Mitchell Getting More Comfortable

As temperatures rise during the month of May in eastern North Carolina, so does the batting average of Carolina Mudcats third baseman Lee Mitchell. Carolina's hottest hitter as of late has hit .339 this month, raising his overall batting average to .304.

In his second year with the Mudcats, Lee Mitchell has mastered the role of cleanup hitter with 24 RBI in his previous 29 games and leads the team in home runs (8) as well as RBI (29).

With ten doubles already, he's well on his way to passing last year's totals when he set a Carolina franchise record for doubles in a season with 37 with a .253 average.

"There isn't much difference, really," said Mitchell when asked about what's different this year. "Just being patient at the plate and really thinking about seeing the ball. I'm not really thinking too much about my swing this year. It's just seeing the ball and hitting the ball."

Don't forget running on the ball. Mitchell had his first stolen base of the season on Monday night with two out in a tie game when he swiped second base, not even meriting a throw from the catcher. He later scored the go-ahead run to give Carolina a brief 3-2 lead.

"We had to get something going in a tie ball game," said Mitchell. "The pitcher wasn't really thinking about me since I didn't have a stolen base all year. I happened to catch him off guard."

The 2003 product of the University of Georgia has also improved his defense at third base. Mitchell made 22 errors at the hot corner in 2005 with Jupiter, but has progressed nicely since then, committing just one error in his first 41 games.

"I just have to move my feet more," said Mitchell as the key to improving his defensive play. "I really need to expect the ball."

"Over at third, they call it the hot corner. So you've got to expect the ball to be hit to you every time. I think that's what I'm doing this year. I'm expecting the ball to be hit to me."

(Photos exclusively Copyright © 2007 Nikolaus Johnson Controlled Images)

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