Of Raider 5K Runs, Titans and the future....A column by Tim Gaffney
TORRINGTON: It was the kind of day I could and will get used to in the very near future.
A day filled with local sports from a couple of different angle and venues that remind me why we love doing what we do.
The Second Annual Raider 5K Run was first on the docket.
While I was working early at being sure everyone had enough chips for a great weekend that came seven days too late, my wife Deb was already hard at work, arriving at Torrington High School by nine to hand out flyers letting runners and spectators alike know where to go for the pictures and video of this tremendous event.
I am very fortunate to have such a partner for life as I do with Deb. She has watched, listened and supported this dream of writing fulltime since it got into this Irish brain a few years back.
She understands the passion and supports the mission and I can’t ever thank her enough.
When I worked my way up from a blistering hot Waterbury at about 10, I found no relieve in the Northwest Corner. I was a scorcher and wasn’t going to better any time soon but that didn’t stop our friends, Mario Longobucco or Paul O’Heron from doing what they worked so hard to create.
An event that showcases the best of Torrington doing what they do best. They give back, they volunteer no matter what the weather.
Think about the extremes between this year’s event and the first year.
A year ago, monsoon rains hit the area the entire rain. I mean, where is Noah and that blasted ark kind of rain. Two of everything stuff.
So from that to 95 degrees without much of a hint of quality air.
That though, was not enough to stop a crowd of past, present or futures Raiders from showing up and taking part in an event run by the Torrington Alumni Club, a service organization that has been granting scholarships to Torrington High School students for nearly seven decades.
The usual suspects were in the mix. Tony Turina, Paul Denza, Mike Fritch Sr., Mike Fritch Jr, Chris Fritch, RJ and dozens more volunteers made sure the runners had what they needed, didn’t get lost on the course and all made it back safely.
A barbeque ensued and with no need to light the grill because of the searing heat, energy was saved and burgers, dogs and salads flowed.
A first class job done by some first class folks.
Friday and Saturday were strong days for the High School which had been in the news for a good while for the wrong reasons.
On Friday morning, over 400 students took part in a morning of fundraisers that raised over $12,000 for three different organizations in the city.
That was a tremendous job and represented what the heart and soul of Torrington High School is all about.
I’ve always said it. Bad news sells papers and spreads like wildfire on a hot day.
You have to dig a little deeper to find the good news and when you do, it means so much more.
Couple Friday with Saturday and you have a 48-hour period that paints a better picture of the young people around here who will be great leaders in the future.
Part three of my day started with my second shower of the morning to help me get ready for an afternoon at Fuessenich Park.
The Torrington Titans held their first practice at the great ball park with opening day just around the corner on Wednesday when they take on the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs at 7:05 p.m.
Most of the players arrived from all over the country late in the week ad are now settling in with their new host families, a house in Thomaston for some (very near GM Ed Gadomski’s) or heading back to their own rooms in their own houses.
There is not a lot of time to evaluate the talent assembled on the field in four days but each summer, wood bat leagues all over the Northeast and beyond do just that.
Deciding on who plays where, who starts, who sits, who comes out of the bullpen and who gets the ball every five days are things that need to be figured out fast.
Manager Misha Dworken, a former minor league catcher himself and assistant Bobby Chatfield do a great job of listening to the players as they describe what they have done in the past and what they feel their strengths are.
Summer ball is important to these players as a way to get themselves noticed by scouts who pop in and out of the parks they play at all summer.
It’s the ultimate job interview for a job with a pretty payoff if you can cut it but it all starts with long bus rides, longer days and every type of weather one could imagine and New England will surely deliver.
Getting to know who the players are is the first real challenge for anyone and at this time of the year, it’s the toughest.
Thank goodness for some returning players like Patrick Austin (A Torrington native, P-38 and HS star). Kyle Decker, Rhett Jones and a few players I could recognize from their pictures on their college sports sites.
From the early look, seems like the Titans have some players with some pop (the Naugatuck River ate a few balls during BP) and some live arms as well.
After about two hours in the afternoon sun, I had seen enough and headed home to see if we had any towels left for my third shower of the day.
A quick update on what was going on next week in the CIAC State Tournament and the ball was rolling again.
Lots of action coming up this week with Thomaston/Terryville III in girls softball on Tuesday night in either Stratford of El Paso, either way it’s a haul. Also, either way, another BL team makes a State final.
The Northwestern baseball team will try to make it to the finals in Class M and they play in New Britain on Tuesday night as well against NVL foe, Holy Cross.
Oh yeah, the seven days of previews for the Litchfield Hills Road Race started today and run right through the race and there is radio copy to do for WZBG Monday morning as we sponsor the 7:15 sports.
I love this job!!!!