Southington. Tickets can be purchased at Modern Barber Shop and the Central Connecticut Dental Group (Dr. Rusty Camp).