Negrych Spurs Curve To Title and Eyes Future

Jim Negrych

The Altoona Curve for the first time in franchise history are Eastern League champions and Jim Negrych played a key role.

The Curve beat Trenton, 5-2, Saturday night to win the Eastern League Championship Series three games to one.

It took 12 seasons and four near misses with playoff defeats, but the Curve now have delivered what's believed to be the first professional sports championship in Altoona history (not counting old-time semi-pro teams).

Negrych delivered in the clutch twice. He singled home two runs in the fourth inning for a 2-1 lead that the Curve never relinquished, and he doubled in a run in the fourth to make it 4-1.

DH Negrych went 3-for-5 with three RBIs for the Curve. In the Eastern League playoffs in six games Negrych batted .348 with three RBI.

"Anytime you can really help out in the playoffs it's a good feeling," Negrych said. "Anytime you win a championship at any level it's exciting and it's a good feeling."

In 123 games at Altoona and Indianapolis, Negrych hit .283 this season with four home runs and 54 RBI.

"Well obviously you set goals every season," Negrych explained. "Mine was to be in Pittsburgh and obviously that didn't happen, but I went up to Indianapolis for a couple of months and obviously I thought I played well, but apparently I didn't play well enough and I got sent down. You just got to keep trying to play hard every day and go out there and try something new."

The Pirates are careening toward a 100 loss season and Negrych feels winning a championship at the Double A level is good for the organization, but cautions that there is still a long way to go from Double A to the big leagues.

"There are some young talented players," Negrych stated. "There are a lot of guys that can do a lot of things. That plays itself out in the future, it's tough for us to sit here and say this is going the right way; it has to be relevant at the big league level for it to actually change and to get some players up there that can actually make a difference. I can't honestly say yes or no because I really don't know. Hopefully it is moving in the right direction and hopefully we can turn things around, but it's got to be relevant at the big league level.

"They have some guys up there that were successful at Double A and we have to make sure that you don't get too caught up and think that winning a Double A championship that you're going to be successful at the big league level. You've just got to keep working hard and making sure that you're doing your work and getting better. Not just thinking that because you won at Double A you're going to make the big leagues."

The infielder would like to play winter ball during the off season as he looks ahead to spring training.

"Well I'm just trying to go out and get bigger, faster and stronger," Negrych said. "I'm going to see about playing winter ball, possibly in Mexico and see where that's at, I'm definitely interested in doing that. If not and that doesn't work out then I'll just go home to Buffalo and workout and put myself in the best possible shape that I can get in and I've got a pretty decent track record of showing up at spring training in pretty good shape."

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