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The spring season gets underway. A look around.

POSTED April 11, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: Hard to believe that another spring may finally be here!

Locals took to their respective “Field of Dreams” on Wednesday, looking for a formula that will help take them to the promise land of a state title in the high school season’s shortest season.

I stopped down at Fuessenich Park in Torrington to check out the Raiders baseball team as they took on the St Paul Falcons.

Early season, 40 degree hardball, nothing better to jar open the nerves in a players hands as they take one off the fists on day one.

There was plenty, and I mean plenty of hitting going on at the big ballpark on day one. Those who thought they misread the final score (St Paul 28, Torrington 14) did not.

Your eyes are okay, the pitching for both teams, not so much.

There were some encouraging signs for the Raiders, who banged out 15 hits and got multiple RBI games from Stanley Rios (3), Mitch Zagrodnik (2), John McCarthy (2) and Shane Bierfeldt (2) in the loss.

If you told Raiders head coach Pat Richardson that his team would score a baker’s dozen plus one on day one, he would have signed up for it in an instant, just don’t tell him about the other teams line score.

Hey, it’s only one game.

The Sydney Matzko farewell tour (that’s what NVL coaches will call her senior season) got off to the expected start with a 9-1 win over St Paul over in Bristol.

Matzko went deep (a three-run knock), as did Brittany Anderson, who is expected to be a force this season for head coach Maryanne Musselman.

The Raiders are ranked high in most state polls.

Polls are funny.

While Torrington may have their way with most of the NVL this year, with the exception of Seymour, just winning the regular season and even the NVL Tournament will not mean much if the Raiders get knocked out again in the first round of the Class L States.

The Wildcats come to town on Friday for an early season showdown that will go a long way toward telling who will own the top spot in 2014.

Down in Thomaston, someone other than Abby Hurlbert threw a gem on opening day for the Golden Bears.

Morgan Sanson pitched a no-hitter on opening day, striking out 13 and for good measure drove in four in a 15-0 blowout of Gilbert.

With a two-headed pitching staff that features both Sanson and Hulrbert, the Bears will be tough to beat in the Berkshire League this season.

Back on the baseball diamond, Northwestern started strong if not late against Litchfield on Wednesday. After a scoreless first five frames, the Highlanders blasted out seven runs and posted the shutout over the Cowboys.

While the Housatonic Mountaineers may have dropped a 9-6 decision to Terryville, superstar Willy Yahn started his season off with a bang.

Yahn, who will attend the University of Connecticut this fall and be a member of the Torrington Titans this summer, went 4–for-4 while striking out 15 in the loss.

The Kangaroos jumped on Yahn for seven first inning runs and never looked back.

MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: Former Gaffney house guest, Steve Geltz, is back this season with the Durham Bulls in the International League. The Bulls are the Tampa Bay Rays AAA affiliate.

Geltz, who appeared in 41 games a year ago for the team that won the Governor’s Cup Championship and was the second best team in the entire country in 2013, has appeared in three games so far, the latest being today.

The Bulls beat the Charlotte Knights by a 5-4 score on Thursday, Geltz got his first hold of the year when he pitched a scoreless six inning.

In 2013, the Buffalo, New York resident posted a 5-3 record in 67 innings, striking out a superb 80 in those frames.

The Rays are pitching rich and like it that way but it makes it a bit harder for a hard throwing right hander like Geltz who has lots of great arms in the bullpen with him.

Do the Mets have the Rays number? They could sure use some quality (and young arms) in that pen.

One of the best ball players to come out of the Northwest Corner, Conor Bierfeldt, has been promoted this spring to Class A baseball after playing in the short season New York Penn League a year ago.

Bierfeldt, a Torrington native and record setter at Western Connecticut, is playing for the Delmarva Shorebirds, a member of the Baltimore Orioles organization.

In six games, the former Raider has four RBI and a pair of doubles.

Spring is here folks, get out there and enjoy a local game.

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