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Between The Lines 4/9/2013

POSTED April 09, 2013
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

Torrington pitcher Sydney Matzko struck out 15 and Sam Pelow hit a home run to lead the Red Raiders to a 3-2 victory over Holy Cross in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday afternoon.

Between The Lines

Between The Lines is back in its Tuesday spot and we'll be playing here all Spring. Rested and ready after a quick break following the winter seasons, here are a few things I have been watching and/or will be paying attention to over the coming weeks and months.

We'll start in Torrington where there has been enough bad news of late and let me first say I am not here to pile on. Whatever shakes out in the days ahead there are no winners here regarding the allegations of statutory rape and the legal proceedings ahead.

What the town does need is some good news and if you're a Red Raider fan or just a fan of local sports looking for a team to follow it looks like the Torrington High softball team is ready to pick up where the Thomaston girls basketball team left off.

Led by junior pitching phenom Sydney Matzko, the Red Raiders are off to a 4-0 start ahead of its NVL showdown with Seymour on Wednesday afternoon.

Considered one of the best players in the state, Matzko has been superb to start the season. She had 15 strikeouts in a season opening win over Holy Cross and followed that up with a no hitter against Kennedy that included 18 Ks. Matzko then struck out 17 in a 9-2 win over Lewis Mills, which will likely be in the hunt for the BL title and then fired a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts in a 17-0 blanking of Crosby.

If you are counting at home, that is 61 Ks in four games and Matzko figures to only get better as the weather warms up and she settles into the season.

Last season Torrington lost the NVL Final to Seymour and won a tournament game before bowing out to Brookfield. If the Red Raiders field the ball cleanly behind Matzko and have any semblance of an offense in big games, there's a great chance for this team to go far and provide the town and the school with a much-needed positive story.

THE MASTERS - The best week in golf is underway as The Masters is here and all eyes are on Augusta National for what is shaping up to be an exciting tournament.

For the first time in a few years Tiger Woods enters as a real favorite, with three wins on the PGA Tour already this season and six in the last year. Rory McIlroy looks to be regaining his form after a much talked about equipment switch and Phil Mickelson appears primed to contend for another green jacket.

I've been fortunate enough to cover four Masters and it's definitely a must-see event. If you are a golfer/golf fan it's a pilgrimage and if you are a sports fan. it's definitely something that should be on your bucket list.

As for Woods, I have been conflicted for the better part of two years but have come to terms with it. I have always rooted for Tiger in the name of seeing sports history in my lifetime. His pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' 18 major championships has been one of the major storylines in sports for years and he is one of the most dominant players in any sport most of us have seen. 

The off the course stuff has been well documented and is a shame, but is more and more in both Woods and the public's rear-view mirror. Winning might not take care of everything, despite what Woods and Nike would have us believe, but I'll be hoping Woods wins major No. 15 and resumes his hunt of the record. I chalk it up to rooting for the athlete and history, not the person.

QUEEN OF BRACKETOLOGY - Despite a terrific effort from Jack, Nancy is the winner of the 2013 Nestor Bracket Challenge and now Jack (6 years old) his twin sister Samantha and James (11) along with yours truly have kitchen duty as we have to make Nancy the dinner of her choice while she enjoys all the comforts of a fine restaurant, or at least one that would employ a pair of six year olds.

Jack had the most Final Four teams (Louisville, Syracuse) but had Ohio State going all the way. He almost hung on to his lead but Wichita State came up short in its upset bid of Louisville in the national semifinals and Nancy picked the Cardinals to cut down the nets and they did after a victory over Michigan on Monday night in Atlanta.

Why I don't take Nancy to Vegas for March Madness, I don't know, but I should. She has won at least three different work pools I have been in over the years and is back on top of the household after a one-year hiatus after James pulled the upset last year. I came in a distant third with no Final Four teams.

NEWS AND NOTES: Former Torrington Titan Michael Joseph is in extended Spring Training with the Orioles in Florida and expects to play Rookie League or Class A ball in June.

Joseph made a name for himself out of the Titans bullpen last season and drew interest from a number of Major League teams after a strong showing at the FCBL showcase that was held in Nashua before the All-Star game. ...


Northwestern should be one of the top baseball teams in the BL and picked up a nice out of conference win at Norwalk to open the season and pounded Wamogo to move to 2-0. The Highlanders have almost everyone back from last season's BL champs led by Connor Guiheen, Mike Jeffko and Jimi Phillips. ... Another former Titan, Torrington's Conor Bierfeldt is having a standout senior season for Western Connecticut State University. In 16 games this season Bierfeldt is hitting .360 with 18 RBI, two home runs, a pair of triples and six doubles.


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