Audio: Correll makes history
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On a team that boasts two players tied for the California League home run lead and another who's fourth on the list, it should come as no surprise that a member of the Lancaster JetHawks had a multi-homer game.
But it wasn't Bubba Bell, Aaron Bates or Zachary Daeges.
Brad Correll tied the California League record by hitting four homers Saturday in the JetHawks' 16-4 rout of the High Desert Mavericks.
Correll equaled the mark set just 35 days earlier, when Bates slugged four roundtrippers against Lake Elsinore on May 19.
"It was awesome," gushed Correll, who was toiling in the Northern League earlier this month. "I saw the ball well and you feel invincible. It was just a good night."
The 26-year-old outfielder hit .333 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 24 games with the Kansas City T-Bones before signing with the Boston Red Sox. They assigned him to their Class A Advanced affiliate in the California League.
After going hitless in his first two games with Lancaster, he homered twice and drove in four runs on June 17 against Inland Empire. Did that give him any inkling of Saturday's record-tying performance?
"After my first at-bat, I was feeling super-relaxed. I felt like I was making good swings," Correll said.
The North Carolina got started early, ripping a two-out, two-run in the first off starter Jose Escalona to give Lancaster a 3-0 cushion. He followed Bates' leadoff blast in the third with a solo shot, also served up by Escalona.
"The first at-bat, I got a fastball out over the plate. The second at-bat, [I was waiting on] a fastball," he said.
Correll launched a three-run shot in the sixth, then tied Bates' record in the eighth with a two-run homer off reliever Steven Uhlmansiek.
"The third and fourth were change-ups up in the zone," he said.
Correll hit behind Bates, whose 18th homer tied Bell for the California League lead. Clearly, hitting fifth in such a potent lineup agrees with Correll.
"This team absolutely rakes," he said. "It's awesome, it's fun. We have a good thing working here."
Correll went 4-for-5 with eight RBIs, raising his batting average 154 points to .368. Last year, he combined to hit .254 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs in 121 games with Class A Greensboro and Class A Advanced Lynchburg.
"The biggest thing for me as a power hitter is to clear my mind," he explained. "You can go 4-for-5 with four homers or you can go 0-for-5. Hopefully, I can keep my confidence and try to get good swings."
Denis Gorman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.