Posts Tagged ‘ Southington Sports Hall of Fame ’

O’No, it’s O’Connell; Greg O’Connell battled a few steps from the NBA

October 30, 2014
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Greg O’Connell attacks the rim during a varsity contest in the 1960s. O’Connell went on to play and coach for almost 35 years after graduation.

By John Goralski Sports Writer Nobody must have batted an eye when Greg O’Connell strolled into the high school gym in 1962 because nobody could have seen the scrawny 13-year old as much of a physical threat. At 5-foot-9, the freshman forward didn’t turn many heads. At 118 pounds, O’Connell wasn’t going to push around…

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Dawn’s early light; Dawn Lantiere lit up the Lady Knights

October 27, 2014
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Dawn Lantiere

By Jon Goralski Sports Writer Who knows what was going through that knobby kneed hitter when he trudged to the plate in the early 1980s. Scouts had little information on the tiny preteen that glared at him from the pitcher’s mound. Maybe he thought it would be easy to face a young girl on the…

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Serial Koeller; Jim Koeller was deadly on the Southington mound

October 4, 2014
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SP Hall of Fame Koeller

By John Goralski Sports Writer Jim Koeller’s shadow seemed to strike fear in the hearts of batters when the hard-throwing big man took the mound in 1976. Just to foul off a fastball was reason to celebrate. Koeller was as good as anybody that’s ever set foot on a Southington mound, and every credible short…

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Wayne’s World; Chopus is no stranger to Halls of Fame

September 26, 2014
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Wayne Chopus, above, scores a lay-up for the Knights in the mid-60s. Chopus lettered in three sports in high school and two in college.

By John Goralski Sports Writer Wayne Chopus seemed to leave his feet at the crack of the bat, and a gasp washed across the crowd as he backhanded the ball at shortstop, pirouetted in the air, and completed the play with a perfect strike to first base. There was no surprise when Chopus was named…

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A true team player; Pete Meade put winning before glory

September 13, 2014
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COURTESY OF SOUTH CAROLINA ATHLETICS
Pete Meade was a three-sport captain for the Blue Knights in the mid-1980s, and he went on to pitch at South Carolina University.

By John Goralski Sports Writer For two years Pete Meade paid his dues as a backup quarterback while the Blue Knights clawed their way to .500 records. Fans were looking forward to seeing Meade behind the center when Southington stormed onto the field in the fall of 1984, but the senior co-captain had other plans.…

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Dizzy Poryzdy; Greg Poryzdy made opponents’ heads swirl at every level

September 5, 2014
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By John Goralski Sports Writer Greg Poryzdy seemed almost embarrassed as he poured through his career statistics on a small table in his backyard. More than three decades have passed since he scored his last basket for the Blue Knight basketball team. Although his name still hangs on a banner in the Wesleyan University gym,…

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August 15, 2014
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Former Lady Knight shortstop Denise Archacki-Ingriselli tries to stop a baserunner at second base during the late 1970s.

By John Goralski Sports Writer Denise Archacki-Ingriselli’s reprieve ran out when former Lady Knight softball coach Joe Piazza signaled to his smiling outfielder halfway through her rookie season. Southington’s starting shortstop was being helped from the varsity field by her teammates with a season-ending injury, and Southington’s hopes for their first championship banner seemed to…

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King of the numbers game; Stephen Daniels is the man behind Southington’s statistics

August 8, 2014
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By John Goralski Sports Writer The argument had been dragging on for almost an hour in the high school football room before former Blue Knight coach Jude Kelly had to jump into the middle of the fray. Two assistant coaches were burning off stress with a friendly debate about former players, and it had grown…

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Don’t give up…Don’t ever give up; John Salerno was cut from his SHS team, but that was just the beginning

July 26, 2014
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1998 Chronicle Yearbook
Coach John Salerno gathers his team for a timeout discussion during the 1998 Blue Knight boys basketball season.

By John Goralski Sports Writer John Salerno greeted opponents at Mattatuck Community College with a devilish grin and the charm of a back-alley magician. Opponents would swarm into their gym sporting brand new Nike shoes and crisp, colorful uniforms, while Salerno’s squad practiced in the same shoes they wore to class. Teams must have laughed…

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Winning isn’t everything; The 1976 baseball team still ranks as the best that didn’t win

July 12, 2014
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The 1976 Blue Knights went 18-0 but lost to Shelton, 3-2, during a 16-inning contest in the state championship game. Front, from left, Al Fracaso, Mike Boissoneault, Pat DeSorbo, John Falzarano, Jim Koeller, Al Rousseau, Tom Bussett, Gary Burdette, Jim Gugliotti, Dan Hahn, and Joe Lembo. Back, Coach John Fontana, Bob Dudrow, Tom Banner, Ed Murawski, Dan Freer, Russ Barry, Jim Swain, Larry Jardine, Jim reeves, Rich Topshe, Dave McArty, and Mgr. Mark Bourcier. Missing from the photo: Mgr. Mike Grazioso and pitching coach Dallas Shields.

When Joe Fontana addressed his nephew’s team at the postseason banquet, even he was at a loss for words. The former athletic director had been the coach for both of Southington’s previous undefeated baseball teams. If anybody knew what it takes to win a title, it was the former baseball and football legend. So what…

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