Numbers down, but Curletta still taking big cuts - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Ahwatukee Sports

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Numbers down, but Curletta still taking big cuts

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Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 10:17 am

Much has been made about the new baseball bats used this year in high school baseball and Mountain Pointe's Joey Curletta is the poster boy.

There is no denying it has made it harder to go deep, but a story that ran recently in the Arizona Republic stated that scoring is down just 5 percent among Division I programs.

So teams are still finding a way to produce plenty of offense. It is just coming in a different form.

In the games I’ve seen this year, there is a definite difference. It is like they are hitting with wooden bats, needing to get the sweet spot instead of going deep being rewarded for swinging hard and hitting the ball off the handle.

When you look at Mountain Pointe's numbers this year compared to last it is crazy. Of course, the numbers are going to drop when the state's all-time home run hitter , Kevin Cron, leaves for Texas Christian, but it is still astonishing.

Last year, the team hit 87 home runs and this season the Pride has 19 total.

Of course, the one everyone looks at is slugger Joey Curletta, who hit .420 with 32 extra-base hits, including 21 home runs and 57 RBIs last year in 112 at-bats.

This year, the Arizona recruit is at .340 with 12 doubles and four home runs and 26 RBIs in 97 at-bats.

Curletta is no longer hitting with as many guys on base nor does he have Cron in front of him. He has hit the ball hard, just not being rewarded as often.

"It's still a little frustrating," he said. "It's one of those things I had to get over. I have to work hard to help the team out more and make adjustments. I have to make plays any way I can."

The good news is Curletta was swinging a hot bat as the regular season came to an end on Friday and his team fully expects him to carry it over into the postseason as they look to defend their state title.

"He finally calmed down and started to hit the ball now," pitcher Kyle Detwiler said. "It's a good thing because he completely changes our lineup."

In a recent game at Corona del Sol, Curletta ripped a double down the left-field line that I can attest the third baseman wanted no part and from my vantage point I could hear it whistle by so it was clear that Curletta is still hitting the ball with plenty of authority.

He is over the mental battle he went through early in the year. If the Pride goes on a postseason run, don't be surprised if he hits more home runs over the next two weeks than he did all regular season.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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