Blogs > A high school blast from the past

My name is Kevin D. Roberts and I am the Assistant Sports Editor at The Register Citizen. This is my blog, about anything I can find, or hear about, from our local sports scene. Much of what I write about will be about athletes who have moved on to play in college, but I welcome anyone to send along information about someone that they feel would make a compelling story.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Former UConn standout Mike Olt called up to Texas Rangers

He may not have been a player from our Northwest Corner, but I was very pleased to read that former Danbury Westerner and UConn standout Mike Olt had been called up to the Texas Rangers.
In just his second game in the big leagues, Olt drove in two runs for the Rangers on Aug. 4 in a 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.
When I covered the Torrington Twisters in their final season in 2008, Olt played for the Danbury Westerners. Olt was just a freshman, but he was an impressive player. In the NECBL All-Star Game at Fuessenich Park, Olt launched a two-run home run into the Naugatuck River in his team's victory. Olt, who was participating with the Southern Division team in the All-Star festivities, also won the home run derby that day. Olt led the Westerners with six home runs and 31 RBI that year, according to statistics posted on the NECBL's web site.
Olt, a Branford High graduate, was lighting up pitchers in 'AA' before being called up to the Rangers. In 95 games, he hit .288 with 28 homers and 85 RBI, according to statistics posted on the Rangers' web site.
Olt may be a familiar name to Torrington P38 fans. Olt played for Branford's 2005 American Legion state championship team. That team beat a great Torrington team twice in a row to take the state title. In the first game, a 6-3 Branford win, Olt had a single and started a key double play that killed a P38 rally.
Of note, Mike Tamsin, Olt's teammate on Branford Legion and at Branford High, went on to win the NECBL batting title in 2008 with a .417 average.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Former Simsbury High School and Legion players Rich Graef and Kyle Decker suiting up for Torrington Titans

Here's my feature on Simsbury's Rich Graef and Kyle Decker, who are both playing for the Torrington Titans of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League this summer. Graef plays college baseball for Boston College while Decker plays for his father Bill at Trinity College in Hartford. Both schools did well in their leagues this year. Both Graef and Decker worked for Bill Decker at his baseball camps.
Included in the link is video of Graef talking about playing in Torrington. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feature on Conor Bierfeldt

Register Citizen file art
Here's my feature on Torrington Titans outfielder Conor Bierfeldt, a Torrington native who is off to a solid start in his first season in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. Here's my blog post about Bierfeldt and the Titans.
You may recall that Bierfeldt lit up Little East Conference pitching all spring. Here are his numbers: led the LEC in batting average (.430), slugging percentage (.838) and home runs (10);l Second in RBI (50), second in total bases (119), second in sacrifice flies (6), tied for third in doubles (16), tied for fourth in triples (6), tied for fourth in runs scored (48), seventh in on-base percentage (.470), and tied for eighth in hits (61). 
Bierfeldt may not have gone in Major League Baseball's first-year draft, but a summer wood-bat college league is a good place to get noticed. If Bierfeldt keeps putting up good numbers, he should get noticed. Torrington manager Misha Dworken said that happened to another Division III player from Connecticut, Chris Denofria, who's now a part of the San Diego Padres organization. Denofria played for Wheaton.
"It happens," Dworken said Tuesday after practice at Canton's Valley Sports Center. "You just got to battle your way through."
Bierfeldt has been doing that since he played for Torrington High School. Torrington fans have seen Bierfeldt continue to improve while playing summer baseball for the P38s in American Legion's tough Zone 1. Bierfeldt said he was able to become a more complete hitter at WCSU this season because he looked to hit the ball to the opposite field.
If Bierfeldt becomes any more of a complete hitter, pitchers in the FCBL, LEC, and other leagues even higher up could be in for trouble.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Former area high school stars shining for Titans

KEVIN D. ROBERTS/Register Citizen
A pair of former Northwest Corner high school baseball stars are shining in different roles for the Torrington Titans.
You can read about both of them in my story about Torrington Titans Media Day, which was held on Wednesday at Fuessenich Park. One is former Torrington High School and Torrington P38 standout Conor Bierfeldt, who lit up pitchers all season at Western Connecticut State University. In my story, you can find video interview clips of Bierfeldt, along with clips of Bierfeldt from batting practice.
Meanwhile, former Housatonic Valley Regional High School left-hander Bobby Chatfield goes from pitcher to pitching coach. Chatfield is the new pitching coach for the Titans this season after pitching for them last season. Chatfield came up clutch in his senior season at Plymouth State University, helping the Panthers pull off an upset of top-seeded Southern Maine in the first game of the Little East Conference tournament. Chatfield earned second team All-LEC for his efforts.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Players from Torrington's football past help its future

Former Torrington High School football players have been helping the current Red Raiders out at spring practice over the past week.
Two of those players were Chris DeBerry and Walter Lewis, and both spoke to me about helping keep a tradition alive. Read more by clicking on the link above.

Former Torrington athletes come back to compete in first-ever Raider Run 5K

MARIANNE KILLACKEY/Register Citizen Correspondent
There were several former Torrington High School athletes on hand for the first-ever Raider Run 5K on Saturday morning in Torrington.
The winner was Stephen Pretak from the Class of 2002. Pretak was a standout at both THS and Southern Connecticut State University. Torrington sophomore John Pirla finished second.
Lauren Cilfone, a 2010 graduate of THS, was the first female to finish. She was followed by runner-up Rebecca Wright from 2009 and THS senior Aly Otis, who finished third.
Eric Gamari, a former Gilbert basketball standout and current coach/teacher at THS, was a double winner. Gamari finished first among coaches and teachers on Saturday.
The race benefits the Torrington Varsity Alumni Club and THS's Department of Athletics.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finally getting back into writing about how our local athletes are doing after they left high school. I will look to provide more updates on our area athletes as I can. If you ever have any suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me at, call me at 860-489-3121, extension 327, or Tweet at me @kroberts023.
Two former Berkshire League standouts are leading their respective Division I baseball programs into the NCAA Tournament later this week.
Former Housatonic standout Nick Dignacco is a 6-3, 185-pound sophomore left-handed pitcher for Army (41-13), which opens play Friday in the Charlottesville Regional against Virginia (38-17-1), the top seed in that regional. Game time is 7 p.m.
Former Shepaug star Troy Scribner is a 6-1, 165-pound junior right-handed pitcher for Sacred Heart (25-30), which starts play Friday at 7 in the Raleigh Regional against North Carolina State (39-17), which is the top seed in that regional. The Pioneers made the NCAA tournament by winning the Northeast Conference tournament title.
Here's a little more on each player:

Dignacco has pitched in 13 games for Army this season, including nine starts, according to stats posted on Army's baseball web site. He has a 7-2 record with a 3.38 ERA. He has given up 62 hits in 66.2 innings and struck out 58 while walking just 18. Batters hit just .248 off of him and had only three home runs against him.
Dignacco threw six innings, gave up four runs, and got a no-decision in the Patriot League championship-clinching win over Holy Cross. The Black Knights won that game 8-4.
Dignacco is slated to pitch for the Torrington Titans of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League this summer.

It may have been an up-and-down season overall for Sacred Heart, but the Pioneers were able to make it to the NCAA tournament by wrapping up the NEC tournament title.
Scribner has been a part of the success of Sacred Heart, both with his arm and his bat. In the Pioneers' 3-2 win over Central Connecticut State at the NEC tournament, Scribner fired a complete game, giving up two runs on seven hits. He struck out nine and walked one while throwing 86 strikes out of 114 pitches.
Scribner went 1-for-4 with a run batted in during Sacred Heart's 5-1 win over Monmouth in the NEC final.
In 13 games on the mound this season, all starts, Scribner is 7-5 with a 4.04 ERA and six complete games. In 84.2 innings, he gave up 88 hits, struck out 65 while walking just 17. Scribner did hit 16 batters.
At the plate, Scribner hit .247 and drove in 11 runs in 97 plate appearances.