Originally created 08/08/03

First baseman keys GreenJackets' victory

Dustin Brisson came home last summer.

After a forgettable half season as a St. Louis Cardinals farmhand last year, Brisson returned to the Boston Red Sox, the organization that drafted him in 2000 and the club that gave him his first big break in professional baseball.

The 25-year-old first baseman also is feeling at home in Augusta, where he spent the 2001 season before the Red Sox traded him to the Cardinals in the off-season.

Brisson's RBI double in the fourth inning of Game 1 of Thursday's doubleheader lifted his average to .366 in 12 games with the GreenJackets and lifted his club to a 2-1 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Game 2 of the doubleheader was postponed because of rain, and will be made up today as part of a doubleheader beginning at 6:15 p.m.

"Coming back to the Red Sox, if felt like I never left," said Brisson, who was released by the Cardinals in July 2002 and re-signed with the Red Sox two days later. "They've always been there for me, and coming back made me feel great. The Red Sox have treated me with so much respect as a player. It's great to be home."

A 15th-round pick out of the University of Central Florida, Brisson finished the 2002 season with Boston's high Class A team in Sarasota, Fla.

Brisson impressed the Red Sox officials enough to send him to Double A Portland to open the 2003 season. But two injuries suffered in late April - a broken left index finger and high ankle sprain - forced him out of the lineup for a month.

"I started off great, but was never able to get it going again when I came back," Brisson said.

So the Red Sox sent him to Augusta on July 14 for the chance to play every day and "work on some things."

"The Red Sox wanted me to come down here and work on my approach at the plate," Brisson said."I'm taking advantage of it."

Brisson has hit safely in eight of his first 12 starts for the Jackets. He has belted two homers, four doubles and has eight RBI in his first 41 at-bats.

His goal is to finish strong and return to Portland in 2004, and a now wiser and stronger Brisson says he believes he will do it.

"I'm more of a professional now than the first time I was here," Brisson said. "That comes with experience. I have a routine and I go about my business. I'm learning the ropes and that all comes with experience."

TURNING POINT: The Jackets scored two runs in the fourth inning of the seven-inning contest onan RBI-double by Dustin Brisson and an RBI-single by Chad Spann.

BIG BAT: Lakewood's Chris Roberson went 2-for-3 and stole three bases,p pushing his league-leading total to 50 steals.

TOP GUN: Augusta's Jon Lester pitched five shutout innings.

FOR THE RECORD: WP-Lester (5-7). LP-Lee Gwaltney (6-7) Save-Mike Dennison (4).

TONIGHT: Jackets vs.Blueclaws, doubleheader, 6:15 p.m.

Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.


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