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Time to admire one unique streak.

POSTED May 06, 2016
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

            THOMASTON – Every once in a while you get one of those sports moments that requires you to pause, stop the clock and reflect. Last week (April 29) offered up one of those moments in the Berkshire League

            In softball action, Wamogo took down Thomaston, 2-1, in a drama-filled eight innings. Just another mid-season game? Hardly. A stunning result? Maybe only in the sense that beating Thomaston in softball, basketball and field hockey, these days has been an exercise in serious . long-time futility.

            Beyond that, stunning would be an unfair assessment to Wamogo. Warriors coach Dave Sylvester is building a solid program and has a really good team this season with a 10-2 record and an outstanding pitcher in junior Cyrena Zemaitis who bufuddled the Bears with a two-hitter and 14 strikeouts.

            But as much as the day was about Wamogo, it was about the Bears. One that kind of demands you stop and shake your head in wonderment.

            For an unheard of 454 days, the Golden Bears softball, basketball and field hockey teams which feature so many of the same players and seniors Morgan Sanson, Gabrielle Hurlbert and Nicole Schaefer, who play all three sports, did not taste a Berkshire League defeat.

            A total of 70 straight games through parts of five seasons these Bears stepped on the fields and courts with gloves, sticks and basketballs and never lost a game. Roll this one around in your mind and on your tongue - 70 straight games in three different sports. In just that 15-month span they won six BL titles in three sports and are the reigning defending champions in all three sports. Three undefeated seasons.

            Great streaks abound in this area. Coach Fred Williams’  Northwestern Regional 141-game BL basketball streak in the late 1980s and first half of the 1990s and Seymour’s vaunted state record 78-game softball win streak. Naugatuck’s awesome 64-game baseball win streak in the 1970s that earned national attention.

            Nonnewaug girls track has an on-going 20-year BL championship streak going and at one time ripped off 163 meet wins in a row. The Cheshire girls swim team won 281 dual meets in a row over a 15-year period. There are more, we know, but can’t name them all.

            Simply put, they are all brilliant and occupy a special place in their respective schools and towns and in area and state circles. But 70 straight wins in three different sports with so many of the same athletes? In a public school of 106 girls?  I’ve never heard of it before and probably won’t hear about it again.

            Even Thomaston High co-Athletic Director Aaron Bunel has a hard time putting his mind all around what has happened.

            “Even taking the number of students and and size of of the school out of the equation it would be mind-boggling,” said Bunel. “It’s something I’ve never seen before and probably won’t see again. I don’t know how to put it into words.”

            Some  of the Bears knew the numbers, only because they were told. Most didn’t. They have rolled on through the months and seasons moving from one sport to the next the ball and chain that carries the immense of weight of their championship expectations never changing.

            When Thomaston beat Nonnewaug earlier in the week to stretch the streak 70, even Sanson, so often the soul and the focal point of it all, admitted the number was not familiar to her.

            “I didn’t realize it,” she said. “It’s special but we don’t think about it. But it shows how dominant you can be if you work together.”

            At some point Morgan think about it. You owe yourself that.

            There has been no going from this basketball season to next basketball season or this softball season to next softball season. It doesn’t work that way for the Bears. Slightly more than a week after losing the Class S basketball game to Canton Sanson was matching pitches with Torrington’s very talented Ali Dubois. She was throwing the ball to Schaefer behind the plate while Hulbert manned first base.

            A week after scoring the winning goal to give Thomaston its first ever Class S state field hockey title in the fall, Sanson was back at it again with Schaefer, Hulrbert and a number of other athletes on the basketball court later expected to win another BL basketball title (they did) and earn a fourth straight trip to the state final (they did).

            From season to season they have marched on, the ability to look forward and know what needs to be done overpowering the idea of looking backwards and dwelling on what has been done. It’s always been the next day, tomorrow, not yesterday. It has kept that weight of expectation at bay.

            What Thomaston has become was evident with a couple of painful complements Friday. I was at the Wamogo, Thomaston boys baseball game and when word of the softball score began to circulate, Warriors Athletic Director John Threlfall, made an announcement to the crowd.

            In Thomaston, the Warriors put on a worthy celebration after knocking off the Bears. Why? Because it was a very big deal. That’s what it means to beat Thomaston these days. That is what the Bears have created, a championship coated legacy that carries the a Mt. Everest size target with it.

            Brilliance deserves to be appreciated. Three sports, 454 days, the same core group of athletes without a defeat. Wamogo’s win wasn’t stunning, that would suggest they are less than they are. They will push Thomaston the rest of the season. They deserve recognition

            The streak, well, that is absolutely stunning.

            Shake your head, take a deep breath. Pretty amazing stuff. And kind of a post-note, the Bears shook off the disappointment and went back to work, ending East Granby’s two-year regular-season undefeated streak of 29  Saturday, 1-0, behind Sanson’s three-hitter. Back on the horse, looking ahead. It’s what they have done and do.   

            For now it is okay for others to soak it all in. The Bears will get their time and maybe they will be stunned. They should be. It’s been that good.

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