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Belter, Fabiaschi, Cracker Barrel and great road trip.

POSTED August 27, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Torrington native Michael Fabiaschi takes infield practice before his team (the Vermont Lake Monsters) took on the Hudson Valley Renegades on Tuesday night in Wappingers Falls, New York. Fabiaschi has been swinging a hot bat over the last two weeks, including a gland slam on Sunday at home with his parents in attendance.

WAPPINGERS FALLS, NEW YORK: We remember them each from of their time on a field and a park that we spend a great deal of time working at.

Michael Fabiaschi and Brooks Belter. We watched them play in high school, on the collegiate level for teams that played in Torrington, Fabiaschi for the Torrington Twisters, Belter for the Torrington Titans.

We all celebrated when we heard they were each drafted by their respective organizations (Fabiaschi, the Oakland A’s, Belter, the Tampa Bay Rays) and on a great night in upstate New York, we got to see them both ply their trade on the hard road that is the minors leagues.

Belter plays for the Hudson Valley Renegades at Duchess Stadium, a tremendous place to watch a game and only about a half hour from where part of my family lives today and about 45 minutes from where I grew up.

The former Mountaineer star was drafted in the 25th round of the 2011 Amateur Entry Draft, the 780th overall pick.

To say he was thrilled would be an understatement.

“I was watching the draft to see if anyone I knew was going to be picked,” Belter said, “I was shocked when I heard my name called.”

The Renegades play in the McNamara Division of the New York Penn League and are currently 32-35 in the short season that last only another two weeks (September 4).

Belter has appeared in 13 games, starting one and has a 3-1 record in 28.2 innings pitched.

He has struck out 25 batters with a tidy 3.14 ERA. He has a save to his credit as well.

On the night colleague Rick Wilson and I took the road trip to NY, Belter worked two innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced in a perfect outing.

Truth be told, Mr. Wilson and I were long gone by the late innings, we had met with both players before the game.

In 2010, Belter was a member of the Torrington Titans of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League and was impressive, allowing just one earned run in 15 innings.

He posted a 1-0 record in nine games with a miniscule 0.60 ERA in 15 innings.

Belter struck out 22 while a Titan.

A hard throwing right hander who is loves to take the ball whenever asked, Belter hopes to get himself noticed in a league that seems to keep players in place the first year they have them.

“By knowing I am going to be here the full season,” Belter said, “It gives me a chance to work on my game and get to know the opposition.”

Seeing Fabiaschi brought back memories of his time at Fuessenich Park and on the basketball court at THS.

A member of the 2006 State Championship team at guard for then coach Tony Turina, Fabiaschi was a key player who could be counted on when the game was on the line.

Being a professional baseball player has long been a goal of Fabiaschi and while it’s not the most glamorous job at this level, he would not trade it for the world.

“I get to wake up every morning and play baseball,” Fabiaschi said, “I have worked hard to be as diverse a player as I can be.”

Giving his manager options with three different infield positions keeps the former Torrington Raider a valuable commodity in a sport that seems to have a lot of specialists.

I would be remiss if I did not thank the Renegades general manager, Rick Kubitscher, who made our stay a great one by opening his park to us.

First class all the way and we certainly appreciated the welcome.

Great place to go see a game in a comfortable environment that reminded you of the days before $500 dollar tickets and $20 dollar beers.
As my good friend Rick and I left the stadium and started back towards Connecticut, we stopped for the highlight of the day (aside from seeing Michael and Brooks), a trip to a Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Poughkeepsie.

Talk about a place I could eat every night!

An old fashioned set-up that included a walk through a shop my wife Deb would get lost in, led you to an open style seating area and some terrific food.

To top it off, the bill was less than $25 bucks for two guys who have the ability to eat.

Great road trip, great memories. The great Willie Nelson had it right with “On the Road Again”.

Just can't wait.




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