Down East Wood Ducks outfielder Josh Altman has set the single-season record for home runs in a season when he hit his 14th homer against the Salem Red Sox on Monday night.
It marked the second consecutive year set his career-high in home runs the Wood Ducks. Coming into his second year in Advanced-A ball, he had just 18 homers in his professional career.
“I really wouldn’t say I changed anything. I really think it’s the mentality of not giving up on the first half,” the 23-year-old Altman said. “With struggles going on in the first half, we all know everybody hits those ups and downs patches. I just try to stick to my routine, stick to my mentality at the plate.and now things are finding holes.”
Altman has had a rough season. He finished the first half with a .205 batting average, but did have 8 homers and 25 RBIs. At one point in April, the outfielder had a .116 average.
The first 12 games of the second half have been a different story for the Homer Glen, Illinois product. He’s hitting .295, with 6 homers and 14 RBIs
“He’s been fun to watch,” DEWDs manager Spike Owen said. “He’s grinded through some difficult times at the start of the season. He really going back to the first of the season was swinging the bat well, and not getting results, then the consistency went away, which happens in this game. But he battled through it, and the tear he has been on has been really impressive.”
Owen has been so impressed with Altman that he has moved him up to the top of the lineup. Altman isn’t the prototypical lead-off man, but he has produced to give the Woodies some pop at the top of the lineup.
Altman broke the record with a solo shot to give the Woodies a 3-run lead heading into the ninth inning. The Woodies won 6-3 to bring their second-half record to 6-6. The Wood Ducks are three games back in the second half.
Altman was a part of the legendary comeback of eight games in the second half to win the Carolina League crown in the Wood Ducks' inaugural season last year. Altman says the Woodies don’t talk about it much, but it lets them know anything is possible.
“We know that this team if we play the way we’re capable of playing that it doesn’t matter how many games back we are, where we’re at in the standings, we’re going to give it a good try to push for the playoffs,” Altman said. “Last year is definitely a first hand look at that. We were down, and we gave it a push for the playoffs and we ended up winning the whole thing.We don’t talk about it often, but it’s definitely in the back of our heads knowing no matter how many games we’re out of it that we’re never out of it until we’re not out of it.”
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