BRISTOL - Bristol native Tom Curtin joined the Bristol Blues late this summer, but he is quickly making up for lost time.
The reliever from CCSU has made three appearances for the Blues so far this season and has earned three saves, including one on Saturday night.
“It felt great to come in right away and contribute because as a reliever, especially, you never know when you’re going to be able to pitch,” Curtin said. “I just wanted to help my team out as soon as I possibly can and I’m so happy that it was the first time I was back here.”
Curtin and Blue Devils teammates Mitch Guilmette and Brandon Fox returned from the NCAA Regional Tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, on the tail end of the Blues’ 0-6 start to the season.
To Blues manager Ronnie Palmer, the impact of having those three back in the clubhouse played a role in his team’s turnaround.
“[Curtin] came in and you get a guy that’s fresh off the Fort Worth regional and playing in front of big crowds and an electric environment,” Palmer said. “He comes in and you just see it. He’s got a little bounce in his step. When you have one guy - but particularly two guys - that can do that, we feel as though we have a few more in the pen, there’s no question about that.
“No question. When you get guys off a college season where they were very successful, that momentum carries over into the summer. Those guys are just carrying themselves a different way.
“When you get to an NCAA big-time regional down at TCU where you’re playing in front of 3,000 to 4,000 fans a night and that atmosphere, there’s no question that you feel good coming out of that and hopefully that transcends onto all the other guys.”
Being a graduate of Bristol Eastern, Curtin is comfortable playing at Muzzy Field. But he has been away for a few years and it isn’t exactly how he remembered it, not even considering the recent renovations.
“It’s actually a little bit bigger than I remember,” he said with a smile. “In high school, you never thought it was that big, but when you come back and the backstop’s a lot bigger. It’s nostalgia too. You got to love playing here.”
Curtin doesn’t go far to play in college, playing for CCSU, but being back home and playing baseball in front of his hometown fans means a lot to him.
“It feels great to be able to play baseball at home,” he said. “I’m happy to be here.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @K_baum30