Mike Vacca wins number 500 as Ansonia beats Torrington, 10-3 in baseball action.
TORRINGTON: Let’s go back 40-years and take a look at some of the significant happenings of that time.
The Bee Gee’s had just released the sound track for the movie “Saturday Night Fever”, starring John Travolta while the first All-In-One computer called the Commodore PET was launched as the early days of technology got started.
Apple was incorporated while Jimmy Carter was sworn in as the nation’s 39th President while the Oakland Raiders won the Super Bowl over the Minnesota Vikings.
The New York Yankees would win the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers by a 4-2 margin and that fall, a coach from the Valley in Connecticut took a job as the head coach of a high school team named Ansonia.
Mike Vacca began his tenure with the Chargers that has now spanned four decades that season and has been at the helm ever since.
On Monday, he celebrated a milestone by winning his 500-career game in a 10-3 win over Torrington behind the hitting and pitching of senior Bryson Cafaro.
Cafaro, who is going on to play baseball at Fairfield University this fall, limited the Raiders to the three runs on five hits while striking out nine.
For good measure, the tall lefty, who was also the Chargers quarterback and led them to their 20th State Championship in December of 2016, slammed a monster home run leading off the game to get his team rolling in an eventual six-run frame.
As is his way, the head coach didn’t want to talk much about his record, instead crediting others who assisted along the way.
“It’s all about the players,” Vacca said. “We have had a long line of hard working players and assistant coaches.”
In a season that has not seen an awful lot of success on the diamond (4-10), the one bright spot for Ansonia has been their ace, Cafaro.
“He’s a quality pitcher,” Vacca said. “He’s going to play for Fairfield University on a baseball scholarship. He’s an outstanding first baseman and he’s a great hitter, so I don’t know what there are going to do with him.”
Cafaro gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the second and another in the bottom of the sixth but was in control throughout, striking out the side in the second around the two runs.
Third baseman Cody Teodosio slammed a solo home run in the Chargers second after doubling and scoring in the six-run first.
Cafaro spoke of what it has been like playing for a legendary coach during his high school career.
“Coach Vacca is a great coach,” Cafaro said. “He’s been here a long time. He coached my father, actually. We have practice every day, six days a week. We come out and try and do our best for him. It was great for him to get that 500th win.”
For the Raiders, it’s been one of those years and might well continue being one of those years, but the players are still invested.
“They are staying up,” head coach Pat Richardson said. “It’s one thing we noticed yesterday and all year at practice. They are building on their successes. They’re not letting this get them down, they know what the situation is and they have accepted it in a sense that they know they can get better and win any game if they play right.”
It’s all about the youth movement at this point in the campaign for Torrington.
It’s about taking a look at who might be in position to make a greater impact next season.
Freshman Kyle Banche had another solid outing in relief, throwing five and a third innings of three run, seven hit ball.
Sophomore Michael Paniati had a long double to deep center and scored a run in the sixth while fellow tenth grader CJ Root drove in Paniati with an RBI single.
Cam Cerruto continues to eliminate runners on the base paths who challenge his arm, gunning down another runner at second while becoming more and more of a field general.
Torrington falls to 3-10 while the Chargers improve to 4-10 for a coach who remembers coaching without any cell phones going off in the dugout and may just remember some of those Travolta dance moves.