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Between The Lines 4/30/2013

POSTED April 30, 2013
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

Between The Lines 4/30/13

I got to attend the Torrington Hall of Fame induction banquet on Sunday evening and it was a chance to see a different side of the Red Raider program and I am glad I got the opportunity.

Anyone who follows sports in the Litchfield County area knows Torrington has not had the greatest year as far as off the field issues go. The football hazing incident seemed to be just dying down when an incident involving the alleged statutory rape of a pair of 13-year-old girls hit the news, and most of the attention seemed to focus on the fact that four young men involved in the case played on the 2012 Red Raiders football team.

Those cases have yet to fully shake out but their affect on the athletic program and the school has been felt by many and it hasn't been positive.

Torrington High School principal Joanne Creedon spoke during Sunday's banquet and alluded to the fact that "this year has certainly felt like we are in the trenches" during her opening remarks. One just hopes that once the incidents are resolved that the proper lessons are learned and that the school and athletic program is better for it.

On Sunday, aside from Creedon's brief reference, the controversy was far from everyone's mind and all that is right about Torrington High School sports, and local sports in general, was on full display.

The newest class of seven inductees entered the Hall of Fame with grace and dignity, humbled by the honor and proud of what they have accomplished. There was laughter, nostalgia and many thanks to the families, friends and coaches who helped them each along the way.

I was honored to meet and sit with Anthony "Whitey" Kunkiewicz, a member of the first Hall of Fame class in 1997. Whitey is one of the few living members of that class and still an avid sports fan today. I also got to sit with and finally meet coach Tony Turina, a member of the 2004 Hall of Fame class and a man regarded as one of the finest high school basketball coaches in the state in his day. We got to talk some hoops, youth sports, kids and grandkids and other things as well. I got the feeling part of coach Turina would like to be back on the bench but a bigger part is glad to be away from the pressures of coaching.

I started this week's Between the Lines with the Hall of Fame banquet because it was a good time and I wanted to share a little about it. But the main reason I did it is because the banquet couldn't have come at a better time for Torrington sports, which needed a boost and got it on a night that was all about everything that is right about THS athletics.

JASON COLLINS: I'll be brief here. I applaud Jason Collins and his bravery and courage to come out as an openly gay athlete in a major American sport. I hope he helps open the floodgates in that other athletes can feel comfortable with who they are and we can all put their sexuality aside and get back to sports.

It was a much-needed step and hopefully a step that will help move the culture toward more acceptance and tolerance of other people regardless of their choices regarding who they love or who they want to marry.

I was also disappointed that a media member, Chris Broussard of ESPN, would feel compelled to label Collins as a sinner. Broussard is entitled to his opinion and if homosexuality is not for him, then fine. But before anyone starts pounding on the Bible and crying out about the ruin of society in the name of the homosexual agenda consider this...If you believe in God, then you have to believe he MADE us all and he MADE us as we are, black, white, male, female, GAY or straight or anything in between, he MADE US ALL.

PERFECT PITCHING: Terryville High senior standout Jamie Bridge tossed a perfect game Monday against Wamogo in a Bershire League softball matchup. Bridge recorded 17 strikeouts and added a double at the plate as the Kangaroos remained near the top of the BL standings.

In other games Torrington's Sydney Matzko and Thomaston's Morgan Sanson each tossed no-hitters. Torrington improved to 14-0 with Monday's win over Derby in which Matzko lost a perfect game in the seventh when she hit a batter. She still struck out 19 and added two triples and three RBI. Sanson walked three in a no-hit performance over Housatonic Regional and helped the Bears remain atop the BL standings.

NEWS AND NOTES: The Litchfield girls and Lewis Mills boys tennis teams are your leaders at about the halfway point of the season. The cowgirls improved to 8-0 on Monday with a 6-1 triumph over the Mills girls. The Spartan boys are 9-0 after a 5-0 blanking of Litchfield. ... Former Torrington High star Conor Bierfeldt is finishing his baseball career at Western Connecticut State University with another stellar season. Bierfeldt leads the Colonials in batting average (.376), home runs (five) and RBI (41). He has walked 26 times with only 19 strikeouts and is 8-for-8 in stolen base attempts. ... The New York Jets are a joke and even with Tim Tebow gone their QB situation is a mess with Mark Sanchez completely shell-shocked and thin-skinned Geno Smith in for a rude awakening. And what did Tebow ever do to the Jets to deserve the treatment he got. They never utilized him properly last season despite trading for him and they release him after the draft and when all rosters are full, making it nearly impossible for him to find a new home right away. I'm an Eagles fan and care little about the Jets but I really hope Tebow goes somewhere where he can be a constant nemesis to the Jets. ... Pitcher Tyler Dierke, a member of the 2012 Torrington Titans, became the All-Time wins leader at Kenyon College with a win over Hiram on Saturday. Dierke improved to 5-3 on the season and recorded his 22nd career victory. Comments, questions to and on Twitter @nestorjdn.

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