Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame inducts 12 members |
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Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame inducts 12 members

Kittanning graduate Steve Flanigan finally got out of the doghouse after two years.

While being inducted into the Cal (Pa.) Sports Hall of Fame for his baseball exploits, he forgot to mention his wife, Kelly, during his acceptance speech.

He atoned for that Sunday night at the 47th Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame banquet and also thanked the pitchers he faced during his career.

“I want to thank them for all the nice pitches they threw me, or I wouldn’t be here today,” Flanigan said.

Flanigan, the career leader in several offensive categories at Cal, was drafted by the Pirates in 1995 and played three seasons in the organization.

He was one of 12 inductees at the annual event at Freeport’s Laube Hall.

• Another Cal grad, Leechburg’s Randy Sturgill, also played in the pros briefly after a stellar pitching career with the Blue Devils and Vulcans.

“I’m not one to gloat or bring attention to myself,” Sturgill said. “So it is out of the ordinary for people to see me in a suit.”

• Kate Costanzo, another former Kittanning standout, has been the Allegheny women’s basketball coach for 12 years. She credited her coach at Penn State Behrend, Roz Fornari, of being “my biggest critic” and encouraged female athletes in the audience to “give back and guide young athletes.”

• Apollo-Ridge’s Ann Hreha Fritz, the 1994 Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year, thanked many for “support and encouragement.”

• Greg Fox, the current Vikings boys coach, thanked coaches for “believing in me when sometimes I didn’t believe in myself.”

• Marisa Wolfe, an all-state selection from 2009 at Ford City, thanked her high school coach, Al Davis, for preparing her to play Division I basketball at Penn State.

• Dino Aimino, who lettered in four sports at Freeport, recalled his time at Nazareth in Rochester, N.Y., where his coach was current Michigan coach John Beilein and his roommate was future NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy.

• Another Freeport graduate, Bob Jarosinski, thanked his coaches with the Yellowjackets and his Clarion coach, Gene Sobelewski, another Freeport grad, for his success. Jarosinski said, “Freeport is the root of my athletic existence.”

• Armstrong County’s all-time leading passer, West Shamokin’s Trevor Henderson, had more than 5,000 career yards. He praised those who caught his passes and blocked for him.

• Freeport’s Bob Grove, an inductee in the builder’s category for his media connections with hockey, recalled the night he fell in love with hockey while attending his first Penguins game the day after Christmas 1970, leading to a lifelong association with the sport.

• Another in the builder category, baseball coach Jack Swigart, thanked the “hundreds of kids I had the pleasure of coaching.”

• The biggest laugh of the night went to military inductee, Kittanning graduate Maj. Benjamin Bower, who mentioned there’s “less than 1% of the nation’s population serving in the military, making it easier to receive awards of this kind.”

• The hall of fame also recognized four Board of Governors members who died in the last year. Dave “Red” Ullom, Jim Claussen, Bill Gray and John “Spy” Brochetti, co-founder of the organization, were all memorialized with scholarships.

After Sunday’s banquet, there are 481 hall of fame inductees.

George Guido is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Categories: Sports | Other Local
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