New Canaan's Krieger preps for final season
As a senior, Thomas Krieger holds the unique distinction of pulling double duty as the captain of both the New Canaan hockey team and the New Canaan baseball team. And while it didn't come as a shock that he would be named as one of the hockey team captains (his brothers Peter and Andrew had preceded him as captains), Krieger was somewhat surprised when he discovered that he would also captain the baseball squad.
"For hockey, it was just a great feeling. Both my brothers were captains as seniors and being the last Krieger to have the `C' on my chest like my brothers did was a great feeling," Krieger said. "For baseball, Coach [Mitch] Hoffman named three kids captains at banquet and I was thrilled. I didn't know it was coming but with all the hard work that we had put in, I was absolutely thrilled, probably even more so for baseball."
Krieger and the rest of the New Canaan baseball team are coming off of a 7-13 regular season campaign in 2010, falling a single win shy of qualifying for the State tournament, and Krieger, along with many of his teammates, have stated that the team's top goals are to make it to the State and FCIAC tournaments.
His senior season on the diamond will be somewhat of an adjustment, however, as Krieger will have to adapt to concentrating solely on pitching. As a junior and sophomore, Krieger regularly shifted between the pitcher's mound and first base.
"It's definitely been an adjustment, that's for sure. It was tough getting reps at first base and then going over to do reps pitching," Krieger said. "Now, being just a pitcher, it's nice because I'll be pitching at college and it's given me a bigger focus on pitching."
New Canaan baseball coach Mitch Hoffman stated he wants Krieger to focus squarely on pitching and that the team's season could rest on how Krieger and the rest of New Canaan's pitching staff performs.
"We don't consider ourselves to have necessarily a No. 1 [pitcher]," Hoffman said. "Tommy is going to pitch in the second game each week. All three of our pitchers are a key to the team. If they pitch well, we will win more than we lose."
Krieger's pitching repertoire features a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a curveball and a changeup.
Krieger enjoyed tremendous success in the winter as one of the captains and top-line defensemen on the 25-1 hockey team, which won the FCIAC Championship.
After the Rams rallied to erase a 3-1 third period deficit in the FCIAC Championship game against St. Joseph, Krieger was instrumental in setting up David Crandall's game-winning overtime goal for a thrilling 4-3 victory.
"It's something that I'll surely never forget. I got the puck at point and it all happened so fast," Krieger said. "I threw it at the net low and David Crandall redirected it and scored 5-hole. To come back from 3-1 and be a small part of the game-winning goal is a memory that will last lifetime."
The Rams went on to win their first two games in the State tournament, before falling to the same St. Joseph squad by a 6-5 margin in the semi-finals. One of the toughest aspects of the loss, according to Krieger, was that they couldn't finish off their undefeated season for fellow senior Henry Corcoran, who was lost with a shoulder injury.
"It was very tough. At the end of the game, emotions were high knowing it was all over and knowing I'd never play hockey again. It definitely was tough for me and the other hockey captains," Krieger said. "We wanted to do it for Henry Corcoran. I've played with him for so long, since we were 8 years old. Seeing him go down was really hard. It hit hard knowing that we couldn't do it for Henry."
In addition to exceptional work on defense, Krieger also scored four goals and dished out seven assists in his senior season. And although Krieger has opted to play baseball for D-III Denison, Hickey believes that Krieger's size and versatility would have been a great combination for college hockey.
"There were definitely some schools that were interested in him," Hickey said. "Everybody looks for a big, mobile defenseman which is what he is, so I definitely thought he could have played at the next level."
Both of his coaches at New Canaan expressed nothing but confidence in Krieger's ability to handle the responsibilities of being a captain.
"The captains are voted on by the kids with some influence from the coaches," Hoffman said. "The kids did a great job with picking all three captains this year. Krieger is developing into the ultimate captain because he started at first base and this year he's not, but he's still being a leader and doing what's best for the team."
"We want someone who has respect of everyone on the team," Hickey said. "Tom is a leader which you can see through his interactions with other hockey players. He's just a good kid, and he has the team in his mind all the time."
The 2011 baseball campaign will represent Krieger's final season as a New Canaan Ram.
"It's definitely sad that it's coming to an end, but we just want to work hard every day and hopefully we can do well this season with this baseball team," Krieger said. "I'm looking at the positive side."