Barone’s Lifelong Love Of Baseball Pays Off With Title
Sam and Becky Teresi were host parents to three players from the Crown Point, Indiana team that played in the Babe Ruth 16-18 World Series this week.
One was a first baseman.
One was a right-fielder.
And the third one was, as the Jamestown mayor described him, the “ace” of the Rippers’ pitching staff.
So, quite naturally, it was fitting that the Teresis took those Indiana kids to see the Jamestown Jammers play in their one, and only, Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League postseason home contest last Thursday night against Geneva.
“By the end of the game, (the Indiana kids) were on the edge of their seats … and screaming at the top of their lungs,” Teresi said.
And in the ninth inning, Brandon Nania’s walk-off single won it for the Jammers, prompting the teens from the Hoosier State to become almost card-carrying members of the Jammers Fan Club.
“As we were walking out to our cars with the rest of the (Indiana team),” Teresi said in a fourth-floor conference room at City Hall yesterday afternoon, ” I said, ‘So, what did you guys think?'”
In unison, Teresi said they responded with six words.
“Wicked sick, man. That was awesome.”
“These kids are all Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs fans, but they had a ‘wicked sick’ time at a Jammers’ game,” Teresi said. “They hung on every pitch.”
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Anthony Barone, the Jammers’ manager, was hanging on every pitch, from the dugout at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam on Wednesday night. The Jammers were trailing the Mohawks, 6-4 after 6.5 innings in Game 3 of the best-of-three PGCBL Championship Series.
And then Chase Keng, arguably the team’s best clutch hitter this summer, hit a three-run home run to give Jamestown a 7-6 lead. The Jammers tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, which allowed Barone to let his mind wander just a bit an inning later when the Jammers were one out away from a championship.
“It was really weird,” he said.
So as reliever Ryan Boyer prepared to throw his final pitch, Barone thought back to when he was a child and was first introduced to baseball by his dad, Ned. He remembered how he used to throw a ball into the couch and how he’d toss a tennis ball against a wall to practice fielding grounders. He also recalled poring over the newspaper each day, reading the boxscores and rooting for the Detroit Tigers while he and his family lived in Toledo as his dad was attending law school.
“That’s when I became in love with baseball,” Barone said.
His baseball odyssey continued when he moved back to Jamestown, eventually starring at Jamestown High School, Jamestown Community College and Felician (New Jersey) University.
“I just knew when my playing days were I over that I wanted to coach,” Barone said.
To say it’s worked out pretty well would be an understatement, as he has found success during stints at Jamestown CC, Cal-State Bakersfield and, for the last four years in Jamestown, as a college summer league coach.
“(Wednesday night) it just came full circle,” Barone said.
And on Thursday afternoon, Barone, assistant coach Hayden Carter and players Boyer and Austin Parent were honored at City Hall. A proclamation was read and Barone was presented a key to the city.
“I had a coach who told me to do what you love to do, and I’ve always felt that if you do what you love, you’re going to be happier in life,” Barone said. “This is what I want to do. I think I’m pretty good at it. It’s what I do. A lawyer studies the law, doctors study the body, I study the game of baseball. It’s what I do on a daily basis.”
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The bus trip home from Amsterdam took six hours, but Barone said it felt considerably shorter. That might be because he was replying to somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 text messages from former players, parents of players and fellow coaches who wanted to offer their congratulations.
“I made sure I responded to each and every one,” he said.
Especially the text Barone received from the guy who introduced him to the game more than 30 years ago.