Crosswhite blasts state homer marks

By Chace Bryson

The Times-Standard

FORTUNA--California has always been a baseball haven. The talent that the Golden State's diamonds have supplied to our national pasttime comprises a seemingly endless list of current and future hall of famers.

Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Robin Yount, Darryl Strawberry, Barry Bonds, and yes even current home run king Mark McGwire, all graced California high school baseball fields before starring in the major leagues. However, it's Jesse Crosswhite of Fortuna who now owns the state high school record for most home runs in a game.

Crosswhite, a three-year varsity starter for the Huskies, etched his name among the giants of California baseball history on the first of this month when he belted home runs in five consecutive trips to the plate against the Cubs of South Fork. His linescore for the game read, 5-for-5 with five homers and 10 runs batted in.

"I felt like I was in a zone," Crosswhite said. "I was very relaxed and was just seeing the ball really well. I was just really looking to drive the ball and felt that they couldn't get anything by me."

They didn't get anything by him. Cubs pitchers Stuart Mandon, Chris White and Roger Coleman certainly did try. The first home run came on a curveball, the next two were fastballs, the fourth was another curve and the record-setting shot came on a fastball nowhere near the strike zone.

"The last one that I hit, the pitch was probably a foot outside the plate," Crosswhite said.

It wasn't until nearly five days afterward that he discovered it was a record and that he stood alone.

"I was very excited," Crosswhite said. "I really hadn't given it much thought before then. It's a great feeling."

It not only set the record for most home runs in a single game, it also broke the record for most consecutive home runs since he hit them in five straight at bats. Finally, it also ties the record for most home runs in a day.

Crosswhite, who's been playing baseball for almost 12 years, is no slouch in the field either. He has spent time at third base, shortstop, catcher, and pitcher over the past three seasons. However, he grown most comfortable at the hot corner, a position he's worked at since his sophomore season.

"I feel most comfortable at third base," Crosswhite said. "You have to be quick and react on contact which is different than shortstop where you have to wait and read the ball. I just like relying on reflex."

Fortuna head coach, Erik Helms, has enjoyed having Crosswhite as the cornerstone of his baseball team the past two years.

"He's been a great team leader these past two seasons," Helms said. "He leads by example. He's hard working and very baseball knowledgable. I'm confident he could play somewhere beyond high school."

Crosswhite's current post-high school plans consist of going down south with hopes of playing baseball for a junior college in the San Diego area.

As of April 10th, Crosswhite's batting average was a scorching .624 with 18 RBIs and seven home runs. He since hit his eighth home run against Arcata last Wednesday, a solo shot to break up Gregg Reynold's no-hitter.

Crosswhite and his Husky teammates will begin play in the San Marin Tournament today against Wood High School of Vacaville. They will play again locally Saturday in a doubleheader at Arcata.

2000 Times-Standard
Mon, Apr 17, 2000