Mike Fields notebook: Family ties come before baseball

Mixed emotions when Curtsinger clan's teams face off

Herald-Leader Staff WriterMay 6, 2011 

From left, Tim Curtsinger, Nathan Curtsinger, James Hendron and Tracy Curtsinger have learned to divide loyalties and cheer each other on, despite both boys playing for different schools.

  • baseball Top 25

    Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association poll:

    1. Madison Central

    2. St. Xavier

    3. Eastern

    4. Central Hardin

    5. Lafayette

    6. Lexington Catholic

    7. Paul Laurence Dunbar

    8. Male

    9. Apollo

    10. Pleasure Ridge Park

    11. Covington Catholic

    12. Tates Creek

    13. Hopkinsville

    14. Ballard

    15. Bryan Station

    16. Harrison County

    17. Allen Co.-Scottsville

    18. Woodford County

    19. Lawrence County

    20. Danville

    21. Ryle

    22. Pikeville

    23. Trinity

    24. Henderson County

    25. Warren East

The Pittsburgh Pirates were the original "We Are Family" baseball team, but Lexington's Curtsinger clan has real family baseball dynamics.

When Bryan Station played host to Henry Clay a few weeks ago, Tim Curtsinger was the public address announcer. His son Nathan was the starting senior third baseman for Bryan Station. His stepson James Hendron was the starting senior catcher for Henry Clay. Tim's wife Tracy was in the stands rooting for her son James and stepson Nathan. Bryan Station, down 1-0 going into its last at-bat, rallied for a 2-1 victory.

The Curtsingers went home with mixed emotions.

"I felt bad for Henry Clay, and James was heartbroken," Tracy said. "But I was happy for Nathan. I congratulated him and gave him a hug."

People are always asking Tim if the Curtsinger household is "always in turmoil" because of different loyalties. "Actually, no," he said. "Sometimes it's a little awkward, but 80 percent of the time it's pretty easy. Everybody pulls for everybody.

Nathan agreed.

"We cheer for each other when we're not playing each other," he said. "Whoever wins when we do play, we look at it as bragging rights till the next game. But most of all that gets left at the ball park."

Bryan Station and Henry Clay played again Thursday night, and it was pretty quiet around the Curtsinger house leading up to the rematch. "The week of the game we're not even allowed to talk about baseball," James said.

Otherwise, the brothers support each other, attending each other's games and talking strategy at home.

James and Nathan were friends and teammates in tee-ball before they became brothers. After Tim and Tracy merged families 11 years ago, the boys were always teammates until Nathan transferred from Henry Clay to Bryan Station. There are two more brothers in the Curtsinger household: Austin Hendron, a sophomore at Bryan Station, and Bryce Curtsinger, a freshman at Bryan Station.

James and Austin both play football so they knocked helmets when the Devils played the Defenders last fall. They both wore jersey No. 32, but their mom wore neutral colors and cheered for both her sons, something she's used to doing.

Springtime means baseball, and a family flying two schools' colors can usually find some sunshine even in rainy weather. Earlier this week, Bryan Station upset No. 1 Madison Central.

"When James came home and heard about it, he went 'Yes, yes!' He was excited. We were all excited."

That's a baseball family.

■ After 19 consecutive victories, Madison Central's top-ranked baseball team lost for the first time Monday. Bryan Station beat the Indians 5-0. Nick Hagen, a sophomore left-hander, got the pitching win and Michael Bollmer hit a home run.

■ The Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic baseball championship will be decided this weekend at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. Saturday's games: DeSales vs. Glasgow, 9 a.m.; Prestonsburg vs. Bishop Brossart, 11 a.m.; Reidland vs. Newport Central Catholic, 1:30 p.m.; Hazard vs. Louisville Christian, 3:30 p.m. The semifinals are Saturday at 6 and 8 p.m. The title game is Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

■ Lafayette's softball team got back-to-back perfect games this week. Cassidy Taylor, a senior pitcher who has signed with Georgetown College, was perfect in a 10-0 victory over Lexington Catholic on Tuesday. Junior Emily Kincaid followed with a perfect game in a 15-0 win over Tates Creek on Thursday. No. 9 Lafayette is 10-5 overall, but is 8-0 against its city rivals and has outscored them 94-0.

■ Allen County-Scottsville, No. 1 in softball, will be tested in this weekend's Owensboro Sports Warehouse Classic. The tournament also has No. 3 Mercy, No. 5 Owensboro Catholic, No. 12 Oldham County, No. 14 Central Hardin, No. 21 Heath and No. 23 Calloway County. The field also includes Anderson County and Henry Clay.

■ Ashland Blazer's Sam Hunter can throw with the best of them, whether it's a baseball or football. The Tomcats' junior left-handed pitcher is 5-0 with a 0.26 earned run average this spring, with 41 strikeouts in 27 innings. He had a no-hitter against Huntington, W. Va. As a sophomore he was 8-0 with a 1.27 ERA. As a football quarterback, Hunter has passed for 2,788 yards and 34 TDs, and run for 856 yards and 15 TDs over the last two seasons.

■ A list of the state's longest baseball winning streaks that accompanied this notebook last week, which came from the KHSAA record book, had a couple errors. Madison Central's 1982 state champs went 40-0, which is the longest streak in state history. But Coach Don Richardson's Indians also won their first four games in 1983, which extended the string to 44 in a row. The other error was one of omission. Lafayette's 1992 state champs finished the season with 29 consecutive victories, which would tie them for third all-time. The Generals may have added to their streak to start the next season, but I couldn't find any results from early spring 1993 to verify it.

■ Henry Clay's baseball team will wear pink jerseys when it hosts Shelby County Friday at 7 p.m. as part of a "Strike Out Breast Cancer" fund-raiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

■ Christian County's Anthony Hickey will play college hoops at LSU. He's not the first Mr. Basketball to go to an SEC school other than UK. Chris Lofton (2004), Jermaine Brown (1991) and Allan Houston (1989) signed with Tennessee. (Brown left for Georgetown College after his sophomore year.) Ross Neltner (2003) went to LSU and transferred to Vanderbilt. Scott Hundley (2000), Rick Jones (1999), Phil Cox (1981) all signed with Vandy. (Jones left for Murray State after his freshman year.) Daymeon Fishback (1996) played at Auburn.

■ Steve Small, WKU's women's basketball coach from 1997-2001, is the new coach at Assumption.

■ Scott County's Robbie Barber will play college basketball at Trevecca Nazarene, an NAIA Division I school in Nashville, Tenn., that may be moving to NCAA Division II. Barber, who transferred from Rose Hill three years ago, suffered a concussion his sophomore year, a broken arm his junior year, and was diagnosed with mononucleosis the first week of his senior season.

■ Marc Adam Clark, offensive coordinator at Male last season, is the new football coach at Hopkinsville. Clark, 26, is a Bowling Green native. Hopkinsville had a losing record three of the last four years under Dixie Jones.

■ Katie Ransdell of Villa Madonna and Jared Stallons of Trigg County were the state-wide winners in the Forcht Group of Kentucky/Kentucky National Insurance/KHSAA Sportsmanship Recognition Program. Ransdell, a golfer, and Stallons, who plays soccer and baseball, will each receive a one-time $3,000 scholarship. Ransdell will attend Bellarmine University. Stallons will major in pre-med at Murray State.

■ Henderson County grad Josh Terry was named Austin Peay's outstanding male athlete for this school year. Terry, a junior, averaged 11 points and four rebounds for the Governors' basketball team. He was their top defender and had a team-high 60 steals.

■ The Indianapolis Star reported that Indiana high school football may add a sixth division by taking the 32 largest schools out of current Class 5A. The enrollment discrepancy in the current 64-school Class 5A worries coaches since it ranges from nearly 4,800 students (at Indianapolis Ben Davis) to about 1,600 (at Fort Wayne Wayne). The past dozen 5A champs have been among the 32 largest schools.

■ Transylvania has commitments from Tates Creek's Jessica Miller for volleyball and Alysa Kruse for soccer.

■ Centre College freshman tennis player Kathryn Hays was named first team all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, and her sister Karolyn, a senior, was earned honorable mention honors. Kathryn and Karolyn played high school tennis at Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Mike Fields covers high school sports for the Herald-Leader. Reach him at (859) 231-3337 or (800) 950-6397, ext. 3337, or mfields@herald-leader.com.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service