Down on the Dodgers Farm - May 18

You remember the movie,"The Rookie" ? The one about Jim Morris' remarkable journey from high school teacher to the big leagues? Well, if Hollywood wants another one with the same sort of theme -- and you just know they do -- then may I suggest they look in the direction of Steve Schmoll.

When Schmoll was cut from the University of Maryland baseball team as an outfielder, he went to his near-by home but not to brood. Rather, he built a mound in the backyard and taught himself to pitch. On the advice of a buddy, he adopted a side-arm motion. Not only did he become the most successful member of the Terps' staff, he parlayed it into a contract with the Dodgers and bullpen success.

No, he's not in the big leagues but he's playing his craft for Vero Beach in exemplary fashion these days. Like Tuesday night when he came on to rescue a tiring Jonathan Broxton in the seventh inning. The tying runs were in, the go-ahead runs were on but one pitch, a double play grounder and hope restored. Two more shutout innings followed, Vero scored in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Tampa Yankees and Schmoll had his first victory of the season. Now is that a Hollywood ending or what?

It was the fourth straight for the surging Dodgers who used triples judiciously to gain it. In fact, the winning run was the result of a lead-off three-base knock by Alex Requena followed by Joel Guzman 's third hit of the night through the drawn-in infield. A triple by Bryan Goelz led to two runs earlier while Guzman's fourth three-baser of the season accounted for another.

Broxton had held the Yanks in check until the seventh, striking out six to push his league-leading total to 64. Jesse Hoorelbeke ripped two more hits but Vero is still eight games back of the red-hot Palm Beach Cards in the Florida State East.

Las Vegas wasn't just pushed back from its climb toward .500, it was almost obliterated in a 21-hit mugging by Oklahoma (Rangers) which routed the 51's 12-1. Nine of those runs came off starter Mark Johnson (1-2) in the first two innings, the other three off Winston Abreau in the subsequent two. Vegas used four pitchers after that without any further damage even giving first baseman Luis Garcia a chance on the mound. Did just fine, too, not allowing any scoring and even striking out one.

Vegas, which managed only four hits itself, fell back to 19-21 but remains four 1/2 behind in the Pacific Coast South.

Jacksonville continued its halting pace of late, dropping its seventh of the last nine played, this time to Mobile ((Padres) 8-1. The Baybears jumped all over Randy Leek (1-2) for seven runs early in this one which left the Suns clinging to their one-game lead in the Southern League East. James Loney doubled and singled while both Willie Aybar and well-traveled Tom McGee both added two hits to the Suns cause.

Having completed its exhausting road trip to Ohio and Maryland, Columbus had the rest of the day off before beginning a home stand. Player Moves--The guessing game about who's the player to be named later in the Milton Bradley deal with Cleveland is over. The answer is Andrew Brown. The Indians selected the Jacksonville righthander from a short list presented by the Dodgers to go along with Franklin Gutierrez as the price to be paid for Bradley. Righthander Eric Hull is going up from Vero Beach to replace Brown at Jacksonville with Brandon Warriax activated at Vero. ... McGee, also promoted from Vero had been shuttling between that team and the extended camp since signing as a free agent. Vero also placed outfielder/ first baseman Trey Dyson on the disabled list with shoulder problems.