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Hall of Fame inductees: Steurer, Manzo

Hall of Fame inductees: Steurer, Manzo

The Berlin High School Athletic Hall of Fame will celebrate its Class of 2020 on Sunday, April 26 at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. The inductees are: Steve Baccaro (Class of 1947), Phil Perretta (Class of 1961), John Steurer (Class of 1980), Cynthia Gozzo Dastoli (Class of 1990), Robert Manzo (Class of 1990), Allison Murphy Semenuk (Class of 2002), Matt Carasiti (Class of 2009), and the 1999 and 2000 BHS wrestling teams.

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John Steurer, Class of 1982

Steurer was a three-year starter in baseball and basketball.

In baseball, Steurer was a team captain and an All-Northwest Conference selection, and led the Redcoats pitching staff his senior year with a record of 6-2.

Steurer led the Redcoats to their first Northwest Conference championship in 21 years. The NWC title was the first for Hall of Fame coach Paul Baretta.

Also, Steurer was the winning pitcher in Hall of Fame coach William “Bill” Gibney’s last varsity coaching victory at BHS.

In basketball, Steurer was a two-year captain and an All-Northwest Conference selection, and led the Redcoats in scoring as a senior.

In 1979, Steurer scored 25 points to lead the Redcoats over Plainville in the St. Paul Christmas Tournament finals; Hall of Fame coach George Hall’s 100th career win. For his efforts, Steurer was named tournament MVP.

As a junior, Steurer was invited to play in the Connecticut High School All-Star basketball game, playing alongside All-American Rod Foster from St. Thomas Aquinas.

Steurer moved on to Western New England University, where he was a two-year starter in basketball and a four-year starter in baseball. He was inducted into Western New England’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

In basketball, Steurer led Western New England in foul shooting accuracy (88.5 percent) and in 1981 was a first-team selection in the Springfield Mayor’s Tournament.

In baseball, Steurer was a two-time captain and helped lead Western New England to its first NAIA District 5 championship and to a school record for wins in a season with 21.

As a senior, he compiled a 5-3 record with a team-high 50 strikeouts and posted a 2.32 ERA.

With Steurer leading the way, in 1982 and 1984, Western New England’s pitching staff owned the NAIA’s lowest ERA.

Steurer was selected NAIA District Player of the Year in 1984 and was a NAIA All-East pick.

In 1982, Steurer played for the baseball team Club Terrosvogels in the Netherlands.

A retired Executive Vice President of Acota Sales and Marketing, Steurer resides in Westborough, Massachusetts with his wife, Charlene.

Robert Manzo, Class of 1990

Manzo was a four-year member of the both the soccer and baseball team and graduated as BHS’s all-time leading scorer in soccer.

In baseball, Manzo was the starting catcher on the 1989 and 1990 state championship teams, and in 1990 was named All-Northwest Conference and participated in the Connecticut vs. Massachusetts High School All-Star Game.

Manzo moved on to Quinnipiac University, where he continued his baseball career. He was selected a member of the New Haven Diamond Club All-Star Team in 1991, and was QU’s captain his senior season when he earned All-Northeast-10 honors and was named Quinnipiac’s Male Athlete of the Year.

After graduating, Manzo transitioned from baseball player to coach. He served three years at Quinnipiac and seven at Wesleyan, and from 1998 to 2016 was the head coach and general manager of the Berlin American Legion baseball team.

With Manzo at the helm, Berlin Legion claimed six Zone 3 titles and won state championships in 2002 and 2009. During the 2009 season, Berlin advanced to the American Legion World Series.

Manzo was named American Legion Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2009, and in 2017 received the Connecticut American Legion Distinguished Coaches Award.

Throughout his coaching career, Manzo has helped guide more than 70 players into the collegiate and professional ranks.