14 August 2004

Championship Week

Cape League Intern TJ Lasita

Curreri Makes Most of Crucial Situations

     Frank Curreri has played in enough baseball games to know that when a big situation arises, he wants to be in the middle of it.

     Curreri (UMass) got his wish Saturday night, as he was instrumental in several crucial plays that resulted in a Cape League title for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.

     “If something big is going to happen, I want to be part of it one way or another,” Curreri said. “I just lucked out that it was that way tonight, and I came through when I needed to.”

     The Red Sox needed Curreri time and time again Saturday night. 

     Y-D had its back up against the wall in the ninth inning of game two, trailing by a pair of runs and down to its last two outs. A critical situation arose, and guess who found himself in the thick of it.

     Curreri tomahawked Chris Leroux’s 1-2 delivery, a chopper that found its way past the Falmouth middle infield and into center field, scoring two runs and tying the game.

     “I was trying to put the ball in play, and just not have it be into a double play situation,” Curreri said. “I lucked out, got a pretty good piece of it, and it went through.”

     Minutes after enjoying their biggest hit of the season, the Red Sox found themselves in a hole once again. A hole only one man could dig his team out of.

     Curreri began the game as the designated hitter, then was called on to catch when Ben Crabtree (Ohio) moved to first base. He’d only been behind the plate for a matter of minutes when a key situation found Frank Curreri.

     Falmouth cleanup hitter Daniel Carte (Winthrop) walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, putting the game-winning run on the base paths. With power threat Mark Hamilton (Tulane) at the plate, Carte tried to put himself into scoring position and steal second base. 

     On the second pitch, Carte took off. Curreri snatched the pitch, set his feet and fired to a waiting Joe Anthonsen, who applied the tag and smothered the threat. 

     “Another throw, just another throw to second base,” he said. “I was obviously a little bit nervous just coming into the game having sat around the whole time, but my arm felt good all day.”

     The game remained tied through 10, then in the 11th the Red Sox began to put together a rally. The first two hitters in the top half of the inning reached safely, but at that very moment Y-D needed to somehow get them over and into scoring position. Perhaps not so coincidentally, also at that moment, Frank Curreri was strapping on his batting gloves and striding to the batter’s box.

     The big left-handed hitter was a deep threat at the plate all season, hitting two regular-season home runs and two more in the playoffs. But this time he’d be asked to play some small ball.

     Curreri squared and tapped Kyle Young’s 2-1 offering down the first base line. The ball was scooped up by Hamilton, Falmouth’s first baseman, and tossed over to first for the out. Both runners advanced into scoring position and Curreri had done his job.

     “I missed a bunt earlier in the season and had to run sprints for it,” he said. “I made sure I wasn’t going to miss anymore.”

     After advancing to third on Curreri’s sacrifice, Anthonsen scored the eventual game-winning run on a wild pitch. If Curreri doesn’t get the bunt down, Anthonsen can’t trot home.

     The situations were big for Curreri, but the playoff implications were bigger. Everything gets turned up a notch in the championship, and that apparently includes the play of Frank Curreri.

     “This kid had a chance to sign and he decided that this was important to him,” said Y-D manager Scott Pickler. “He wanted this, and that’s why he stayed here. That’s why it’s fitting that he got the big hit.”

     Big plays earn you the respect of your teammates.

     “He’s been the guy all year, and it’s funny he’s in that spot,” said Y-D‘s Adam Davis. “He’s been the guy all year and he came through again.”

     Frank Curreri has been in big situations before and he’ll be in big situations again. With the season now over, the only big thing Curreri will be around for a while is a ring, a Cape Cod Baseball League championship ring. 
-By T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org

John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of
Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 johnwgarner@earthlink.net 
Bruce hack, League Historian