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Seven to be inducted into Torrington Hall of Fame on Sunday.

POSTED April 23, 2016
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: As usual, this year’s Torrington Hall of Fame Inductees represent some of the best Torrington has even had to offer.

The dinner is one that if you are lucky enough to be invited, that you never want to miss.

Its part family reunion, part class reunion and it never disappoints.

Here’s a look at the bios of the seven joining this prestigious group.

Herb Lehmann III

Herb Lehmann III was the best left-handed pitcher in the past forty-five years. A 1990 graduate of Torrington High School, he was a three –year varsity letterman in baseball. During his junior year, Herb had an 8 and 3 record with two saves. He pitched 65 innings with 64 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.74. He followed this up with a successful senior year with a 9 and 3 record with 2 saves. During his senior year he pitched 92 innings with 80 strikeouts and a 3.09 ERA. Herb was a two time ALL-NVL selection as well as serving as team captain. His 17 career wins is the most of any lefty in the history of Torrington High School.

After graduating from THS, Herb attended UCONN at Avery Point. He immediately made his name for himself by pitching a no-hitter versus Becker College in 1991. He became one of only 23 pitchers to toss a no-hitter in the 46 year history of Avery Point baseball. During his two-year career, he pitched 110 innings with 60 strikeouts and had a 10 and 6 record.

Herb currently lives in Walton, Kentucky with his wife Alyssa and their ten children (6 boys and 4 girls).

Joseph Rinaldi

Joe Rinaldi played four sports in his tenure at Torrington High School. He was a member of the track team (one letter), a member of the baseball team (two letters), served as captain of the swim team (four years, four letters), and served as co-captain of the football team. As a member of this team, he was named All-NVL twice in 1965 and 1966 and named All-State in 1966. He is the only athlete to win the 29 Club Award twice in 1965 and 1966.

Joe received his associate’s degree from Shoreline Community College where he earned a scholarship to play football for two years. He then attended the University of Washington and earned his BA Degree in education. At this school, he was the captain of the Olympic Weightlifting team and broke the longstanding press record. In the summer of 1969, he attended the Olympic training facility in York, PA, with the late Lenny Rendino (THS Athletic Hall of Fame, 2001). He went on to attend Pacific Lutheran University and received a MA in Social Science.

Joe played semi-pro football from 1971 to 1973 with the Kirkland Bulldogs and served as co-captain of the team. He served as a coach of a junior football league for many years and was the coach of the Ballard High School offensive line from 2000-2001.

Professionally, Joe worked for thirty years as a parole and probation supervisor. After retiring in 2001, he worked ten years for the Catholic Church as a Youth Minister taking youth on Mission trips doing habitat work in the State of Mississippi as well as the country of Ecuador. Joe is involved with competitive trap shooting and was also recently elected President of the Kenmore Gun Club. Joe resides in Seattle, Washington.

Patricia Fairchild

Pat is being inducted into the Torrington High School Athletic Hall of Fame for her community support of THS Athletics. Pat has been a member of the Torrington Booster Club since its inception in 1991 where it went from a group of thirty individuals to its present day of five strongly motivated women who have no children in Torrington High School. Over the years the Booster Club has generated thousands of dollars for athletic equipment, uniforms, banners, lights for the gym, chairs for the athletes, and an ice machine, just to name a few of the contributions which have benefitted not only the THS Sports program, but the entire school as well. Pat has taken great pride in being part of this group.

She is a founding member of the Torrington High School Athletic Hall of Fame which today is celebrating its twentieth anniversary.

Pat serves her community as Chairman of the Torrington Parks and Recreation Commission, is an active organizer of the Food and Bake Sale for the St. Jude Telethon, and is a member of two women’s service groups: Beta Sigma Phi and Altrusa International of Litchfield County, serving in various offices.

Active in St. Peter’s Church, she serves as one of its trustees, is a Eucharistic Minister, a member of the decorating committee, as well as the Parish Council and Finance Committee. She is a past recipient of the Archdiocese’s St. Joseph’s Medal for volunteerism.

Pat is a graduate of THS, class of 1968. She received her BS and MS Degrees in Education from Central Connecticut State University. Pat retired from the Torrington School System after 34 years of teaching. She resides in Torrington with her husband, Bill, is the mother of two children, Bill and Kerry, and is a proud grandmother to four grandchildren, Brett, Gavin, Noah, and Kensleigh.

Michael Fabiaschi

Born in Torrington, CT in 1988 to Julie and John Fabiaschi, Mike attended East School and Torrington Middle School. A 2006 graduate of THS, Michael was a four-year starter on both the varsity basketball and baseball teams. In basketball, his teams had a 4-year record of 75-24 including 23 wins which tied his grandfather’s 1948 team for most wins ever by a THS basketball team. The 2005 team finished with a 20-6 record and reached the state semi-finals. Michael was named to the ALL-NVL team (Crosby had the other four first team All-NVL players). He averaged 17 points and 8 assists per game. The 2006 team has a final record of 23-5, and was the first THS basketball team since 1944 to win a State Championship. Michael was named to the ALL-NVL team and ALL-State team while averaging 20 points per game and 7 assists per game. He scored total of 1,296 points in his career, and holds the following records for 3 point FGs: 9 in a single game (tied with others), 88 in a season, and 202 in his career.

In baseball, his teams accumulated a record of 63-31 and reached the semi-finals of Class L in 2004. He was named ALL-NVL in 2004, 2005, and 2006 and was named the NVL Outstanding Player in 2006. He was named All-State in 2004, 2005, and 2006. He and his teammate, SS Alan Fredriksson combined to form the top middle infield in the state. Their 2005 Torrington American Legion team went to the state championship game.

Following his graduation from THS, Michael accepted a baseball scholarship to James Madison University in Virginia. He played four years at JMU where his teams won a CAA regular season title, CAA tournament title, and earned an NCAA tournament appearance. In 2009 he was selected to the ALL-CAA team as second baseman and that summer was an ALL-Star in the NECBL. Michael was captain of both the 2009 and 2010 JMU teams. In 2010 he was named the JMU Scholar Athlete of the Year and the CAA Scholar Athlete of the Year. During his senior year he was one of thirty players nationwide nominated for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award. He graduated with honors from JMU in 2010 with a business degree.

In June of 2010, Michael was drafted in the 38th round by the Oakland A’s. He spent four seasons playing professionally across the country with teams in Vancouver, Canada; Phoenix, AZ; Burlington, VT; Burlington, IA; Stockton, CA; and Midland, TX. During his minor league career he faced and hit off of big leaguers, Barry Zito, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Roy Oswalt. He retired from baseball in 2013 at the AA level. Michael resides in Torrington and works for COCC in Southington, CT. He is engaged to be married this summer to Aly Laigle. Michael has a sister, Meredith, brother-in-law John, nephew, Jack, a sister, Emily, and a brother, Matthew.

Gino Fabiaschi

Born in Torrington in 1931 to immigrant Italian parents, Gino grew up on Riverside Ave, and attended Migeon Ave. School. The youngest of six children, he loved and played all sports growing up, At THS he played baseball and basketball for legendary coach, Connie Donahue.

It was on the hardwood that Gino made his mark at THS. Known as an outstanding rebounder and great defender, he could also score in the paint. He was a starting forward on the 1948 team that was 23-3 (school record for wins) that won the NVL championship by going undefeated in the NVL and lost in the State Championship game to Hillhouse. This team went on to play in the 1948 New England Interscholastic Tournament at the Boston Garden playing in front of crowds of over 9,000 people. In 1949, Gino was a co-captain and starting forward as the Raiders again won the NVL going undefeated in the valley and finished with a final overall record of 16-3. He was named first team ALL-NVL and 2nd team ALL-State. In 2001 Gino was voted to the THS Basketball All-Century Team.

Following his graduation from THS, he attended Marianapolis Prep on a basketball scholarship and later served honorably in the United States Marine Corps. In 1954, Gino married Betty Fabiaschi of Torrington and they raised their family, a daughter (Marianne) and four sons (Michael, James, Peter, John) on New Litchfield St. in Torrington. He was a long-time member and volunteer with the Varsity Alumni Club and coached for many years in the league. Gino started his own business, Rite Way Cleaning, and ran it for many decades before retiring. Following the death of his wife in 1991, he married his current wife, Jane, and together they continue to reside on New Litchfield St. Gino has 14 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. He enjoys watching his favorite team, the New York Yankees and UCONN Huskies, and continues his life-long love of playing golf.

Michael Conway

Paul Bentley, in his nomination of Mike Conway, describes him using a line from Shakespeare’s, “As You Like It”. “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.”

It’s the summation of all these parts that makes Mike Conway an inductee into the Torrington High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

While attending THS, Mike was president of his class, sports editor of the student newspaper and vice president of the Spanish Club and Student Advisory Board. After college, following in his father’s, Tracy Conway, footsteps, he taught English at THS for twelve years. Politically, he served on the City Council for four years and then succeeded in becoming Mayor of Torrington for a six year term. One of his proudest accomplishments was the construction of the Vietnam Memorial in Coe Memorial Park, which was financed and constructed during his term.

After running the city for six years, Mike busied himself in a variety of jobs. He was a realtor with Mettling Real Estate, ran the old 6th District Census Office, did some siding, and worked on computers at Education Connection. Working at the Connecticut Junior Republic, he served as Assistant Director of Education for 15 years.

“Having a great face for radio,” Mike broadcast games for Laurel Cablevision, starting with the annual THS-Watertown football game with Bob Bayette and Mike Bakunis. Later they added the Gilbert-Region 1 game. Mike usually covered one game a week during the winter.

In 1992, He joined Bob Magdziarz and Marty Brennan on Laurel Cable’s Q&A which was a trivia quiz show. He hosted this show for six years.

Quoting Paul Bentley, “Specific sports moments come easily to him and along with his natural eloquence have made Mike Conway the ideal Master of Ceremonies for the Torrington High School Athletic Hall of Fame.” He has served as MC for18 of the twenty years of the Hall’s existence, missing one year because of illness. Mike has also served on the Dick’s Scholarship Committee for just about 30 years.

RJ Poniatoski

RJ has been a dedicated supporter of THS athletics for over 40 years. His tireless effort on behalf of the Torrington and THS athletic communities is matched by very few.

RJ served as President of the Dick’s Restaurant Scholarship fund which has benefitted countless students both in athletics and academics and also manages the John Ponte Memorial Scholarship. He is currently the head coach of the Torrington P38’s American Legion Baseball team.

He is the advisor to the Torrington Varsity Club as well as the advisor to the THS Unified Sports program. In 2010, he started a bowling club at THS and each year, his teams regularly participate in the CIAC State Tournament. He is the “Voice of the Raiders” announcing varsity football, boys’ soccer, and girls’ soccer home games. He serves as site director and security at various THS sporting events and offers overall support to the Athletic Director and various THS coaches.

RJ has umpired high school baseball games for 39 years and, in addition, assigns umpires for the CT Baseball Association, Torrington Board. He has been refereeing high school basketball games for 26 years and also directs the referees for the Torrington Young Men’s League.

RJ is a 1977 graduate of Torrington High School and lives in Torrington with his wife, Linda. He is also the proud father of THS graduates, daughter, Lauren Reichert and son, Kevin.


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