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Baseball: Schock brings Ospreys value, and HRs

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07/20/2016 7:00 PM |

North Fork outfielder Dan Schock 071916

The North Fork Ospreys have a new single-season, home-run king.

Dan Schock has made it into the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League club’s record book. His nine homers have exceeded the seven set by Tim Panetta in 2012 and Peter Papcun in 2015.

“It’s exciting because I just want to see how much I can really bring to the team and see if I can get a couple more, hopefully,” said the Sacred Heart University junior outfielder.

Schock had been on a tear leading up to the recent the All-Star break. He was named the HCBL Player of the Week for the fifth week of the season.

“That was a big week,” Schock said. “I was seeing the ball well and just trying to put good swings on it, and the ball just kept going.”

Schock batted .529 for the week with six home runs and 12 RBIs. He became the fourth Ospreys player to be so honored this season, following outfielder Dylan Resk (Week 1), infielder Richie Palacios (Week 3) and outfielder Max Smith (Week 4).

Schock had three games in Week 4 in which he hit two home runs and one in which he had 5 RBIs. During one stretch, he hit 11-for-22 with seven homers. He also homered in the All-Star Game.

Bill Ianniciello said he has never had a player have a week like Schock had in the five years he has been the Ospreys’ manager.

“He had a monster week,” Ianniciello said. “Pretty impressive at any level.”

It was new to Schock, too.

“I never had a stretch like that,” said Schock, who was second in the league in homers to Aaron Ping of the Westhampton Aviators (12) through Monday’s games.

Schock said he has been a home-run hitter since his sophomore year in high school.

What’s the secret to knocking the ball over the fence?

“I don’t really have a secret,” he said. “I just try to put a good swing on it and hope for the best.”

Smith turns heat on

Others might grumble about excessive heat, but not Max Smith. And for good reason. Smith is from Tuscon, Arizona, and plays in Las Vegas for UNLV. He feels right at home in the heat.

This is the first time Smith has been to the East Coast. The Ospreys rightfielder has enjoyed some biking, done some fishing and saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

“I love it,” he said. “The atmosphere is great, the guys are great.”

Smith’s play hasn’t been bad, either. After doubling and going 1-for-4 in a 3-2 victory over the Riverhead Tomcats on Monday night while batting cleanup, he is hitting .306 with six home runs and 33 RBIs. Through Monday, he was second in the league in RBIs.

“Max has been very solid,” Bill Ianniciello said. “He’s having a very good summer. He’s squaring balls up as much as anybody. He plays a very solid rightfield. He runs the bases well. A complete player.”

Smith didn’t get a lot of at-bats at UNLV as a freshman this past season, hitting 10-for-56 (.179) with six RBIs. But the 2015 Southern Arizona Player of the Year seems to have found his stroke.

“I just wanted to work on getting better at-bats, better approaches at the plate,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, I just came in here trying to get better, and it worked out for me.”

Ianniciello said, “I think it took him a little time to get his timing and his power stroke, and since that point he’s been very steady and giving us some home runs.”

And having fun in the Long Island sun.

Smith said, “It’s a lot more fun when you’re hitting well.”

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Photo caption: Dan Schock holds North Fork’s single-season record for home runs with nine. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

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