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Clubhouse chatter - Evans heads in 2 directions to be success

July 02, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

Nick Evans is finding success by realizing the rules of personal physics.

Opposites don't necessarily attract, but they don't have to detract either.

The Hagerstown Suns first baseman has enjoyed an upswing in his season since he began feeling at ease with two totally opposite emotions.

Being aggressive and being selective.

Taking up yoga would be a little easier.

"I spent a lot of time getting myself out," Evans said. "I was swinging at bad pitches and taking myself out of my at-bats."

The desire to be aggressive with his swings made Evans less than selective. It reflected in his early-season stats.

Evans hit just .222 in the first two months of the season as the cleanup hitter. He managed just seven home runs with 28 RBI.


His power numbers weren't as high as he had hoped and the Suns suffered with a hole in the middle of the lineup as Evans, outfielder Jonathan Sanchez and third baseman Leivi Ventura suffered through inconsistencies.

Then a light went on. Evans became more comfortable in the batter's box and in the field and it reflected in his June statistics.

Evans hit .364 in the last month, with six home runs and 19 RBI. Sixteen of his 32 hits in June went for extra bases. He now has 13 home runs and 47 RBI in 75 games and 242 at-bats, a homer every 18.6 at-bats and an RBI every 5.2 at-bats.

"Nick has come on over the last month," said Suns manager Frank Cacciatore. "His swing is becoming more consistent and he is learning to lay off pitches. He is getting much better at doing that and that is an encouraging sign."

The night of the month came Wednesday when Evans had three hits, including two home runs, and three RBI in the Suns' 8-1 win over Delmarva.

Both homers were bombs that came after Evans worked the situation with his patience and became aggressive when he got his pitch.

"I didn't think either of them were going out," Evans said. "When I was swinging at bad pitches, I was taking myself out of the strike zone."

But even with his great June, Evans isn't convinced that he is here to stay just yet.

"Baseball is a funny game," he said. "Sometimes you are comfortable, sometimes you're not. Once you get comfortable with something, something else comes along."

Suns Spots

When the Suns lost Joe Holden, Jonathan Sanchez, Jonathan Schemmel and Elvis Cruz to Brooklyn, they lost a combined .269 batting average with 18 home runs and 74 RBI.

That's 27.8 percent of the Suns' hits, 32 percent of their home runs and 32.1 percent of their RBI.

The players were moved to help straighten out struggling Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League. The Cyclones started the season at 0-6, in a hotbed of New York baseball interest that hurt the Mets in their ongoing battle with the Yankees for fan support.

In June, the Suns hit .265 as a team, their best month of the season. The hot hitters were: Drew Butera (.285), Cruz (.409), Evans (.364) and Jonel Pacheco (.308), despite the 11-13 record.

Evans is hitting .270 with runners in scoring position and .327 with 20 RBI with runners in scoring position with two outs. Holden led the Suns with by hitting .412 in that same situation before leaving.

A look ahead

Once again, Lake is the key word in the Suns schedule.

The Suns spend the Fourth of July holiday on a three-day roadtrip to Lake County (Indians) before returning home for their third consecutive home weekend set with Lakewood (Phillies), a four-game series.

Thursday's game will be another Thirsty Thursday and Friday will feature more post-game fireworks. Sunday will be Super Soaker Sunday, featuring the world's longest slip 'n' slide.

Bob Parasiliti covers the Hagerstown Suns for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at

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