By MICHAEL LETENDRE
Through 44 games this season, the Bristol Blues (22-20) have been in and out of first place in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League West Division standings and thanks in part to three Bristol athletes – the most the squad has on its roster at any one time over its history – the team has been more than a competitive bunch in 2017.
The trio of Tom Curtin and Mitch Guilmette, two members of the Central Connecticut State University baseball program, along with Framingham State’s Kyle Pileski, have been very productive for the Bristol program.
Of course, Curtin was a star pitcher over at Bristol Eastern under head coach Mike Giovinazzo while Guilmette and Pileski played at Bristol Central for Bunty Ray.
And those collegiate players turned in very productive NCAA campaigns and have not disappointed during summer baseball.
No one had more saves in league play than Curtin as his tally of 10 afforded him an invaluable role in the Blues’ bullpen.
At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Curtin knows how to get the ball across the plate and is enjoying tremendous success as the Blues’ closer.
He’s pitched over 12 innings this season to date, making 12 appearances overall, and carried a 1.58 ERA in those games.
Curtin maintained an impressive 5.3-to-1 strikeout out-to-walk ratio over his stints on the mound and allowed just nine total hits.
His overall record was 0-1 overall but he struck out 16, walked just three, and is enjoying a very good summer in his second stint with the Bristol squad.
And while Guilmette got into the FCBL All-Star game via fan vote (he shouldn’t have needed to as his numbers have been excellent all season long), his play this year ranked up there with some of the best in league play.
As of Friday, July 28, Guilmette was batting .403 with two home runs and 17 RBI.
His three-run homer at the Seacoast Mavericks on Thursday, July 27 was almost good enough to help turn a 5-0 deficit into a victorious effort with his late game heroics.
The Blues ended up losing that encounter 6-5 but it was one heck of an effort by Guilmette.
His biggest game to date came on Sunday, July 23 when Bristol knocked around the Pittsfield Suns, 24-9 in a history-making event.
The 24 runs were a league record for runs scored in a game and Guilmette had his fingerprints all over that amazing tally.
Guilmette went a blazing 5-of-7 at the plate that included a season high five RBI.
He’s had 10 games of multiple hits and turned around a tough start as started the year off batting 2-for-9 (.222) before exploding on the scene.
Without a doubt, Guilmette has been a shining star as the squad’s designated hitter.
Both Curtin and Guilmette were named FCBL West All-Stars this year and played in the midseason contest on July 18 from Muzzy Field.
Along with Guilmette, Pileski is one of six outfielders the Blues carried this season and in 16 contests, he batted .173 with nine hits, a double, a triple and four RBI.
Pileski scored six runs, drew six base-on-balls and added one multi-hit game to his summer resume.
After starting the season off 0-for-10, Pileski rebounded to bat .214 since that time, managed to hit safely in four of five games midway through the campaign and generated three hits in five at-bats on June 11 in the Blues 6-5 win at the Worcester Bravehearts.
By the completion of that showdown, Pileski increased his batting average to .235 off that winning endeavor.
Pileski even got into the record scoring 24-run game, going 1-of-4 with two walks, was hit-by-a-pitch and crossed the plate twice for Bristol.