Aaron Schunk hails from Atlanta and played his college ball in Athens, Georgia. Over 2,000 miles away, he's making a name for himself in the Northwest.
Colorado's No. 12 prospect posted his first career multi-homer game, giving him three jacks in his last three outings, as Class A Short Season Boise outlasted Vancouver, 11-9, on Monday night.
"For the past couple weeks, I've just had a really good routine, good approach in the box, and it's been helping me stay focused for every at-bat," Schunk said. "I'm doing a good job of not missing pitches I can hit, so it's been paying off."
Gameday box score
Batting out of the No. 3 spot in the Hawks' lineup, the former Georgia Bulldog opened his night with a solo blast to right field in the bottom of the first inning. After flying out to right in the third and striking out in the fifth, Schunk mashed a two-run shot to left during a three-run frame that turned an 8-6 deficit into a 9-8 lead.
"Especially when you start off with one, your day is already feeling good," he said. "Something that me and Michael Toglia talk about is even when you're having a good day, you can't get complacent. Even after that first one, I was trying to make sure that my next at-bats were the same, as locked in as I was for that first one.
"Coming up big at the end is always a good feeling, especially when you can do it for your teammates."
After the Canadians rallied to tie the game in the eighth, Schunk received an intentional walk with runners at second and third in the bottom of the inning. Behind him, fifth-ranked Rockies prospect Toglia reached on a fielding error by left fielder Mc Gregory Contreras to bring home the go-ahead run.
Over his last 12 games, Schunk has batted .400/.444/.750 with four home runs and 12 RBIs. Over that span, Colorado's 2019 second-round pick has lifted his slash line from .283/.353/.443 to .329/.391/.553. Schunk has also has multiple hits in four straight games and seven of his last nine.
2019 MiLB include
"I think it's just continuing to get more and more comfortable at the plate," the 22-year-old third baseman said. "Coming out here, I talked to somebody and was telling them I felt like I was having to do too much at the plate, like I felt like I needed to hit home runs every at-bat to prove that I was supposed to be there. Once I got into my own groove where I realized, just keep swinging, just keep playing the same way I've always played, that kind of slowed down for me. I think that's what's continued to happen. I'm continuing to refine my approach, find good pitches to hit, laying off pitches that will put me in a bad count and opening up better opportunities to hit."
Toglia, the Rockies' first-rounder, belted a solo homer to right in the fifth. He has driven in two runs in each of the past two games. The duo is at the forefront of the next wave of power bats starting to climb Colorado's system.
"He's a lot of fun to be around," Schunk said of Toglia. "He's a good kid. It's a lot of fun when you know you've got two guys that can do a lot of damage, whether it's gap-to-gap doubles or being able to put up home runs like tonight. It's been a lot of fun learning from each other. We've spent a lot of bus trips where we'll just talk hitting and approach and the mentality side of the game just for hours on end and just try to pick each other's brains to get better. I already consider him one of my best friends. I love the kid, and I'm excited to keep moving forward with him."