published Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Sands starts well; Lookouts still hot

Jerry Sands will not homer every night for the Chattanooga Lookouts.

That was clinched Saturday night at AT&T Field when Sands was hitless in four at-bats during Chattanooga's 4-2 victory over Birmingham. The 22-year-old first baseman out of Catawba (N.C.) College did snag a fourth-inning line drive to save a run, so it wasn't a completely lackluster end to a euphoric week.

"It's everything I've dreamed of as far as this year and what I've put my goals toward," Sands said. "It's been a good time."

Chattanooga rallied for its fourth win in five games this half with a seventh-inning surge that included a Jaime Pedroza RBI triple, a Dee Gordon RBI double and a Trayvon Robinson RBI single. The Lookouts are 37-37 overall.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Sands began last week at the Midwest League All-Star Game, where he competed in Monday's home run derby and homered in Tuesday's game, earning MVP honors as well. He received a call late Tuesday night that he was being promoted to Double-A and traveled Wednesday to Chattanooga.

Sands homered Thursday in his Lookouts debut and homered again Friday during a 4-for-4 night.

"Getting the call and calling home to tell my parents," Sands said when asked to name his favorite moment of the week. "It's what I've been working for. It's definitely been fun all week, because you want to come out here and try and put your best foot forward and get a few hits right off the bat, if you can."

In 69 games with Great Lakes, Sands hit .333 with 16 doubles, 18 homers and 46 RBIs.

"His approach at the plate is a very good one," Lookouts hitting coach John Valentin said. "He stays through the ball very well, so he's able to hit not only fastballs but sliders and changeups. As far as trying to fix him, there is no fixing him. He has a good approach already.

"Can he sustain this success is what we're looking for. They're going to make adjustments to him, and we'll see how it goes."

After Saturday's first pitch was delayed 26 minutes by surrounding thunder and lightning, starting pitchers Dylan Axelrod and Chris Withrow had some early success, combining to strike out five consecutive batters at one stretch. Withrow struggled in the third inning, however, allowing a Christian Marrero RBI double and a bases-loaded walk, and was replaced by David Pfeiffer in the fourth.

Corey Smith's double to right-center field in the sixth scored Robinson to make it 2-1.

Brent Leach is scheduled to start today's 2:15 series finale for the Lookouts, with Johnnie Lowe (2-1, 3.70) scheduled for the Barons.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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