— Shane Brown, folks. Sure, it was Carmen Angelini who hit the go-ahead home run for the Thunder, but he’s expected to do things like that. Fair or not, nobody expects much out of Shane Brown. And manager Tony Franklin can say that all players are created equal all he wants — and of course he’ll say that, he should protect all his players — to have players like Brown and Jeff Farnham play the big roles they did in Monday afternoon’s 10-6 win over an abysmal Reading squad like they did means a lot to that ballclub.
“Everybody’s important on the club, and it doesn’t matter how much you play or how little you play, when you do contribute it’s a bonus for us,” Franklin said. “I can’t say enough about both of those guys, they’re a big part of this club and they never complain about anything. When their number is called, they get in there…and they give me everything they’ve got.”
Brown drove in the game-tying run in a five-run sixth inning, and then perfectly executed a suicide squeeze in the eighth to put the Thunder on top for good. After the game, Brown joked that he doesn’t get to do enough interviews and started to throw out the ol’ I’m just happy to help my team any way I can routine.
“I’m happy I got in there and was able to contribute today,” said the day’s humble star.
“It was a lot of fun. Everybody worked real hard today and put up two huge innings and we came out with the win. So, it was awesome.”
Sure, Shane. That’s all well and good. But tell us about you.
“With two outs, to get the single and the RBI to go ahead, that was awesome and felt really good. But I got that chance because (Cody) Grice beat out that ball, which was huge…then the squeeze was interesting. You don’t get to do that too often. In pro ball, that was the first time (I did it). Seeing the signal from Tony, you’re like, ‘Did I really just see that?’ But I was lucky enough to get it down. I’m glad he threw a slider too, it made it easier to bunt.”
Overlooked in the Shane Brown-mania was Zach Nuding getting off the hook from dropping to 2-11. Nuding, who is far better than his record would indicate, has received a bunch of losses due to insufficent run support. But he certainly would have earned this one after a rough performance. But this time, his teammates picked him up when he needed it the most.
“I went out there and battled, but they had not necessarily my back, but our team had our team’s back, in a sense,” Nuding said.
“Everyone was out there looking for a win, regardless of who it goes to. It’s kind of irrelevant if it goes to you. If it does, it does. If it doesn’t, when you have a performance like that where everyone’s working together, you don’t care if you get the check in the win column or not. I was just satisfied that our team didn’t quit at all.”
And to the initial point that Nuding’s win-loss record may give people the wrong perception of him…
“It kind of does (bother me), but it kind of doesn’t,” he said. “A record like that is only an indication to certain people who don’t fully understand all aspects of the game. You can have all the wins in the world and still not be pitching good and have run support. To someone who doesn’t really understand the numbers games or the aspects of the game, it looks good on paper but it doesn’t correlate sometimes. And it works the other way as well, where you can have ten losses, but it doesn’t necessarily correlate to the type of pitcher you are.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com