ROAD RUNNER LARRY WALKER HITS FOR CYCLE

For Immediate Release
September 21, 2003

When Larry Walker smacked a line drive into the left-field corner in the seventh inning of the A’s 11-7 victory over the Shellfish on Sunday, fans at Network Associates Coliseum got into the spirit of the moment.   “Go for three! Go for three!” they screamed, hoping the Road Runner hitter would collect a triple to complete the first cycle of the 2003 Mid-West Baseball League season.   Walker instead settled for a double.  “I didn’t hear them,” he said. “But it obviously was in my mind. That’s what I needed to get the cycle.”
Two innings later, the fans got their wish. Walker, who has has been solid but not the story of the Road Runner season, hit a sinking line drive that bounced past Trot Nixon as the center fielder slipped and fell.  Walker cruised into third, becoming the first player of the Mid-West Baseball League season to hit a single, double, triple and home run in the same game.
“It’s hard to describe this feeling,” said Walker, a former standout, who is just having the average season.”I got chills. It’s something I will never forget. It makes it that much better to do it in front of my family and friends who were here today watching me”‘
Walker, who is hitting a team-high .348, reached on a check-swing single in the first inning and belted an 0-2 pitch from Shellfish starter Brian Meadows (0-3) for a double in the second. Walker homered to center in the fifth, doubled in the seventh and wrapped up his first 5-for-5 game with the triple that looked like a single when it left the bat.
Nixon, who is usually a sure footed outfielder, lost his footing as he approached the ball.  “I tried to block the ball,” he said. “I’m disappointed because I didn’t make the play. But that’s the way it is.”
“I can’t say enough about him,” General Manager Michael Fauntleroy said of Walker.  “He’s been tremendous. I don’t know where we’d be without him.”
Walker’ double to right-center in the second stretched the Road Runners lead to 4-0. His home run made it 7-4, and his leadoff double in the seventh set up the Road Runners chance but he did not score. This from a guy who used to ask his mother to park her Mercedes station wagon behind a Little League fence in Portola Valley so he could use it as a home run target.
“I always knew he had power, always knew he had energy,” Fauntleroy said. “He just got the chance to put it all together today. All the credit goes to him and the amount of work he’s put in to keep working on his offense.”
Walker’ output helped Miguel Batista (17-6) who along with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling form a very dominating 1-2-3 starting staff.
“When you win that many games, you deserve a chance to be looked at for the Cy Young Award,” Fauntleroy said.
This game, like his previous two, wasn’t pleasant for Meadows (0-3). The right-hander yielded seven earned runs, eight hits and four walks and was pulled after four and a third innings because his pitch count reached 96.
“This game is so humbling that there’s not really any time to sit back and say, `Oh, this is great,’ ” said Walker, 37.  “Now at the end of the season, if you want to dig yourself a little bit, go ahead. But right now, when we’ve got the Johnnies next week and were still fighting for the Wild Card . . .”  A short time later, Walker was off to the showers. The cycle was history. Next up: Johnstown.

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