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Power source
Erismanï ¿ ½s record-breaking season key for Brookwood

SNELLVILLE - If he never hits another home run, Jordan Erisman already has the memory of a lifetime.

The Brookwood shortstop blasted a walk-off home run in Game 3 of a first-round series against Alpharetta, sending his No. 1-ranked baseball team into the second round with his ninth-inning heroics.

Just two innings earlier, Erisman and teammate Ross Heffley had hit back-to-back homers to force extra innings when the Broncos were down to their last out.

In a span of three innings, the senior three-year starter had hit two homers, one more than his sophomore and junior seasons combined. Three months ago, such a power display from Erisman would have seemed unlikely. Now it's becoming expected.

The game-winner was Erisman's 13th homer of the season, tying a school record set in 1999 by Lance Layson.

"I did not expect (13 homers) from him, not after he hit one last year and none as a sophomore," Brookwood head coach Rick Howard said. "Did he have the ability? Yeah. I thought he'd maybe hit five or six and he'd hit some clutch ones. But he's got four multi-homer games. He had a span of five in three games.

"And he's hitting them all over, to right, to center, to left. If you hit 13 bombs in a 29-game schedule, you're doing pretty well."

Erisman isn't terribly close to the Gwinnett County season home run record - Parkview grad and current Atlanta Brave Jeff Francoeur's 20 in 2001 will be tough for anyone to beat - but he's still had quite a record-breaking senior season.

The North Georgia signee's final at-bat also was his 106th career hit, tying a Brookwood record held by Clayton Cain.

"It's kind of cool (to get the records), but I would definitely take a state championship over either of those any day," Erisman said.

After surviving last week's first-round scare, a state championship is still the goal for 26-2 Brookwood, Class AAAAA's top-ranked team. The Broncos face a Norcross team today that is loaded with pitching, they answer with a potent offense that features a slugger in the leadoff spot.

Erisman is hitting .446 with the 13 homers, 33 RBIs, a .515 on-base percentage and a 1.012 slugging percentage, an impressive pack of numbers for a top-of-the-lineup guy.

The effort has been particularly satisfying because the 6-foot, 175-pounder was so disappointed in his junior season, when he hit in the low .300s with one homer.

"Last year it was horrible," Erisman said. "I was out in front of everything. I worked on staying back, trying to drive the ball more. I figured I'd get a couple, but I didn't expect this. I think I'm just staying back on the ball this season, not going out to get it."

Erisman also was called into rare pitching duty in the first-round series, improving his record to 2-0 this season in just six innings of work. He also has a save and a 1.17 ERA.

If all goes well for the Broncos, they won't need his pitching much. But they need his offense. And, according to Howard, his leadership.

"Probably on Saturday (after the walk-off homer) was the most emotion the kid's shown in four years," Howard said. "He just goes out every day and plays hard. He does his job ... He's not going to say a lot. He just goes out and plays hard and practices hard every day. He's just solid in all facets of the game."

And last weekend, he was clutch.

The two critical home runs, sandwiched by an enormous game-tying shot by Heffley, made sure the Broncos stayed alive for tonight, when their pursuit of the school's first baseball state title since 1987 continues.

"I think we realize now (after the close first-round games), since we've been winning so big throughout the season, that we can win the close ones, too," Erisman said. "We still think we can make a deep run and win it all. If we show up every game, we can play with anybody."

SideBar: The Erisman File

Who: Jordan Erisman

Sport: Baseball

School: Brookwood

Class: Senior

Favorite movie: "Dumb and Dumber"

Favorite food: Chicken

Favorite athlete: Jeff Francoeur

Favorite music artist: Aerosmith

Noteworthy:

· Is hitting .446 with 13 home runs, 33 RBIs and a 1.012 slugging percentage

· Hit walk-off homer in ninth inning to win first-round series over Alpharetta

· Has tied school records for career hits (106) and home runs in a season (13)

· Has signed with North Georgia