Fisher healthy and hammering home runs for Cavaliers - The Daily Progress: Sports

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Fisher healthy and hammering home runs for Cavaliers

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Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 8:30 pm | Updated: 9:41 am, Wed Apr 17, 2013.

Did it clear the scoreboard and start bouncing along the track at Lannigan Field? Did it ricochet off the scoreboard and dribble into parts unknown? Did it rocket in-between the scoreboard and the right field bleachers and get lost somewhere in the Charlottesville night?

There are several questions left to be answered concerning the whereabouts of Derek Fisher’s mammoth home run in the sixth inning of last week’s game against Radford.

What the Virginia sophomore did to a 1-1 Dylan Nelson fastball has sparked its own legend. UVa football player John Pond, one of the 2,977 on hand at Davenport Field that night, immediately tweeted, “@DeFish23 just cleared the scoreboard in right center with that home run. What a shot! #weightroom.”

Radford play-by-play man Tom Galbraith said he followed the flight of the ball from his press box view behind home plate and saw it go over the “L” in “DAVENPORT FIELD” at the top of the scoreboard.

But a clear video replay has yet to turn up. There is no confirmation for a Fisher launch simply called “a blast” by Cavalier coach Brian O’Connor.

Heck, John Paul Jones Arena could have been in danger.

“I don’t know,” Fisher said. “Honestly, I have no clue.”

Puncturing a baseball isn’t something new for the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder. After all, Fisher participated in last season’s TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby in Omaha. He’s got four such hits to this point in 2013.

However, aside from the impressive power he put behind it, Fisher’s homer against the Highlanders should have been celebrated in its own special way.

It proved the slugger was back.

That ankle he sprained against Towson on March 27? Apparently, it was all healed by April 10.

“Obviously, it was nagging for a little bit,” said Fisher, who missed six games because of the injury. “I did what I had to do to try to come back. Obviously, they didn’t miss me too much. These guys are incredible. It’s the best team I’ve ever played on, best hitting team I’ve ever played on.

“It’s great to be back.”

In his absence, the Cavs went 5-1 and averaged over seven runs a game. Mike Papi took Fisher’s left field spot and hit a sizzling .429 with seven RBI.

From the dugout, Fisher watched Papi’s approach and took mental notes.

“Just watching him when I was out, I think it helped me a lot,” Fisher said. “I would take it as if it were my own at-bat. I was trying to learn even if I wasn’t going to be in the box for a week and a half or whatever I missed.

“Being able to take his at-bat as if it was my own, I think I got a lot better from that.”

It was an O’Connor-approved strategy.

“We talk to our guys all the time about when they’re not in the lineup or they’re injured, use that as valuable time to learn and grow,” said the 10th-year coach. “Hopefully, he took advantage of that time to see what pitchers are doing to players that are a lot like him — Joe McCarthy and Mike Papi. That way, when he did return, he was ready to go.

“Certainly, it’s showing that he did the right thing.”

Fisher returned for game two of the Wake Forest series on April 7 and went 0-for-5. Since, he’s 9-for-19 with a pair of home runs and five RBI.

“It was kind of a whole new season for him,” O’Connor said. “When he took some time off because of his ankle, he just needed to get back out there and see pitches and get in situations. I think he’s back to where he needs to be.”

So is the lineup.

At 6 p.m., tonight, the No. 7 Wahoos (31-6) will host Old Dominion (18-17). Expect both Papi, as the left fielder, and Fisher, as the designated hitter, to start.

One is hitting .400 and the other is delivering legendary souvenirs.

“I remember Jarrett Parker hit one that was over the scoreboard, I guess three years ago,” said senior first baseman Jared King when thinking of shots that resembled Fisher’s. “But he’s swinging the bat real well right now. I think it’s been good for him to just worry about hitting.

“Obviously, he’s been producing.”

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