Copyright (MARK JAFFEE) Republican-American, April 13, 2007
Peter Maki’s resume includes an internship with the New Haven County Cutters independent baseball team and long-term aspirations of landing a front-office position with a major league organization. But unfortunately that was short-lived. “I heard back from the Angels, A’s and Blue Jays, but nothing positive,” noted Maki. “They said thanks for inquiring and we’ll keep you in mind.” He dabbled in the business world as an agent at Drakeley Real Estate in Woodbury, but never lost his passion for the diamond.
“I was looking for something to do and tried real estate,” said Maki, who also became an assistant baseball and basketball coach at Nonnewaug High, where he graduated in 2000. Proving that staying in contact with people is the best way to land a job, Maki talked to Brett Boretti, his former college coach at Franklin & Marshall, who’s now at Columbia University. Boretti was aware that soon-to-be University of New Haven coach Raphael Cerrato was searching for a pitching coach.
“I still wanted to get involved with baseball and met with Raphael and went in as a volunteer coach last season,” said Maki, who played two summers with the Torrington Twisters of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Cerrato succeeded legendary UNH head coach Frank “Porky” Vieira after last season, and Cerrato elevated Maki to a paid, full-time position as pitching coach in August. Maki, now 24, and Vieira, who coached at UNH for four decades, converse almost daily. “He brings me lunch every day; sometimes it’s a piece of apple pie,” Maki noted. “I never ask for it. He just brings it by.” Beyond the daily menu, Maki has learned an invaluable lesson from one of the all-time great college coaches. “Coach V always said, ‘Win today, and then worry about tomorrow,'” Maki said. “It’s been a great experience to learn from a legend.” Cerrato’s other assistant is Jeff Hourigan of Beacon Falls, who handles the outfielders and is the Chargers’ hitting coach. Hourigan played at Masuk High, where he was Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior, before going on to Clemson University. He transferred to UConn for his final two seasons. He coached the Monroe American Legion team last summer. Maki and Hourigan will join forces also this summer for the Tribury Turkey Vultures of the Tri-State League.