RubberDucks Notebook: von Schamann working to get ahead
The RubberDucks (67-56) went on a bit of a hot streak, winning six of their last seven games thanks to some great pitching. The team swept New Britain and took two out of three from the Fisher Cats, as well as winning in comeback fashion against the Sea Dogs in the first of three games on Tuesday night. Akron is now just 1.5 GB of first-place Richmond and 6.5 games ahead of third-place Bowie in the EL Western playoff race.
Player Feature: Duke von Schamann
The Los Angeles Dodgers designated pitcher Colt Hynes for assignment on Sunday due to signing Kevin Correia. Hynes, of course, was acquired by the Cleveland Indians from San Diego late last season for cash considerations. At the beginning of this year, the Tribe DFA’d the 29-year-old and the Dodgers showed interest. This led to the Indians’ acquisition of a young right-handed starting pitching prospect named Dalton “Duke” von Schamann.
Named “Duke” because of his parents’ love for classic film star John Wayne, von Schamann has had quite the successful first year with Cleveland’s organization.
On April 9th in his RubberDucks debut, the right-hander was used in three innings of relief. Although he gave up a homer and two earned runs, von Schamann struck out six batters and walked none in his first game with Akron.
Fast-forward to the month of August and the 23-year-old has become one of the team’s most consistent and dominant pitchers in a crucial last stretch of the season. His most recent stretch of games earned him the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week Award on Monday.
“I feel pretty good right now,” said von Schamann. “I’ve been able to go deep in the game these last few starts. Anytime I can go seven innings with no walks and get them to swing a lot I’m happy with it.”
This refers to Sunday’s dominant performance where the right-hander went seven innings and allowed just two earned runs on four hits. Sunday’s start was von Schamann’s fifth straight quality start and fourth consecutive win.
“I’ve made some mechanical adjustments. I’m just trying to be smoother and feel comfortable with my windup and stretch. I’m also concentrating on getting ahead of hitters, pounding the strike zone and keeping it low.”
Manager David Wallace believes that his success will simply come with good location, “It’s all about keeping the ball down, it’s nothing that we haven’t heard before and it’s no real secret.”
The 23-year-old doesn’t describe himself as a strikeout pitcher with only 64 strikeouts in 23 games. With Akron’s fielding percentage leading the Eastern League overall, von Schamann credited his defense for his recent success.
“I’ve never really been a guy that’s going to strikeout 10 guys a game, so what I try to do is get batters to take defensive swings. I’m very confident in our infielders and outfielders, they’re great.”
Wally believes that after a bad end of June and a rough July, von Schamann has gotten back to where he was earlier in the season.
“He’s getting back to the things that he did at the beginning of the year as far as throwing strikes. He got away from that a little bit in the middle of the season, but he’s getting back to it and finishing strong.”
Moment of the Week
Canal Park witnessed a classic game-winner on Wednesday night when the RubberDucks rallied from a one-run deficit headed into the bottom of the ninth inning against the Rock Cats. On the very first pitch, Jake Lowery blasted a solo shot to right center that tied the game at five apiece. A Justin Toole single and Jaime Pedroza sacrifice bunt later, Tim Fedroff found the gap between shortstop and third and delivered the game-winning single to give Akron a 6-5 win.
In the same game, Ollie Linton made number two on SportsCenter's Top Ten with this unbelieveable range and diving catch in left center.
The RubberDucks (67-56) continue their series Wednesday in Portland with the Sea Dogs (75-48). Akron will then take on the Fisher Cats again in a three-game weekend set.
Spencer Davies is a student at the University of Akron studying Sports Management with a minor concentrating in Mass Communication. He has interned for the Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate Akron RubberDucks, IMG College, and has shadowed Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico. He currently is an on-air sports personality at WZIP-FM and works for the Akron Beacon Journal. Follow Spencer on Twitter @SpinDavies.