July 15, 2013

It's like old times for CVBL alumni


“Geez-- to Geez--, give me the damn bat,” huffed Terry as strode to the plate in casual dress and street shoes. He promptly whacked the horsehide into the gap in left center and sped to first before giving way to a pinch runner. “There you guys, that’s the way to do it,” chided Brunell.

Families always have been a great part of town-team baseball and the clans were well-represented last Tuesday — the Kowalowskis, the Dupreys, the Rocks …

“With all the Dupreys around, I don’t know how I ever managed to start for Peru,” joked Gary Barber, who starred for Peru in the seventies and the AuSable Forks Spirits in the eighties.

Shock and Awe

Barber, known for his power, pulled off one of the most amazing feats, stepping to the plate in Peru with the title on the line and the winning run on third. The Lyon Mountain Miners had their backs to the fence, for sure.

But, lo and behold, the big fellow lays down a perfect bunt and is quickly on his toes digging to first before the dazed Miners. It went down as the first walk-off bunt.

“It was the only time I ever bunted in the CVBL and the only one who knew beforehand was (teammate) Mike St. Louis,” revealed Barber.

Touching all bases

Fuzzy Fesette, who confessed to not being much of a ballplayer, but who was regarded as a darn good umpire, let everyone in on one of the worst-kept secrets — how St. John’s Academy for years mined the considerable baseball talent in Lyon Mountain. Recruiting was right up there with spitballs, spike wounds and the like, but little could be done to stop the stream of arms and legs out of the hills...

Mike Perry, who toiled briefly for Saranac before going on to a distinguished career with the U.S. Marines, recalled a valuable lesson he learned from Bob Garrow. Perry related how he had once whiffed PHS star Jeff Burns with 3 fastballs. The two would meet again in Mineville that summer and Perry, up 0-2 in the count, figured he would go with a curve, which the soon-to-be Minnesota Twins prospect promptly deposited in Port Henry. Burns had barely left the batter’s box when Garrow charged the mound, going chest to chest with his pitcher, Perry. “How many times have I told you to go with your best,” yelled Garrow.

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