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Von Schell's homer jets Suns to win

August 12, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Swing, after swing, after swing. Tyler Von Schell gave the impression that he had Macon pitcher Zach Miner all sized up.

The Hagerstown Suns first baseman was just a hair off or a fraction of a second too late on his swing in his first two times at the plate. He sprayed foul balls all along the left field line, just pulling the trigger a little too early.

But on the third go-round, Von Schell had the right yardstick, ripping an opposite field drive to right center field for a tiebreaking two-run home run in the fifth inning Sunday that sent the Suns on their way to a 6-3 victory over the Braves.

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Von Schell's 14th home run of the season broke a 2-2 tie while scoring Branden Florence - who went 4-for-4 to blister Macon pitching - ahead of him.

It was all a matter of remembering who he was for Von Schell while not trying to be someone he's not.

"(Miner) was throwing two-seamers in on me," Von Schell said. "He just left one up over the plate. He's a good pitcher with good numbers. It's tough to get on someone all the time ... unless you're Barry Bonds."

Von Schell hit a mammoth foul off Miner in the first after back-to-back doubles by Derin McMains and Florence gave Hagerstown a 1-0 lead. The shot cleared the left field wall and landed in the middle of the Stadium Tavern's parking lot before he grounded out.

Von Schell struck out in the third, but not before peppering a couple of shots into the third-base side stands.

All were symbols of how Von Schell was off by a snap of the fingers. In the fifth, he got the beat.

"It was an excellent piece of hitting," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "He drove the ball to right center field. He's been swinging the bat well and he's been so close to cranking one out. Anytime he stays on the ball, he drives it."

Von Schell's homer, coupled with Miguel Miranda's two-run single in the eighth inning for insurance, was more than enough to support Hagerstown starter Ryan Hannaman. Hannaman (7-6) lasted six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out five.

Miranda completed a dream week for the Suns (20-30, 54-66) with his 2-for-4 outing with the two RBI. The shortstop was pressed into the lineup on Aug. 5, he has 14 hits in 23 at-bats (.609) with 10 RBI and three runs scored while raising his batting average 59 points to .237.

"He's been amazing to watch," Ramsey said. "He's hung in there all year and worked hard. Now he's making he most out of his opportunity. He looks like a different hitter. His at-bats over this stretch have been stellar."

The Suns took a 2-1 lead in the second on Robbie Meyer's eighth homer. But Macon tied the game with single runs in the second and fourth as Aaron Herr drove in both runs.

After Von Schell's home run, Scott Thorman homered in the eighth off Lieiby Guzman to make it a 4-3 game until Miranda added the insurance.

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