Ramblings from the desk of Mr. Gaff. Spring sports and the NY Mets.
TORRINGTON — They are a collection of players who bring with them a mixture of sports experiences, different levels of winning but a chemistry that seems to be moving in the correct direction.
We’re talking about the Torrington High baseball team, a squad that is off to a NVL best 5-0 mark entering play this week.
It’s a team that has scored 39 runs in its first three home games after starting the season 0-3 a year ago en route to a 15-5 final mark, one built on winning 13 of the final 14 down the stretch.
Torrington lost a good deal of talent (Shane Bierfeldt, Stanley Rijo, Mitch Zagrodnik, to name a few) to graduation but has brought and taken in a nice mix of veterans and youngsters, all of whom are contributing.
There’s the soccer goalie from a team that had a tremendous fall campaign, Nate Manchester who is holding down the leadoff spot and setting the table along with Jason Vinisko, who was a leader on the boys basketball team this winter.
The number three hitter is one who is diving into baseball with all he has, sophomore Dom Sabia, who terrorized Seymour pitching last week to the tune of a 5-for-5 day that included nine RBI and four runs scored.
One of those hits was a majestic grand slam that may still be climbing for a player who is working hard to be some kind of special baseball player.
“He really is,” said THS coach Pat Richardson. “He works at it. He just doesn’t show up in the spring and say ‘hey, let’s see what happens this year’, he’s working all winter and all fall on his game.”
In case teams have the grand idea of pitching around Sabia, they run directly into a football lineman who has honed his baseball skills at the plate and at first base in Ben Bonvicini.
During a 12-8 win over Holy Cross, Bonvicini laced doubles in both the first and second innings, driving in three runs as part of his 3-for-3 day at the plate.
“They’re not missing many pitches,” Richardson said, “And they’re making it count. They’re making adjustments at the plate and the thing I’m liking and seeing is that they’re hitting to all fields too.”
When older brother Stanley was on the diamond a year ago, younger brother Manny was in the shadows of his talented older sibling but in 2015, a mature and aggressive Rijo has emerged in the five spot.
“They’re thinking the right way,” Richardson said. “They’re coming up big with people on base so I’ve got guys in the lineup that are setting the table for them too. Without those guys, there’s not that many runs up there. Right now, up and down the lineup, we’re really doing things to help ourselves.”
…The Torrington High softball team is off to a 2-1 start in the post-Sydney Matzko era and its new ace, Ali DuBois, is settling in nicely on a team that has become accustomed to dominant pitching.
In the Raiders opening day 5-1 win over rival Holy Cross in Waterbury, the sophomore hurler needed a little time to settle in.
“I got really nervous during the Holy Cross game,” DuBois said, “In the first couple of innings I was just a mess and so nervous but everyone picked me up.”
Her teammates did indeed pick her up and although they dropped a 3-0 decision to perennial foe Seymour in game two, the bats woke up in a 20-0 five inning win over Kennedy in their home opener.
DuBois has grown from each of her first three outings, according to her coach.
“She’s working on a couple of pitches,” Maryanne Musselman said, “Since the first game until now, she has already tightened up her game.”
THE NEW YORK METS:Who are these guys and what have they done with my team that lives to dissapoint?
Don't look now but the have won nine in a row and hold an 11-3 record.