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Serritella steady all season for Cutters
September 5, 2012 - Mitch Rupert
By MITCH RUPERT
Andy Tracy talked with Chris Serritella recently about maybe taking a couple of days off.
The Williamsport first baseman is leading the New York-Penn League in four statistical categories, and Tracy thought a couple days off might help the rookie out of Southern Illinois hang on to the leads he had in those categories.
Serritella would have none of it. He wants to play. And he wants to play every day. Through the first 75 games of the Crosscutters’ 76-game schedule, Serritella had played in 74 of them. Making an appearance in Wednesday’s season finale would tie Serritella with Cody Overbeck and Troy Hanzawa for the most games played in a single Crosscutters season.
It’s been a long year for the left-handed hitting first baseman. After playing 58 games for the Salukis in the spring, he’s been a lynchpin in the Crosscutters’ lineup all season. The calming force in a volatile lineup filled with 19-year olds just learning baseball at a high level.
“It’s been a long year,” Serritella said after going 4 for 5 over the weekend. “That’s the minor league life. I have to get used to it and I have to adjust to it. I feel good so far.”
With his final game Wednesday night, Serritella littered himself all over the Crosscutters’ record book. He’s going to leave Williamsport as the single-season record-holder for total at-bats, he’s currently second in doubles in a season and his 87 hits are the second-most in a season behind only current Brewers center fielder Nyjer Morgan.
But on top of that, he’s leading the New York-Penn League in doubles, total bases, games played, at-bats and RBIs.
“He’s solid and puts together good at-bats. Obviously sometimes he’s not going to get hits, but he wants to play every day,” Crosscutters manager Andy Tracy said. “I want him in there. It’s special for a college kid to come in here and lead a professional league in statistical categories. He wants to play every day, so I’m going to play him every day.”
Serritella has even impressed the Phillies’ brass with his play in his first professional season. Even as a fourth-round draft pick Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan said he was surprised at just how good Serritella’s hit tool is.
During a late-July visit to Williamsport, Jordan saw Serritella taking two-strike pitches back through the middle, or going the other way with it. It was a great sign for a player that has shown some power potential with six home runs and 24 doubles.
“I’ve been really impressed with him,” Jordan said.
During his 4 for 5 night against Batavia over the weekend, all four of Serritella’s hits went to the left of second base.
“My first professional season, I think I had a good year. I wish it could have been better,” Serritella said. “I just have to try to build off this, take the positives and come back and have a stronger year.”
“I think he’s got this natural ability,” Tracy said. “He’s got some strides he need to make hitting-wise, but it’s a good point to start from with the way he swings the bat. His knowledge of using the whole field and knowledge of the strike zone, it’s a good base to start from at the professional level.”
On a team that was hyped for its young prospects, Serritella separated himself this summer as a player who’s going to need to be watched as he works through the Phillies’ system. He’ll be the one in the lineup every day.
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