Five Homers for High School Player
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ With players chanting ``Mark McGwire,″ Brent Williams hit five home runs in a game to tie a high school record.
He homered in five consecutive at-bats and knocked in eight runs, leading Maple Grove High School of Bemus Point to a rain-shortened six-inning 17-2 rout of Clymer on Tuesday night.
``This young man had a day for himself,″ Maple Grove coach Scott Lewellen said Wednesday. ``He hit five out that were over the fence, and I would say three of them were just crushed. Gone.″
Williams became the second player to hit five home runs in as many at-bats in a game this year as Jesse Crosswhite of Fortuna, Calif., did it April 1.
Only three other high school players have hit five homers in a game: Aaron Hull, of Nantucket, Mass., in 1996; Shawn Gallagher, of Wilmington, N.C., in 1995; and Ken Lisko, of Youngstown, Ohio, in 1976.
It’s not clear whether any of those others homered in five straight at-bats.
Williams’ performance came exactly a year to the day Florida State’s Marshall McDougall hit six homers to set the college record. The major league record is four, set nine times, most recently in 1993 by Mark Whiten.
``Right after I hit the third one, I was shaking my head. I really didn’t think I could hit three home runs,″ Williams said, noting that he had never hit five home runs in one varsity season.
After the fifth homer, he didn’t know what to think. ``It was amazing, five home runs in a game. I didn’t feel like I felt when I got home and found out it was a record, but it felt great,″ he said.
Saying he wasn’t shifting his weight properly, Williams entered the game struggling at the plate, with one hit in his previous 13 at bats. Evidently, he made the proper adjustment.
``I just started loosening up,″ he said.
Williams hit his fifth homer in the sixth inning and was to bat seventh in the seventh inning before the game was called due to rain.
Lewellen said athletes and fans at a track meet and softball game on adjoining fields got caught up in the buzz, stopping to watch as Williams came to the plate.
``Every time he came up, it was like a McGwire thing,″ Lewellen said of the St. Louis Cardinals’ slugger. ``It was special.″
Williams, a 17-year-old junior, plays second base for Maple Grove, outside Jamestown. He bats third and is known for his power, although he had only one homer in his previous 10 games this season.
The game Tuesday was played at Clymer’s fenced-in field, which measures 275 feet to left and 320 to center. All five homers were to left-center. An approaching thunder storm stirred the wind, which was blowing out.
``It wasn’t like we were trying to feed him,″ said Clymer coach Irvin King, adding he had no intention of walking him. ``He had a couple of tough pitches.″
Maple Grove’s next game is Thursday, followed by a rematch with Clymer on Friday. King noted there are no fences on Maple Grove’s field.
``We’ll back up a long way,″ he said.
Williams is looking ahead to his first at-bat Thursday against Sherman.
``The first time I swing, I’m going to try (for a home run),″ he said. ``And if I miss it, I’ll cut down on my swing and just put the ball in play.″