skip navigation

The Cunnane Connection

By Franklin Padilla, 07/20/22, 8:15PM EDT


Rockland Pirates Father and Son Duo

Want to hear something great? Fine, if you insist, I’ll tell you. The other day I found out that I share a couple similarities with a baseball player named Jace Cunnane. The first being that we are both collegiate athletes and the main one being both of our dads played baseball back in the day. My dad played with buddies from around the corner while his dad played with HOF Tony Gwynn Sr. I know what you’re thinking right about know who are those guys my dad played with? I still think about that too. That’s enough about those guys, let me talk to you about Jace Cunnane. Jace is a right-handed pitcher from Clarkstown, NY who started playing baseball when he was just 4 years old. Jace, who just graduated high school is committed to Division 2 Juco powerhouse Lackawanna College. The right-hander plays American Legion baseball for the Rockland Pirates Leo Laders Post 130, ran by John Greely, Tony Barna and Phil Fratello. The OTB Pirates are having a great summer and Jace is having an amazing summer as well. He is 7-0 in the summer and in his last start pitched a complete game in the first round of the playoffs and led his team to victory. He started off the game perfect through the first 4 innings and ended the game with 5k’s, 3 Hits, and 1 walk. With his success throughout the summer he has helped guide his team to a district championship and advance to the state tournament this weekend. When I asked him, what legion meant to him, he answered “with my high school season cut short, it has been a fun time because of the good energy, and it feels like high school ball”. Throughout the phone interview, he said his dad is his biggest help helping him adjust whether mentally or physically on the fly and describes him as “the best source you can have”. 

So now let me dive into Jace’s dad, Wil Cunnane. Wil, who was also a right-handed pitcher was originally drafted by the Marlins out of Suffern High School played little league but did not play baseball in middle school. He decided in high school to take baseball more seriously, he made it a priority to get stronger and build himself. Wil played with the OTB Pirates growing up as well, coached by Nate Solant and Nick Farisi.  Cunnane made a name for himself with the Kane County Cougars who at the time were a minor league club for the Florida Marlins. He pitched well enough to get to the major leagues which led him to pitch for multiple teams throughout his career including the Padres, Brewers, Cubs, and Braves. Over the phone I asked Wil how he uses his big-league experience to help his son and he answered, “I made sure his mechanics were good from an early age, then check to see if his mindset and effort are there and also how he keeps his composure when pitching”. Me being the big baseball fan that I asked him who was the best player he faced, got out, and played with in that order. He answered Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr, and Tony Gynn Sr. Wil went on to tell stories about those three Hall of Famers which I really enjoyed. Both Wil and Jace were great people to talk to over the phone, they were kind and full of energy. Through Wil’s guidance I believe Jace will end up making it extremely far if he keeps that Cunnane attitude.