With seven starters back from the 2004 team that reached the state semi-finals, there was reason for optimism as the 2005 baseball season began. The Raiders had unfinished business. Their pitching staff was experienced and talented; senior Mike Quagliaroli and juniors Chad Giannuzzi and Nick Michaud led the way and the Raiders finished the regular season tied with Canton as conference champions. The league play-offs were rained out but the team was ranked fifth in the state tournament seeding drawing a first round bye.
The team’s first opponent in the tournament was Wamogo. The Raiders led 1-0 after 4 innings but Wamogo scored three in the top of the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. In the bottom of the inning Tim Quagliaroli started a rally with a one out triple. Andy Wells singled him in. The Raiders then loaded the bases, One run scored on a catcher’s interference call. Nick Roy then singled in 2 runs giving the Raiders a 5-3 lead. Mike Quagliaroli struck out the side as the Raiders won 5-3. Quagliaroli had 13 strike outs.
Next up was the number four seed, perennial powerhouse St. Bernards. The Raiders trailed 1-0 after 2 innings. Like the previous game, the Raiders rallied to score four runs in the third inning. Jordan English had a big 2 run double, the third run scored on an error. Tim Quagliaroli then had an RBI with a sacrifice fly. .St Bernards scored a run in the bottom of the third and the Raiders still led 4-2.In the sixth but failed to score on a delayed steal. Nevertheless Chad Giannuzzi struck out the last 2 batters in the seventh to seal the win. Giannuzzi struck out seven in the game,
The Raiders bats came alive in the next round as they defeated 9th ranked Old Lyme 12-6 at Palmer Field in Middletown. Jordan English led the offense going 4-4 with 2 triples and 3 RBIs .The Raiders scored eight runs in the second then four in the third to take a commanding lead. In the second Nick Roy got first RBI on a fielder’s choice. Nick Michaud got another followed by Chad Giannuzzi’s two run double. Craig Kulas then singled in two runs, Jordan English tripled in another and Rob Boscarino knocked in the last of the eight runs. In the third Mike Quagliaroli had an RBI and Jordan English knocked in 2 with a triple. Mike Quagliaroli carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before he was relieved by Nick Michaud who finished the game.
The finals at Yale Field in New Haven matched the Raiders against league rival Canton. During the regular season the teams had split the two games they played and now faced the rubber game with the state title on the line. The game was loaded with drama. Canton scored a run in the second and two in the fourth before starter Chad Giannuzzi was relieved by Mike Quagliaroli. The Raiders got two in the fifth on Craig Kulas’ two run double. In the sixth Rob Boscarino sacrificed Jordan English to second and Nick Roy singled him in to tie the game. Canton threatened to score three more times in the game; in the seventh the Canton batter hit an apparent sacrifice fly but the runner failed to tag up from third. In the eighth, Andy Wells made a basket catch in deep left center to keep the potential winning run from scoring. Wells came up big again in the top of the tenth throwing out the lead runner. The Raiders offense struggled in to the twelfth inning when Chad Giannuzzi picked up a two out walk. Giannuzzi appeared to be picked off trying to steal but he out ran the ball and was safe at second. Mike Quagliaroli, who had pitched eight and a third scoreless innings in the game and struck out eleven, knocked in the winning run with a double into the left field corner and the Raiders had their first baseball championship since 1966. Bedlam erupted as team greeted Giannuzzi, and Quagliaroli at home plate. It was Quagliaroli’s ninth win of the season and third win in the state tournament.