Scott White's .168 average last year in rookie ball left a lot of room for improvement.
"I knew I was just in a funk, so I trained hard in the off-season and came back," the Augusta GreenJackets' third baseman said. "(This year is) a lot better than last year, that's for sure. And every year, you just want to get better and better."
White's .272 average led the team going into Wednesday's game, and the right-handed hitter went 1-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI against the Lake County Captains.
Despite blowing a five-run lead, the Captains beat the GreenJackets 6-5 in 10 innings at Lake Olmstead Stadium. The win gives the Captains (25-26) a 3-1 series win and ended an eight-game homestand for the GreenJackets (24-28). Augusta went 5-3 during that stretch.
Augusta starter Willie Corporan gave up five runs and faced all nine batters in the first inning before settling down. Corporan, Milton Tavarez and Michael Dennison combined to hold Lake County off the scoreboard the next eight innings. But Randy Beam's 14-inning scoreless streak came to an end in the 10th inning, when the Captains scored an unearned run on a wild pitch to win the game.
After the Captains took a 5-0 lead in the top of the first, White cut the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the inning after hitting a two-out double to right field. He scored when third baseman Luis Cotto couldn't handle Claudio Arias' grounder. It was White's 50th run of the season, which ties teammate Dirimo Chavez for second.
The Florida native also is second on the team with 47 RBI.
White's specialty this season has been doubles. He leads the team with 29 after getting just one last year. It's a progression that he hopes leads to more than the five home runs he's hit this year.
"You've got to learn how to become a good line drive hitter and then the power will come as you get bigger," White said.
Manager Chad Epperson has been most impressed by White's knowledge of the strike zone. White has struck out 49 times in 404 at-bats. Epperson thinks that control at the plate and White's hand-eye coordination will develop into power as he progresses through the minor leagues.
"He's just coming into the wooden bat," Epperson said.
With his first full season nearly under his belt, White already is thinking about what he wants to do this off-season to make 2005 a better year than 2004. One goal is to get stronger and to keep that muscle on throughout the season - a problem White has had this year.
"These are the dog days now; it's just going out, getting the job done, staying with your routine," White said.
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.