Alberson Home Run Record
Home runs coming early and often for Alberson in 2003By Tim Stried
March 17, 2003
Just like every other player on the Bluffton College baseball team, junior Kyle Alberson had his sights set on a few personal goals for the 2003 season. At the top of that list was the BC career homerun record. After four games had been played in the young '03 campaign, however, a new goal appeared on Alberson's list: figure out what to do when the number one goal had already been reached.
The Berne, Indiana (South Adams H.S.) native entered this season just three homeruns shy of tying the school's career homerun record, but who would have thought that it would take him just four games to cross that item off his to-do list?
Certainly not Alberson.
"I didn't think it would happen in Florida," said Alberson, who batted .600 (15-for-25) with eight homers and 19 RBI during Bluffton's eight-game schedule in the EMU-Sarasota Spring Classic March 3-7. "After I hit seven out my first year I thought I'd have a chance and with seven more last year I knew I just needed time. I figured I'd hit a couple in Florida then get the record up north."
With one home run in each of his first three games in Sarasota, Alberson had tied the record of 17 set by Dave Rodriguez from 1987-90. Then beginning on a Tuesday with his third at bat in the fourth game of the season, Alberson homered in four straight at bats in a power display that didn't end until Thursday in the middle of the fifth game of the season.
The ball from his record-tying 17th homerun went back into the game for play. The ball from his record-setting 18th homerun is on his desk. And the ball from his record-extending 19th homerun is still somewhere in the middle of the river that flows well beyond the center field wall. "I don't think we're going to get that one back," laughed Alberson, who was a first-team All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference selection last season.
"I've looked at the records from time to time and I thought about it, but it's not something you dwell on," said Alberson, who helped Bluffton fashion a 4-4 record at the Classic and tie for the runner-up spot. "[Former teammate Brad] Buckingham (also a South Adams grad) said I'd get it [the homerun record]. And 17 homers isn't a ton, but it's not too far off from some other colleges."
Thanks to the snow and cold temperatures in Ohio in January and February, Alberson didn't seen a pitch other than under the nets of the indoor batting cage until his first day in Sarasota, but it didn't take long for the 5-11 first baseman to get 'into the zone.'
"From the first day of pre-season practice I just felt good," said Alberson. "And in the past I've been pulling everything, but in Florida a lot of my homeruns were to the opposite field, which tells me I'm in the zone. I made few small adjustments and it helped me to start hitting the ball much better."
And it's not like hitting homeruns is something new for Alberson. At South Adams, a school that routinely ranks among the highest homerun-producing high school teams in Indiana, he belted 19 round trippers and was named all-conference as a sophomore, junior and senior.
So what's next for Alberson?
"I'll try for another record. Might as well shoot for it. I have two years left-I want to keep it going."