The Falmouth Slugger Catches Up

07/26/2004 1:44 PM -

26 July 2004

All-Star Game
Program Book
24 July 2004, Eldredge Park, Orleans

The Falmouth Slugger Catches Up After Early Struggles

     On a chilly June night in Falmouth, Daniel Carte stepped to the plate like he’d done a thousand times before.

     It was the same game he’d grown up dominating in Hurricane, West Virginia. The pitcher stood the same distance away as he always did at that ballpark in Rock Hill, SC where Carte plays his college games for Winthrop University.

Daniel Carte of Falmouth in 2004 Cape League action
Gardner / CCBL for SportsPix 2004

     But things were different here. The stocky right-hander had grown accustomed to reaching base, driving in runs and winning awards. Here, in the Cape Cod Baseball League, success was hard to come by. 

     On this evening – with a 4-4 deadlock in the bottom of the ninth – Carte’s team still was searching for its first win of the season. He still was looking for his first hit. A 0-for-19 spell to kick-off the summer-league season had Carte pressing at the plate. He wasn’t used to this kind of failure with a bat in his hands. This is a player who was named First-Team Freshman All-American by Baseball America in 2003. He hit .419 last summer and earned Great Lakes League Player of the Year honors, so he knew it wasn’t the transition from aluminum to wood.

     “You press a little bit,” Carte said. “It hurts you. You’re just thinking, ‘Oh, man, not again.’”  He just needed to stay confident and snap out of this funk. “It was obviously really disappointing, but I knew I could hit and knew I was going to hit,” he said. “I just tried to get some extra work in and keep pressing forward. I didn’t want to spend the whole season 0-for.”

     His coach could see the toll it was taking on his right fielder, as well. “I think he was frustrated,” said Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy. “He always realized he was a better hitter than he was showing. A lot of guys would’ve been mental basket-cases by the time they’ve reached that point.” He needed to trust the abilities that got him here in the first place. He needed to get set in the box, and get a good pitch to hit. Carte said the key to hitting with a wood bat is pitch selection. Swinging at the hitter’s pitch. Now he just needed to find that pitch.

     Then he got it. 

     Daniel Carte exploded on the first pitch he saw. His hips swept across his body with violent abandon. His hands, like a spring just waiting to uncoil, flowed through the hitting zone in a rush. He wasn’t more than a couple steps down the first-base line when the ball cleared the fence in straightaway center field.

     Carte’s Commodore teammates rushed to meet him at home plate. The team had won its first game. Carte had his first hit. Things were good. As he trotted around those base paths in Falmouth that night, his white shoes gleaming with each and every stride, Daniel Carte could have never known just how good things were about to get.

     Since that walk-off blast, Carte has become one of the league’s premier power hitters. His first three hits of the Cape League season were round-trippers, and he has not cooled off since. “I don’t consider myself a home run hitter at all,” Carte said. “I think I’m more of a doubles hitter, gap-to-gap guy, but occasionally I hit home runs.”

     While he fits the bill as a thick, athletic ballplayer, Carte certainly doesn’t look like the power hitter his numbers say he his. A couple of his Commodore teammates, outfielder Brian Bogusevic and first baseman Mark Hamilton, look the part. Both are 6-foot-3 and more than 200 lbs. Trying to hit the ball 500 feet is not in Carte’s job description, and he knows it. “I’m not going up there trying to hit home runs,” he said. “I’m just trying to hit the ball and put it in the gap. I’ve gotten lucky so far.”

     Whether it’s luck or not, Commodore general manager Chuck Sturtevant couldn’t be more pleased with Carte. “We thought he would hit more for line drives, but really, a lot of his home runs have just been really strong line drives,” Sturtevant said. Make no mistake, Sturtevant is impressed with each of Carte’s tape-measure home runs, but he just might be even more proud of the way the young ballplayer dealt with his early adversity. “That shows a lot of character for any player,” Sturtevant said. “It takes a lot to be able to keep your head straight, keep focused and be able to come out night after night and perform. That shows me a lot about him."

     Trundy has seen cases like this before. A star in college comes to the Cape, picks up a wood bat, faces a top-notch pitching prospect every night and subsequently struggles. What’s important, Trundy says, is how a guy responds. “I’ve seen guys struggle the first few weeks and carry it through the whole season,” Trundy said. “He didn’t let that happen. To his credit, he didn’t let the frustration snowball into a season long thing.”

     Carte still marches to the plate every night just like he always has. Just like he did back home in Hurricane, West Virginia. Just like he does at Winthrop. 

     Nothing has changed for Daniel Carte. Things are still good. T.J. Lasita; CCBL Intern;

John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of
Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 
Lou Barnicle, Director of Publications,
Bruce hack, League Historian


Search Archive »

Browse by Month »

October 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
April 2017
December 2016
October 2016
August 2016
July 2016
April 2016
March 2016
December 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
December 2012
October 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
March 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
April 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
July 2010
July 2009
June 2009
April 2009
August 2008
July 2008
August 2007
July 2007
July 2006
July 2005
July 2004
July 2003
January 2001
December 2000