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Roger Brown's On Baseball: Advice pays off
New Hampshire Fisher Cats Brian Van Kirk talks with manager Gary Allenson during batting practice Tuesday afternoon at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
His father's advice has helped Van Kirk post some impressive numbers in June. Entering Tuesday night's matchup with Reading, Van Kirk was hitting .333 (19 for 57) with 12 RBIs, 16 walks and seven strikeouts in 17 games this month. He had a home run and a triple in Monday's 6-3 victory over Reading.
Van Kirk, a converted catcher, was originally drafted by the Red Sox in 2004 out of Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but didn't sign. He played at the University of Tennessee for two years, and then transferred and spent his final two college seasons at Oral Roberts University.
"I was fairly new to the outfield position when I got drafted," he said. "Obviously confidence comes with success. Confidence also comes from hard work, and applying that work to your game. I feel very confident where I'm at, but every day is a new day. One day you could be not the goat and the next day you're the goat. You have to approach each day with the same demeanor and confidence."
At 27 Van Kirk is older than most of his teammates, but he said he has a positive attitude with regard to his future in professional baseball."If you concern yourself too much with the unknown it will eat you up," he said. "Whatever's going to happen is going to happen. I'm just grateful for the opportunity to be on the field playing.
Fisher Cats relief pitcher Randy Boone hasn't allowed a run in his last 10 appearances (18 2/3 innings). Boone, a former starter, has 15 victories with the Fisher Cats, one shy of the franchise record held by three players: Gustavo Chacin (2004), Ismael Ramirez (2005-07) and Mike MacDonald (2006-08). … New Hampshire will wrap up its three-game series with Reading tonight (7:05). Marcus Stroman is scheduled to start on the mound for the Fisher Cats. Stroman has allowed one earned run in each of his last four starts (21 innings). … The Fisher Cats recognized all of the NHIAA state champions from the 2012-13 school year (all sports) prior to Tuesday's game.