PLAINVILLE – Over the last couple of weeks, the Plainville Observer has brought you a little taste of the players and teams who will be inducted in the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame in October.
Recently, the founders of the PSHOF have put together an extensive press release about the special event that honors a number of Plainville’s best and most spectacular athletes.
Here is the press official press release from the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame:
Baseball readily comes to the mind of town residents and central Connecticut sports fans when they think of Plainville, and with good reason.
Coach Lou Mandeville’s Plainville High team ripped through the Class M brackets to capture the school’s eighth state title in June, the second most in state history (Waterford has ninth). Therefore it comes as no surprise that baseball is the glimmering centerpiece for the 13th annual Plainville Sports Hall of Fame dinner.
The dinner will be held at Nuchie’s Restaurant, 164 Central St., in Forestville, on Saturday, Oct. 6. The social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 7. Tickets are $45 and are available at: Angelo’s Modern Barber Shop; the dental offices of Dr. Michael Lantiere; the dental offices of Dr. Francis (Rusty) Camp. For further information call committee member Mike Bakaysa at (860)573-8015.
Two of the school’s great state championship-winning teams coached by 2003 inductee Ron Jones – the undefeated 1983 squad and the resilient 1984 crew – are being honored as a group. Earl Snyder, Brian Biskupiak and Jeff Sengle played for state championship teams guided by 2006 inductee Rob Freimuth. Richard Buchanan and Jeffrey Palmer both played baseball, although it wasn’t particularly they’re primary sport of excellence.
That leaves only Mary (Boiczyk) Westkott, one of Plainville High’s greatest swimming legends with another legacy in track and field, as the only 2012 inductee not connected with baseball.
Mary (Boiczyk) Westkott, Class of 1995, swam varsity for four years, and was named captain of both the swimming and track and field teams as a senior.
Before she stroked her way to Springfield College, Boiczyk had school records in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, and shared high-water marks with her teammates in the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays.
She also established a land record in the discus, which helped her achieve the Blue Devils’ highest
honor as the William Cassidy Outstanding Athlete Award in 1995.
Richie Buchanan, Class of 1957, was a three-sport athlete, adding football and basketball to his heritage on the baseball diamond.
Buchanan, brother of 2009 inductee Mel Buchanan, was the unanimous choice for basketball captain his senior year under the guidance of celebrated coach, and 2000 inductee, Pat Riera. He was the leading scorer, best free throw and field goal shooter and top assist man for the 1956-57 unit that qualified for the state tournament.
Buchanan has contributed to Plainville High in numerous ways, and right at the top was taking the time as a senior to help prepare younger players, including future Hall-of-Famers John Gacek, Steve Vargo and the late Brian Brooks for their memorable championship run to the 1959 Class M basketball title.
Jeffrey Palmer, Class of 1972, will always be remembered as the quarterback for the 1971 football team that galvanized the town by beating Southington for the first time in 23 years.
Tabbed the “best quarterback in the state” by his coach Jim Lynch, Palmer and classmate Vet Mason Jr. guided an offensive unit to two fourth-quarter drives that erased an eight-point deficit and sent the Plainville rooting section of a crowd estimated to number over 5,000 into a frenzy.
He and Mason were chosen to play for the East squad in the Nutmeg Bowl at Kennedy Stadium, Bridgeport, in August, 1972.
He also stood out in baseball and basketball.
Earl Snyder, Class of 1994, was a power-hitting infielder whose middle-of-the-order exploits helped carry the Blue Devils to three consecutive Class L championship games (1992-94) and two titles.
Snyder delivered an omen of things to come soaring out of Palmer Field in Middletown, beyond the grassy plain behind the left field fence and into the woods more than halfway up the tree line.
The titanic blast in his final high school game opened the door on a record-setting four years at the University of Hartford. He went on to a professional career that spanned 10 years.
Snyder remains atop the Hawks’ career record list in hits (222), home runs (53), runs (146), RBI (173) and total bases (423). He’s second to Houston Astros’ Hall of Fame candidate Jeff Bagwell in slugging percentage and third in batting average (.374).
Snyder played in 19 big league games, 18 with Cleveland, and one with the Red Sox in 2004.
Jeff Sengle, Class of 1995, conveyed a unique blend of speed and strength into an outstanding scholastic career in baseball and football.
He played four state championship baseball games in which the Devils won three, beating out infield hits and stealing bases from his leadoff slot.
He hit .340, stole 25 bases and scored 42 runs in this senior year. His two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth carried the Devils to a critical 5-3 tournament win over Jonathan Law en route to a berth in the finals and a 15-3 thrashing of Maloney.
On the gridiron, he shook off the effects of asthma and a knee injury as a senior to become Plainville’s first 1,000-yard rusher since John Gacek in 1957. He holds the school career record for all-purpose yards (2,803). As a junior, he scored 12 of the team’s 25 touchdowns.
1983 PHS Baseball Team: The statistics speak for themselves: 23 wins, 0 losses; 194 runs scored, 58 allowed; the first undefeated team since 1938.
Whether Jones’ squad was the best in Plainville’s regal baseball history may be subject to debate, but not too much. Junior Jeff Howes was the driving force, logging a 12-0 record, an 0.82 ERA in 87 1/3 innings, a .473 batting average, 10 home runs and 38 RBI.
Howes went on to gain an invitation to the 1984 Olympic trials, but he was just one of three All-Staters on the team. Senior catcher Greg Palmquist and junior left fielder/pitcher Rick Ouellette joined him. Co-captain Bob Bruno was 9-0.
The American Baseball Coaches Federation voted Plainville first in regional District 1, one of eight districts nationally. None of the other District selections went undefeated.
1984 PHS Baseball Team: With Howes, Ouellette, Rob Restelli, Rick Daly, and Pete Anderson returning as seniors after helping craft the seamless 1983 season, much was expected of Jones and the boys in 1984.
They may have staggered at the start (3-5 through May 2), but the talent and leadership melded under Jones’ firm, unflagging supervision.
The Devils took no prisoners while winning 17 straight games, including a memorable 7-5 win over Berlin before an estimated 3,500 at Beehive Field in the Class M finale. During the streak, Plainville scored less than eight runs just that once.
Howes was a Devil possessed in the five-game tournament run, winning four with a 1.16 ERA and batting .429 with four homers, three doubles and 16 RBI.
For more information on the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame, go to http://plainvillesports.com.