Tag Archives: Ben Casparius

Roundup: Ben Casparius, Cosmos, Wienermobile …


Ben Casparius is one step closer to Major League Baseball.

The former Staples High School star was chosen in the 5th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in yesterday’s draft. He was #162 overall.

The pitcher recently completed his senior season at the University of Connecticut. He was 8-5, with a 4.03 ERA, and a team-leading 15 starts. He struck out 15 Georgetown players in 7 innings, a career high.

According to SB Nation:

Casparius led the Huskies in innings (91 2/3), as well as strikeouts (127), which translates to 12.5 strikeouts per 9 innings. His strikeout mark is second in UConn history…. This was enough to earn Casparius ABCA First-Team honors for the Northeast region, as well as second-team all-conference honors and a spot on the Big East all-tournament team.

Casparius’ best pitch is his change-up, which MLBPipeline graded a 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale, which translates to above-average. His fastball, slider and control were each given 50 grades, which is average. His fastball sits around 91 mph but he has been recorded as high as 95 mph. He projects as a strike-thrower with a solid three-pitch mix. This, despite his slight 6-foot, 208-pound build, leaves him a chance to start through his professional career.

The “recommended signing bonus” for Casparius is $318,200. (Click here for the full SB Nation story. Hat tip: David Goldstein) 

Ben Casparius, in a post-game interview.


Looking to improve your photos of the cosmos?

The Westport Astronomical Society’s next free virtual lecture features Adam Block. He’s one of the world’s (universe’s?) leading astrophotographers.

Mark your calendars (sundials?) for July 20 (8 p.m.). Click here for the Zoom link. Click here for the YouTube stream.


Longtime Westporter Leonard Kritzer died Sunday in Boca Raton, Florida. He was 97 years old.

In 2012 — nearly 70 years after he helped liberate France from Nazi occupation — he was named by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to that nation’s elite Legion of Honor. The group was founded in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte.

A group of 20 World War II veterans received an insignia from the French Consulate in Boynton Beach, Florida. Their Knight honor was the highest of the Legion’s 5 degrees.

Kritzer spent 50 years in Westport, as a merchant and home builder. He and his wife Lea moved here from Long Island in 1954 to open Country Casuals, a women’s sportswear and country attire shop in Compo Shopping Center. He later founded Kritzer Development Corporation, and built 50 homes in Westport and Weston.

Kritzer was a 19-year-old student (and 6-4 basketball player) at Brooklyn College when he was drafted into the Army, in 1944.

He landed at Utah Beach a month after D-Day. A veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and 3 other engagements, he spent most of his time at the front. His unit calculated the distance to enemy artillery based on the sounds of big guns.

After France was liberated, Kritzer’s unit moved into Germany. They remained there as an occupying force, after surrender. He was discharged in 1946.

He retired 2 decades ago to Florida, with his wife Lea. He was an avid tennis player there.

Kritzer is survived by his wife Lea; son Harry; daughter Lizzz; granddaughters Lauren Hammarstedt and Erin Spillman; great-grandsons Sagan and Julien Spillman, and great-granddaughter Hariet Spillman.

Services will be held in Florida.

Leonard Kritzer


Jon Olefson spotted this strange sight yesterday, on the top level of the Wilton Road parking garage opposite National Hall, OKO and Bartaco:

(Photo/Jon Olefson)

If it’s a tire theft, that’s pretty obnoxious (and bold). If it’s something else, click “Comments” and let us all know.


Speaking of parking: There are a few parking spots on the east side of Hillspoint Road, in front of the old Positano’s restaurant.

Savvy out-of-towners used to park there, then walk to Compo Beach. Now they’re reserved for beach sticker vehicles only.

Occasionally, someone parks just south of the permitted spots. Westport Police are quick to ticket them.

I’ve never seen anyone park quite so illegally as this, though. This was a couple of hundred yards south of the zone — closer to Schlaet’s Point than Old Mill.

And please, do not comment that “it may have been a medical emergency.” Unless the emergency was a complete stoppage of the driver’s brain.


Also spotted parked in Westport: the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Drivers heading past the Exit 18 commuter parking lot on the Sherwood Island Connector relished this view yesterday.

(Photo/Matt Murray)


Wendy Levy is a clinical forensic psychologist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.

In her spare time though, she takes beautiful photos. Like this one — today’s “Westport … Naturally” selection.

(Photo/Wendy Levy)


And finally … on this day in 1985, the Live Aid benefit concert for famine relief took place in London and Philadelphia. Concerts inspired by the event were held in the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, Yugoslavia, Austria, Australia and West Germany.

An audience of about 1.9 billion, in 150 nations, watched the live broadcast — nearly 40 percent of the world population.

Roundup: Book Sale, Fine Arts Festival, Ben Casparius …


Has the dreary weather got you down?

Think back to a year ago this Memorial Day weekend. Life was a lot worse. So go out and enjoy Westport’s 2 big events. They’re great. Many people have worked hard to make them happen. And they’re important to the sponsors.

The 48th annual Fine Arts Festival runs from now through 5 p.m. Artists on displya includes painting, photography, sculpture, fiber, printmaking, mixed media, glass, ceramics, jewelry, wood, graphics and print making.

There’s music, food, and plenty of activities for children. Click here for more details.

Today is also the last day of the Westport Library Book Sale — which means all books, CDs and DVDs are half price.

Every customer gets a coupon for The Westport Book Shop (used book store on Jesup Green). The sale is open from noon to 5 p.m. And you’ll be dry: It’s all inside the library!

Westport LIbrary Book Sale


The University of Connecticut baseball team plays in this afternoons Big East finals (1 p.m.).

Yesterday, Ben Casparius got them there.

The 2017 Staples High School state championship team captain and Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year pitched 7 innings great innings against Creighton. The Huskies won 2-0 in the conference semifinal, played in Mason, Ohio.

Casparius struck out 13, while allowing just 3 hits. After the game he said, “it was an awesome experience, an awesome day for us, and we’re ready to go [Sunday]. We’re not even close to done yet.” (Hat tip: David Goldstein)

Ben Casparius, in a post-game interview yesterday.


Speaking of Staples grads: Class of 2012 alum Ellen Kempner leads Palehound, an indie rock duo. She met Melinda (who records as Jay Som) on tour

They realized they’re compatible — “two breathy-voiced songwriters whose music can be fragile or bruising, offering both vulnerability and resolve,” the New York Times‘ Jon Pareles writes — and joined forces.

In January 2020 they rented an Airbnb house for two weeks, and recorded an album. They called themselves Bachelor.

It’s been released as “Doomin’ Sun.” Pareles says:

Kempner and Duterte brought out the best in each other. In the songs they wrote together, satisfaction often stays just out of reach. They look at desire, estrangement, insecurity, pop fandom, shoplifting and, in the album’s title song, climate change. And they sing like sisters who know each other’s secrets.

Click here for the full Times story. (Hat tip: John Karrel)


Up on Weston’s Kellogg Hill, Jolantha celebrates Memorial Day:

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)


On Friday night, MoCA Westport welcomed the Alexa Tarantino Quartet. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist performed a great set — including the Connectcut premiere of their “Firefly” album. Attendees enjoyed a Firefly aperitif too.

Next up in the Music at MoCA Series: Jocelyn and Chris, a sibling rock duo seen recently on “The Today Show.” They perform outdoors on June 11 (7 p.m.). Click here for tickets.

Alexa Tarantino Quartet, at MoCA Westport.


Tina Green sent along today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, of a newly hatched peregrine falcon. She notes that the birds been nesting in the Saugatuck area for many years.

(Photo/Tina Green)


And finally … in honor of Westport’s Fine Arts Festival:


Ben Casparius Starts In College World Series

It’s been a full day of sports here on “06880.”

This morning I reported that Cameron Wilson — son of 1975 Staples High School grad Dave Wilson — earned a coveted spot at the US Open golf tournament, this weekend on Long Island.

Then I posted a story on Rebecca Russo, who showed off her National Women’s Hockey League Isobal Cup yesterday at Saugatuck Elementary and Bedford Middle Schools.

Ben Casparius

And right now on ESPN you can watch Ben Casparius try to help the University of North Carolina win the College World Series. The Tar Heels are playing Oregon State University in the first game of the double-elimination event in Omaha.

Casparius was a 4-year star for Staples, leading the Wreckers to the 2017 state championship. He was Connecticut’s Gatorade Player of the Year, among other honors, and graduated as the state’s all-time hits leader.

Though just a freshman, he’s in the lineup as UNC’s designated hitter.

That’s quite a day.

Meanwhile, if you’re in Russia for the World Cup, please send us a report.

We want to cover all the bases.

(Hat tip: David Goldstein)

Staples Baseball Earns State Championship — And A Spot In History

Over the past 4 years, Amity High School achieved legendary status in Connecticut high school baseball. The Woodbridge school won 4 consecutive state championships — including an 8-1 drubbing of Staples in the 2015 title game.

That squad included several players from Westport’s storied 2013 Little League all-star team.

It took them 2 years, but today the Wreckers wreaked revenge.

A 2-run home run by Chad Knight — the Staples pitcher, and a mainstay of that Little League squad — staked the 11th-ranked Westporters to a 5-1 victory.

The game — at Middletown’s Parker Field — snapped the 1st-seeded Spartans’ spectacular streak of 24 straight state tournament wins. In denying Amity a 5th straight crown, Staples won their own 1st baseball state title since 2001.

(Graphic courtesy of @StaplesSports Instagram and Twitter)

Knight — just a sophomore — has already committed to Duke University. Senior Ben Casparius has had his own tremendous year. The University of North Carolina commit was named Gatorade Connecticut Baseball Player of the Year.

Congratulations to head coach Jack McFarland, his staff, and especially all the state champion Wreckers.

This season has truly been a ball.